Travel Till You Drop Logo

San Fermin Festival | Running of The Bulls, Bullfighting


The San Fermin Festival in Pamplona, Spain, is an exhilarating extravaganza that calls upon travelers to immerse themselves in a whirlwind of excitement. The festival spans several days and combines two globally renowned events that have captured the imaginations of people worldwide – the Running of the Bulls and Bullfighting. These events serve as the core attraction, but the San Fermin festival is a multi-faceted celebration that boasts a wide array of activities, including live music, street performances, a vibrant carnival, and mesmerizing fireworks that light up the evening skies. It stands as a testament to Spanish culture and is undoubtedly one of the most remarkable festivals you can experience.

The Two Iconic Events: Running of the Bulls and Bullfighting

Running of the Bulls: The Running of the Bulls, known as “Encierro” in Spanish, is an iconic spectacle that has transcended borders to become a global sensation. Every morning during the festival, the streets of Pamplona transform into a heart-pounding arena where participants face the adrenaline-charged challenge of running alongside a herd of charging bulls. The palpable thrill, the rush of wind, and the sound of hooves pounding on cobblestone streets create a unique and unforgettable experience. This centuries-old tradition blends daring courage with exhilarating danger, making it one of the festival’s most iconic highlights.

For those eager to delve deeper into the intricacies of the Running of the Bulls, we have an informative article dedicated to the event here.

Running of the Bulls

Bullfighting: Bullfighting, or “corrida de toros,” is an integral part of Spanish heritage and culture. It’s a captivating and dramatic spectacle that takes place in the bullring, where skilled matadors go head-to-head with powerful bulls. The performance is a captivating dance between man and beast, a display of skill, bravery, and artistic expression. The atmosphere in the bullring is electric, with the audience engaged in the drama unfolding before their eyes.

To gain a deeper understanding of the history and artistry of bullfighting, explore our comprehensive article on the subject here.

Opening Ceremony – Chupinazo: Igniting the Spirit of San Fermín

When and Where: In the heart of Pamplona, Spain, on the 6th of July at noon, the Plaza Consistorial is where the action is. Thousands of eager souls flock to this historic square, just waiting for the excitement to kick off.

The Countdown: As the minutes tick away, the anticipation builds to an almost unbearable level. You’ll see folks dressed head to toe in traditional white outfits, with vibrant red scarves and sashes making a statement. The atmosphere is buzzing as locals and tourists alike join forces in eagerly counting down to the main event.

The Rocket Launch: Just when you thought the excitement couldn’t get any more intense, BAM! At exactly 12:00 PM, the mayor of Pamplona steps up and launches the Chupinazo rocket from the city hall balcony. Cue the deafening explosion and the collective roar of the crowd – it’s go time, baby!

Sea of Red and White: Prepare to have your senses dazzled as the square transforms into a mesmerizing sea of red and white. People start dousing each other with sangria, wine, and, of course, the iconic red scarf. The air becomes a delicious cocktail of celebration, and the streets reverberate with the sound of joyous cheers.

Tips for Attendees

Tip 1: Arrive Early (Like, Really Early):

If you want to snag a primo spot in the Plaza Consistorial, you better set your alarm for the crack of dawn. Trust me, this place fills up faster than your favorite brunch spot on a Sunday morning. So, beat the crowds, be the early bird, and secure that front row seat for the epicness that’s about to unfold.

Tip 2: Rock the White and Red Combo:

You know we’re all about embracing tradition, right? So, grab your most fierce white attire and amp up the style with some killer red accessories. Think white dress, white pants, or white top paired with a vibrant red scarf and sash. You’ll be turning heads and owning the San Fermín fashion game like nobody’s business. Confidence level: sky-high!

Tip 3: Lock Down Your Valuables:

Alright, ladies, we all know that any celebration comes with a side of joyful chaos. With that kind of energy, it’s crucial to protect your valuables. Keep a close eye on your phone, wallet, and any other precious belongings. Maybe invest in a money belt or a secure crossbody bag. You don’t want anything getting lost in the midst of the mayhem.

The Festival Atmosphere


Beyond the heart-pounding events, the San Fermin offers a vibrant and lively atmosphere that keeps energy levels high day and night. The epicenter of this celebration is Estafeta Street, where revelers gather to partake in a street party that rivals the world-famous Bourbon Street in New Orleans. As the day turns into night, the street comes alive with music emanating from every bar, creating a continuous, infectious rhythm. It’s a place where strangers become friends, where cultures converge, and where unforgettable memories are forged.

Family-Friendly Fun

While the Running of the Bulls and bullfighting may steal the spotlight. With over 300 events taking place throughout the week, there is no shortage of family-friendly activities. From colorful parades to entertaining puppet shows, it ensures that every member of the family can be part of the festivities. Children will be enthralled by the vibrant displays and cultural experiences, making it an ideal family vacation destination.

