Even if you’re not much of an explorer, a trip to Pamplona can be your standard boozy holiday, just with the whole running with the bulls bit added in. The festival is called San Fermin, and its opening day is one of the messiest days to be had anywhere in Europe. On the morning of the opening day festivities, seas of people walk excitedly up the hill into the old town from the train station. Having acquired the appropriate white garb and red sash, most jump headfirst into the huge town-wide food and sangria fight that really manages to set the mood for the rest of the festival. The remaining six days begin at 8am sharp, with the running of the bulls inevitably turning back into a party as people relive their tales, rejoice over their mornings action or maybe even drink away their pains.
Now where should you stay to get the best experience? Although there are many nice campsites just a bus ride away from the town, and a few decent hostels dotted around the centre, most people prefer the option of just crashing in the park. While not quite the same as sharing a sh*t-stained hotel room with the lads on a Spanish or Greek island, overall this really is a much better experience.
Thousands of people party through the warm night, eventually crashing in a sea of litter only to wake with the sunrise and do it all over again. And trust me, there really is no better way to cure a hangover than being chased by 12 huge bulls over the sangria stained cobbles whilst thousands of people watch and secretly judge that your choice of worn out converse probably wasn’t a good one.
The town of Pamplona isn’t first on most peoples list for a summer getaway, as most prefer the dash to one of the notorious islands to get their fill. Yet a week in Pamplona is so much more exciting and so much more rewarding. The festival brings a huge array of people together and gives everyone a common ground. Surely partying all day and night out in the open air, sipping on local drink, is preferable to heaving your way through nightclub after nightclub looking desperately for that summer lay? And most importantly, without the worry of paying for a place to stay or the need to buy whatever it is that people feel the need to wear in Magaluf or wherever, a trip to Pamplona is wonderfully cheap and in my opinion a greatly superior option for a summer binge.