Famous Bull Runs in Spain

A Guide to Pamplona's Running of the Bulls and Much More

Bullfighting is deeply rooted within global historic traditions. But today, local public opinion leans against the tradition. Though the site includes information for tourists interested in attending the events, TripSavvy trusts its readers to make their own decisions on the ethics of bullfighting as an attraction.

The Pamplona Running of the Bulls (during the San Fermin festival) is by far the most famous bull run in Spain. But running in front of a herd of angry bovines is not a one-week-a-year affair -- there are many more bull runs you can attend if you're not in Spain for Pamplona.

There are many more bull runs in Spain than the ones on this page, but the ones here are the most famous,

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Pamplona Running of the Bulls at San Fermin

Running of the Bulls
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This is the big one. Spanning from July 6 to 14 every year, this famed event is eight days of bull runs that attract daredevils from around the world. Every morning there is a bull run where six bulls chase locals and visitors alike down the historic streets of Pamplona. In the evening there are bullfights. The rest of the time, there's food, drink, and dancing in the streets.

Accommodations in Pamplona during the festival are expensive. Backpackers usually camp nearby, though they'll need to make sure they have transport to the festival. Check out these Pamplona Running of the Bulls tours for some good backpacker tours that will save you a lot of money and guarantee you get to the bull run on time.

Other Things to Do

Pamplona is party central for the eight days of the festival. If you're looking to do more cultural activities, move on after the bull run and continue on to Bilbao or San Sebastian.

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Toros en el Mar in Denia

The Toros en el Mar (Bous a la Mar in Catalan, Bulls in the Sea in English) in the first two weeks of the month is much like the Pamplona Bull run, but rather than running into a bullring, the bulls run into the seas. See pictures from the Denia Bous a la Mar or see a video of a past event.

Denia is halfway between Benidorm and Gandia and is reachable from both Valencia and Alicante. If you're staying in Benidorm, the Line 9 tram takes you all the way to Denia. From other destinations, you'll need to take a bus or drive.

As a popular beach resort area, there is plenty of accommodation in this area, but much of it is taken up by package tour groups. Check out these Denia hotels recommended by the official tourism office.

Other Things to Do

The Bous a la Mar event is just one element of the Festa Major in Denia. Outside the festival, the main attraction on the Costa Blanca is the beaches, though Valencia has a lot more to do. 

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San Juan Bull Runs in Coria

They say that less is more and, indeed, when the town of Coria lets loose a single bull (as opposed to the usual dozens released during the bull runs) the town's inhabitants enjoy a fun few days in late June (usually the 23rd to the 27th) as they drink and dance in the streets, until that bull rears his ugly head. See past pictures and videos from the San Juan Bull Runs in Corea.

With bull runs in the daytime and in the evening, you don't need to stay in Coria, where accommodation is sparse and expensive at this time of year. Stay in Caceres or Merida instead.

Other Things to Do

Caceres' historic town center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but it is nearby Merida with its spectacularly well-preserved Roman ruins that is the local highlight.

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San Sebastian de los Reyes Bull Runs

If you travel to San Sebastian de Los Reyes, Madrid (not to be confused with San Sebastian in the Basque Country) in late August, you can catch the second most famous bull run in Spain (after the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, of course). This event is also known as the 'Pamplona chica'. Before you go, you can check out the San Sebastian bull run route from the official website.​

San Sebastian de Los Reyes is a commuter belt town close to Madrid, which is the best place to stay in the area. Take the Cercanias train from Atocha to get there.

Other Things to Do

If you're staying in Madrid, you'll find more than enough to do and see -- start with this list of 100 things to check off your to-do list. 

Continue to 5 of 5 below.
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Other Bull Runs in Spain

There are plenty of more bull runs throughout Spain. If you're in the area, some of the more notable ones include:

  • Chinchon - Bull runs near Madrid in August.
  • Zumaya (Zumaia) - A smaller version of the running of the bulls, held around the same time as the Pamplona event.
  • Tudela, Navarra (near Pamplona) - Running of the bulls, much like those held in Pamplona, held in the last week of July.
  • Collado Villalba (Madrid) A running of the bulls, as at Pamplona, held in the middle of June.
  • Tordesillas, Valladolid - In the second week of September the inhabitants of Tordesillas celebrate the festival of the Virgen de la Peña. A word of (gruesome) warning: A bull is chased by the townsfolk and then killed. The killer is invited to cut the testicles off the bull, which makes this a particularly unpleasant event. 
  • Torrejon de Ardoz, near Madrid - A smaller running of the bulls. See pictures of the Running of the Bulls in Torrejon de Ardoz, Madrid, held around the middle of June.
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