Staying Safe at San Fermín: Essential Tips for Enjoying the Festival Responsibly

Plan Ahead (Not as fun as winging it, but hey, we’re talking safety here). Take a good look at the festival schedule and mark the key events. You don’t want to miss out on any of the heart-pumping action, right?

Identify those emergency exits like a boss and make a mental note of the nearest medical facilities. Just in case the party gets a little too wild.

Dress Appropriately (Comfort and style can coexist, trust me). Choose clothing that’s both comfy and practical for all the walking you’re about to do. We’re talking leggings, sneakers, and breathable fabrics. Leave those stilettos at home, girl.

Stay Hydrated (Just don’t mistake that sangria for water, darlings). It gets hot out there, so don’t forget to hydrate like it’s your job. Bring a water bottle to keep yourself refreshed and ready to conquer the festivities.

And while we’re on the topic, let’s have a moment of moderation, shall we? Keep tabs on your alcohol intake and find that perfect balance between sipping and staying in control. We want you to have fun, not end up slurring your words and doing the chicken dance in the middle of the square.

Be Vigilant in Crowds (Your spidey senses are your best friend). When you’re amidst the buzzing crowd, stay alert and be aware of what’s happening around you. Secure your belongings like a pro and rock that money belt like it’s the latest fashion statement.

Plan Meeting Points (Because getting separated is a buzzkill). Before the madness begins, establish meeting points with your crew in case you guys accidentally get separated in the chaos. Let’s keep the “Where the hell are you?” phone calls to a minimum, shall we? Oh, and speaking of phones, make sure yours is fully charged and have a communication plan in place.

Take the time to familiarize yourself with the emergency evacuation routes. We know, it’s not exactly thrilling, but hey, better safe than sorry. Let’s not turn this festival into an impromptu episode of “Survivor”.

Know Emergency Numbers (A handy speed dial for peace of mind). Save those local emergency numbers on your phone like a boss. When in doubt, dial away. And while we hope you won’t need them, locate the nearest medical facilities and police stations, just in case.

Pace Yourself (We’re marathon queens, not sprinters). Listen, my fearless ladies, San Fermín is all about endurance. Pace yourself, okay? It’s not a race to see who can party the hardest. Take breaks, catch your breath, and make sure you get enough rest so you can own the next event.

Buddy System (Like a flock of fabulous flamingos). There’s power in numbers, my friends. Attend events with a buddy or in groups, watch each other’s backs, and be each other’s wingwomen. 

Getting Around Pamplona

Navigating Pamplona during the San Fermin festival can be an adventure in itself due to the massive influx of visitors and the temporary street closures.

Here are some essential tips for getting around:

Bus: Pamplona boasts a reasonably efficient bus system, but it’s crucial to plan your routes ahead of time. Bus stops are scattered throughout the city, and not all buses display their destinations on their exteriors. Researching your routes and schedules in advance will save you time and hassle.

Taxis: Taxis can be in short supply during the festival due to the sheer volume of people. Finding a taxi stand or knowing where they pick up passengers can be challenging amidst the bustling crowds. If your accommodation is within the city center, you may not encounter significant difficulties. However, if your destination lies outside the main San Fermin festival area, it can be more challenging. Some taxi companies provide phone numbers for reservations, but during the festival, response times may be delayed.

Pide Taxi: An alternative to traditional taxis is the Pide Taxi app, which functions similarly to Uber. To use this app, you’ll need a Spanish phone number beginning with +34. Many festival-goers find this app to be a more efficient way to secure a ride, especially when traditional taxis are in high demand.

Where to Eat

Pamplona, a city steeped in culture and tradition, offers a culinary experience that harmonizes with the vivacious atmosphere. As you wander the vibrant streets, you’ll find an abundance of dining options, from cozy bars to charming small restaurants, each offering a delectable taste of Spanish cuisine. Here’s a closer look at what and where to eat during your adventure.

Jamón Ibérico: A Culinary Gem

One culinary gem that you’ll undoubtedly encounter while exploring Pamplona is Jamón Ibérico, a delicacy beloved by locals and tourists alike. This high-quality ham is crafted from the meat of acorn-fed Iberian pigs, renowned for their exquisite flavor and tender texture. The pigs’ acorn-rich diet infuses the meat with a unique nutty richness, making every bite a sensory delight. Whether served as a standalone dish, in a sandwich, or as a flavorful addition to various tapas, Jamón Ibérico embodies the essence of Spanish cuisine.

