Pamplona doesn’t mess around when it comes to their fireworks. They have a reputation to uphold.
Fireworks have been a part of the San Fermin since the 16th century, and as the technology has improved, so have the shows. Today, the teams use digital technology to coordinate their programs, and the sophistication shows.
During each one of our walking tours over the years, we have made a point to stop at the Vuelta del Castillo by the citadel to show our guests where the nightly firework display takes place. Our guides have been known to brag about the daily extravaganza, and almost always our guests follow up with, “it was even better than you said it would be.” We absolutely love hearing those responses.
Each night at 11 PM, thousands of people gather to witness one of the most famous attractions of the San Fermin Festival. For many, this marks the beginning of their night. Others, this marks the ending. No matter the motivation, it is a beautiful gathering of family and friends.
For about 20 minutes, some of the best pyrotechnic experts around execute a magnificently choreographed display that lights up the Spanish sky. Area buildings go dark, the street lights are turned off, and the city turns its eyes to the Southwest to indulge in a nightly masterpiece. With layered fireworks reaching high in the sky as well as right on top of the citadel, you can watch the show from almost anywhere in Old Town.
One of our favorite aspects of the firework tradition is that it is a competition, meaning each show is a different production. Starting in 2000, pyrotechnic teams from all over the world were invited to try their hand in the event, assuring each night will be a premium entry that lives up to expectations. At the end of the festival, awards and recognition is handed out to the competitors.
Where is the best place to watch the firework show?
The most obviously place to watch the display is the large field at the Vuelta del Castillo. In this area, everyone takes a seat on the grass and waits until 11 for the show to start. If you prefer to stand (or are arriving late), you can do so in the surrounding streets, which are closed off.
While you can’t see the full display, there is something neat about watching from the Plaza del Castillo, the social center of the festival. You can see a fair amount of the show while the party continues around you.
- Bring something to sit on for this event. A lot of people bring bottles of liquid to the show, and since people are walking around in the dark before the production, there are a lot of spills
- There are several pop-up shops across the street where you can buy all types of drinks
- We will be blunt here. While everyone is looking up to the sky, there are opportunistic individuals looking at the ground in the darkness for personal belongings. It’s a problem you should know about before your phone goes missing.