Travel Till You Drop Logo

Running of the Bulls in Spain: The Ultimate Tourist Guide

Running of the Bulls in Spain


Looking for a very cultural and historical experience?  Well then, look no further.  Running of the Bulls in Spain is one of the treasured past times in the month of July ever year.  It’s the heart-pounding attempt not to get gored while running in front of a ticked-off, freaked-out herd of bulls.  

I can tell you as I write this, I’m still getting the chills from the energy that this event creates.  The bulls weigh in, in upwards of 2,000 pounds and are released into a set route in the Pamplona, Spain streets where people gather by the masses. 

The official schedule of events/information:       


If you choose to run, you can do so for free.  Take your chances and pray to San Fermin before you do. 

What to wear:

White pants and shirt and a red scarf that you can purchase in any of the local shops and your fastest running shoes.  The traditional colors of this event stand out everywhere, and it adds to the flair of the event and is all but expected if you participate. 

Check Out: Cheap Places to Travel in Mexico on a Budget of Just $30 per Day


From July 6th to July 14th, this nine-day celebration turns Pamplona into a wild, exhilarating playground. But let’s be real here, the highlight of the whole shebang is the Encierro. Picture this: it’s 8:00 am, and you’re standing at the starting line with a crowd of adrenaline junkies. The air is thick with nervous excitement as everyone waits for the bulls to come charging through the narrow streets.

The Running of the Bulls in Spain happens each day around 8 in the morning as well as a traditional bullfight each evening at 6:30pm. 

The Route

The running route spans approximately 875 meters, equivalent to 0.54 miles. This course guides both the bulls and the daring runners through the historic and narrow streets of the city center in Pamplona, Spain. The streets wind their way through the heart of the city, creating a challenging and exhilarating environment for participants.

As the runners navigate the course, they encounter tight corners and narrow passages, adding an extra layer of complexity and excitement to the event. The uneven cobblestone streets further contribute to the challenge, requiring participants to stay agile and alert.

Getting Prepared for the Run

When it comes to the running of the bulls at the San Fermín Festival, you better be in good physical shape. We’re talking stamina, agility, and the ability to navigate through a stampede of chaos. Regular exercise and some cardiovascular fitness won’t hurt, either.

But hey, let’s not forget about the mental game. Running alongside a bunch of raging bulls in a crowded, intense environment? Yeah, it’s a mental challenge, my friend. You need to be aware of the risks, stay focused, and stay calm under pressure. Swallow that fear and channel your inner badass.

Next up, familiarize yourself with the route. Twisty, narrow streets in the city center of Pamplona are your playground. Knowing the layout of the course will help you anticipate challenges and make smart decisions during the run. Because nothing says “I’ve got my sh*t together” like navigating through a maze of chaos.

Oh, and please, please, please – understand the rules. They’re there for a reason, to keep you and those bulls safe. You don’t want to be the hot mess breaking all the rules, do you? I thought not. Be a responsible and savvy runner, my fearless ladies.

July in Spain can be warm, so it’s essential to stay hydrated. Carry water with you and be mindful of your body’s needs, especially if you’re participating in physical activities in the heat.

Making the Most of the Festival With Other Activities

First up, we’ve got a smorgasbord of events to choose from. Yeah, the running of the bulls gets all the hype, but there’s so much more to enjoy. Traditional bullfights, concerts with local and international artists, vibrant parades showcasing the rich heritage of the region… it’s like a buffet of cultural experiences. And hey, don’t forget to end your nights with a bang by watching those spectacular fireworks displays. Talk about a grand finale!

Now, my fearless ladies, it’s time to connect with the locals. These folks are bursting with pride when it comes to sharing their traditions with visitors like you. So go ahead, engage with the community and learn about their customs and way of life. Think of it as forging connections and gaining a deeper understanding of the cultural significance of the festival. Plus, making friends along the way never hurts, right?

Now, ladies, as you party it up, let’s not forget about cultural sensitivities. Show some respect for the local customs and be mindful of the historical and cultural context of the events you attend. We’re all about empowering and embracing different cultures here, so let’s do it with grace and an open mind. Remember, we’re guests in their fiesta, so let’s celebrate responsibly!

