Did someone say Bull Run?
Where is the Running of the Bulls?
The Running of the Bulls is held in Pamplona, Spain, as part of the Festival of San Fermin.
When is the Running of the Bulls?
The San Fermin Festival is held annually from noon on 6 July until midnight on 14 July. The Bull Run, or encierro, is held every morning at 8am between 7 and 14 July.
What is the Running of the Bulls?
The actual Bull Run involves hundreds of people running in front of six bulls and another six steers down an 825-metre (0.51 mile) stretch of narrow streets of a section of the old town of Pamplona.
What to do in Pamplona?
Pamplona is a great Basque town in Northern Spain and there is plenty to see and do during San Fermin. We have provided below a number of the activities involved in the annual festival.
Running of the Bulls Tours
One of the easiest ways to enjoy the Running of the Bulls is to join one of the many tours on offer. We have some information on a few of the great tour operators for the Pamplona Running of the Bulls. The following tour operators are some of the biggest and best in the business and they will be sure to provide you with an amazing experience that is sure to cure your travel FOMO.
BOOK WITH "FOMO19" FOR FREE UNLIMITED DRINKS WITH STOKE TRAVEL
There are various Stoke Travel packages for the Pamplona Running of the Bulls. You can make your own way to their campsite where they will provide camping accommodation, breakfast every morning, dinner every night and shuttles to the main town centre. The best thing about the Stoke Travel campsite is that it is just 10 minute by shuttle bus to the main town centre area of Pamplona! You can even upgrade to an all-you-can drink beer and sangria package at a bar in the centre of town for just 10 Euro's! You cannot beat that for value. You can also link a Stoke Pamplona Running of the Bulls trip in with one of their surf camps in San Sebastian.
Stoke Passport Holders can get a 3 night all-inclusive Running of the Bulls in Pamplona package including accommodation at the Stoke campsite and unlimited beer and sangria.
Want to know ABOUT STOKE PASSPORT?
Pamplona Region Sightseeing Tours
Running of the Bulls Travel Information
To be in Pamplona for San Fermin is one of the must-do travel experiences. We have extensive information on all San Fermin travel and tour options available. With around a million people attending the San Fermin festival each year, Pamplona becomes a very busy place and available accommodation and flights become hard to come by. We advise you to book as early as you possibly can.
If you are an independent traveller and you like to book it all yourself, then we have all the tools required for you to get the best out of the Running of the Bulls. Check out our Accommodation booking page, where you will find both our Hotel and Hostel Search Engines. If you need to book flights, we have a great Flight Search Engine that searces hundreds of online travel and airline websites to find you the best deal. With all our search engines all deals are located on one easy page for you to click, compare and book.
If you're already in Spain, or even anywhere in Europe for that matter, before going to the Running of the Bulls, or if you are planning on travelling around Spain or Europe afterwards then it might be easier to look at train travel in and out of Pamplona. Check out our Rail Europe page, where you can purchase tickets and passes, as well as check train schedules.
The festival of San Fermín in the city of Pamplona, Spain, is a celebration held every year from 6 to 14 July. While its most famous event is the ‘encierro’, or the running of the bulls, the weeklong celebration involves many other traditional events. Although most people around the world refer to the event as the Pamplona Bull Run, or just simply Pamps, it is known by the locals as Sanfermines and is held in honor of Saint Fermin, one of the patron saints of the area. Over 1 million people come to event each year and it has become the most internationally renowned festival in Spain. Think must do…Think FOMO!
The festival first came about because of two different medieval events. The first one was a local area fair that was held in the area right at the start of summer. As cattle merchants came into town with their animals, someone one day thought it would be a good idea to have a bullfight and this came part of the early summer traditions. The first documented bullfight during San Fermin dates back to the 14th century.
The second event was a religious ceremony honoring Saint Fermin. This use to be held on October 10 each yeah, but in 1591 it was transferred to 7 July so that it could be on at the same time as the fair. Plus Pamplona’s weather is far better in July than October.
