For me, the festival of San Fermín is much more than raging bulls, madness and alcohol. I was born on December 27th and 7 months later I was dressed like a Pamplonica.
On July 6th, at noon, at the time of txupinazo, I was baptized at the same time the mayor of Pamplona initiated one of the best parties in the world!
Perhaps this is why I have so much affection for this week, days in which the young, old, rich, poor, local and foreigners alike dress in white and red, and celebrate at a party known worldwide for its tradition and revelry.
Indeed, it is a party for all ages. As a child, I visited the terrace of at the Plaza del Castillo to have brunch. I begged my parents to watch the fireworks and visit the fair. Later on, as a teenager (and, admittedly, as an adult), I participated in the annual Battle in the Plaza del Castillo, fought with flour, eggs and champagne.
Instead of the fair these days, you’ll find me at a concert in Antoniuti or Plaza del Castillo, and sharing drinks with friends post concert at one of the bars located on Jurauta St., Nueva St. or San Nicholas St. Though the activities changed as I grew up, the tradition remained close to my heart and remains a favorite time of year, and I’ve found that the Festival of San Fermin has become an even more important and treasured annual holiday in my life.
But, back to the fun. Although there are activities for all ages, I’ve found that I’ve enjoyed it the most as I have entered my late 20s and come to appreciate not only the party but also the leisure activities available in Pamplona during the San Fermín Festival. Activities are available 24 hours a day, whether it be music, events, laughter or just a great Spanish wine at one of the bars open 24 hours a day.
Below, If you are thinking on come to Pamplona on these dates, here is my recommendation for a sample day plan: Get up early, get to your balcony and cheer on the running of the bulls. After the run, enjoy breakfast and then go see the big heads and giants (Gigantes & Kilikis) that leaving City Hall.
After you can Take a stroll down Estafeta or San Nicolas St for tapas and wine, before a leisurely lunch in some of the many good restaurants in town.
A perfect place to relax and have a coffee, after have a large lunch is the Rincón de Caballo Blanco, a beautiful setting of the old town of Pamplona, where you can enjoy a moment of tranquility and delight in its fantastic views. And when you are ready, make your way to Plaza de Toros and shout “Ole!” as bullfights begin at 6.30 pm. You will see 6 bulls fought by brave matadors every evening from July 6th to July 14th. Once the bullfight is over, don’t miss out on the peñas, the 16 bands come out with their banners from the alley of Plaza de toros, accompanied by people who sing, drink and dance. When they pass, join them and walk around the streets of the old part of Pamplona, stopping at bars to get to the bar of the “home” bar of the peña.
If you don’t want go with the peñas, when the bullfight is over, I recommend you going to drink and dance on Cuesta de Labrit, some bars has a wonderful patios, my favourites places here are Kabiya or Niza.
When you’re tired of dancing and you’re hungry, go to have dinner to some restaurant located in Plaza del Castillo, or buy a sandwich and go to see how the Fireworks explode in the sky once night falls…. After you can choose, Enjoy a little more fun at any of the local bars or take a rest and start it all over the next day.
I grew up in Pamplona, and although I have lived in Logroño, Barcelona and Dallas, I have not missed a single Festival of San Fermín. I look forward to being there again with family and friends, and hope you will join us too to have fun during the San Fermín Festival.