If running with the bulls in Pamplona is on your bucket list, then you are in the right place!
Before making my trip to the Fiesta de San Fermin in 2018 to run with the bulls, I spent months planning and researching everything I could. After all, this is running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain. You want to make sure you do it right.
The bad news. Even with reading every resource online about hot to run with the bulls, when I got there I was completely unprepared. The online wright-ups seemed to leave out some “key” information leaving us scrambling to figure it out in the starting shoot at 7:00 am,
The good news. We figured it out and had a blast! We (literally) ran with the bulls into the stadium, made the tv broadcast (see pics), and I even let the bull jump me when entering the stadium. A feat made famous by Earnest Hemingway. I also ran the next day with another friend and did none of that. Leading me to one very important statement…
There are different ways to run with the bulls.
Below is the definitive guide on How to Run with The Bulls in Pamplona Spain – Fiesta de San Fermin as of 2018.
Step 1. Pick Your Dates
The Festival de San Fermine begins: July 6; 12 p.m. (noon, bulls start running the 7th) and ends: July 14; 12 a.m. (midnight). The first day and weekends are the busiest and tend to be the most dangerous do to the larger number of people. More people equales more obstacles. We chose a week day for that very reason. They also run a different stock of bulls everyday, with some known for being more dangerous which can also be something to take into account.
Step 2. Book Your Hotel & Travel
The public transportation in Pamplona is amazing. Buses run non stop, so don’t feel you have to over pay to be right next to city center. Just follow all of the people dressed in white and red. They will be there at the buss stops and all over the Pamplona 24/7 during the festival. We booked at the Hotel Burlada, a hostel with affordable rates for the area. We stuffed into the room but had no problems as we spent most of our time experiencing the entire experience that is San Fermine. You’ll also need to figure out how you are getting to Pamplona but I’ll leave that to you. I highly recommend spending at least 2 night, the night before and the night after you plan on running.
Step 3. The Day Before Your Run
By this point you should be in Pamplona or on your way. We took the day before to explore the course. Starting with the bull corral and making our way through the course coming up with what we though was our plan. Here is the question we should have been asking;
Step 4. The Starting Corral
Step 5. Running With the Bulls
Looking back, all you will see is a wall of people… no bulls. This wall of people will look thick and frantic and it is then you need to be calm. Without a moments notice the wall will break and BULLS! This is where you need to run… and run fast. They will be on you and pass you in the center so stay to the side. If you see in the pics, I got into the center and if not for the bull tripping on the guy behind me I could have been in a bad situations. Next is the entrance to the Stadium. Here the course narrows and the safety of fences to jump over/under are exchanged for solid concrete walls, there is no escape.