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Euskal Herria - Iruña/Pamplona - San Fermin

Euskal Herria - Iruña/Pamplona - San Fermin

Euskal Herria - Iruña/Pamplona - San Fermin


We have all heard about the running of the bulls in Pamplona during the festival of San Fermin.

What exactly are the festival and the running?
I have been there three times and I think I know enough to clarify everything and answer your curiosity.


The bull run, the “encierro”, is a free 850-metre race with 6 wild bulls and 6 cows leading the herd, which is celebrated in Pamplona every day from 7 to 14 July each year, for the San Fermin festivity.
The launching of a rocket starts the race at 8 a.m. and its estimated duration is between 2 and 3 minutes.
When it exceeds 3 minutes, it usually means that the bulls are not together but are running alone, so the danger increases exponentially.

Everyone over the age of 18 can take part in the run, free of charge and without registering, subject to rules that we will see later.


Birth of the bull run

Historical reports report that in the 1385, during the reign of Carlos II de Navarra, primitive bullfighting was already being celebrated in Pamplona.
At that time, the bulls were led on foot through the fields to the city and the last leg of that trip was made early in the morning, running through the streets cheered on by the shepherds.
We have to conclude, therefore, that at least 600 years ago there was an embryonic bull running in Pamplona, which began as an accompaniment of the bulls through the streets of the city to the bullring.

Those bull runs had little to do with the current ones. A galloping horseman would stand at the front to announce the arrival of the bulls to the inhabitants, and some young men would run with the herd, contravening the orders of the consistory, which always considered the bull running as disobedience to authority. The run was officially forbidden, although it was permitted.

In the Middle Ages the streets were delimited by blankets and carts, until in 1776 the municipality decided to place a pine fence to prevent the frequent cases of bulls running through the streets of the city.

Until 1843 the bull run ended at Plaza del Castillo, temporarily set up as a bullring, and until 1856 the bulls didn’t run down Calle Estafeta.
During those 13 years, the bull run had four different routes, partly because of the construction of the railway.
It would have allowed the bulls’ transport by train, excluding the trip through the countryside and the subsequent bull run in the streets.
Popular support for the Pamplona bull run defeated the authorities’ desire to ban it definitively, prompting the city council, in 1867, to establish a rule fixing the time and route, making it legal.

The last big change to the route of the bull run took place in 1922, when the inauguration of the current bullring obliged the bulls to turn left at the end of Calle Estafeta, instead of turning right as they had done until then.

Record-breaking bull runs

Although it may seem strange, never one bull run is the same or similar to another, given the infinite variables created by the bulls, the runners and the weather.

However some races have been remarkable.

On July 8, 1939, a bull named ‘Liebrero’ broke through the fence causing numerous injuries and was killed by the Guardia Civil.

In 1940 a bull broke the fence in the Telefónica area and escaped after goring a spectator.
In 1941, the strength of the fence was increased, making it double: another fence was added to the first one, spaced two metres apart.

The bull runs of 10 July 1947 and 13 July 1980 were the only ones in which the same bull killed two people.
They were ‘Semillero’ and ‘Antioquio’.

The longest bull run took place in 1959 and lasted about half an hour.
A bull in the bullring didn’t want to enter the stable, until a small German shepherd succeeded and was acclaimed by the entire arena.

On 12 July 1988 a bull ran all the way through Santo Domingo in reverse, returning to the stable door.

On 9 July 1994, there was the highest number of people injured, although not seriously: 107.

The fastest bull in Pamplona was ‘Huraño’, who on 11 July 1997 finished in just 1 minute 45 seconds.

In 2003 a bull gored a father and his son in less than 20 metres.


The 850-metre-long Pamplona Encierro runs through the winding streets of the city’s historic centre.
The urban complexity of this area of Pamplona, the result of centuries of different constructions, makes the route of the bull run so varied and spectacular that it seems to have been designed especially for the Encierro.
In fact, it runs through medieval gates, steep climbs, double right-angle bends, narrow and shady alleys, fast descents and enters the bullring through a gallery of terraces.

Shortly before 8a.m., runners go near the start, where there is a small statue of San Fermin, and entrust themselves to him with the singing, first in Spanish and then in Basque language:
“a San Fermín pedimos, por ser nuestro patrón, nos guíe en el encierro dándonos su bendición.

Entzun arren San Fermín, zu zaitugu patroi, zuzendu gure oinarrak, entzierru hontan otoi.

Viva San Fermín. Gora San Fermín”.

Then at 8 o’clock a first rocket starts the race.

Santo Domingo

The bulls come out of an enclosure located in an old bastion of the walls (a second rocket signals that all the bulls are in the route) and, rested, they reach the highest speed of the entire route in the Santo Domingo climb: 280 metres between stone walls at a 10% drop.

San Fermin Pamplona - Santo Domingo

Plaza del Ayuntamiento – Mercaderes

The second section of the bull run is flat and measures 100 metres long by 9 metres wide.
The bull run is still very fast, skirting the town hall and taking a slight left turn at the beginning of calle Mercaderes.


Difficult section of the race: 300 metres in the shade and a slight climb of 2%.
There is a 90° bend to the right, which, due to the centrifugal force, often results in the bulls colliding against the outer fence, causing chaos and the subsequent separation of the herd.
Runners here must be very careful and avoid the left side.
It’s easy the bulls separate at the Mercaderes bend so is impossible to manage them all the way down Calle Estafeta.
Some bulls will overtake you and you have to move to one side cleanly and without damaging other runners.
Be careful about the horns of the bull that surpasses you and another bull may be behind you.


The last section of the encierro is the brightest and the only one slightly downhill.
In the 90 metres of the Telefónica segment, the bulls are tired and run more slowly than in the beginning of the route, but they are often alone and cross an area without buildings, with fences on both sides.
The danger is also increased by the presence of inexpert runners, who don’t follow the acceleration of the bulls.
This creates very dangerous situations and in fact the accident statistics are particularly high.


The 9-metre width at the beginning of the Telefónica narrows in a funnel shape to the 3-metre Callejón (alley) of 30 metres that passes under the stands, all the way to the inside of the bullring.
The main danger is the formation of a block between people trying to enter and the bulls, which usually has no difficulty in overwhelming everyone and making its way through.

In case of a fall, the runner should escape by rolling sideways, avoiding being trampled and above all not getting up, so as not to be run over by the crowd or gored by the running bulls.
You should not enter the arena behind the herd because the bulls often turn around and the runners get stuck between the bull and the gate.

Plaza de Toros

When all the animals enter the bullring, the gate is closed for safety and a third flare warns that no bulls are left in the street.

Once inside the bullring, taking care of the change of pavement from cobblestones to sand, it’s important to open up immediately by fanning out to the left or right towards the barriers.
This helps the bull to go straight towards the fence, possibly guided by the dobladores, dressed in green and with the banner draped over the ground.

The entrance of the last bull into the corral, with fourth and final rocket, marks the end of the daily bull run.



In classical antiquity, the bull was always considered an animal that embodied the characteristics of the gods: greatness, strength, courage and nobility.
Humans, seeking to be similar, have been challenging bulls for thousands of years, from Greece to Crete and Anatolia.
The Pamplona bull run is nothing more than a local modern manifestation of defiance to death, represented by the bull.

Wild bulls are bred in large areas of Andalusia, Extremadura and Salamanca, but there are also some herds in the provinces of Madrid, Navarre, La Rioja and Aragon.
Each bull reared requires one and a half hectares of land, and each kilo of adult animal consumes 60 kilos of grass or 15 kilos of hay.
The bulls that run in Pamplona weigh between 600 and 700 kilos and are chosen from the best for their size, gait, horns and pride.
Despite its torpid appearance, the bull is a very strong, agile and fast animal.


In the bull run there are many elements and people who help in the organisation or in its safety, but there are only two protagonists of the race: the runners and the bulls.
Without them the bull run would be impossible, without all the others it would be more unsafe, but it could be realised.

To take part in the run, you neither have to pay nor register, you just have to be on the route before 07.30.

