Beginner’s Guide To Running With The Bulls
This Beginner’s Guide To Running With The Bulls will give you information on how to participate. By all means, do it at your own risk. However, if you don’t want to run, you can of course watch it at a viewpoint or rent a balcony overlooking the path.
San Fermín Festival
The San Fermín Festival takes place in Pamplona every year starting from July 6th – July 14th. Not to mention, with over 1 million people in attendance, you can expect hotel rates to skyrocket. Parking is a mess and the streets are overwhelmed with good food, loud music and drunk people everywhere.
Red & White Attire
Patrons traditionally wear white pants and shirts, with red bandanas tied around necks and waists. Don’t worry if you forgot to bring your attire as practically the majority of shops will be selling these items. The white is to honor the saint San Fermín who was martyred (red.) Bulls are colorblind. With this in mind, they don’t care. Furthermore, due to the insane amount of trash on the floor, do NOT wear your nice shoes either.
Running With The Bulls
To bring the bulls to the stadium, they have to run through the city. This event takes place at 8am each day with a duration of just a little over 2 minutes. The 6 bulls that are fighting in the stadium that day are accompanied by 6 other steers that lead the way.
Below is a list of the important rules to follow. For the list of ALL the official rules, click here.
- The presence on the route of minors under the age of 18, who are absolutely excluded from the right to run or take part.
- Remaining on the route in a state of drunkeness, under the effect of drugs or engaging in any other improper behavior.
- Carrying objects deemed unsuitable for the smooth running of the encierro (including any type of camera or video camera).
- Wearing clothes or footwear deemed unsuitable for the race.
- Provoking the bulls or attracting their attention in any way and for any reason along the route or around the edge of the bullring.
- Running towards the bulls or running behind them.
- Grabbing, harassing or mistreating the bulls or making it difficult for anyone to leave the encierro during the capeas (bullfights with young bulls).
- Stopping along the route and remaining on the fence, barriers or doorways in such a way as to obstruct the race or hinder the defence of the runners.
To add to that, moderators run behind the bull with a long wooden stick to give warning to runners that disobey the rules.
Spectating From A Safe Distance
Free Limited Space Behind Barriers
Truly this is a better choice. It’s important to realize if you choose to run with the bulls, you are risking your life. With this in mind, there are some locations that have a great view of the passage. The downside is people start to hold their spots as early as 4am!
Renting A Balcony
Residents with private balconies charge up to 130€ per person and is usually shared with other spectators. Depending on the package, you would arrive around 7:30 am to have snacks and drinks. Once the bulls are released at 8:00am, you’ll witness the pandemonium lasting about 10 seconds. By 8:20am the party is over.
You have to ask yourself, is it really worth that amount of money to watch something so short? By all means, if you got the cash and want the experience, then yes! This is for you. We were fortunate enough to have a hookup to a balcony so we had bought churros as a token of appreciation to our friends.
Watching The Bull Fight Inside A Stadium
Starting at $55, advanced ticket purchase is available for purchase on runningofthebulls.com.
Although tickets to watch the bull fight are on sale at the box office everyday, these will most likely sell out. Hence, the only chance of getting in to watch is to purchase from a scalper.
Drinks are permissible in the stadium. In the event that you hear people singing the birthday song in Spanish, you must sing along. Failure to do so will result with you being in a middle of a wine and sangria shower.
DUI Checkpoints Leaving Pamplona
For the purpose of stopping drunk drivers, police are stationed on the highways exiting the city. Everyone pulls over and blows through a breathalyzer.
I hope you enjoyed my Beginner’s Guide To Running With The Bulls. If you would like to explore different parts of Spain, click here.