The event basically involves nutters (mainly tourists!) legging it through the streets in front of a herd of angry bulls. The bull race stretches from the corral at Santo Domingo where the bulls are kept to the bullring where they will fight that same afternoon.
It’ll be the adreneline rush of your life but you need to keep your wits about you as people do get injured. Read on before you brave the bulls!
Tips for surviving Pamplona
- Don’t run on your first day at the festival – watch for an idea of what to expect and try to walk the course before.
- When you do run, look out for others tripping in front of you. Even if you think you can outrun a bull, take into account that when five people fall in front of you, it’s going to be difficult to take evasive action.
- If you go down, stay down. Cover your face and just lie there. You might get a few bruises but it’s safer than trying to get up. Onlookers will let you know when it is safe.
- Take the corners tightly, as the bulls run wide.
- Start after what is known as Dead Man’s Corner. It is 300m from the end and is marked as such. Swallow your pride – starting at the beginning of the route will result in injuries. Anyway, the police will try to pick out the tourists and take them to a safer starting point.
- Don’t drink. If that is impossible, don’t drink too much.
- Get some sleep. There is a park nearby where many people go for a snooze. Just make sure you don’t have anything valuable on you when you shut your eyes.
- If you want to get into the arena, don’t fall too far behind the bulls as the gates are shut shortly after the bulls have entered. You don’t have to participate in the arena action: you are free to climb the wall and watch from the safety of the spectator areas.
Essential information on Running of the Bulls in Pamplona
WHEN TO GO: Fiesta de San Fermín is held from July 6-14. The opening ceremony is at noon on July 6. The bull run is at 8am every morning, and six bulls are brought back to fight a matador in the arena at 6.30pm.
GETTING THERE: Fly to Bilbao, Barcelona, Madrid or Biarritz and catch a train or bus to Pamplona. Or fly there from Madrid or Barcelona.
GETTING AROUND: Buses run all night from all areas of Pamplona to the city centre.
VISAS: South Africans will need a Schengen visa.
CURRENCY: Euro. 1 GBP = 1.18 EUR.
ACCOMMODATION: Rooms in Pamplona get booked out early; there are campsites outside of town; others make the journey from Bilbao, San Sebastian or Zarautz.
FOR MORE INFO: sanfermin.com
Busabout (0845 026 7514; busabout.com/pamplona) offer a range of tours, including four and five-day hostel packages, six-day camping-only packages and six-day coach and camping packages, departing from London. Prices start from £189
Now find out what happened when TNT’s Jahn Vannisselroy survived the wrath of the bulls in Pamplona…
Tags: Pamplona, Spain, Running of the bulls, festival, Spainish festival, bull fighting, bull race, bull racing