Sun section crowd at San Fermín bullfight (July 8th, 2022)

Sun Side at a Bullfight: What to Bring & Things to Remember

So you’re going to the running of the bulls this summer, and you’ve bought your San Fermín Corrida de Toros (bullfight) tickets in the sol (sun) side instead of the sombra (shade) side? While the sun side is not for everyone, especially in the midst of Spain’s yearly heat waves, this section’s brass bands and friendly crowd of local Spaniards can make for an absolutely unforgettable experience, as long as you’re prepared! Read on for tips on what to bring to your first bullfight to make the most of your experience. 

1. Plastic Buckets

Something we love about the Plaza de Toros in Pamplona, Spain is that, unlike most sports arenas around the world, you’re allowed to bring in any food or drink that you want. Before you head to your bullfight, stop by any alimentación, or convenience store,  and buy a few red plastic buckets to hold your food and drinks. The handle makes it easy to transport your food and it’ll definitely make you look like a local. 

2. Individually Packaged Food (especially Bocadillos de Jamón), Hot dogs, Ramen, or another easy-to-make food

Because the sun side is the chaotic party section, you’re going to want to bring food that is easily transportable and individually wrapped. Think bocadillos de jamón (ham sandwiches), hot dogs, or quesadillas as the main entree and a few bags of chips as an appetizer. If you’re bringing any condiments like ketchup or mustard, we recommend bringing them separately and putting them on your food right before you eat so that your food doesn’t get soggy.

3. Don Simón Sangria

A classic alcoholic drink at San Fermín is the Don Simón sangria, which goes on sale in Pamplona before and during the festival (think less than 2 euros for 1.5 liters). Make sure you bring enough to drink and a little extra to throw. We like to fill the red plastic buckets with ice and put the Sangria bottles directly in the bucket to cool on the way to the bullfight.

4. Tinto de Verano - Mix wine and KAS Límon or KAS Orange for a refreshing summer drink. 

If the Don Simón is sold out, which it often is as the most popular fiesta drink, the locals like to make something called “Tinto de Verano,” or “red wine of the summer” by mixing 1 part cheap red wine with 1 part KAS Límon or KAS naranja (popular lemon or orange flavoured sodas) to simulate the sweet, fruity, flavour of Don Simòn sangria. 

5. Things to cool yourself down!

As the “sun side” name suggests, this section can get hot. Make sure to bring a hat, sunglasses, and lots of water, and lather yourself up with sunscreen before the fight. As the fight goes on, you might find a fan or water mister handy to keep yourself cool and help you continue to enjoy the fight.

6. Clothes you don’t mind getting stained

The sun side is not a fashion show. After the matador has killed the bull, it’s tradition to throw sangria as a form of celebration of a matador’s performance. Depending on the crowd around you (or the friends you bring with you), your white clothes might end up totally sangria-pink by the time the bullfight is over, so make sure you bring clothes that you’re comfortable with getting stained. 

Some extra things to remember…

Seats are not reserved in the Sun Side

While your ticket will have a seat number on it, remember that these seating assignments are not respected in the Sun side.  The peñas, or local brass bands, will sit at the very top of the section, and any non-peña members will get kicked out if they sit in that area. Make sure you get there early so you can find a good non-peña seat and so that there’s enough space for your whole group to sit together! Doors open at 5:30pm, so we recommend lining up at the gate around 5pm so you can be one of the first ones in the ring. 

Whistling is the Spanish form of booing

On a few occasions during the bullfight, such as when the mayor and other government officials come out or when the matador makes a mistake, you’ll hear the crowd erupt in whistles. Remember that whistling is not a positive custom like it is in the United States. In Spain, whistling is a sign of disapproval.

Don’t eat until after the third bull

If you choose to bring food to the bullfight, remember that it is customary to wait until the third bull is killed before eating your food. While no one will say anything if you eat before that, know that you will stick out as a tourist if you do not follow this rule.

Bring enough food to share!
In the sun section, the crowd is extremely friendly and people sitting around you will almost certainly offer you tapas or other snacks that they bring. If you want to be able to offer them something in return, consider packing a few extra bocadillos! This is a great way to make local friends during the fight. 



Tradition in the sun side holds that if it’s someone’s birthday, they will get absolutely covered in sangria! If you want your friend to get pummelled with sangria by the entire sun section crowd, sing Feliz Cumpleaños (Happy Birthday in Spanish) to them for the whole section to hear!

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