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Tips for San Fermin Festival

Encierro 2007

The San Fermin festival, or sanfermines as locals call it, is one of the best known festivals in the world thanks to the American writer Ernest Hemingway. In his novel ‘Fiesta: The Sun Also Rises’, published in 1926, Hemingway describes the festival, bullfights and running of the bulls in such a glamourous way that many people read it and had to come and experience it.

Basically San Fermin is a street festival where people, bulls, music and white and red colours get combined for people to enjoy it. The golden rule is ‘Enjoy yourself and let the rest of people doing the same’.

From July 6th to 14th there is always something going on in Pamplona no matter the time of day. To be honest, we can try and explain to you what this is all about but you will only understand when you experience it.

If you’re wondering about what to see and other advice please read below:

Important advice with regards clothing:

I would suggest you to wear white clothes and red sash and scarf at all times. Everybody wears white and red! You’ll stick out like a sore thumb if you’re wearing other colours… Bring some white clothes, although there are plenty of stalls and shops that sell cheap white clothing and red scarfs, to wear around your neck, and red sashes, to wear around your waist.

Make sure that you bring runners and/or comfy shoes, almost weatherproof. The streets are cleaned by water and detergent with hoses at all times and sandals are not an option in the city centre. There could be broken glass and other so better be safe… Specially for July 6th

Some of the best programmed activities

Remember there is always something going on spontaneous and fun that in the coming years could be included in Pamplona’s official programme.

balcony running bulls

6th July

Chupinazo (or Txupinazo) @ 12.00 – Opening Ceremony in Plaza Ayuntamiento (also called Consistorial) you can follow what’s happening at giant screens located at Parque de Antoniutti, Paseo Sarasate, Avda. Carlos III, Plaza del Castillo and Plaza de los Fueros. This year 2019 the city’s band La Pamplonesa (100 years old band) is in charge of lighting the rocket

7th July

Procession @ 10.00 – The Saint, San Fermin, is taken to the streets in the city center to receive the affection of some local people. Starting and finishing at Iglesia de San Lorenzo

cata Sanfermines pamplona food

From 7th to 14th July

  • Caldico @ 6.30 – Hot consommé served in some of the city center bars; if you’ve been up all night it will keep you going so that you could watch the Encierro (wouldn’t recommend you to run if you haven’t slept at all)
  • Dianas @ 6.45 – La Pamplonesa, Pamplona’s municipal brass band, wakes up the city center. Starting from Plaza Ayuntamiento (or Consistorial)
  • Encierro @ 8.00 – Running of the Bulls from Corrales de Santo Domingo to the bullring
  • Vaquillas @ 8.10 – In the bullring people awaits the release of wild heifers with ball protected horns
  • Gigantes y Cabezudos @ 9.30 – The troupe of Giants and Bigheads dance every morning to the music of chistularis (txistularis). Children love them.
  • Taurine Festivals/ Rural Sports / Live Music @ 11.00 – In the Bullring, Plaza de los Fueros, Paseo de Sarasate and any street near you
  • Mulillas @ 17.30 – Parade of bullring’s brass band, mules and horses from Plaza Ayuntamiento to bullring
  • Bullfight @ 18.30 – The bulls that have run that morning will be fighting at the bullring. Tickets are either Sol (sunny side) or Sombra (pricier, but in the shade)
  • Peñas @ 20.30 – Peñas are clubs founded to celebrate San Fermin, they are key in bringing music, colour and joy to the streets. Finished the bullfight, peñas make the exit, banners held aloft and everybody dances to the sound of music
  • Toro de Fuego @ 21.45 – At Plaza de Santiago (near Ayuntamiento) the firework-bull runs mainly for youngsters, they really enjoy it
  • Encierrillo @ 22.30 – Running of the bulls without runners, at dusk and in silence from Corrales del Gas to Corrales de Santo Domingo
  • Fuegos Artificiales @ 23.00 – Fireworks, actually located in Ciudadela, they can be seen from all around.

wines and tapas

14th July

  • Pobre de mi @ 24.00 – Official closing of San Fermin at Plaza Ayuntamiento.
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