San Fermin Festival FAQ

Here's everything you want to know about the San Fermin Festival and Pamplona’s legendary Running of the Bulls.


What is the San Fermin Festival?

The festival of San Fermin is held every July in Pamplona, Spain, in honor of Navarra’s patron saint. While primarily rooted in tradition, this festival has transformed over the years into a riotous party, filled with curious spectators from every corner of the globe. More than 1 million visitors come to enjoy the morning bull runs, known as encierros, the sangria-drenched celebrations, and to embrace the centuries-old tradition of bullfighting. 

 

The San Fermin Festival is a historic tradition held annually in Pamplona, Navarra, Spain. Also known as Sanfermines, the 9-day long fiesta features opening and closing ceremonies, plus the world famous Encierro and bullfights. The San Fermín Festival is known to be the world’s largest fiesta, over a million tourists attend every year.

How many days are in the festival of San Fermin?

The San Fermin Fiesta lasts a total of 9 days and is scheduled on the same dates every year: July 6th to July 14th.

When is the Running of the Bulls?

The Running of the Bulls takes place every morning from July 7th until the 14th, for a total of 8 consecutive days. Each encierro begins at 8 AM with a cannon blast that signals the animals’ release. 

How many bulls in the Running of the Bulls?

Each run includes six fighting bulls, raised by some of Spain’s leading stockbreeders. These bulls are accompanied by 8 steers that have bells around their necks. The steers help keep the bulls together in a herd as they make the lightning-fast dash to the bullfighting arena.

How long is the Running of the Bulls?

The bulls typically run the half-mile course in a few minutes. The average time is around three minutes, but the race can drag out for more than six minutes if a bull stops, turns around, or gets separated from the pack.

What are the busiest days of the San Fermin Fiesta?

Pamplona is a veritable madhouse at the start of the San Fermin Festival. July 6th is one of the busiest days, as everyone wants to enjoy the opening ceremony, called the Txupinazo. In general, the weekends are more crowded than weekdays, as visitors from neighboring cities and countries pour in.

Which days are the best to attend the San Fermin Festival?

Whether you attend opening, mid-fiesta, or closing days, the San Fermín festival has something to offer. The opening and closing ceremonies are world-renowned, astonishing traditions. Mid-fiesta days are also full with fun activities. You may experience the famous bull runs and bullfights any day during the festival. Make sure to check the Running of the Bulls 2024 official schedule to learn all there is to do in Pamplona and make the most out of your trip.

Can I run with the bulls in Pamplona?

If you are at least 18 years of age and obey the local regulations, you are permitted to participate in the encierro. Authorities will not allow anyone who is intoxicated to run in this very dangerous event that injures hundreds each year.

What should I wear to the San Fermin Festival?

If you really want to blend in, you should wear the traditional costume of red and white. The ‘official’ festival attire includes a white top and pants or shorts, a red handkerchief, and a red sash. These items are readily available at local stores. 

Why should I reserve a balcony space?

It’s impossible to watch the bull run from any other place. Unless you’re planning to run, a balcony is crucial to experience the running of the bulls. 

When should I reserve my hotel and balcony space?

Pamplona hotels and balconies get snapped up months in advance of the Running of the Bulls. For this reason, we suggest booking your San Fermin tour package as early in the year as possible.

How much should I expect to pay for a balcony space?

Prices start at $495 dollars per person and increase according to the balcony level and location. Regardless of what you pay, we guarantee a front-row view in the balcony. In other words, we don’t overbook our balconies as we take comfort and safety very serious.

How do I purchase a balcony spot?

You can purchase a balcony spot directly from this website. A variety of spaces along the Encierro (bull run route) are available. Premium balcony spaces overlooking Plaza Castillo also are available for Opening and Closing Ceremonies. 

Are balconies the only place to see the bull runs?

Yes, balconies are the only location where you are guaranteed views of all the heart-pounding action.  Trying to watch the run from street level is not only uncomfortable but highly disappointing since you are mostly looking at the backs of other’s heads. Balconies on both low and high floors deliver panoramic vistas of one of the most exciting parts of the San Fermin Festival.

How many people will a private balcony in Pamplona hold?

Balcony size and capacity varies from balcony to balcony. Contact us if you wish to privatize a balcony and we’ll give you the options available.

Will breakfast be served in the balcony?

Do not expect a full breakfast; coffee, juice, and pastries will be served in the balcony. 

I purchased a balcony space, what do I do next?

You’re all set. Make sure you read your confirmation email, which will contain your balcony address. Also, make sure you check your email for a link to download your travel app. The app includes your personalized itinerary and directions to your balcony.

Does the festival include traditional Spanish bullfights?

Yes, traditional bullfights take place every evening of the San Fermin Festival. Tickets for this iconic spectacle are limited, but when you book your Pamplona package with us, you can leave your worries behind. Bullfight tickets are included!

Which is the best zone to watch from?

Choose your balcony depending on your purpose. Even though all balcony zones will offer an incredible experience, if you wish to watch a runner, we suggest Estafeta street - the longest stretch of the run. If your want to see the pro’s run, get a Santo Domingo street balcony - the very beginning of the run. Get as close or far to the ground as you prefer. Lower levels let viewers feel the thrill of being close to the bulls and the runners, while higher levels give viewers more of a panoramic view of the run.

Is the cost the same for children as adults?

Kids 5 years or younger accompanied by adults are allowed on the balconies at no charge. They will need to be standing in front of the adults or held in arms and not use a balcony spot. Hotels and restaurants offer different discounts for children.

What is the Running of the Bulls or “Encierro"?

This Pamplonan tradition was born in the 18th century, and consists on the process of moving bull and from the outside of the city into the bull ring corrales. This later turned into a competition between the brave locals who decided to run next to them. The tradition was made famous by the American author and journalist, Ernest Hemingway, in his novel “The Sun Also Rises.” 

What happens after the Bull Run (Encierro) is over?

Once the encierro is over, our balcony guests enjoy watching the bull run recap on television and proceed to head out to the rest of their daily activities. Most guests go on a tour and a meal to taste the authentic Navarran cuisine. Don’t forget to get your Pamplona Bullfight tickets, this is a must while you’re in town since the famous Feria del Toro is held during the San Fermin Festival. Bullfights happen every evening featuring some of the world’s best bullfighters and bulls.