Special ProgramsSanfermines is one of the most unique, renowned and celebrated festivals in the world today and is a combination of two major festivals held each year in Pamplona, the Fiesta de San Fermín, the celebration of Navarra's co-patron Saint, San Fermín, and the Feria del Toro de San Fermín, the Festival of the Bull. The legendary Running of the bulls, the encierro, was first introduced to the world in Hemingway's 1926 novel, The Sun Also Rises (Fiesta), which each year continues to attract thousands of visitors from around the world. The encierro, the running of the bulls, could one of the most adrenaline charged moments you may ever experience!
The fiesta begins at noon on July 6 with the firing of the rockets, "el chupinazo," from the mayor's office in the town hall square and ends at midnight on the 14th with the "probe de mí," the solemn candlelight ceremony that marks the beginning of the countdown to the next Sanfermines. Sadly, for many visitors to this historic city in the Navarran Pyrenees, the deeply rooted traditions and customs of the region may go unnoticed or even misunderstood. For this reason, Iberian Traveler’s Sanfermín Tours offers a series of special Festival Programs which will help you enjoy the cultural aspects of this unique religious, family oriented cultural event in the heart of Navarra.
In Mediaeval times the bulls were led by the pastores, shepherds, on foot from the countryside to the cities public square, which was set up as a bullring, to be fought by nobles before being taken to slaughter. The last stretch of the route was covered at dawn at a running pace in order not to disturb the cities residents. The original path ended in the Plaza del Castillo, but was changed in 1844 when the first bullring was built in Pamplona. The "encierro" went down Calle Estafeta for the first time in 1856. The route, starting on Santo Domingo, is just over a half-mile long, which the fastest bulls can cover in under two minutes. Now each morning, from the 7th through the 14th, you will be able to witness this spectacle from one of our premium balcony locations in the town hall square, along Mercaderes or Calle Estafeta. Balcony reservations include the services of a local guide.
Dining During Fiesta
Pamplona is a city blessed with more than 300 cafés, bars and restaurants from which to choose. It offers some of the finest cuisine in the north of Spain, on a par with the best the Basque country and Catalunya have to offer. Reservations for lunch and/or dinner during fiesta are essential and should be made well in advance, and although the fiesta doesn’t officially begin until the 6th, you will need reservations beginning on the 5th as festival goers from throughout Spain and around the world begin arriving. Restaurants in the old quarter will also be busy from the 10th to the 14th when the city fills with revelers from the Pays Basque, the French Basque Country, celebrating Bastille Day. See our recommendations for the cities top restaurants and pintxos bars.