An estimated 2,500 people run on weekdays, 4,000 on weekends.
Not everyone can be considered a runner: more than 1,000 stay hundreds of metres away from the bulls, another 500 run close to the herd, but when the bulls are about five metres away, they move to the sides and stop.
The rest run in the front row, feeling the breath of the bulls behind them, switching between them in stretches of about 40-50 metres and with runs that last no more than 8-12 seconds in front of the bull’s muzzle.

70% of participants are between 20 and 35 years old, about 10% under 20, and the remaining 20% over 35, with some veterans in their 50s or 60s.
About 40% are from Pamplona or Navarre, 30% are Spanish and the rest are foreigners.

The run lasts approximately two and a half minutes, and no one, even a true athlete, can run the full 850 metres next to the bulls because of the confusion generated by running pushes, slower runners to dodge, people falling on the ground to jump over and, of course, animals to be constantly watched.


Shepherds have always been present in the bull run because in the Middle Ages, when there were no runners yet, they drove the cattle on foot through the countryside and in the streets of Pamplona.

There are currently between eight and ten shepherds in the bull run, identifiable by their identifying green uniform “pastores” and a rod in their hand.
Each of them is assigned a section and they change every 100 metres or so. Their job is to prevent the herd from scattering and the bulls from turning back.

Shepherds are experts in handling non-domesticated cattle but almost none work in cattle breeding or bullfighting.


The figure of the dobladores arose in the 1930s to provide greater security at the end of the bull run.

There are currently four dobladores in the Pamplona bullring, often former professional bullfighters or those with great experience in the Pamplona bull runs.

The dobladores are in charge of dragging a red drape across the sand to help the disoriented bull reach the corral, thus avoiding endangering the many people in the arena in the final moments of the race.


Excluding runners and spectators, about 650 people work for the Pamplona bull run, demonstrating the importance of organisation.

150 municipal and provincial police officers take care of clearing the route of people who are not runners but who populate the streets after the night of revelry, contain the runners at the start at the beginning of the Santo Domingo ascent and enforce the municipal regulations on bull running.

Coordinated by SOS Navarre, 200 members of the Red Cross and DYA (Medical Assistance) take care of the medical care of the slightly injured and the transfer of the more seriously injured to hospital.
There are both 15 posts along the route and 15 medical ambulances.
There are two operating rooms ready in the arena, as well as in the two public hospitals in Pamplona.

San Fermin Pamplona - carpenters

The 40 carpenters and joiners who assemble and dismantle the fences on a daily basis also do a crucial job.
Installed on both sides of the streets and in unbuilt spaces, they are made up of around 13,000 pieces including screws, washers, wedges and, above all, 900 vertical poles and 2,700 horizontal boards.
They are marked with letters and numbers so that each piece is placed in the same place year after year.
In certain sections of the route, the barriers are fixed. They are installed towards the end of June and remain until the last day of the San Fermin festival.
In other sections, where vehicles pass by, they are erected and dismantled every day.

San Fermin Pamplona - fence

All the horizontal planks and vertical posts, which are anchored to the ground in holes 40 centimetres deep, are reinforced with metal covers to withstand possible impacts from bulls.

In addition, there are 12 doors, also reinforced, that close as the herd passes, to prevent the bulls from coming back.

San Fermin Pamplona - fence carpenters

Street cleaners work both in the 850 metres of the bull run just before the race and several times throughout the city, because of the huge amount of waste produced.

San Fermin Pamplona - waste

In addition, there are at least 200 accredited professionals from the press, radio, internet, television, magazines, photographers, reporters and tv technicians, national and international.

San Fermin Pamplona - photographers


The Pamplona bull run is one of the most internationally renowned public spectacles, but one of the most difficult to see in person.
This is because the race is not in an enclosed area, but through the streets of a chaotic city in fiesta.

Therefore, to experience the excitement of the race, you have to arrive a few hours early and stand on the wall near the start or behind the few fences that border the route.
This is the only way to have a chance to be one of the 1,500 people who will see the bulls up close, even if only for a few metres.
You can’t stay between the two fences, because that is the space reserved for people running, health personnel and accredited media.

A privileged viewpoint is a balcony: from there you can see a 100/200 metres stretch of the course and you don’t have to arrive hours in advance.
The problem is that, if you are not family members or relatives of the owners of the houses along the route, you can only get onto the balcony by paying a seat rented for € 100,00 or more per person per day.

The arena has a capacity of 20,000 spectators, but tickets must be purchased in advance.
You don’t see the bull run, but only the final part, with the bulls entering and the runners fanning out.

The last comfortable option if you don’t want to move in the cold Pamplona night, is to watch the race from the television or the giant monitors installed in the streets, as millions of Spanish and international spectators do on the various available platforms.

San Fermin Pamplona - spectators fence


San Fermin Pamplona - throw from the fountain

Pamplona during San Fermin days
Before living these Pamplona days, people think that the San Fermin festival is just the running of the bulls.
Nothing could be more wrong.
We have seen that the run itself doesn’t even last three minutes. Then there are another 23 hours and 57 minutes….

The procession of the Saint

Euskal Herria - Iruña/Pamplona - San Fermin

According to tradition, the Roman senator Fermin and his family were converted to Christianity through the influence of the presbyter Honestus, who carried out his evangelical work in Roman Pamplona in the 3rd century.
His son Fermín was baptised by St Saturninus, ordained a priest in Toulouse and returned to Pamplona as a bishop.
He spent his last days in Amiens, where he converted more than 3,000 people before being imprisoned and beheaded on 303 September, 25.

In 1386, King Carlos II of Navarre left a relic of the Saint recovered in Amiens in the Church of San Lorenzo, and the procession has been celebrated ever since.
Initially, the Saint was celebrated on 10 October, the date of his arrival in Amiens, but from 1591 the date was moved to 7 July to coincide with the religious festivities in his honour celebrated between St Peter’s Day and 18 July.

The bust carried in procession is a wooden sculpture dating the end of the 15th century, covered with silver in 1687, and on its chest is a reliquary, also made of silver.

San Fermín is the patron saint of the diocese of Pamplona and, together with San Francisco Javier, the patron saint of Navarre, as well as the patron saint of the confraternities of vintners and bakers.

The cult of San Fermín is deep-rooted among the Pamplonians and the saint is invoked during the chupinazo, just before each bull run, several times during the day and in the lamentations of the ‘Pobre de mí’ at the end of the fiesta.
This is a tradition transmitted from generation to generation.

The procession of San Fermin is held on the morning of 7th July and is an essential act for many Pamplonians, so it is also a must for foreigners to get to know the fiesta in all its solemnity.
After a procession from the Cathedral to the Church of San Lorenzo, the statue of the saint crosses the city, enveloped in the devotion of the Pamplonians and those who make the following days unique: clergy, masks, brotherhoods, bands, dancers and authorities. Obviously all dressed in traditional attire, always with a white shirt, trousers or skirt, sash and red kerchief.
City councillors wear a top hat, gloves and a medal with the city’s coat of arms.

During the morning there are many emotional moments between prayers, singing, dancing and parades, accompanied by La Pamplonesa, the city’s musical band, but also by spontaneous groups.

The masks parade

Euskal Herria - Iruña/Pamplona - San Fermin - Gigantes y Cabezudos

The parade of the 25 masks of the Giants and Cabezudos (Giant Heads), accompanied by the music of the Gaiteros (pipers), has become one of the symbols of the San Fermin fiestas.

These figures have always been present in the important celebrations of Pamplona since the 16th century.
In 1800 this tradition was lost, recovered a century later thanks to the six giants conserved in Pamplona Cathedral.
The papier-mâché sculptures that currently depict the giants were created by Tadeo Amorena in 1860, commissioned by the municipality of Pamplona.

The dancer carries the figure on his shoulders, which weighs about 60 kilos and reaches up to 4.20 metres in height.

San Fermin Pamplona - masks

The parade starts every morning from the bus station at around 9.30 am, except on the 6th at 4.30 pm.
The route runs through the streets of the old town, but changes every day.

