Most people don’t know that the Running of the Bulls™ is surrounded by over 400 events that occur throughout the San Fermín Festival. One that often fails to make it onto visitors’ schedule – but is well worth the effort – is the nightly fireworks contest, held in and around the Ciudadela, the 16th Century fortification in the heart of Pamplona. Professional fireworks companies from all over Spain compete for the coveted prizes awarded both by a jury and by popular vote.

Starting July 6th and continuing through July 14th, each night at 11:00 p.m., the city pauses and looks skyward. It’s not enough to step outside your favorite bar, as the long, narrow streets of the Casco Viejo (old town) prevent you from taking it in. Just head toward the Bus Station and you’ll find the large open green space leading up to the old fort. The fireworks are launched from the ramparts of the inner walls of the Ciudadela, so the best view is from just outside the surrounding walls.

For those lucky enough to hold a ticket, some vendors offer access to the private party thrown by the Baluarte performing arts center. They have the advantage of a rooftop terrace directly across from the launch point, offering spectacular views of the fire raining down on the city, not to mention the advantage of tapas and wine within arm’s reach.

Winners of each year’s contests are announced in our Running of the Bulls News section each August. Here’s a link to the 2013 San Fermín Fireworks Contest Winners.