1591 is considered the beginning of the San Fermin festival. The first Bull Run at the festival occurred in the 17th century. The Giant's Parade was created by the middle of the 19th century. The first official bullring was constructed in 1844.
The Bull Run
The running of the bulls (or encierro in Spanish) involves hundreds of people running in front of six bulls and another six steers down an 825-metre (0.51 mile) stretch of narrow streets of a section of the old town of Pamplona. Yes, you know the scene, you have seen it on the news every July with mad Spaniards and tourists running through the streets trying to get out of the way of these rampant bulls.
The encierro is run each morning from 7 to 14 July. The event begins at 8 am, but seasoned runners gather earlier at the beginning of the track and ask for the protection of the Saint. This is done by singing a chant three times before a small statue of San Fermin. To commence the run, a firecracker is lit to announce the release of the bulls from their corral. Then a second firecracker is lit to let everyone know that the last bull has left the corral. The run ends about 3 minutes and 825 metres away in the towns bullring. Once all of the bulls have made their way into the bullring, a third firecracker is set off and then finally a fourth firecracker goes off to indicate that all of the bulls are now in the bullpen and the run is over. These bulls are then held at the bullpen in the bullring until later that afternoon when they get to compete against Spain’s finest Matador’s in a bullfight to the death.
Runners start somewhere between the Plaza del Ayuntamiento (City Hall Square) and the pink-slab Education building in the Cuesta of Santo Domingo. Runners generally start arriving just after dawn to get a good spot, but they must be there before 7:30am because entry to the run is closed from that time on. The rest of the run, except for the stretch mentioned above, must be completely clear of runners until a few minutes before 8am.
FOMO Travel is here to tell you that the Bull Run is dangerous and would never encourage anyway to actually do it. But its you’re life, not ours. Since 1925, 15 people have been killed during the bull runs. The most recent death was in 2009. Every year between 200 and 300 people are injured during the runs. Most of the injuries are generally pretty minor though.
The encierro is an experience even just for spectators. It is a spectacle that is defined by the level of risk and the physical ability of the runners.
Anyone actually considering participating in the bull run should learn about the dangerous event and also about the protective measures to be taken for his/her own safety and that of the people running alongside before taking part.
But hey, there is much much more to the festival of San Fermin in Pamplona than a crazy bull run. Some of the other major events during the festival are listed below.
The actual festival starts at 12 noon on 6 July with the setting off a fire cracker (chupinazo in Spanish or txupinazo in Basque language) from a city hall balcony. There are literally tens-of-thousands of people celebrating the start around the city hall square and in other locations in Pamplona. The chupinazo has officially commenced the San Fermin festival since 1941.
Saint Fermin procession
On 7 July once again thousands of people accompany the 15th-century statue of Saint Fermin through the old part of Pamplona. The statue is accompanied by dancers and street entertainers, and different political and religious authorities including the city mayor.
Giants and big heads parade
Every day, during the morning, there is the parade of giants and big heads. These giants figures are amazingly more than 150 years old. The eight giants figures were built by a painter from Pamplona, Tadeo Amorena, in 1860 and represent four pairs of kings and queens of four different races and places (Europe, Asia, America and Africa). Their size is around 4 metres each. They are unbelievably huge.
Between 7 and 14 July at 6:30pm there is a bullfight involving the 6 bulls that were driven to the bullring during the morning’s Bull Run. While the bullring of the city is the fourth largest in the world, it is full every afternoon and tickets are hard to obtain. This is a must see FOMO event. Be sure to get tickets and don’t miss out
Every night a firework spectacle is held at the citadel park. Firework spectacles have been known to occur during the festival as long ago as 1595. Since 2000 an international fireworks contest is held each year. Thousands of people watch the fireworks each night. It is best to get to the area early to get a good seat somewhere on the grass around the citadel.
Pobre de mí (Poor me)
After nine days of partying, the people of Pamplona meet in the Townhall Plaza at midnight on 14 July, singing the traditional mournful notes of the Pobre de Mí (“Poor Me”), in a candlelit ending to the festival. The city mayor closes the festival with participants lighting a candle and removing their red handkerchief.