San Fermin (Pamplona) Tours & Trips
It’s thrilling, yet controversial. Daringly dangerous, yet fiercely impassioned. It is Pamplona’s Fiesta de San Fermín. If you haven’t been, you should get yourself a traditional red-and-white Basque outfit and head to the festivities this July for the time of your life.
What San Fermin is all about
Running of the BullsEvery morning from July 7th to 14th, people gather in a historic section of the city, many dressed in traditional garments and carrying rolled-up newspapers. They sing a traditional homage to St. Fermín, asking him to guide them through the run. After two small rockets are fired, six bulls are released and the chase is on. The event generally takes just a few minutes.
Giants and Big-Heads ParadeEvery morning during the fiesta, there is a parade of ‘giants and big-heads.’ The giant figures used in the parade are more than 150 years old and are around 4 metres high. Many of them were built by the painter from Pamplona Tadeo Amorena in 1860, and represent four pairs of kings and queens from four different races and locations (Europe, Asia, America and Africa). During the parade, the giants are carried by a dancer hidden inside and move to the rhythm of traditional music.
ChupinazoThe setting off of a pyrotechnic chupinazo has officially marked the opening of the fiesta since 1941. The rocket is launched at noon on July 6th from a balcony on City Hall with thousands of people celebrating the act in the square and other locations throughout Pamplona.
Riau-RiauThe Riau-Riau is a traditional dance event where the City Hall Councillors march from City Hall to the San Fermín. The rhythm of the march is very slow because there are a lot of people and the tight crowds move to the rhythm of a musical piece - the "Riau Riau" of the Vals de Astráin.
StruendoThere is no fixed date for the Struendo, though it usually takes place in the middle of the week and late at night. The participants bring with them any kind of musical instrument they can find (or anything that makes a loud noise), and parade through the streets of Pamplona, making as much noise as possible.
Pobre de MíThis is the formal closing ceremony of the fiesta, called the ‘Pobre de Mí.’ It takes place in front of the Town Hall, where a large crowd gathers to sing "Pobre de Mí, Pobre de Mí, que se han acabado las fiestas, de San Fermín." (Poor me, poor me, for the fiesta of San Fermín has come to a close).
Top San Fermin Tours
When is the Running of the Bulls?
Fiesta de San Fermín’s most famous event is the ‘encierro’, more commonly known as the ‘Running of the Bulls’, and is held at 8:00 am every morning from the 7th to the 14th of July. At this time, thousands of participants run through Pamplona’s cobbled streets chased by bulls. Thousands of spectators watch from the safety of balconies as well as on television.
Where should I stay in Pamplona?
Most of the hotels in Pamplona get very expensive during the fiesta and are usually fully booked months beforehand. A great alternative is to take a guided tour, where the accommodation is included. Also keep in mind that Pamplona turns into a party zone at night during the San Fermín Festival, and getting a decent night's sleep might be difficult.
What can I do in Pamplona?
The Running of the Bulls (Feast of San Fermín) in July is one of the most popular reasons for travellers to visit Pamplona, but there are more reasons to spend time in this fascinating city. Aside from the legendary multi-day festival, Pamplona is a major stop along the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail and is also home to a number of noteworthy museums including the Museo de Navarra.
How can I get to Pamplona?
By plane, train or bus. The Pamplona Airport is 6 km from downtown, in the village of Noain. There’s at least one daily flight from Paris and Lisbon to Pamplona, and usually 5 or so from Madrid and Barcelona.
Where is Pamplona located?
The City of Pamplona is located in the north of Spain and is the capital of Navarre Province, just south from the Spanish-French border. To reach Pamplona, travellers can fly from Madrid to Pamplona Airport, though prices can be relatively expensive. Most travellers will travel by bus or train from Madrid or Barcelona.
How many bulls run in Pamplona?
Six bulls are released as the chase begins. The event generally takes just a few minutes.
Essentials for San Fermin
- Book in advance before prices skyrocket
- Pick up a traditional red-and-white Basque outfit
- There is a real risk of serious injury if you participate in this festival, keep this in mind!
- If you plan to participate in the actual run, train!
- There is no shame in bailing out of the run if you are uncomfortable or get nervous