At the head of the parade are 5 Cabezudos, huge heads with serious faces representing authority.
They are known as the Mayor, the Municipal Councillor, the Grandmother and a Japanese couple.
They walk with a solemn gait and shake hands with all the children who ask.

The 4 pairs of Giants represent a king and queen from each Continent: America, Africa, Europe and Asia (when they were born, Oceania was not yet known).

San Fermin Pamplona - masks

The Kilikis have grumpy faces, a hat and a plastic pole with which they hit children.
They are called Barbas, Caravinagre, Coletas, Napoleón, Patata and Verrugas.

The Zaldikos simulate armed horsemen with their rods, wandering the boys they meet on their way.

On 14 July, the last dance takes place in the bus station, in a very emotional moment called the Despedida de los Gigantes (the dismissal of the giants).

Children’s Encierro

San Fermin Pamplona - Children's Encierro

At 22.00 children can participate in the encierro reserved for them, which lasts about half an hour.
A bull of cardboard and wood, loaded on the shoulders of a boy, starts from Plaza de Santiago with torches and fireworks of different colors on horns and loins, chasing the many children ready to challenge him.
Wrapped in a light show and releasing several firecrackers, he runs through the streets of the historic center until the load is exhausted in the middle of calle Estafeta.
Here the change takes place with another boy, who loads on his shoulders the more than 30 kilos of taurine structure with fireworks and firecrackers, and resumes his race to Telefónica.

San Fermin Pamplona - children's bull run


“Las Barracas” is installed in a large green area of the Ciudadela.
Open 24 hours a day, it offers the classic attractions for children and not only: targets, rides, bumper cars, wheels etc.
Obviously with the presence of bars, pancakes, sweets and other street foods.


Every night at 23.00 and for about half an hour, the best European pyrotechnic houses offer a spectacular performance of fireworks from the moats of the walls of the Ciudadela, challenging each other in an international competition.

The best place to see it is the park near the bus station that surrounds the Vuelta del Castillo area, but it can still be seen from different points of the city, such as the streets adjacent to Avenida del Esercito, Plaza de los Fueros, Paseo de Sarasate and Plaza de la Paz.


The newspaper “El Eco de Navarra” proposed that a marching band walk the streets of the city an hour before the encierro to wake everyone up, and the municipality accepted the idea.
At dawn on July 7, 1876, the band of the Casa de la Misericordia paraded playing the first dianas sanfermineras.

Since then the streets of the city are animated by multiple bands and the feast of San Fermín would be unthinkable without the music that animates it.

At every moment of the holidays, music invades the streets of the city, becoming itself an attraction.
The official schedule contains an endless supply of concerts and parties for all styles, in different areas of the city.

Traditional Basque songs blend with international ballads, classical music, rhythms of musical bands, disco music from pubs, bagpipes, outdoor concerts of pop, jazz, rock, traditional dances interspersed with salsa or merengue, modernity and folklore, seriousness and unbridled madness.

Essential is the music of the various peñas, which cross the streets of the historic center with drums, trumpets, trombones, whistles, bass drum, cymbals, saxophones, singing cheerful and catchy songs that quickly become popular for all those present.
Alternating in walking the streets of the city, they create an endless revelry every moment of the party.

Inside the arena, on the other hand, they play each on their own and the result is therefore confusing and dispersive.

El Pobre de mí: the end of the festival

On July 14, where it all began on July 6, in front of the cityh at midnight, the mayor announces the end of the festival, giving appointment to the next year.
A flood of lit candles and red handkerchiefs move wistfully singing the song that gives its name to this last act: “Pobre de mí, pobre de mi, que se han acabao las fiestas de San Fermín” (poor me, poor me, the festivities of San Fermín are over).

The “Pobre de mí” is the other side of the Chupinazo: the darkness after the light, the sadness after the joy, but also the fatigue accumulated after days of crazy fun.
From this moment people have to return to everyday life. Many people will continue their party for a few more hours, before taking off the red handkerchief.


Usually we know that the dress doesn’t make the monk, but sometimes the party makes the dress.
Traditionally in the Pamplona festival we dress in white (t-shirt, shirt, trousers or skirt) and red (waistband and handkerchief around the neck).
Obviously it’s not an obligation and everyone dresses as he wants, but dressing differently would make fish out of water, since almost everyone wears this “uniform”.
The advice is therefore to dress like this and immerse yourself totally in the tradition (obviously many shops and stalls sell the uniform at acceptable prices).

It’s not known exactly why nor who adopted this clothing, however, is now an integral symbol of the party. Everyone wears it creating white and red human tides.

There are, however, various theories about this popular custom.

Some indicate as inventors the members of Peña la Veleta.
Founded in 1931 by people of humble origins and of the working class, they sought a uniform that would identify and distinguish them from other associations.
A white robe was easy to obtain, inexpensive and, associated with red, very flashy.

In any case, it becomes a common dress among the people who participate in the festivities around 1960.

In addition to the white dress, two other accessories are equally important:

The red handkerchief is knotted around the neck after the launch of the Chupinazo and is removed after the “Pobre de mí”.
Even on its meaning there is no univocal version: it goes from the blood of St. Fermín martyred, to the flag of Navarre.
Many handkerchiefs have embroidered the figure of San Fermín, others the coat of arms of the group to which they belong or the flag of Navarre, Pamplona or the Basque Country.

The band that surrounds the waist is also red. It usually ends with fringes on the sides and sometimes with embroidery such as handkerchief.

To complete the official uniform, tradition indicates white hemp sandals with red ribbons but comfort has now cleared the tennis shoes. However, you need to have closed and resistant shoes, both to avoid slipping and because you can find broken glass (and not only) in the streets.

When the air becomes cooler, you wear a red jacket.



On festive days, Pamplona has a reputation for being a lawless city but this is not true.
From the arrival in the city the controls, even with anti-drug dogs, are very stringent and no overstep of the limit is tolerated.
The police actions are lightning fast.
However, this allows everyone, from young children to the elderly, to walk around alone without problems, at any time of day or night.

Even the encierro itself is regulated by a series of norms and customs imposed by the centuries-old tradition. In addition, there is a municipal ban of the City of Pamplona and a Navarrese law on bullfighting shows that, if broken, leads to heavy fines.
Among other things, it is prohibited:
– participate in the race to under 18,
– leave the doors of homes and business premises open,
– run under the effects of alcohol or drugs,
– use cameras or phones, footwear or clothing inappropriate for running, bulky objects that restrict movement or hinder other participants,
– grab, hit, incite bulls or attract their attention.
Help must be given so that the herd runs in the correct sense of the encierro and that the race lasts as little as possible.

Euskal Herria - Iruña/Pamplona - San Fermin - Encierro


San Fermin Pamplona - runners waiting

To participate in the encierro with some “guarantee” of success, you must to follow a series of recommendations dictated by the experience of the most veteran runners, those who have done dozens of bull runs:
– sleep before the run, even if only a few hours, and never run as the conclusion of a night of revelry,
– don’t wear moccasins, sandals, heeled shoes or slippers,
– use even more precaution with wet road: bulls slip, but you will do the same,
– don’t run without looking behind: in the encierro the risk is behind, not in front.
– don’t overestimate your physical fitness: the bulls run more than you, check them or they will overwhelm you,
– take the utmost precaution when leaving the road: most horns hit people who are stationary or fallen,
– in difficult moments, don’t try to climb the fence but lie on the ground and rotate to the sides,
– enter the route only if you are convinced to take part and really running: standing still on one side you would risk being seriously injured by bulls, runners, or creating danger for everyone,
– remember that you can die: the risk is very low but take into account that participating in the race you could die or be seriously injured.


Euskal Herria - Iruña/Pamplona - San Fermin - Encierro

Pamplona’s bull run is known all over the world and there are two types of people who do it: those who arrive prepared and those who decide to do it at the last moment.

