PP Travel Blog

Running of the Bulls and Festival of San Fermin 2009 Hints and Tips

There are more than a few things that can befall the unexposed Festival of San Fermin and Running of the Bulls tourist and it is our aim today to attempt to educate and enlighten all concerned as to how to avoid some of the common mistakes that can detract from your enjoyment of this greatest of parties. The primary thing to remember is that it can be very hot at this time of year in Pamplona and this can cause more than a few problems if not approached with common sense and a little forward planning. As well as the heat there is also the fact that there are thousands upon thousands of tourists here during the Running of the Bulls and the Festival of San Fermin, so common petty thievery is rife, but again, with a little forward thinking, common sense will win the day. As for the Bull Run itself there are many things one should not do pre, during and post running with the bulls so we will try and address some of these points also.

The Festival - San Fermin
  • Make sure you drink at least some water, Gatorade or the like (as well as beer, sangria and kalimotxo of course) and try to stay hydrated.
  • Have sunscreen at hand as much partying will be done in the street under the magnificent Spanish sun and not inside bars and pubs.
  • Ensure you have cash as many teller machines run out of Euro's. Small denominations will be much more readily accepted
  • Keep your valuables secure in your hotel or at your camp and try to take as little with you into the streets as possible. Remember, there are gypsy's and pickpockets about.
  • On the 6th July at the opening ceremony, make sure you have a plastic shopping bag of some sort to put any items (such as a camera) into whilst champagne, sangria, beer, eggs and flour are all tossed about with reckless abandon. Be warned you will get wet and dirty and there are very few places to hide from the onslaught.
  • Carry a map of the town with you as it is easy to get lost in the maze of small winding cobbled streets.

The Bull Run - San Fermin

The running of the bulls begins at 8.00am from the 7th to the 14th July this year but in reality you need to be inside the 3/4 mile running course by 7.00am. to avoid being pushed out by security. The run starts in a stretch of old style Spanish street between two tall buildings towards the river and downhill from the town hall. As you can imagine, it's slightly unnerving and would be more so if the skin-full of sangria, dancing and no sleep, hadn't numbed and frayed the nerves just a little. It's a surreal sight to behold, much like the start of a marathon, but everyone dressed in red and white garb with thousands of the participants being drunken Spaniards and tourists with red scarves. If you think it sounds crazy, fear not, as you are permitted to protect yourself from the 700kg bulls with a rolled-up newspaper. It couldn't be simpler really.Not!

  • Don't run drunk and try to get some sleep the previous evening.
  • Try and familiarise yourself with the course before hand
  • Be aware that people are far more dangerous than bulls. Falling and being trampled by the crowd is one of the main dangers
  • If you fall in front of a bull, stay down, cover your head and wait until someone yells or touches you to get up as its more dangerous to try and get up at this stage
  • Be aware that Callejon-Plaza de Toros and the end section of Cuesta de Santo Domingo are the most dangerous area. These spots have claimed a total of 12 lives over the years Stay tight to the corners as the bulls run wide
  • Your position in the crowd determines your initial safety and also whether or not you will finish the run and get into the arena. During the first part of the run. If you're right at the front you will most likely get into the arena before seeing a bull (as long as you stay on you feet). If you're at the back the bulls will definitely pass you and you may miss getting into the arena but will have a more authentic and adrenalin fuelled run
  • The first gun is for everyone to start running(or jogging as the case may be depending on where you start from)
  • The second gun sounds then the bulls are released and are free and running, at full pelt no doubt
  • The bull have shorter front legs than hind legs and run faster up hill as a result
  • When entering the arena it's best to head right or left as the bulls will keep running straight ahead and will be herded out by handlers at this time
  • Do not try and escape from the bull running course by climbing on the wooden barriers as the locals will take great delight in pushing you back onto the course.

Whew, quite a lot to remember but we certainly hope this short list will help, there are of course many, many other things we could suggest and indeed in future blogs some of them will be noted but for now it's Gora......San Fermin.

If you would like to enquire about any of the fantastic packages PP Travel is running to the Festival of San Fermin 2009 and the Running of the Bulls 2009, then please Click here to view PP Travel's professionally organised options for The Festival of San Fermin and the Running of the Bulls 2009 in Pamplona, Spain. We still have places available now on all our tours packages but they are selling fast. Priced from just GBP129 per person for camping accommodation and from only GBP219 for coach/camping options. PP operates by far the best value packages to the Festival of San Fermin and the Running of the Bulls available and we have options to suit all budgets.

Posted: 19 February 2009 14:02:36 GMT by Mark

PP Travel Pamplona's San Fermin Options

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