The Basque Country, Spain: bull runs and spring sun

Why go there?

The impressive walled Basque city of Pamplona can be used a as a base to explore the spectacular Pyrenees that rise up in all directions, and is brimming with historic monuments, relaxed shopping and great food.

What to do

Browse narrow streets packed with historic landmarks, shops and bars. Visit the Cathedral, it’s one of Spain’s finest, or stroll along the city walls. Escape into the mountains nearby to find inspiring walks amid the forests, waterfalls and wildlife. Or head west to visit the renowned vineyards of Rioja. And each July, Pamplona plays host to its famous bull run in which six bulls are let loose in the city streets.

Pamplona, Spain

Where to stay and eat

Stay at the elegant old Grand Hotel La Perla, which stands on a paved square in the city centre (double room from £102). And try the stylish new Enekorri restaurant in the west of the city. Locals love its contemporary versions of traditional Spanish cuisine.

How to get there

The views get increasingly dramatic as you drive southeast from the Biscay ferry ports through the Basque hills down into the mountains. It’s a short drive but make the most of it by stopping at fascinating old towns such as Lekunberri or Muruzabal. And don’t miss the ornate renaissance university at Onati.

The route