The goal is to start running slowly, then at full speed before the arrival of the bulls, stay in front of them more or less close depending on the desire to risk the life, and move away sharply from their trajectory, trying not to cross or endanger the other runners.

One of the main aspects of the encierro pamplonese is its intrinsic dangerousness: running with bulls implies a huge potential risk.
There are 14 boys who died, twelve due to horns, the others from blows or crushing.
11 of them were mortally wounded when they were stationary or fallen.
The deaths occurred on all sections of the race: 2 in Santo Domingo, 2 in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento, 1 in Mercaderes, 1 in Estafeta, 4 in Telefónica area and another 4 in the arena.

In addition to the dead, however, we must also consider the high number of wounded.
It’s estimated that 1 in 70 participants finishes the race with minor injuries such as bruises, erosions, sprains, etc.; 1 in every 800 is transferred to the hospital for severe trauma, 1 in every 2,500 is framed and 1 in every 100,000 dies.

How to get there

San Fermin Pamplona - station walls

Pamplona Airport has regular connections to Madrid and Barcelona.
Other nearby airports are Bilbao, San Sebastian, Zaragoza and Biarritz.

The train station is quite close to the center and has regular lines to all major cities.

The bus station is located at the Parque de la Ciudadela and also in this case the connections are numerous and frequent.

Those who decide to use the car, must consider above all the cost of parking. You must also pay in advance, otherwise you will add the fine and the recovery of the car taken away by the police.

Where to sleep

Pamplona multiplies its inhabitants in these days of July and the housing is filling up quickly.
Beyond the date of booking, the costs of hotels and b&b on holidays reach very high price: it will be difficult to spend less than € 200,00 per night per person.
A bed in a shared dorm in the hostel costs just under half.

San Fermin Pamplona - balconies

Similar prices are also in nearby towns 30 km, to which must be added, however, the cost of travel.

If you want to save money, you can sleep almost anywhere.
It’s not forbidden to sleep in the street or in the gardens but you can’t camp. You have to be equipped for the night: temperatures can reach 15°C with a considerable temperature change, and it can rain.

San Fermin Pamplona - where to sleep

Left luggage

If you don’t have accommodation, it’s better for safety and convenience to leave your luggage in a storage room.
There are two public places to leave your luggage (in 2022 only one):
– Escuela Municipale San Francisco (closed in 2022): open 24 hours a day from 4 to 16 July, it’s located in the center and, in addition to luggage storage, it’s also a multilingual tourist information center and has dressing rooms for changing.

The cost is € 4,50 every 24 hours, they will ask for a copy of your id card and leave a ticket to be returned to retrieve the luggage.

– Bus station: on the lower floor, in the square where the buses leave, there is both a served luggage storage and some automatic lockers.
The cost is always € 4,50 but from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m..
At other times the bus station is closed and inaccessible.

What to eat

Euskal Herria - Iruña/Pamplona - San Fermin

Spending time drinking and eating traditional Basque dishes or different types of pintxos, sharing the table with strangers, is a substantial part of the party.
In Navarre, any social event includes a gastronomic moment as an indispensable part of the celebration.

You have an endless amount of places to eat, enjoy trying different food.

Lost property

The lost property office is inside the municipal police station.
If you find something you can take it there or deliver it to the many agents or volunteers always present around.


The organization of the feast of San Fermin certainly could not neglect the shower.
In addition to the public baths, there is also the place to wash: the Casa de Baños y lavandería Pública, in calle Hilarión Eslava 9.

With 4 euros (in 2022, prices change every year) you have a single dressing room with shower, towel, shampoo and shower gel.

Some people use to go to the Piscinas de Aranzadi, the public swimming pool near the Casco Viejo.



Tromsø, considered the Arctic capital, is located about 350 km north of the Arctic Circle, at 69°40′ north latitude, in the heart of the wild between majestic mountains and beautiful fjords.

In the north of Norway there is complete darkness during the polar night season.
Here from 23 November to 18 January, the sun never rises but is at most 3 degrees below the horizon, enough to ensure the presence of light.

Being right under the oval of the Northern Lights, it is the area with the highest probability of seeing this magical phenomenon from the end of August to the end of April, generally between 6pm and midnight..
If the sky is clear, you might see the Northern Lights right above the city, but to increase your chances you should go away from the lights of the city centre.


Norway - Tromso - Sami


Thanks to the Gulf Stream, Tromsø has a milder coastal climate than other destinations at the same latitude.
The average winter temperature is about -4°C, but if you’re looking for the Northern Lights, remember that the temperature could be from -20°C to +5°C, so always stay in layers.

On the contrary, from May 19 to July 26, the sun never sets. With the phenomenon of the midnight sun you can enjoy full daylight doing any activity 24 hours a day.

Tromsø is also a strategic point to reach North Cape, Svalbard Islands, Lofoten Islands or Sweden and Finland.
Thanks to its location beyond the Arctic Circle, it is considered the gateway to the North Pole and has been the starting point for many Arctic expeditions.


Norway - Tromso - Polaria Museum



Arctic Cathedral

One of Tromsø’s best-known buildings, the modern architecture of the Arctic Cathedral, featuring 11 aluminium-clad concrete panels on each side of the roof, is reminiscent of an iceberg or a Sami tent and has often been compared to the famous Sydney Opera House.
It takes about 25 minutes to get there from the city centre on foot or you can take bus 20, 24, 26 or 28.

The main entrance is surrounded by a large window with a pronounced cross.


Norway - Tromso - Arctic Cathedral


Storsteinen Mountain

A 15-minute walk from the Arctic Cathedral, on fine days you can take the Fjellheisen cable car to the top of the Storsteinen mountain. From here you have a wonderful view of the city (if low clouds don’t prevent the view).
Otherwise you can reach the top by climbing the 1,200 stone steps of the Sherpa Staircase.


Norway . Tromso - Mount Storsteinen


Tromsø Bridge

A peculiarity of Tromsø is that it is located on Tromsøya Island, connected to the mainland by an arched bridge.
You can also walk to the Cathedral and see Tromsø from a different perspective.


Norway - Tromso



The northernmost Protestant cathedral in the world is located in the quiet main street of Tromsø but I could only see it from the outside.
The opening hours are very variable and uncertain but it’s still a beautiful building of neo-gothic architecture, the only cathedral in Norway made entirely of wood.


Norway - Tromso - Domkirke - Protestant Cathedral


Perspektivet Museum

I don’t know how long each photographic exhibition lasts, but the museum is free so you can “risk” visiting this neoclassical 1838 building.
Satisfaction or disappointment will still be subjective.
I saw unpublished photos that were very interesting for me.
On the ground floor the photos made you imagine the cities/villages and life in the Palestinian Territories before the war of 1948.


Norway - Tromso - Perspektivet Museum - Palestinian Territories


Upstairs, instead, the different faiths of “homo religiosus” are shown.
Other photos show the history of Tromsø, from the construction of the bridge to the airport.

Tromsø Museum

This is a multidisciplinary museum with first part dedicated to animals living in the Tromsø area and in the Arctic and about the climate change they are fighting.
The upper floor first shows us the damage that man is creating with his waste, then explains the phenomenon of the Northern Lights.
The museum closes with the interesting history and culture of the Sami people.


Norway - Tromso - Sami culture



I don’t think you should consider this museum as an aquarium just because there are three seals, starfish, sponges and other Arctic fauna and flora.
Before you go in, think about the panels outside that explain life in the Arctic and its importance. This museum is in fact the gateway to understanding Svalbard Islands and what is happening with climate change.
Understanding the damage plastic does is essential for all of us.


Norway - Tromso - Polaria Museum


MS Polstjernan

Housed inside a glass construction, it is the ship used to kill (or, as it was said at the time, “bring home”) at least 100,000 seals. You can walk on its decks, full of objects of the time, hunting tools, numerous photos, videos and objects related to polar expeditions.

Thinking about what this boat has seen, however, almost makes you see the blood of the seals on deck.
It was not very pleasant for me.

The entrance ticket is included in that of the adjacent Polaria museum.


