San Fermin: So Much More than Running with Bulls

Since the days of Ernest Hemingway, tourists and adventure seekers across the globe have gravitated to the annual San Fermin Festival in Pamplona for its most famous attraction: the bull run.  Adrenaline junkies after their next fix, macho types looking to prove their studliness, and herds of one-beer-too-many “sounds like a great idea” travelers flock to Pamplona each July to test their mettle, only to discover that San Fermin is so much more than just a bull run.  Here at Stoke, we love San Fermin (it was our first festival, after all) so we wanted to shed some light on the lesser-known, but no less legendary, aspects of one of Spain’s biggest parties.

Street Parties

This is the true heart of San Fermin.  Every evening, starting with the opening ceremony (El Chupinazo) the streets of Pamplona fill with locals and visitors alike to dance and drink the night away.  Historically, the festival was a celebration of Saint Fermin, although historians debate the accuracy of his legacy, but these days San Fermin is mostly an excuse to party.  Street parties are a great way to experience an authentic Spanish fiesta. Mingle with locals of all ages, and try out your drunk Spanish. Usually, the closing ceremony (Pobre de Mi) is one of the larger parties, but streets are packed with revelers every night of the week.

Get out of Pamplona

The festival lasts for a week, giving you plenty of time to check out Pamplona’s beautiful surroundings.  Set in the province of Navarra in the north of Spain, Pamplona is a great hub for some shorter excursions.  Bilbao BBK music festival is raging nearby during the last weekend of San Fermin, with tickets and transportation available through Stoke.  If you’d rather a bit of relaxation, head straight from Pamplona to Stoke’s Beach Camp an hour away in the heart of Basque country. The Stoke beach house is our little slice of heaven, sitting right between the legendary beaches of Zarautz and the city of San Sebastian (which boasts more bars per square kilometer than anywhere in the world).

Camp in Style

Don’t feel like heading into Pamplona to brave the crowds and the excitement? No problem, there’s plenty to do without ever leaving the sanctuary of the Stoke campsite.  Relax in the grassy hills of Navarra, take a dip in the pool, and hang out with some Stokies in the chill out zone. Camp time isn’t just for taking a break, though, because we’ll be bringing the party to you with our Stoked in the Park mini-festival.  Musical acts, wicked installations, sports tourneys, and campsite parties come standard when you stay with us.  And, as always, enjoy free unlimited beer and sangria at the Stoke bar for only €10 per day.

And if you must…

While it’s hardly the focal point of San Fermin, it’s impossible to deny the popularity of the bull run.  Runs take place early in the morning throughout the week of the festival, with the largest (and historically most dangerous) happening the morning after the opening ceremony.  Each run only lasts about five minutes though, leaving most of the day free for less stressful forms of entertainment. Added bonus: If you’re keen on running, but could do without the two-ton wall of muscles and horns chasing you, go for the traditional Stoke Undie Run instead.  There’s almost no chance of being seriously injured, plus it’s full of near-naked hotties, so the undie run is a more drinking-friendly alternative.

Whatever your idea of fun, join Stoke July 6-14th and see for yourself what San Fermin has to offer.  Don’t forget, you can catch a ride with us from Madrid or Barcelona.




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