I personally did the run a couple years ago. Yes, as to be expected, it is not entirely safe. However the bulls are not typically aggressive, but rather, they just are trying to avoid the crowds. When they do so, the corridors are busy enough that as they run from one congestion, they run into another one.
One hint to help stay a bit more safe is to remember that the cobblestone street that serves as the corridor for the run will be freshly washed. The bulls (and one cow) will take the corners wide, and if they slip, it will be here. To be safe, stay to the inside of the corners.
See my other "to-do" tip for more info on the running of the bulls.
Favorite thing: During the Running of the Bulls, If you don't want to pay 25 euro for a balcony seat, get theri early enough to find a ledge on a building that overlooks the run. Kind of tough to hold a camera while trying to keep from falling off the ledge.
Favorite thing: This is a festival and is very family oriented. Not only do they have puppets, giants, carnivals, but little shows for the kids, such as this balloon show on Avenida Carlos III. There was also a kids train and at a small kids park, the City put out a hundred or so drums the kids could beat on to their hearts content. While not conducive alleviating sangria headaches, the kids were having a blast.
Favorite thing: Even during the madness of the San Fermin Festival it is still possible to find a cool spot and some tranquillity. I hit the supermarket and bought enough for a picnic at a small park overlooking the Rio Arga. Keep careful watch on your belongings as petty theft is rampant. Many travelers camp down by the Rio Arga and some just sleep in the parks.
Favorite thing: During the San Fermin festivities, avoid buying the sangria in a bottle from the local marts that are in the old town. It is nasty stuff. Much better to go the one of the supermercados just north of the bull ring, buy a bottle of reasonably good spanish wine, some fresh orange juice and some lemon lime soda and mix your own batch.
The Best part of the walk " The Camino de Santiago " is the walk it's self !! I have been lucky enough to have walked in Many different Countries From Scotland to Sri Lanka and from Morocco to Myanmar + Nepal of course !! And although I don't like using the word " Best " Walk, The Camino de Santiago is Very High up the list !!
Well Maintained paths, Good sign posting, Great and inexpensive accommodation en-route, Great variety of Nationalities walking the way, Great variety of reasons why the Pilgrims are doing the walk -- everything from Deep Religious Commitment to The Ideal way of seeing Spain, Ever changing scenery en-route from the shoulder of the Pyrenees to the high plains west of Burgos with everything in between, Great Food on the way -- from simple local fare to international cuisine in the Cities!!
Just A GREAT WALK !!!
There is at first the San Fermin festival, but its well known. So if u are here in other time. Start ur Saturday night trip in the "Negro Sumbon" or in the "Marengo" and follow the people.....
Fondest memory: The open hearts of the humans living here. And the easy days at weekend at the about 12 a.m. in a cafes garden drinkin a cerveze and eating a boccadillo.
Whether your going to be running with the bulls or just partying your ass off, there is no room to bring your back pack along. The train station has lockers, where you can leave everything but what your wearing and your wallet.
Fondest memory: I can remember coming back to the lockers the next morning to get our stuff out. We had run with the bulls, drank more than our share of wines, were fighting hangovers and hadnt slept a wink. It had been a good night and it was just the beginning of our trip. We eneded up not sleeping for another 2 days...long story.
During the festival of San Fermin, all trains going in a nd out of Spain are full. It wouldn't be strange to wait 2 or 3 days to get a train in or out of Pamplona. Me personally, I have never not gotten onto a train that I wanted to get on. Even if the condutor or anyone else says that the train is full, I always get on. The beauty of Spain, Italy and a handful of other countires is that many conductors can easily be bribed. So whether you have a reservation or not, just get on and see what happens. After all the worst thing they can do is kick you off and then you can try again on the next train. It's all part of the adventure.
Fondest memory: I can remember getting on a train that was said to be full on the way to Pamplona. After sitting in a first class cabin that was virtually empty, 10 Euros convinced the conductor that we would stay in our seats and get to Pamplona. Then on the way out of Pamplona (which is an insane ordeal) we again got on a full train and it turned out to be one of the funnier experinces of the day. Just get on the train!!!
The best thing about Pamplona and the reason that it is on the map, is because of the Festival of San Fermin. During this one week festival, the street, bars and clubs are packed with locals and travelers from around the world, coming to experience soemthing that they have heard about all their lives. THE RUNNING OF THE BULLS.
Fondest memory: My fondest memory of Pamplona is definately my experience running with the bulls. To enter the arena with 1 bulls in front of me and 2 behind me as I ran out of the tunnel and seeing the entire stadium roar with cheers as the bulls entered was something that can't be descirbed.
The ENCIERRO or RUNNING OF THE BULLS is the single most characteristic event of the Fiesta of San Fermin
This is the event which has given the Fiesta world-wide fame and which appears on news broadcasts around the world during that special week in July.
It is held at eight o'clock each morning from the 7th to the 14th of July inclusive. It consists largely of young men (although it admits all types) who run in front of the bulls to lead them from their pen up and into the bull-ring. It usually lasts from two to three minutes - although if there are complications due to loose bulls it can last much longer
Pic by Luis Azanaza
Pamplona City Hall
Located in the old city its a typical image from Pamplona as bulls or wine are too.
From there take a look the narrow and charm streets, besides Plaza del Castillo or estafeta street
a fabolous place where you always find relax as ours that sunday afternoon once we have lunch
Sculpture in pamplona center city detaching the most famous event in the city
Famous by San Fermin festival on July 7th and next days... where bulls and wine run at the same time