Norway - Tromso - Polstjerna


The Polar Museum

It would be better if this was called “the Polar Hunting Museum“.
I expected a different museum instead is the exaltation of hunters (especially seals and bears) and the description of hunting carried out over the centuries in the polar territories.
There are many, too many, stuffed animals. Looking into their eyes I wonder the sense of their presence in the museum, rather than in their natural habitat.


Norway - Tromso - seal

The multilingual guides delivered free of charge at the entrance explain every object in the rooms (traps, weapons, writings, photos, drawings, reconstructions of scenes and hunting methods).
I have nothing against hunting when it is a necessity to survive, but here we really see almost ostentation and exhibitionism of man’s blind force against animals.


The whale watching season varies from year to year depending on the presence of herring in the fjords.
It usually runs from November to the end of January and there are several companies at the port that make special excursions.
Some of them also allow you to go into the water with whales, although this experience, given the weather, is not guaranteed.

If you are interested, I suggest you to go to Tonga Islands, where I swam with whales in Nuku’alofa.


Tonga - swimming with whales


Huskies are some of the most popular animals to meet in Tromsø and with them you could sled or walk in the woods.

Another animal you’ll probably see is the reindeer. They often walk freely along the road or you can get to know the Sami people, with whom you can feed reindeer or have them tow you on a sleigh.


Norway - reindeer




There are 3 connections between the city center and the airport:
– the express bus takes about 15 minutes, with several stops near the hotels and in strategic points of the city.
– the city bus lines 24, 40 and 42.
– taxis


Hurtigruten leaves Tromsø every day.

The port is located about 4 km from the city centre.
You can easily reach it on foot or by city buses 30 and 42.


Hurigruten - Nordkapp


District buses

District buses offer some excursions around Tromsø municipality and depart from Prostneset, the city’s main bus station, which is located next to the Tourist Information Office.

Bus 420 Tromsø – Hella – Brensholmen – Sommarøy:
Short excursion from Tromsø around the southern part of the island of Kvaløya.

Bus 425 Tromsø – Ersfjordbotn:
Fantastic views of the fjords and steep mountains.

Bus 450 Tromsø – Tønsvik – Oldervik:
Reach hiking trails and see fantastic views of the sea and the Lyngen Alps.


Norway - Tromso



Northern Norway

You could travel from Tromsø to Alta by bus and from there, after at least one night’s rest, take another bus to Kirkenes or Honningsvåg, from where you then reach Nordkapp – North Cape or Knivskjellodden.

Hurtigruten departs daily from Tromsø with a 17-hour journey to Honningsvåg.

Another option is to fly from Tromsø to Honningsvåg with stopover in Hammerfest.


Norway - Nordkapp - from afar


Svalbard Islands

The only way to get to Svalbard is by plane and there are daily flights from Tromsø to Longyearbyen.
In high season, from March to August, the number of flights increases.

Remember that Svalbard is outside the Schengen area so you need passport.


Svalbard Islands - Pyramiden - polar bear

To the South of Norway

If you want to get excited traveling south, you have to travel by ship.
With the Hurtigruten you could reach Lofoten Islands, Bodø, Trondheim or Bergen.

There is a daily bus connection from Tromsø to Fauske. From here you can continue south by train to Trondheim, Oslo, Bergen and other destinations.


Norway - Trondheim - Kayaking on the river Nidelva



There are several direct flights from Tromsø to Stockholm.

The Länstrafiken Norrbotten bus goes from Tromsø to Narvik, from where it continues to Björkliden, Abisko and Kiruna in Sweden.
Or from Narvik you could continue by train to Boden, Luleå, Haparanda and Stockholm.


Norway - Tromso



Bodø (pronounced Bùda) is a small but strategical city.
It is in fact the first port north of the Arctic Circle, the starting point to reach the Lofoten Islands, the northern terminus of the Norwegian railway and gateway to the Arctic lands.


Norway - Bodo - Hurtigruten


The current center is a mix of wooden houses, brick houses, blocks up to 10 floors high, quite luxurious hotels with large windows.
There are few attractions in Bodø but the surrounding landscape is certainly fascinating: the largest city in Nordland is surrounded by the rugged Børvasstindan mountains, Bodømarka forest and lots of small islands.


Norway - Bodo - mountains


Just 75 minutes by plane from Oslo, you could see the Northern Lights from September to March and from 30 May to 12 July the midnight sun.

The city was founded in 1816 and around 1860 it became an important centre for herring fishing.
During the Second World War it was practically razed to the ground by bombing on 27 May 1940 and later rebuilt in a sober but functional architectural style, a classic post-war example.


Norway - Bodo - World War II


During the Cold War, Bodø military airport was considered strategic by NATO because it was from there that attacks against the Soviet Union would start.
In May 1960, during a period of very high tension, an American U-2 spy plane was shot down on Soviet territory on its way from Pakistan to Bodø airport.
Norway didn’t officially allow foreign troops to park or use military installations on Norwegian territory, and this illegal behaviour, in violation of the agreements, led to a worsening of relations between Norway and the Soviet Union.


Norway - Bodo - Cold War




The peculiarity of this church, made almost entirely of wood, is certainly its shape of an upside down ship.
Inside there are interesting photos that tell its history, from its construction to the bombardments of the Second World War that practically razed the entire city to the ground.
Rebuilt in 1956, it is one of the few Norwegian churches where you could enter for free.


Norway - Bodo - Domkirke



Not far from Domkirke, there is the Nordland Museum.
Bodø is a little city so is impossible not to come here and discover the history of this city, which went from the bombings of World War II to its strategic position in the Cold War.

There are also exhibitions about Sami and Viking cultures.


Norway - Bodo - center


Bodo Tourist Information

Given the few things to do in Bodø, I looked for a few excursions to the Tourist Centre but unfortunately it was a bust, given its uselessness and the listlessness of the staff.
No useful information is given and therefore it could be a library where you browse maps and brochures.

The excursions on are presented and also the eventual reservation must be made directly from this website, with payment in advance by credit or debit card.


400 million cubic meters of water flow in about 6 hours through a 3 kilometer long and 150 meter wide strait between the Salten Fjord and the Skjerstad Fjord, and the maelstrom can reach speeds uo 20 knots..
This phenomenon creates the worlds strongest tidal current and you see characteristic whirlpools up to 10 meters in diameter and 5 metres deep.

I booked the excursion on but the NOK 495 (just over € 50.00) seemed too expensive.
The bus takes the independent travellers in front of the library and then heads to the port to pick up the passengers of the Hurtigruten ship (who have chosen to participate in the excursion, paying about double).
It do a quick tour of Bodø and then goes to Saltstraumen where arrives in about 45 minutes.
You have about 15 minutes to go down to the shore, take photos and see the current and the whirlpools that form.
Or you could choose another type of tour, challenging the current on board a zodiac.
The time is enough but still shamefully little in relation to the price of the excursion.
Arrival at the port of Bodø is scheduled for around 14.50, in time for the departure of the Hurtigruten ship to the Lofoten Islands.


Norway - Bodo - Saltstraumen




Bodø Airport is located 1.5 kilometres south-west from the city centre.

SAS, Norwegian and Widerøe are the main airlines connecting the city to Oslo, Trondheim, Tromsø, Bergen, Narvik, Svolvær and others.


Bodø Station is the terminus of the Nordlandsbanen and was opened by King Olav V on 7 June 1962.
From Bodø, a day and night train goes to Trondheim.


Norway - Bodo - houses Saltstraumen



Hurtigruten docks here twice a day: at 01.30 when heading south and at 12.30 when heading north.
I chose to arrive here by plane from Trondheim and then continue the trip by ship to Honningsvag (the best port to reach Nordkapp – North Cape (and the real North Cape, Knivskjellodden) with stops at Lofoten Islands and Tromso.


Norway - Bodo - arrival Hurtigruten


Thon Hotel Nordlys

By booking well in advance, I found a great price for this hotel very closed to the port, 20 minutes from the Hurtigruten ship boarding and within walking distance from the airport.

