It has become the most internationally renowned festival in Spain, with over 1 million people attending each year between 6 and 14 July. It has been immortalized in literature by Ernest Hemingway and it is an explosive, passionate and occasionally gory festival that is an important element of Spanish heritage. It is of course, the festival of San Fermin in the city of Pamplona in Spain, although most people around the world refer to the event as the Pamplona Bull Run, or just simply Pamps. While its most famous event is the ‘encierro’, or the running of the bulls, this weeklong celebration involves many other traditional eventsand is held in honour of St Fermin, one of the patron saints of the area.
Yes, you know the scene – you have seen it on the news every July. The Pamplona 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, 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 at 8am between 6 and 14 July. 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. But hey, there is much more to the festival of San Fermin in Pamplona than a crazy bull run.
The actual festival starts at noon on 6 July with the setting off a fire cracker (chupinazo in Spanish) from a city hall balcony. There are literally tens-of-thousands of people celebrating the start of the festival around the city hall square.
On 7 July thousands of people accompany the 15th-century statue of Saint Fermin through the old part of Pamplona.
Each morning of the festival there is the parade of giants and big heads. These giants figures are amazingly more than 150 years old.
The six bulls that were driven to the bullring during the morning’s Bull Run become the main entertainment at night between 7 and 14 July as there are bullfights inside the fourth largest bull ring in the world.
Every night a firework spectacle is held at the citadel park. 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.
Pamplona Running of the Bulls is a must-do event on any travellers calendar. The events and festival travel specialists, FOMO Travel, provides an extensive array of information and advice on tour operators, travel options, travel tips, and other activities for San Fermin.