The world famous festival of San Fermin and running of the bulls happens each year in the city of Pamplona. The festival gained worldwide notoriety in 1926 with the help from Ernest Hemmingway and his book The Sun Also Rises. The festival is held from July 6th through the 14th, during the festival the streets are packed shoulder to shoulder with people of all ages dressed in the famous red and white attire. In this blog post I will talk about how to visit the festival while traveling on a budget and share some tips and tricks to help you stay on budget while you travel.
First, you need to know that any festival you go to around Europe will be muc h more expensive if you were to visit that city at another time of the year. As long as you know going in that this will be more expensive then usual that is a good start. With that being said if you are looking to attend a famous festival like San Fermin then you need to get started early. Book a room as soon as you can because prices will continue to rise the closer the event is. Pamplona is not a very big city with a population of a little under 200,000 residents. Because of this there are not very many hostels in Pamplona. When I looked to book somewhere to stay the hostels had the price of over 100 euros a night for a 10 person shared room. Couchsuring during these events is also tough, so I turned to Airbnb and found a reasonable room with two Spanish men.
If you book early enough on Airbnb you should be able to find a good deal. I recommend staying a little outside of the downtown area for a couple of reasons. One, it is extremely loud the whole night, Spaniards are not known for going to be early, also it will be cheaper to stay outside the downtown area. San Fermin is a great festival and drinking is a big part of it, in my opinion. I recommend Kalimotxos to get the job done, a mix of the cheapest wine you can find and coca cola. They are famous in the Basque Region of Spain and you will fit right in, and they are super cheap. I also recommend running with the bulls because you will be so nervous that you would want to eat.
In all seriousness, if you do decide to run with the bulls make sure you have good running shoes, they wont let you run without them, and make sure you are not drunk. Running with the bulls was the scariest thing I have ever done in my life, I watched a women get gored directly across the street from me, this is serious business. If you are looking to attend one of the famous bull fights there are lots of tickets for sell on streets. Make sure you check the dates, and bargain with the seller, they will go down in price. It’s almost impossible to get them from the ticket office so this is really your only option. Finally don’t plan on staying for more than 2 nights, you can do all of the activities in two days and staying longer than that is unnecessary. That being said, start your bookings early and do your research on the event before you head there, if you do that you can save a lot of money.