In the travel world, certain events can generate a fair amount of buzz, and San Fermin is no doubt one of them. For hundreds of years, foreigners have flooded Pamplona to partake in the many layers of the fiesta.
During the rest of the year, Pamplona is a mellow city of 300,000 occupants and it can baffle the most experienced tour operators on how to accommodate over a million participants (including journalists) who invade every July.
As an independent traveller, it can be daunting to decide what is the most budget-minded and comfortable accommodations.
A few tips to keep in mind:
- Invite friends. Having a group with you doubles the fun and can curb costs by splitting accommodations.
- Book early. If you plan on running with the bulls, start researching the possibility at least four to six months in advance, because accommodation fills up quickly. Remember: some participants have been attending for years and will be claiming real estate from under you.
- Steer away from hotels. During San Fermin, hotels raise prices significantly because it’s prime opportunity to make a high profit and naturally, travellers will pay the premium just to be at the fiesta. I discovered this as I researched hotel options.
The best solution I could find for my gorgeous crew of ladies was short-term accommodation.
The benefits of renting an apartment for a short duration outweigh the cons during San Fermin:
- We don’t have to encounter aggressive party-goers with a penchant for vomiting.
- Having a kitchen available to us is a smart way to cut back on restaurant costs, as food will likely be at higher prices as well.
- We can each shoulder the cost of accommodations.
- Having a place of respite away from the crowds is essential to recharge batteries for the next party.
- Sharing a bathroom between five friends is more ideal than having to share with vomit-potential strangers.
- Being in a homey apartment can conjure that comfortable feeling as pandemonium occurs outside.
- Security and safety – in a hotel or hostel, with a revolving door of people our belongings are at risk, while an apartment is some peace of mind.
So we are immensely delighted that a partnership with Roomorama came to fruition!
If you don’t know Roomorama – you should.
Started in 2009 by a pair of hip travellers from New York, they saw the need for aesthetically pleasing accommodations in local neighbourhoods. Because not everyone’s idea of budget is staying in a hovel or a party hostel.
Roomorama has grown to listing over 30,000 properties worldwide and prices range from $29 to over $100. In essence, they fit many budgets.
Stays can be as short as two days to two weeks – it’s truly up to the traveller.
In Pamplona, we’ll be housed in a 2nd floor flat very near to the famous Cafe Iruna where we’ll have full view of the runs through our windows and a panorama of the bridge over the river Arga.
In such a small city, the opportunity to rent a flat or room is more realistic. In my research, I found one hostel, a slew of hotels that were filling up quickly and a campground that I heard can turn into a debaucherous party. We’re okay with parties, but as female travellers, many other factors come into play.
Short-term accommodations are an excellent solution to visit lesser known cities or towns and engage with the culture in a way that is different than hosteling, but just as rewarding.
We are excited to live like locals in Pamplona with Roomorama and share the experience with you!
Also, here are some other short-term accommodation ideas that might be helpful in Pamplona:
Photo of Pamplona: Joan Grifols