Running of the bulls with families

Running of the Bulls with Families

One of the best qualities of San Fermín Festival is that everyone can enjoy it. Bringing your children to Pamplona is a fantastic idea if you want them to experience a memorable, unique vacation. For all nine days of Fiesta, the city is filled with fun, tradition and activities for all ages.

The Running of the Bulls is a safe festival, with plenty of families out on the streets during mornings and afternoons. The most important part is to learn the rhythm of the day, and the locations appropriate for children.

The most popular activities for families are:

El Encierro (The Bull Run): Takes place at 8:00am every day from July 7th to July 14th. The best place to watch it with kids is safe above street level in an apartment balcony.

El Chupinazo/Txupinazo (Opening Ceremonies): Families tend to go to Plaza del Castillo or Paseo Sarasate, because these venues are less crazy than Plaza Consistorial (City Hall Square). Fortunately, you won’t miss the action, because the city has arranged a big screen to watch the Ceremony that takes place in Plaza Consistorial.

Note: For their safety, children aren’t allowed into Plaza Consistorial, so if you want to watch the spectacle in-person, the only possibility is to rent a balcony spot inside the Plaza and arrive well before the crowds gather (between 10:00 and 10:15am).

Gigantes y Cabezudos (Giants and Big Heads): Every morning, the awesome Giants and Big Heads parade down the street, dancing and running around Pamplona’s Casco Viejo (old town). The route changes daily, so be sure you check a local newspaper or our Pamplona Event Schedule {internal link}

Procesión de San Fermín: The most traditional activity during the Sanfermines is held on July 7th at 10:00 a.m. This is the moment when you can see the figure of the saint, hear traditional songs, and also watch more Gigantes dance.

Menudas Fiestas: Located at Conde Rodezno Square, this is an exclusive festival for kids from 2 to 14 years old. Normally the park is full of kids, so the best time to attend is before 12:00 noon or at 6:00 pm.

Corrales del Gas: One of the favorites events for kids is to go to the Corrals, to watch the bulls that are going to run every morning. You can see bulls from 8 different ranches (ganaderías) waiting to make their run.

Toro de Fuego: Every night at 10:00 p.m., children have their own Encierro (bull run) in Pamplona, with a fake bull packed with fireworks. The only danger from this bull is flying sparks. Keep your distance or, if you want to brave the Fuego, consider a jacket to protect your skin.

Fireworks Contest: This is one of the most beautiful fireworks contests in Spain. Every night, from July 6th to July 14th, thousands of families watch professional fireworks teams compete for the prize at the Ciudadela (Citadel Park). Arrive early, because fireworks start at 11:00 pm, and finding a nice spot on the grass can take a while.

These activities can help families enjoy the culture, colors and excitement of the Running of the Bulls. But remember, it is the most famous festival in the world, so you need to be prepared and know where to go. Our suggestions to enjoy the festival with kids are:

  • Avoid weekends. The festival is just as entertaining during the week but with less crowding.
  • Book a hotel room near old town Pamplona but not right in the city center. This will help you enjoy the fiesta but still be able to sleep when you’re ready.
  • If you’re watching the bull run from a balcony, find one with a back entrance in order to avoid fighting the crowds inside the bull run route.
  • Don’t buy bullfight tickets if your child is younger than 13 years old, because they can’t attend the bullfights.
  • While Pamplona is safe during fiesta, there are streets that are packed tight with revelers. We recommend avoiding Jarauta, Calderería or San Nicolas Streets if you’re walking with children.
  • Schedule your activities in advance and be sure that you know where you go if you want to arrive on time. Official Pamplona Schedule page will help. {internal link}
  • Navigating the crowds with a baby carriage is not a good idea, except during the quiet afternoon period. Otherwise, we suggest carrying children in your arms.
  • Be prepared to see some drinking, singing and dancing. Normally drunk people don’t attend the events we suggest above, but who knows who you might encounter along the way.
  • Keep your children with you and keep an eye on them. Some streets are crowded at times and it is easy to lose sight of them. We recommend children them a card or bracelet with your name, phone and hotel where you are staying.

Overall, Pamplona is a very family-friendly city. Within a day, you’ll get a feel for when the families are out. A good rule of thumb is that most streets are passable between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. so get out there and enjoy fiesta with your kids.