The reception staff is kind and professional but I have to write a honorable comment deserves the extraordinary breakfast, wonderful and very rich thanks to the chefs who cook on sight and at least 4 waitresses always in the room to arrange everything and available to guests..

It was one of the best breakfasts ever, with a huge assortment of sweet, salty, salmon, drinks and fruit.
And a spectacular chocolate fountain that invites you to dive in.



Continue your trip to south (Trondheim or Oslo) or to north (Lofoten Islands, Tromso, Nordkapp – North Cape, Knivskjellodden or Svalbard Islands)




Although Trondheim does not have a troubled history like the Irish Derry/Londonderry, it has also changed its name several times.

The Viking King Olav I of Norway founded the city in 997, calling it Kaupangen (“market”).
In his conquest, he beheaded some of his rivals, including Count Håkon with his son Erlend and the servant Kark.
Olav I had their heads impaled at the entrance of the fjord, so that all who entered the city should, in honour of the king, stop to insult and curse his enemies.
The city of Kaupangen then changed its name to Nidaros (“mouth of enemies”).


Norway - Trondheim - Kaupangen


In 1030 King Olav Haraldsson was martyred and later named Saint.
The town became a place of pilgrimage from all over northern Europe.

At the end of 1800 Norway fell under the rule of Denmark, which called the city Trondhjem.
With independence in 1905, the central government decided to change the name back to Nidaros. And so it happened in January 1930, although the population declared its opposition in a referendum in 1928 (17,163 votes against the name change and 1,508 in favour).
The non-respect of that vote, led to great protests and riots in the streets, so after a few months the Norwegian parliament chose the name Trondheim.

For a short period during the Second World War, the Nazis gave it the “Germanized” name Drontheim.

In reference to the name, sports fans associate Trondheim to the Rosenborg, the most norwegian team titled and with numerous participations to the various European Cups, founded on May 19, 1917 just in the homonymous district of the city.
The blackwhite play their home games at the Lerkendal Stadion.


Norway - Trondheim - Rosenborg Stadium


Its relationship with fire has always been tragic: in 1219 it suffered the first fire and a few years later, in 1295, a large part of the city was reduced to ashes.


Norway - Trondheim - landscape from the fortress


At the end of the Middle Ages population growth slowed down and in 1531 there was another phase of decline.
Archbishop Olaf Engelbrektsson tried to stop the Danish influence in Norway and in response Danish troops set fire to the archbishop’s palace, the cathedral and much of the city.

The same happened in 1681, with the so-called Hornemans fire, which once again devastated the city almost completely.

King Christian V entrusted the Luxembourger Johan Caspar de Cicignon the task of rebuilding Trondheim with a new urban plan that would prevent such destruction in the event of future fires.
The city was then designed with large squares, wide and straight streets, but despite this, many serious fires occurred during the 18th and 19th centuries.


Norway - Trondheim - city rebuilt by Johan Caspar de Cicignon


Trondheim is still called the city of wooden houses, because of the large number of them.

Today Trondheim is Norway‘s third largest city, with about 205,000 inhabitants and over 30,000 students. Many of them attend the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, the largest in the kingdom and which contributes to making the old capital the undisputed technology centre of the country.


Norway - Trondheim - wooden houses


Nidarosdomen – Nidaros Cathedral

The tomb of St. Olav, the Viking king who brought Christianity to Norway, immediately became a pilgrimage destination for Christians from Scandinavia, Great Britain, Russia, Poland, Germany, Netherlands, Greenland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands.
The work to build the Cathedral above the tomb started in 1070 and was completed around 1300.
Still today the city is reached by thousands of pilgrims, so that Trondheim can be considered the Catholic landmark of northern Europe, as are Rome to the south, Jerusalem to the east and Santiago de Compostela to the west.



Norway - Trondheim - Nidaros Cathedral


After being damaged several times by fire and left without maintenance in the Middle Ages, the cathedral was in poor condition, largely in ruins.
Great restoration work started in 1869 and today the cathedral is practically in its original splendour.
A legend tell that when Nidaros Cathedral is completely finished, a landslide will devastate the city and the cathedral will sink into the fjord.
Restoring a cathedral of this size is a never-ending work, but the cathedral will probably never be completed in such a way as to avert any danger.

Nidarosdomen is a è un richly decorated Gothic masterpiece.


Norway - Trondheim - Nidaros Cathedral


I understand the importance of a guided tour to discover the history of the Cathedral and all its secrets but I refuse to pay to enter a church.
For me it is shameful to demand 80 NOK (about € 10,00) for the entrance, without possible to take photos.
Anyway, I entered two minutes before the beginning of a mass but I’m not allowed to take photos.
The darkness inside kept me from seeing much.


Norway - Trondheim - Nidaros Cathedral



Since 1988 the Science Centre encourages curiosity and creativity with exciting activities, experiments and interactive installations.
The Vitensenteret, open daily, is one of the 10 regional science centres in Norway and is located in the historic centre of Trondheim.

Children will have fun in what looks like games, but also adults could have the same fun, thinking that if this were present in every school, learning would be better and easier.


Norway - Trondheim - Vitensenteret - Science Centre - Café Wall Illusion


In fact, there are no results and theoretical explanations of scientific studies here, but you have to personally experiment and play with technology, physics, mechanics, anatomy, electricity, chemistry, geology, mathematics, meterology, informatic and much more.
If a child knows science by playing, it’s easier to continue his/her studies at the University of Science and Technology in Trondheim.


Norway - Trondheim - Vitensenteret - Science Centre - Vater Hevert


Also beautiful is the 3D planetarium where you see videos about the Northern Lights and an exciting travel through the universe, between galaxies and constellations.
Very interesting are also the videos about the underwater adventures in the coral reef and the stories made by the penguin James from the South Pole and the bear Vladimir from the North Pole.


Norway - Trondheim - Vitensenteret - Science Centre - Tornado button


Kristiansten Fortress

The fire of 1681 and the subsequent urban reorganization entrusted to Johan Caspar de Cicignon, led to the construction of the Kristiansten Fortress on the hill east of the city.
One of his tasks was also to protect Trondheim from foreign attacks, as happened when the Swedish army besieged the city in 1718.
The Kristiansten Fortress resisted thanks to the Norwegian army and the population, who also came from the surrounding countryside to defend Trondheim.


Norway - Trondheim - Fortress Kristiansten


During the German occupation of Norway in the Second World War, 1,500 German soldiers arrived in the city at dawn on April 9, 1940 and in 4 hours they occupied it without finding resistance.
The Nazis immediately understood the potential of the fortress and settled there, using it as a court and place where about 30 Norwegian patriots and an unknown number of people of other nationalities were executed.
At the end of the war, the fortress was always the official place of execution of traitors and war criminals.


Norway - Trondheim - Fortress Kristiansten


On the occasion of Trondheim’s 100th anniversary in 1997 Kristiansten was extensively renewed.
In 2001 the Norwegian Parliament decided to end its military use and use it for royal and civil purposes.
It’s considered a museum area and a popular destination for hikers and travellers.


Norway - Trondheim - Fortress Kristiansten


It takes about 15 minutes to go up from the Old Town Bridge, but the effort will be rewarded by the beautiful landascape.
It’s also very close to the Singsaker Sommerhotell, where I recommend sleeping if you visit the city in summer.


Norway - Trondheim - Old Town Bridge


Sea Tours

Of course you could see the city from another angle.
There are several agencies that organize daily boat tours in the fjord with multilingual guides.
For a truly unique tour, you can board a ship almost identical to the Viking drakkars of over 1,000 years ago, built using precisely those techniques, handed down through generations.

Or, if you like it, you could push your kayak along the calm waters of the Nidelva River.


Norway - Trondheim - Kayaking on the river Nidelva


Grakallbanen Tram

Gråkallbanen is the world’s northernmost tram line, running among the forest from the city centre to the recreation area of Bymarka. The route is scenic and very pleasant.
On special occasions, or often when there are cruise ships, the old historic tram is put into operation.


