2024 Running of the Bulls at Pamplona's Festival de San Fermín

Posted by Sophia Morena, Special Travel Contributor on Dec 29th 2023

2024 Running of the Bulls at Pamplona's Festival de San Fermín

Every year, the cobblestone streets of Pamplona, Spain, come alive with the thundering hooves of bulls and the excited shouts of participants during the renowned Festival de San Fermín. This festival, immortalized by Ernest Hemingway in "The Sun Also Rises," continues to captivate thrill-seekers and cultural enthusiasts alike. 

In 2024, the event will again draw crowds from around the globe to partake in the adrenaline-pumping tradition of the Running of the Bulls. Navarre’s historic capital is the perfect backdrop for the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona. The event is the heart and soul of Sanfermines and brings worldwide media attention. Since 1910,16 people have died while participating in the bull runs, the majority from being gored. 

As dawn breaks over Pamplona’s Old Town, known as “Casco Viejo”, anticipation will build among the thousands of attendees gathered in and along Pamplona's famous Encierro (bull run route). The atmosphere will crackle with excitement as participants dressed in traditional white attire, with red bandanas around the neck and sashes knotted around the waist, nervously await the moment they will test their courage against the charging bulls. 

Each day of the festival, from July 7th to July 14th, brave souls from various corners of the world will gather to run the streets of Santo Domingo, Mercaderes, and Estafeta making their way along the 990-yard route from the upper corral onto the arena floor at the famed Plaza de Toros.

The 2024 running of the bulls is expected to draw extra-large crowds this year because the Opening Ceremonies "Chupinazo" (or Txupinazo as it is known in Basque) and Closing Ceremonies “Pobre de mi” both fall on weekends this year creating an extra opportunity for travelers from southern southern Spain, France, and Portugal to get to Pamplona for the weekend and join the party. 

Expect to encounter people from all around the world who will travel to Navarre to satisfy their dream of being one to have completed the running of the bulls. You’ll see a diverse array of participants, from seasoned veterans to first-time thrill-seekers. Despite the inherent dangers, the sense of camaraderie among runners is strong as total strangers bond in their quest to conquer their fears and meet the test. 

As the clock ticks closer to 8:00 AM, the tension will reach its peak. The crowd will fall silent, breath held in anticipation, as the first rocket signals the release of six fighting bulls bred for strength, size, and nobility. They are accompanied by six oxen that help herd the beasts and keep them on course.

The thunderous sound of hooves will echo through the narrow streets as the massive animals stampede towards the awaiting runners. For a few exhilarating moments, participants and bulls are locked in a thrilling dance, navigating the winding streets with adrenaline-fueled precision.

While the spectacle of the Running of the Bulls is undoubtedly exhilarating, it is not without its risks. Every year, injuries are sustained, underscoring the importance of respecting the event's inherent danger. Yet, for many, the allure of participating in such a historic and culturally significant tradition outweighs the potential hazards. 

Beyond the adrenaline-fueled excitement of the bull run, the Festival de San Fermín offers a rich tapestry of cultural events and celebrations. From traditional folk music and dance performances to vibrant street parties and culinary delights, the festival provides a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in the rich heritage of the Basque region. 

When the sun sets on the 2024 Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, participants and spectators alike will reflect on the fun they had at the Festival de San Fermin and return home to spread their stories and encourage others to come and experience this one-of-a-kind event for themselves.