How to Rent Balconies for the Bull Runs in Pamplona

How to Rent Balconies for the Bull Runs in Pamplona

Every year, the Running of the Bulls festival draws hundreds of thousands of tourists from all over the world to the tiny Casco Viejo (Old Quarter) neighborhood of Pamplona, Spain. With crowds that big in a space that small, it's no surprise that real estate is extremely limited at the festival's biggest event: the encierro.

The encierro, or bull run, takes place every morning between July 7th to July 14th on the following streets and plazas: 1) Calle Santo Domingo, 2) Plaza Consistorial, 3) Calle Mercaderes, and 4) Calle Estafeta. 

If you would like to experience this event without risking your life, you'll need to book a balcony space to watch the bull run from just above the chaos. 

When you make balcony space reservations for the Pamplona bull runs, you are renting access to stand on a homeowner's personal balcony, typically from 6:45am or 7:00am (the hour or so before the bull run) until just after the bull run ends (around 8:05-8:10am). Balcony hosts typically put out a small Spanish-style breakfast of pastries, biscuits, jams or spreads, and coffee. In the hour leading up to the bull run, you can stand on the balcony to watch the anticipation build in the streets below, watch the live TV documenting the events leading up to the bull run, or mingle with your host and other guests.

On small balconies, there are usually spaces for 3 or 4 people to comfortably stand on the front row. On bigger balconies, there are usually spaces for 9 or 10 people to comfortably stand in the front row. Unless you rent out the entire balcony, you'll be sharing the balcony with others who purchased balcony spaces for that morning. Booking through BullBalcony means you'll get a guaranteed front-row view, or your money back. 

If you're looking to rent balcony spaces for the Running of the Bulls, you can book directly from a local apartment-owner, or—for a little more security that you're getting what you pay for—you can book balcony spaces through a reputable tour company like works with the same local families year after year, so we know that our balconies are run by responsible, respectful, and trustworthy people that will make your experience smooth and worry-free. 

When you book a balcony space, you'll be able to choose your street and the balcony level, which are the two main factors that affect the view you will have from your balcony.

Here's what you need to know about the different street views:

  • From balconies overlooking Santo Domingo, watch the anticipation build as runners line up before the run and sing the prayer to San Fermín. Then, watch the bulls at the very start of the run, as they charge up the inclined street at maximum speed.
  • From Mercaderes balconies, watch the anticipation build at the police-line (the furthest point any runners can line up), and get a view of “La Curva de Estafeta” from the Mercaderes side. The end of this section, commonly known as "Dead Man's Corner" is a particularly dangerous section of the run where bulls often slip and get separated, leading to highly dangerous situations.
  • From Estafeta balconies, get a view of the longest stretch of the bull run. By this point of the run, bulls are often slightly separated and running at a slower pace, which means that runners get a chance to shine by running “on the horns” of the bulls. For Estafeta balconies, there is an advantage to being on a higher floor or balcony level, since it gives you a view of far more of the bull run. 

Here's what you need to know about the different levels:

The lower the balcony level, the closer you are to the bulls and all the action on the street. Level 1 is the lowest level balcony possible, and level 4 is typically the highest level balcony you can find. Because lower-level balconies are in greater demand, they are generally the most expensive choices as well as the first to sell out. However, on Calle Estafeta, it is advantageous to be a little higher up (Level 3 or 4). Since Calle Estafeta is a long and straight stretch of the bull run, being higher up will allow you to see almost the entire street from one balcony. 

Balconies typically cost between $125 - $300, depending on the day (July 7th-9th are typically more expensive), the balcony (balconies on "La Curva" are the most expensive), and the view (Level 1 balconies are typically the most expensive).

If balconies to watch the bull run are currently out of your Pamplona travel budget, don't worry! There is another way to watch the bull runs: You can buy a ticket to view the encierro directly from the Plaza de Toros. With these tickets, you will be able to watch the bulls run into the arena, and you will also be able to watch the show afterwards as horned vaquillas charge into and jump over the crowd. (Balcony viewers: You can watch this show, too, if you go directly from your balcony to the Plaza de Toros after the bull run ends). 

If you have any questions about how to book a balcony to watch the bull runs in Pamplona, Spain, please don't hesitate to reach out! We're here to help.

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