Best place to watch The Running of the Bulls
As good pamplonica (local of Pamplona) since I was born, 34 years ago, I have not missed even one year The Running of the Bulls Festival (Sanfermines). And year after year, I see the same situations and I think … Someone should inform travelers who plan their trip to The Running of the Bulls Festival, many months in advance, and finally left Pamplona without seeing even a single bull.
For that reason, I want to write this post and help travelers to understand how the Running of the Bulls works.
If you are planning a trip to Saint Fermin Festival (Real name for The Running of the Bulls), and you are looking for a place to watch the bulls run (El Encierro) here are some information you should know in advance.
When the bulls run?
The running of the bulls festival happens every year from July 6th to July 14th, but bulls run every morning from July 7th to July 14th at 8am
Is possible to watch the The Running of the Bulls (El Encierro) from the street?
Yes, it is, but is not recommended because probably you are going to wait on the street many hours and finally you will be lucky if you see a piece of a bull horn.
Year after year, the same company is responsible for placing the barrier to protect the city from the bulls.
In Pamplona there is a double barrier to strengthen security. Many people arrive many hours early, to get a good spot and placed on the first barrier thinking they will live the experience of his life, and that the bulls will pass right ahead of them.
After waiting a lot of time taking care of their spot (people start to reach the fence about 6am), police arrives and makes them leave that place, because first barrier is reserved only for runners who need to escape, police and medical staff.
Of course, at that time, the second barrier is already full, and in no way you will find a place there.
People who are in the second barrier is also very likely not see too. Runners run with the bulls, thus being at the same level, as most likely will be to see runners covering the bull, or jumping into the first barrier to escape. It will be filled with people and the views from second barrier will not be good either.
Which is the best place to view The Running of the Bulls?
Certainly, the best way to see the Running of the bulls (El Encierro) is from a balcony.
The bulls route goes through very narrow streets where almost no barrier, so if you want to see the bulls running through the streets, the best option is to reserve a balcony spot in Santo Domingo, Estafeta and Mercaderes.
Balconies, are often located in local homes that open their doors to travelers who want to live a unique experience.
From these balconies, besides being warmer that on the street (usually at 7am in Pamplona it’s cold) , you can have breakfast, watch the replay of el Encierro on TV, talking with the hosts, see how the runners get ready before the Running of the Bulls start, watch how the police ensures that all runners are in good condition to run, etc.
Another option is to see the end of El Encierro from Pamplona’s bullring.
That could be a good option too, but definitely we only recommend this option if you already lived the experience of watch the Running of the Bulls from a Balcony first. Because from the bullring you are not going to experience a real Encierro.
At the bullring is seen the bulls coming to the corral and then, take place the release of bravo cows, some little brave cows that goes to the arena after El Encierro. Then runners play with them. It’s fun, but is not comparable, because from here you can not feel the emotion that exists watching the running of the bulls from a balcony.
If you are planning your trip to the running of the bulls and have any question, need tips or assistance to organize your activities in Pamplona, I encourage you to leave your comments or send us an email. We will be happy to help you.