Last, but certainly not least, let’s talk about food, glorious food. Pamplona is a treasure trove of deliciousness. Indulge in the local cuisine and let your taste buds do a happy dance. Tapas, paella, and all those mouthwatering regional specialties are just waiting for you to savor them. So go ahead, eat your heart out and fully appreciate the flavors of the region.


July in Spain is exceptionally hot, and the Running of the Bulls in Spain is smack dab in the middle of all that hottness.  Make sure to bring a lot of shorts, light shirts, and plenty of undergarments.  The climate is dry, but you will sweat (a lot).

If you choose not to do the running yourself, fear not, you will not miss out on the fun!  You may miss out on the hospital bills, but there’s not a thing wrong with watching the crazy people ;-).  You can purchase a seat along the route or even a balcony at someone’s home.  There are a number of choice locations where you can see and feel the heart-pounding action.  

Running of the Bulls in Spain: I highly recommend Monica G de Canal to help you locate the best place for you. Whether you’re looking for a place that is located on the straightaway where the bulls get to their full speeds or around Dead Man’s Corner, where they can’t slow down quick enough and slide and trample into the runners. Yes, it’s a bit twisted, but if they are willing to do it, we may as well watch.  

Running of the Bulls in Spain: This company specializes in events to be seen from a balcony around Spain. Monica G de Canal is amazing and can help guide you through whatever you may need. You will end up paying half upfront via credit card and the 2nd half in person when you arrive the day before to pick up your tickets. Arrive early as you won’t want to have to fight the crowds to try to find the location.

She speaks excellent English, and you can contact her either via the webpage or directly.

A Brief History of the Running of the Bulls

The Running of the Bulls, known as “El Encierro” in Spanish, is a centuries-old tradition that originated in the city of Pamplona, Spain. Dating back to the 14th century, this event has evolved into a captivating international spectacle that draws thousands of participants and spectators each year.
Origins and Historical Significance
The origins of the Running of the Bulls can be traced back to the practice of transporting bulls from the countryside to the bullring for bullfighting events. During these transfers, locals would run alongside the bulls to guide them to their destination. Over time, this practical task evolved into a thrilling display of bravery and athletic prowess.
The Running of the Bulls gained popularity as part of the annual festival of San Fermín, honoring Pamplona’s patron saint. San Fermín, a Christian martyr, was beheaded in the third century for refusing to renounce his faith. The festival, held from July 6th to 14th, includes religious processions, cultural events, and, of course, the iconic Running of the Bulls.

Safety Precautions and Preparation

The Running of the Bulls is an exhilarating experience that demands physical and mental preparedness. It’s crucial to prioritize safety before, during, and after the event. Here are some recommendations and safety precautions that participants should take into consideration.
Physical Fitness Requirements:
Running with the bulls requires a high level of physical fitness. Participants must be in good health and capable of running at a sprint for an extended period. In preparation, it is recommended to train with running and interval training exercises, leg-building exercises, and endurance training.
Proper Attire and Equipment:
Choosing the right clothing can make a significant difference in running with the bulls. The recommended dress is white pants and a shirt, a red neckerchief, and a faja (a red waistband). Wearing proper footwear is also essential; shoes with a good grip and cushioning are the best option for running on the cobblestone streets of Pamplona.
Safety Concerns:
While running with bulls is an exciting adventure, it is essential to be aware of potential safety risks. Bulls can weigh more than 500 kg and run at speeds of up to 24 km/h, and can cause serious injuries to participants. Common injuries include cuts, bruises, goring, trampling, and even death. Other risks include overcrowding, falls, and exhaustion.
Staying Vigilant:
Participants should stay alert and focus on their surroundings to safely run with the bulls. Keeping a keen eye on the bulls and being aware of their body language can help ensure safety. Running along the left side of the street and staying away from barriers or obstacles along the route can also mitigate risks.
It’s important to be familiar with instructions from authorities and take them seriously for a safe and enjoyable experience. Participants should also respect the tradition, the organizers, and the bulls.

But no matter where you go, make sure you Travel Till You Drop!

About Jill

Hi, Jill Here

Hi! I’m Jill, a Dallas, Texas girl traveling the world. After a career in the Air Force and touring over 50 countries later, my need to explore keeps going! It’s time to rock & roll and find all those places I never knew I was missing.

Join me to get exclusive travel tips, giveaways and more!

I only recommend products I would use myself, and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission.