Running with the bulls in Pamplona

San Fermin Festival


The celebration of the San Fermines better known as the running with the bulls was made famous by Ernest Hemingway in his novel The Sun Also Rises. 

The celebration starts midday on July 6th as thousands gather in front of the Town Hall in the Plaza Consistorial to watch as the Txupinazo, a firework, is set off marking the beginning of the festival.  The streets of Pamplona fill with people singing, drinking and cheering in preparation for what is to come one of the most thrilling and unusual celebrations in the world. Participants tie around their necks the distinctive red scarf and commence partying continuing this high nonstop till July 14th.

On July 7th at 8:00 am for seven days hundreds of locals and visitors take to the streets to risk their lives trying to stay ahead of the galloping bulls as they run through the streets of Pamplona making their way to the bullring.  The run from start to finish takes about four minutes beginning with the climb of Santo Domingo across the Town Hall and down to Mercaderes the most dangerous part of the Bull Run is at the close curve leading into Estafeta continuing onto the last stretch through an area known as Telefónica and into the bull ring.   A shorter run better known as el encierillo happens at 11:00pm this run is by invitation only from the town hall.

Now if you are not daring enough to run but still want to get the best of the event you can stand behind the fences that mark the route and cheer the runners as they come by, keep in mind that to get the best spot you will probably have to get there no later than 6:30am as those spots fill up quickly.  A couple of other alternatives are either to be invited by a local to see the run from their balcony or watching the run from in front of the museum in calle Santo Domingo,  again this is a great spot that fills up quickly so getting there early makes a huge difference.

Now if running with the bulls in Pamplona is on your bucket list remember this is a dangerous sport so make sure you are in good shape, do not run after a night of drinking but most of all enjoy this once in a lifetime adventure.  Suerte…



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