San Sebastian—Basque Country’s scenic coastal city—is just 51 miles (82 km) from Pamplona, one of Northern Spain’s most picturesque cities. The fastest and most convenient way to travel between the two is by car, either rental or private transfer. The drive takes just one hour and passes near the very scenic Aralar mountain range.
You can also make the trip by public transportation, as both buses and trains run regularly between San Sebastian and Pamplona. The bus is slightly faster, following the same route as driving and arriving in Pamplona in about 1-2 hours. The train is a bit more restrictive with just a few departures each day. You’ll reach Pamplona in just two hours.
By Rental Car or Private Transfer
Duration: 1 hour
The fastest and most convenient way to travel between San Sebastian and Pamplona is by car, either rental or private transfer. The two cities are separated by the mountains of the Aralar Range. You’ll leave San Sebastian from its south side, following highway AP-1 and the Oria River. Eventually, you’ll exit to the left and join highway A-15 all the way to Pamplona.
Although it’s a large, four-lane highway, you’ll still catch some scenery with glimpses of the valley and peaks of the Aralar Range. You’ll pass by a few rural, hilly towns worth a stop, including Leitza and Berastegi. There’s not a lot to do here, but you can grab a coffee and enjoy the scenery.
The small towns of Estella and Puente la Reina aren’t along the drive, but just past Pamplona. If you have the time, they’re both worth the detour (about 30 minutes).
Duration: 1 - 2 hours
The bus takes a similar route as driving, following the same highways through the scenic, mountainous region. Depending on your departure time, you’ll arrive in Pamplona in 1-2 hours, although most routes take no more than 1.5 hours.
Duration: 2 hours
Trains are also an option, although it is the slowest and most restrictive way to get from San Sebastian to Pamplona. You usually have just two options: one departure early in the morning and one later in the afternoon. The route takes a slightly different way than driving or the bus. It passes through the town of Alsasua, so although the ride is quite scenic, a seat on the left will give you the most mountain views.