Local Tapas Bars: An Authentic Experience

To truly immerse yourself in the local food culture, venture into Pamplona’s tapas bars. These establishments offer a genuine and communal dining experience. As you step inside, you’ll be greeted by the inviting aroma of Spanish dishes sizzling on the stove. Patrons, both locals and visitors, gather around high tables to enjoy a wide array of small plates known as “tapas.”

Sample traditional tapas like “pintxos,” which are small snacks often skewered with toothpicks and served on slices of bread. These pintxos come in countless varieties, from marinated olives to savory chorizo, providing a delightful mix of flavors and textures. Try “patatas bravas,” crispy fried potatoes with a zesty sauce, or “gambas al ajillo,” succulent garlic shrimp that bursts with Mediterranean flavors.

Restaurants with a View: Scenic Dining

For those seeking more formal dining experiences, Pamplona offers restaurants with scenic views and a delightful ambiance. Some eateries provide a front-row seat to the bustling streets below, allowing you to savor your meal while taking in the vibrant festivities. Here, you can indulge in regional dishes such as “Cordero al chilindrón” (lamb stew) or “bacalao ajoarriero” (codfish in garlic sauce), paired with a fine Spanish wine.

No culinary journey in Pamplona would be complete without trying “tarta de queso” (cheesecake) for dessert. The local cheesecake, often garnished with a berry compote or a drizzle of honey, serves as a sweet conclusion to your gastronomic adventure.

Where to Stay

Selecting the right accommodation is paramount to fully immersing yourself in the  experience. Opting for lodgings as close as possible to Estafeta Street, the festival’s epicenter, ensures you’re at the heart of the action. Here’s a look at some accommodation options that cater to various preferences and budgets.

Hotel Tres Reyes Pamplona: This well-regarded hotel stands as an excellent choice for festival-goers. Located in the heart of Pamplona, it offers not only comfort but also convenience. Staying here means you can easily access the festival’s activities, whether it’s the Running of the Bulls or the nightly revelry on the streets.

Hotel Tres Reyes Pamplona

Alma Pamplona: For those seeking a touch of luxury during their experience, Alma Pamplona provides a high-end stay with modern amenities and an elegant atmosphere. The hotel’s sophisticated ambiance complements the festival’s electrifying energy, offering a tranquil haven for relaxation after a day of revelry.

Airbnb – Zizur Mayor: If you prefer a quieter retreat away from the bustling epicenter of the San Fermin festival, consider Mari’s hotel in Zizur Mayor. While it may be slightly farther from the festivities, this location offers a serene escape that remains easily accessible by bus or car. The charming accommodations include a fully equipped kitchen, air conditioning to beat the summer heat, a tranquil backyard garden, and even a bathtub – a welcome indulgence after a day of festival excitement.

In conclusion – San Fermin festival

the San Fermin Festival in Pamplona, Spain, is a thrilling and vibrant event that combines heart-pounding traditions with a lively street party atmosphere. Whether you’re a daredevil seeking the adrenaline rush of the Running of the Bulls or a culture enthusiast captivated by the artistry of bullfighting, this festival offers an unforgettable experience. With an abundance of family-friendly activities, a diverse array of dining options, and a wide selection of accommodations, it’s a celebration that caters to all. So, pack your sense of adventure and immerse yourself in the infectious energy of San Fermin for a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will leave you with cherished memories for years to come.

Book Your Trip : Check Out My Resources for Your Travel Needs


Use Skyscanner to find a cheap flight.  This is my very first stop when I’m looking for my next trip. It’s a fast, easy-to-use search engine that is perfect for finding an affordable flight, a perfect hotel, and the right rental car for you in locations around the globe.

Book Your Accommodation

If you are looking for a super budget friendly location and are open to a hostel stay, make sure you book your hostel with Hostelworld. It offers the broadest range of quality hostels around the world

If you’d prefer a hotel or a guesthouse for stays less than 28 days, drop on over to It’s perfect for providing excellent options, a ton of user reviews, and prices to fit every budget.

For stays over 28 days, AirBnB still remains my #1 choice. User reviews and monthly pricing allow for some incredible deals all around the world.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is but a small up-front investment that you won’t want to leave home without. After just one experience of having to delay or cancel your trip or having your luggage stolen, you’ll wish you would have made that investment.  I’ve hated my life a few times when the moment arose, and I decided to skip out.  Let’s just say, I’ve changed my ways and recommend each of the following companies to protect your ass-ets.

My favorite companies are:         

Want to Travel for Free?

Travel credit cards allow you to earn points that can be redeemed for free flights and accommodation — all without any extra spending. Check out my guide to getting free flights to get started.

Ready to Book Your Trip?

Check out my Resource Page for the best companies to help you book your travel at reduced rates!  This list will help you get to where you’re going.  I know-I use them ALL the time!  

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.