I studied abroad in Pamplona for six months in college, but was not there for the legendary fiesta of San Fermin (aka running with the bulls). I decided to return as a 30th birthday trip. We stayed from 7/12 to 7/15, the last three days of the festival. When I booked with Jose Angel I wasn't able to find any reviews online, so I ws a little worried that it might have been some sort of scam (seemed like a good price for San Fermin). Well, I'm happy to report that it is definitely a legitimate Pension, and a very charming one at that!
Jose Angel always responded to my correspondence promptly. I reserved our room by faxing my credit card information to him and had no problems. He even was so thoughtful to recommend that I not email it because fax is safer. I believe there are also some hostel websites that you can book through. His English is also very good, and he is a wonderful host.
The Pension is within 2-3 blocks of the bus station. We were arriving via train, so we took a taxi which I believe was under 10 euros, but possibly around 15. The driver dropped us off directly in front of the door. I can't remember if there is a sign or not, but there is a buzzer (it's gray and separate from the main buzzer for the other floors) and Jose Angel will buzz you up. He even helped carry my bag downstairs when we left. Upon arrival he explained how all the keys worked, gave us our choice of rooms and gave us a map and explained where all of the highlights were.
Rooms were basic, clean, with flat screen TVs. We had a private bathroom which was tiny but functional. The Pension is on the edge of Casco Viejo which is a perfect location for San Fermin or anytime of year. Casco Viejo is the old part of town that has most of the attractions and great bars and restaurants. Our room overlooked the street of San Nicolas which was very noisy during the fiestas. Jose Angel gave us ear plugs which helped, but you could still feel the base of the music. But that's to be expected during San Fermin! Not all of the rooms overlook the street, so I would think if you stay there at a time other than San Fermin, you'd always be able to stay in a quiet, interior room. Since we were so close to all the action we were able to pop in and out to grab jackets, take a nap, put away the nice camera, etc.
This was a trip that I've dreamed of being able to take for years, and it totally met my expectations! It's such a happy time for Pamplona, and I was so thrilled to be a part of it. If you're thinking of going, stop thinking about it and GO!
I would definitely recommend Pension Sarasate. However if you do not stay up late, I would recommend you request an interior room.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Pensión Sarasate is located in Pamplona's old town, within 300 metres of the bus station and Baluarte Exhibition Centre. It is a 5-minute walk from where the running of the bulls takes place during San Fermines. It has been completely remodeled in 2015. Rooms feature a work desk, a private bathroom with hairdryer, flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi. The tour desk provides information about the city, including the famous San Fermines Festival, and the Navarra region. The property is just a 5-minute walk from Ciudadela Park. There are also plenty of bars and typical restaurants in the streets nearby. Public car parks can be found very close by. ... more less
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