"sanfermines" Pamplona by lostaussie

Pamplona Travel Guide: 239 reviews and 644 photos


i was quite surprised whilst planning this trip that there are very few pages on this delightfully ridiculous exercise so i thought id better try to put in as much useful or otherwise info in as possible. perhaps this is just testament to the relatively good mental health of the majority of most members who avoid this kind of activity.
to head to pamplona between 6th and 14th of july is to guarantee yourself a party that few can rival (at least in terms of alcohol consumption and the sheer stupidity of some (most) peoples actions).
the festival of sanfermines is a very long running tradition whos main feature, for the mostly foreign gathering, is the infamous "running of the bulls".
first things first- the opening ceremony which kicks off at 12noon on the 6thjuly. thousands upon thousands pour into town, each clutching their trusty bottle of bubbly (insert plural at this stage) to contribute to the thousands of corks that fill the sky as the festival is officially started.
needless to say, the partying continues for the rest of the day and often the rest of the night.
at 6am the next day, the streets are filled with the thousands who have not had the benefit of a sober moment to ponder the possible insanity of the adventure on which they are about to embark- the first day of the running. the streets are so full of people that it is extremely difficult to move, bringing a moments panic to the somewhat groggy brain when one considers that within 5 minutes the bulls will be charging through here- whether or not the people have moved.
suddenly the crush spreads out as the first barrier is removed, allowing many to sprint at top speed to the arena.
the adrenaline rush that takes over as the first cannon is fired is indescribable- possibly only overshadowed by seeing the first pack come charging towards you from about 10m away!!

a bit of advice for anyone planning on running- they release 2 packs of bulls which i didnt know, so after stopping for a photo as the bulls ran past, i was celebrating my survival as a new surge of people began charging my way. i suddenly realised why as i saw the second pack charging up. carl lewis impression no. 2 was in order and suddenly, just before the arena, the police pulled me out which is a good thing as i had no desire to get into the arena but was running so hard that i hadnt realised it was the arena.

second bit of advice for runners- if you want to get into the arena, dont have your camera in your hand as i found out that was the reason for my being ejected from the course.

next bit of advice for all- avoid the mussel bar- at least avoid jumping off it. if you want an adrenaline kick, run with the bulls. on our second day we heard that there had been one death and another who luckily survived with a broken neck. that was only day 2 but without a tv we couldnt keep up with events.

all in all, it makes octoberfest seem very timid indeed, if only for the adrenaline-charged atmosphere but people are really out partying 24/7 throughout the fest.

thankfully we were camping outside town so we only had to try to keep up with the 2-3,000 aussies and kiwis that had taken over the campsite (plus maybe 20 americans and 20 brits), rather than the many thousands who had no place to stay and just partied til the end of theyre trip.

  • Last visit to Pamplona: Jul 2003
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (10)

Comments (5)

  • breughel's Profile Photo
    Jul 20, 2013 at 10:18 AM

    I'm more and more convinced that Aussies are on top for writing funny pages on VT (I mean different from "what train should we take from X to Y").
    You really got it right about San Fermin's Encierros. Has nothing to do anymore with tauromachy-bullfighting since a famous (and talented) American novel writer attracted tourists to Pamplona.
    Now I have only one problem with your comments when you wrote "they release 2 packs of bulls which i didn't know ?" you confused toros and cabestros it seems.
    I'm sad you left VT like (too many) writers with sense of humor.

  • Roadquill's Profile Photo
    Oct 4, 2005 at 3:54 PM

    "Just Eat" sage advice for San Fermin. I hope to go for the 3rd time in 2006. The bulls are not released in two packs, it is simply how they leave the starting pen. Sometimes 1 pack , sometimes 3 or 4. Karl

  • Oct 16, 2003 at 8:54 AM

    Ooohhh, so here are the bull pictures, what a coincidence! Another Alt Beer Pat?

  • Jul 22, 2003 at 9:38 AM


  • Jul 22, 2003 at 6:36 AM

    neat presentation...good coverage...


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