San Fermin Festival & Running of the Bulls

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San Fermin Festival

The city of Pamplona (map) is world-famous for its fiestas of San Fermin Festival. Thousands of people go there every year to experience the risk and the thrill of the running of the bulls.

The festival of San Fermín, or the Running of the Bulls as it’s more commonly known outside Spain, officially begins at midday on 6th July every year with the ‘Chupinazo’ which takes place on the balcony of the Casa Consistorial.

Over nine days, dressed in traditional red and white costumes, locals and visitors give themselves over to the festive spirit. (VIDEO > Definitive Guide to Running with Bulls | ChasingRedMovie)

+ More information > WikipediaWikivoyage
Official website
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The worldwide fame of the modern festival, and the great number of foreign visitors it receives every year, are closely related to the description in Ernest Hemingway’s book *The Sun Also Rises and the reports he made as a journalist.

The Pamplona bull run takes place at 8am every morning from 7th to 14th July (eight runs in total). Runners must be in the running area by 7.30am. The actual run stretches from the corral at Santo Domingo where the bulls are kept to the bullring where they will fight that same afternoon. The length of the run is 825 metres and the average time of the run from start to finish is about three minutes.

Whilst this does come as a surprise to many people who ask this question, there is no need to pay to run the bulls or even register for that matter. All you have to do is head for Plaza Consistorial (map) near the start of the route preferably before 7am.

You can stand behind the fences that mark the route of the bullrun but you need to arrive by around 6.30am to get the best spots on the top of the fence directly overlooking the run. Another good spot is in front of the museum on c/ Santo Domingo where there isn’t a fence but the best spots here are usually taken before 6am leaving you with a cold two hour wait before the run starts.

A great alternative is to get yourself onto a balcony overlooking the bullrun > Balconies and Bullfight tickets.

Giants and big-heads parade. Every day, during the morning, there is a parade of gigantes y cabezudos, with the giant figures being more than 150 years old. The eight giant figures were built by Tadeo Amorena, a painter from Pamplona, in 1860, and represent four pairs of kings and queens of four different races and places (Europe, Asia, America and Africa). Their height is around 4 meters (13 ft) each, and they are carried by a dancer inside a wooden structure.

San Fermin has a nightly fireworks show. Each night a different company (many international) competes for a prize. This happens nightly near the ciudadela or fortress, former citadel to defend the city and nowadays the biggest park of all.

At San Fermines do not wear flip-flops or sandals, as streets are quite filthy and there can be broken glass pieces on the ground. Traditionally locals wear white t’s and pants, a red neckerchief and some kind of red scarf round their waist. You can buy this outfit at street shops and mingle with the crowd.

Public transport

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Pamplona City Transport

+ Let´s go to Pamplona (sanfermin.com) • Getting around Spain (spain.info)

Always check whether the bus or the train is more convenient. The least expensive way to get around most parts of Spain is by bus.

 BUS >   Virtually all companies operating Intercity buses in France including Ouibus and even German players Flixbus offer buses to/from Spanish destinations. ALSAGrupo AvanzaSocibus and Secorbus. You can also see what is all available on Movelia.es.

 RAIL >   The main train operator is RENFE, including AVE (Spanish high speed train) or Talgo intercity services. (*Rail travel in Europe)

 AIRPORTS >   Information about Spanish airports > aena.es.

 WATERWAYS >   Baleària • Grimaldi LinesTrasmediterranea. Spain’s main sea connections (spain.info)

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