Pamplona Running of the Bulls Schedule

San Fermin Festival, Pamplona: Dates and Times

The Running of the Bulls
••• John Lamb/Getty Images

The Pamplona Running of the Bulls is a part of the San Fermin Festival, which runs in Pamplona from July 6 to July 14 every year. If you can't make it at this time of year, there are other Bull Runs in Spain.

Prepare for your trip:

Pamplona Running of the Bulls - Dates and Times

The events of Pamplona's San Fermin Festival are as follows:

  • July 6
    The opening day is different from the other days of the festival.
    • 12 noon - the opening ceremony, known as the chupinazo.
    • 11 pm - fireworks and general partying. This continues throughout the festival!
  • July 7-14
    Each day of the festival is the same.
    • 8 am - the running of the bulls takes place.
    • 6.30 pm - bullfighting in the city's bullring, with the bulls that ran that morning.
    • 11 pm - more partying!

The Guided Tour Option

Who this would appeal to: Someone who wants to guarantee a good time with little risk of anything going wrong. This is the easiest way to experience the Pamplona Running of the Bulls. Learn more about Pamplona Guided Tours.

  • Arrive in Barcelona.
  • Get taken to Pamplona.
  • Watch the bull run from a balcony. Have a VIP breakfast afterward.
  • Spend a few days afterward in the Basque Country (Bilbao and San Sebastian).
  • Have all transportation, tours, accommodation and organization done for you.

    The Stay-Up-All-Night Option

    Who this would appeal to: The big-time party guy (or girl) who is able to stay awake throughout the night and still be conscious enough to enjoy the bulls. This is the cheap option as no accommodation is involved and it is great for getting a good seat to view the run from as you can get to your chosen spot nice and early, but a lot of stamina is required for this option.

      Under no circumstances should you run the bulls if you have had no sleep and have been drinking all night.

    • Travel in the afternoon from Bilbao, San Sebastian or Barcelona.
    • Arrive in time for the fireworks.
    • Stay up all night, making your way to your chosen viewing spot by about 4 or 5 am.
    • Watch the bull run (at 8 am).
    • Leave Pamplona as soon as the run has taken place.

    The Night Train Option

    Who this would appeal to: The budget culture traveler, one who has no interest in the partying the night before. This is the cheapest option as it doesn't require accommodation or beer money, but it does kinda miss out on all the fun! You might also arrive a little late to find the best place to view from.

    • Take the night train (or bus) from Bilbao, San Sebastian or Barcelona, arriving just in time to see the run.
    • Watch the bull run.
    • Leave Pamplona as soon as the run has taken place.

    The Quick Lie Down Option

    Who this would appeal to: The traveler that wants to party a little but knows their limits and knows they'll never make it through the night. You'll hardly use your accommodation but you'll appreciate it! This option is highly recommended for those who wish to take part in the run.

    • Book a hotel in Pamplona well in advance
    • Travel in the afternoon from Bilbao, San Sebastian or Barcelona.
    • Arrive in time for the fireworks.
    • Party for a while, but go to bed early.
    • Have a short sleep (three or four hours) and rise at about 4 am to go to your chosen viewing spot.
    • Watch the bull run (at 8 am).
    • Leave Pamplona as soon as the run has taken place.

    The 'I Need My Sleep' Option

    Who this would appeal to: Culture vultures who really want to see the main spectacle but aren't interested in the partying the night before or trying to sleep while a whole city is out partying.

    • Pamplona is noisy throughout the night during the San Fermin Festival, so the Quick Lie-Down Option (above) isn't for those who really need their sleep, so book a hotel in nearby Vitoria.
    • Take the early morning train from Vitoria to Pamplona in time for the day's running of the bulls. 
    • Note that the locals won't be doing what you're doing, so most of them will be asleep during the day. Pamplona is a ghost town during the San Fermin festival until the evening's bullfights start at around 5 pm. Museums and restaurants will be closed.

    The 'Wrap Me Up in Cotton Wool, I Can't Handle All This Excitement' Option

    Who this would appeal to: The kind of person that isn't really interested in the run at all, but is simply ticking off items on the 'Things to Do in Spain' list. Pamplona is not the most exciting city in the world and it is even less exciting when everything is closed as things always are at festival time.

    • Travel in the morning from Bilbao, San Sebastian or Barcelona.
    • Spend the afternoon watching the locals set up the festivities; there'll be little else to do.
    • Watch the fireworks (from a safe distance, you can't handle the noise) and go to bed. Fail to get to sleep as it's all too darn noisy outside.
    • Get up at 7.30 am and try squeezing through the crowd to see the bull run. Fail to find a vantage point because you've left it too late.
    • Watch the bull run on TV.
    • Stick around in Pamplona, looking for the museums and art galleries. Realize they're all closed because everyone's asleep.

    What to Expect in a Typical 24 Hours at the Pamplona Running of the Bulls

    If you party all night, you can expect your San Fermin festival experience to be a bit like this:

    • 11 pm - enjoy the party!

      At 11 pm (or just before) is the firework display, and it's quite an impressive one too. If you are going for the first day of the running of the bulls, remember that the party starts the night before.

      As soon as the firework display is over, you could try following the crowd; the Spanish will know where to go. However, with so much going on, it might be worth selecting where you want go beforehand. The younger generation heads to Plaza Castillo and the surrounding streets, with live music, discos and street musicians inspiring the inebriated party-goers to move their feet. Bear in mind the fact that the partying won't stop until 8 am, so pace yourself!

    • 2 am - wanting a place to rest?

      In need of a quiet place to sit down? You won't find it. Everyone from seven to 107 will be out on the streets.

    • 3 am-7 am - find a spot to watch the run from

      Read more about Where to Stand at the Pamplona Running of the Bulls.

    • 7.45 am get your camera ready

      The action comes thick and fast; the part that you can see from where you are standing only lasts about 10 seconds. Therefore you need to get your camera ready. If it has a sports setting, try that, but test it beforehand or you might end up with useless pictures.

    • 8 am - enjoy the run!

      You've waited all night for this, so have fun! If this is your first day, don't run; watch and learn.

    • 8.15 am until 5 pm - very little happens!

      Nothing much happens in Pamplona during the day, as most people are sleeping. If you don't have anywhere to stay, you're going to have to move on. Many people sleep in the parks or walk out of the city and find some shade to rest for a few hours.

      If you are planning on running (hopefully you only watched the first time), you should walk the route with someone who has run before. Read more Tips for Running with the Bulls in Pamplona.

    • 5 pm - bullfighting in the bullring

      The bulls that ran that morning are involved in the evening's bullfights.

    • 11 pm - the partying starts again!

      And the cycle repeats itself...