Norway - Trondheim - Grakallbanen Tramway


Norway - Trondheim - Grakallbanen tram stops


Trondheim Værnes Airport welcomes domestic and international flights.
SAS and Norwegian have direct flights to/from Oslo which take about one hour.

There are two possible connections between the city and the airport:
The Flybussen bus, which stops just outside the arrivals, makes several stops in the city (so ask which one is closest to your hostel/hotel/b&b)..
The train instead connects Trondheim Central Station to the station inside the airport.


Norway - Trondheim - Nidelva River



Trondheim is obviously one of the ports where the Hurtigruten stop daily, and then continues to south and north.
Traveling by boat is a good choice if you have time, otherwise you could take a flight to Oslo or Bodo.


Hurtigruten - Nordkapp ship



Trondheim is a city with great food experiencesin charming cafés, delicious restaurants and micro-breweries.
Small and large game, lamb, shellfish, salmon and other seafood and berries are all specialities of the Trondheim region.
Prices are obviously balanced with the very high standard of living and can be unapproachable for many foreigners.

Bondens Marked

Arriving here was almost a mirage. In a very expensive Norway, you could eat in peace and quiet by wandering around the various stalls. You find everything: meat, fish, vegetables, desserts, drink. The prices of possible purchases are still very good.
I have only to thank St. Olav because I don’t know how many times I have walked among the stalls eating everything and more.


Norvegia - Trondheim - Bondens Marked



At the lower end of Munkegata, there is the Fish Market.
Really it’s not a market but a large fish shop. In the various tables outside you could eat various traditional dishes, obviously made with the freshest fish and shellfish from the fjord.

Norway - Trondheim - Ravnkloa Fish Market



Singsaker Sommerhotell

One of the largest inhabited wooden buildings in Scandinavia, during the school season is the city’s university campus but in the summer becomes a hotel, since the 1950s.
The Singsaker Sommerhotell has 103 rooms with 1-4 beds and dorms for 10-12 people (only negative note, the 2 dorms are in the basement and being underground is not very pleasant). The reception is open 24h/24h, breakfast, wifi and parking are included in the price.


Norway - Trondheim - Singsaker Sommerhotell


Trondheim Værnes Airport

I never give up anything in my travels. But to do everything I want, I have found my compromise by spending as little as possible to sleep.
Besides preferring hostels in shared dormitories instead of hotels (unless absurd offers or special conveniences), I often choose to travel at night to save time and spend the night on the bus (or train, or boat) or to take the last or first flight of the day.
And this is to sleep at the airport. Mine is really a choice: I like sleeping in airport.

I couldn’t believe my eyes at Trondheim Værnes Airport.
Not so much because of the comfortable sofas with electric sockets nearby, not so much because the luggage was delivered in an area open to everyone… but because the shops inside the airport were “open/closed” all night long.
No cameras and no security.
And the thing that amazed me even more is that, at the morning opening, I asked why they left everything so “closed/open” but they didn’t understand what I meant.
“There’s no one there, it means the store is closed. Who comes in if the store’s closed?”


Norway - Trondheim - Airport



Trondheim was a beautiful discovery, a largely pedestrian city where you can walk quietly through cobbled streets and historic bridges, with many wooden houses and no skyscrapers, a culinary tradition influenced by both the land and the waters of the fjord, a lively and attractive atmosphere thanks to the largest university in Norway.

But of course with prices aligned to Norwegian living standards (and therefore salaries).
Here in fact I had the first hard contact with this reality and the costs can be really prohibitive.

Luckily, St. Olav helped me…


Norway - Trondheim - fjord


Norvegia - Trondheim - Munkholmen



Continue the trip to Oslo or to north with the Hurtigruten.






On my last trips I chose physically hard ones, thinking that afterwards it will be more difficult to do similar experiences.
That’s why I had imagined going to Scandinavia in the future..
Instead some coincidence changed my plans and I decided to go to Norway before.
I never visit a country without going through its capital. And Oslo was the first destination of my long trip.

I had always associated Norway with snow, cold and northern lights. But of course there’s much more.
Norwegians have great maritime traditions, from Vikings toArcticexplorations. And not only that…

Is it possible a low cost trip to Norway? Maybe… but it’s very difficult..
Obviously the personal standards are different but you could take some precautions.
In Oslo for example Oslo Passis essential.
The cost is high (about € 40.00 for 24 hours, € 60.00 for 48 hours, € 75.00 for 72 hours) but it includes access to all museums, attractions and public transport, as well as discounts in some restaurants.
Admission tickets to the various museums are expensive and if you visit the major attractions, you would spend more than the cost of the Oslo Pass.


Norway - Oslo - City Hall


Oslo Visitor Centre

Seldom has an Information Centre really helped me, but that doesn’t apply in Oslo.
As soon as you arrive, you should just start at the Oslo Visitor Centre, inside the train station.
Someyoung people welcome you with the utmost kindness and answer every quick question.
For more detailed information or to buy tickets and subscriptions you have to take the number and wait in line. Sometimes you have to wait a long time so you could read the various tourist brochures, rich in details and available in many languages.

Nobels Fredssenter – Nobel Peace Prize Palace

Alfred Nobel became rich thanks to the 355 patents filed following his experiments about explosives (he invented also dynamite).
When his older brother died in an explosion during an experiment, some French newspapers believed that Alfred, “the merchant of death who made his fortune by finding a way to kill as many people as possible”, had died.
Shocked by these words, he decided to devote his immense fortune and the interests subsequently accrued by his investment funds to create a series of Nobel Prizes for those who, during the previous year, contributed the most to serve humanity.

The award money, currently close to 9 million NOK (about € 870,000.00), is divided into five equal parts: to the person who made the most important discovery or invention in the field of physics, chemical, physiology/medicine, who produced the literary work most idealistic and to the person who has done the most for the fraternity among nations, for theabolition or reduction of armies and for the training and increase of peace congresses.

Of course, the nationality of the candidates should not be taken into account in the awarding of prizes.
Nobel Prizes in physics, chemistry, medicine and literature are commonly considered to be the most prestigious in these fields.
The Nobel Peace Prize, especially lately, is often accompanied by controversy over the political evaluations that motivate it.


Norway - Oslo - Nobel Peace Center


The Oslo Card convinced me to go in but unfortunately the initial scepticism was reinforced minute after minute.
There are temporary exhibitions on the ground floor. There are temporary exhibitions on the ground floor. I found a photographic exhibition about changes in generational values but I don’t understand what consumerism, sex and cosmetic surgery have to do with the Nobel Peace Prize.

Upstairs, on the other hand, it is one-way politics that is the master, a clear demonstration of how unfortunately the Nobel Peace Prize has become almost the nobel for exporters of peace and democracy.

This disappointment does not make me buy souvenir in the large shop or in the bar inside.

Kon-Tiki Museum

My high school math and physics teacher used to tell us that “we are all ignorant“. There are those who take offence and those who understand that this is only the truth because we can’t know everything.
Ignorance, i.e. ignoring something, must in fact push our curiosity towards knowledge.
I had never heard of the Kon-Tiki and when I entered the museum that hosts it I was speechless.


Norway - Oslo - Kon Tiki - museum


Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard the name of Norwegian Thor Heyerdahl. And yet we should all know him.

Certain of his studies, he wanted to show that some ancient populations were capable of transoceanic travels.
He was sure that the Polynesian islands had been colonized in pre-Columbian era by the peoples of South America and not by the West.
This is because winds and currents in the Pacific generally run from east to west and also because in Polynesia there are animals and plants common in South America.

How could he prove this? In the only possible way: doing it!


Norway - Oslo - Kon Tiki - museum


Thor Heyerdahl, hydrophobic with minimal swimming ability and no experience as a sailor, built the Kon-Tiki with prehistoric materials, methods and technologies.
The balsa wood raft sailed from the port of Callao, Peru,on April 28, 1947 and reached the atoll of Raroia, now French Polynesia, on August 7.
Thor Heyerdahl, Erik Hesselberg, Bengt Danielsson, Knut Haugland, Torstein Raaby and Herman Watzinger succeeded in the incredible feat of covering about 4,500 nautical miles (about 8,000 km) in 101 days on this raft, the legendary Kon-Tiki.


