Run with the Bulls in Spain!
The Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, known by the locals as San Fermin, is one of the wildest and craziest festivals in Europe. Join Topdeck and revel in the amazing atmosphere with bull runs, Spanish street parties, dancing and copious sangria fights!
Nothing can prepare you for your first Pamplona experience. The Spanish sure know how to party and the famous San Fermin Festival is no exception! There is so much more to this festival than running with the bulls – it's truly something that must be experienced first-hand.
- European Trained Topdeck Trip Leaders, Drivers and Crew
- Party in town and recharge your batteries at the stunning Camping Aritzaleku. Based next to a lake where you can swim, sail or canoe it really is the best way to soak up the sun and chill out between the parties in town
- Regular free Topdeck shuttles take you between Pamplona and the campsite
- Delicious hot breakfast provided each day by Topdeck On Site Chefs
- Fantastic facilities at the campsite, with a bar, restaurant and buzzing atmosphere
- Travel with like-minded travellers aged 18-39
- European Trained Topdeck Trip Leaders
- A prime base in the city of Pamplona within walking distance of all of the festival events and parties
- Stay in apartments with excellent facilities nearby and 10 minute walk to the nightly fireworks display
- Have the option to experience the San Fermin closing ceremony, allowing you to mix and sing with the locals for the part of the festival that draws in less tourists
- Travel with like-minded travellers aged 18-39
Don't forget to check out Topdeck's fantastic Festival Rewards for great discounts when booking festival trips!
Trips that visit Pamplona
What is it all about?
The residents of Pamplona began this festival to celebrate the life of 'San Fermin', the first Bishop of Pamplona who was martyred by the Romans. The modern day festival has evolved from this as well as commercial and bullfighting fiestas which can be traced back to the 14th Century. Over many years San Fermin has evolved into an intense festival of music, dancing, bullfights and markets. The festival itself runs from July 6th until July 14th each year.
The 'fiesta San Fermin' officially opens at midday on July 6th each year. Traditional festival dress is all-white clothes with a red scarf around the waist and another around the wrist. As the bell strikes noon, the crowd wave their scarves overhead before tying them around their necks where they are worn for the duration of the festival. During the day you can expect atmospheric singing, dancing, plenty of sangria and non-stop partying in the streets.
Running of the Bulls
The best-known event of the festival is the 'Encierro' (Running of the Bulls). This event is held each morning at 8am from July 7th to 14th. Runners do not need to register; simply turn up before 8am in preparation for the run, which is about a kilometre long. The runners begin and are followed by six or more fighting bulls, which are herded by some old steers. The bulls, and everybody else, run through the streets and on into the bullfighting arena.
10 things to know before you go
- On Opening Ceremony day no bulls run – it's purely party time with sangria, egg & flour throwing
- You should try to wear traditional white & red clothing. Buy these at the markets or shops in the centre of town – they aren't expensive
- Your red neck tie (panuelo) is traditionally held up to the mayor at the opening ceremony and put around your neck after noon – it should not be removed at all until the end of the festival
- If you are claustrophobic, stand on the outside of the main square during the opening ceremony as it is very crowded, or celebrate in one of the smaller and not as busy squares around town
- Bring closed shoes to wear to avoid getting injured
- The actual bull run is at 8am every day. You need to get up very early to get a good spot for viewing or to run
- You can watch the bull run from a balcony, you can also watch in the main square on big screens, in the stadium or join the actual run
- Glass is not allowed on the main streets. You can buy pouches to hold your drinks
- Bring sunscreen – it gets hot!
- Bring your stamina!
Other festival highlights
- Parade of Giants – held each morning with huge paper mache figures dancing and swirling in the streets
- Fire bull – or what appears to be a man in a steel drum covered in firecrackers, is let loose each evening to entertain young and old
- Corrida – (bull fights) are held each evening from 6.30pm in the arena when three Matadors fight two bulls each
- Firework display – is put on each evening near the old Citadel at 11.00pm
- Closing Ceremony – the locals gather in the main square, the Plaza de Castillo, to form a candlelight procession to the old church to bid farewell to the festivities for another year. It's followed, of course, by yet another massive firework display!
How do I get there?
Topdeck offer return and one-way coach trips from London, which include overnight drives in a modern Topdeck coach. However we also give you the flexibility to make your own way to Pamlona and join us there. In this case, you have a few options.
There is only one small airport in Pamplona, with regional flights from Madrid arriving only a few times per day. So flights to Pamplona are often really expensive!
Bilbao airport, located on Spain's northern coast, is used by most budget travellers getting to Pamplona. A bus runs several times a day from Bilbao bus station to Pamplona and takes about 2 hours. Alternatively, if you fly into Madrid or Barcelona there are both buses and trains to Pamplona. Since these cities are a little further away, it takes between 3 and 6 hours to get to Pamplona, depending upon how you travel.
Once in Pamplona you can make your way to either our camping or centrally-located accommodation; directions will be provided in your pre-departure information.