Norway - Oslo - Kon Tiki - museum photo


In 1955 Heyerdahl organized a scientific expedition to Easter Island.
When he arrived on the island only the heads of the famous moai were visible, but thanks to his excavations it was possible to unearth the statues in their entirety.


Norway - Oslo - Thor Heyerdahl and the buried moai of Easter Island


Norway - Oslo - Thor Heyerdahl digs the Easter Island moai

Various experiments were also carried out on carving, transporting and positioning the moai.
With the help of only 5 people, with rudimentary techniques and tools, he managed in three days to carve an entire twelve-ton statue in volcanic tuff.
Only 18 men with ropes, a wooden sledge and a special stone base hoisted and “walked” a moai demonstrating that it was possible and also easy.


Norway - Oslo - Thor Heyerdahl and the Moai of Easter Island


On the island he also discovered representations of reed boats with master mast and sail and was convinced that the ancient Mediterranean civilizations sailed in the Atlantic Ocean and reached Central and South America.
Again, he could only prove it by doing the same kind of trip.

In 1969, in front of the Pyramid of Cheops in Egypt, Heyerdahl built thepapyrus boat,inspired by ancient Egyptian ships, and named it Ra in honor of the Sun God.


Norway - Oslo - Ra construction in front of the Pyramid of Cheops

He sailed from Safi, Morocco, but after almost 5,000 km travelled in 8 weeks, and only 160 km from the arrival, he was forced to ask for help and finish the expedition.
Due to some design errors and a broken rudder, the reeds let in a lot of water and Heyerdahl feared that the Ra would sink with all the crew on board.

Ten months later the Norwegian adventurer launched the smaller but stronger Ra II with the help of four Aymaras natives from the Bolivian area of Lake Titicaca who are used to sail with similar boats (you can still visit the floating islands on Lake Titicaca in Bolivia and Peru).


Norway - Oslo - Kon Tiki - museum


On May 17, 1970, he sailed from Morocco, traveled about 4,000 miles of ocean in 57 days, and finally reached Barbados.

The crew was composed by Thor Heyerdahl, Carlo Mauri (italy), Jurij A. Senkevich (Russia), Santiago Genoves (Mexico), Norman Baker (Usa), Kei Ohara (Japan) and Madani Ait Ouhanni (Morocco).

Vikingskipshuset – Viking Ship Museum

The Viking Ship Museum houses four Viking ship buried in the Oslo Fjord area: found between 1852 and 1904 in Oseberg, Gokstad, Tune and Borre.
Three of the ships contained graves that have survived to this day: the ship Oseberg should date back to the year 820 AD, the ship Gokstad just before before 900 AD and the ship Tune about 910 AD.
From the ship in Borre’s tomb (900 AD) today only iron nails remain.

The three ships had been at sea for several years before being pulled ashore and used as funeral ships. The dead were placed in special chambers on board.
They were buried with generous supplies of food and drink, various animals, and a large number of objects.

The Oseberg was used as a women’s funeral ship, while Gokstad and Tune were reserved for men.


Norway - Oslo - Viking Ship


The Gokstad ship had been in use for some years before a local commander was buried there with his many gifts: beds, boats, a tent, a sledge, dogs, horses and peacocks.
This ship is built of oak and measures 24 meters long and 5 metres wide. It’s the largest of the three, with space for 32 rowers.
The oar-holes could be closed with wooden covers when the ship was sailing.
The Gokstad reached a speed of more than twelve knots and could sail to Iceland.

Most of the items were well preserved because the ships had been buried in damp soil and covered with clay and grass, but since no jewels and weapons were found, they were supposedly looted.

Seeing Viking ships is exciting and unmissable during a trip to Oslo.


Fram Museum

This museum too, close to the one described above, is definitely worth an accurate visit.

The ship Fram was the first ship built in Norway specifically for polar research. It was used in three important expeditions: from Fridtjof Nansen drifting on theArctic Ocean from 1893 to 1896, from Otto Sverdrup in the Arctic archipelago west of Greenland (1898-1902) and from Roald Amundsen in Antarctica for his expedition to the South Pole (1910-1912).
This means that the ship occupies a unique position in the history of exploration, having been able to reach both the North Pole and South Pole.


The Fram is really impressive and it’s easy to imagine yourself inside it when virtual images of big sea and glaciers navigation are projected on the sides.

Here you have a first approach about studies on the conquest of the North Pole. For many years the Arctic currents and winds between Greenland and Siberia have been analyzed, but all attempts to reach the North Pole through the Arctic ice failed.
That’s why it was necessary to design what would become thestrongest wooden ship ever built.


Norway - Oslo - Fram Museum


Its structure, 40 meters long and 11 meters wide, was designed so that it would not directly face the pressure of the Arctic pack, but to take advantage of the movement of the ice, climb above the pack and thus be transported adrift to the North Pole (or at least very close).
It also needed to be comfortable for the crew, who would have to spend several years on board.

The ship was built thanks to the economic support of Norway and many private citizens who were proud to contribute to its success.




Oslo amazed me and taught me many things I’d never heard of.
Because traveling for me is also discovering, learning, coming home better than when I left.
The first approach with Norway was definitely positive. Its capital city given me the adventure of his ancestors and a great sense of peace.
Not so much, as said, about the current value of the Nobel Prize, but for a general respect for nature (the cleanliness of the city is total and I had never seen so many electric and hybrid vehicles) and for people (sometimes bikes and cars stop so far from the pedestrian crossings that you don’t even realize they’re thinking about you).
I know that these topics may seem trivial for people who live in Norway or in other similar countries, but I think it’s incredible and unexpected for most of the tourists and travelers who come here.

Oslo was only the first stop of my trip to Norway, click here to discover the continuous…


Norway - Oslo - Opera House - Operahuset




Before start this travel, crossing the geographical limit of the 80th parallel North was one of the objective of my trip.
At Magdalenfjorden you can swim in the icy waters of the Arctic Ocean. That’s why I was looking forward to this day of expedition on the Hurtigruten. Read more


About 30 people live in Ny-Ålesund in winter and 130 in summer.
This settlement on Svalbard seems an international territory, a world fundamental scientific base especially for geologists and meteorologists.

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Barentsburg (in Russian language Баренцбург) in winter is reachable by snowmobile, in summer is the first stop of the Hurtigruten expeditions but you could visit it also with a daily tour from Longyearbyen.
This is the only mining settlement dating back to the Soviet period still operating on the Svalbard Islands and has an important geopolitical value.

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After the polar expedition with Hurtigruten to overcome the 80th parallel north, I chose a full day tour from Longyearbyen to Pyramiden and the Nordenskiöldbree Glacier, the last chance to see animals, absent in the previous days.
And incredibly it was the perfect choice.

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Gate 20 is on the lower level of Tromso airport and walking in the grey corridors seems to have already left Norway.
The passage to customs for passport control marks the exit from the Schengen areaand leads to the waiting room.

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I have always liked geography and I often find myself digging into memories looking for unusual and unknown destinations for future trips.
It is in one of these researches that the Svalbard Islands have become the enlightening destination.

The islands under the Norwegian flag, often even hidden by the arm of the earth’s axis in the globe, are the northernmost inhabited lands on our planet..

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We think that North Cape (or Nordkapp) is the northernmost place in Europe, beyond which we cannot go.
This could be true if we did not consider some islands and lands covered mainly by glaciers.
But even in this case the name pushes us to error.

If you are in the balustrade near the famous globe’s sculpture and look the sea thinking to find only the infinite sea in front of you, you will be very surprised.

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The name North Cape immediately suggests that reaching it represents a fundamental stop in our life, or at least in the experience of travelers.

Imagining yourself here at the end of the world can be true, even if only in part.

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