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In Pictures: The return of the bull running at Spain’s San Fermín festival

Pamplona's annual bull-running festival known as San Fermin was last held in 2019 but it returned this year after the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some of the stand-out images from Spain's famous festival this year.

In Pictures: The return of the bull running at Spain's San Fermín festival
A young cow jumps over participants at the Pamplona's bullring after the seventh "encierro" (bull-run) of the San Fermin Festival in Pamplona, northern Spain, on July 13, 2022. Photo: MIGUEL RIOPA/ AFP

The famous San Fermín festival in the city of Pamplona, Navarre, northern Spain, returned this year after local officials called it off in 2020 and the following year because of the COVID-19 pandemic — the first time the festival was cancelled since Spain’s civil war in the 1930s.

People from around the world flock to the city of around 200,000 residents to test their bravery and enjoy the festival’s mix of round-the-clock parties, religious processions and concerts.

The festival begins with fireworks known as the ‘chupinazo’ at midday on July 6, then a rendition of the song ‘Pamploneses, Viva San Fermín, Gora San Fermín,’ before the most famous part of the festival: the bull run, known as the ‘encierro.’

READ ALSO: Five in hospital as Spain’s Pamplona bull run returns

The festival, which dates back to medieval times, also features concerts, religious processions, folk dancing and round-the-clock drinking.

Participants cheer before the start of the “encierro” (bull-run) of the San Fermin festival. Photo: ANDER GILLENEA/AFP

But the highlight, of course, is is the bracing daily test of courage against a thundering pack of half-tonne, sharp-horned bulls. 

Participants run ahead of bulls during the “encierro”. Photo: ANDER GILLENEA/AFP

Every day at 8:00 am, hundreds of daredevils race with six fighting bulls along an 850-metre (2,800-foot) course from a holding pen to Pamplona’s bull ring, which this year marks its 100th anniversary.

READ ALSO: Three gored at Pamplona’s fifth bull run

The bravest — or most foolhardy — run as close as possible to the bulls’ horns, preferably without being gored.

Sixteen people have died in the bull runs since 1910. The last death occurred in 2009 gored a 27-year-old Spaniard in the neck, heart and lungs.

The Local has put together some of the best pictures so you can safely enjoy the festival from the comfort of your own home.

A participant is struck by a bull. Photo: MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP
 

A young cow jumps over participants at the Pamplona’s bullring after the seventh “encierro” (bull-run) of the San Fermin Festival in Pamplona, northern Spain, on July 13, 2022. Photo: MIGUEL RIOPA/ AFP
 

A cabezudo (big-head) walks in the street between revellers during the seventh day of the San Fermin Festival. Photo: MIGUEL RIOPA/ AFP
 

Participants run ahead of the bulls. Photo: MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP
 

People eat a traditional brunch in a street during the San Fermin festival. Photo: MIGUEL RIOPA/ AFP
 

Participants look on before the start of the “encierro”. Photo: Ander GILLENEA/AFP
 

A participant is thrown by a young cow. Photo by Jose Jordan/AFP
 

Photo: MIGUEL RIOPA/ AFP
 

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Six beautiful villages and small towns which are close to Barcelona

Barcelona is an exciting city to live in, but it's also great for weekend getaways. Here are six of the most beautiful villages and small towns within a one or two hours' drive from the Catalan capital.

Six beautiful villages and small towns which are close to Barcelona

Whether you prefer hiking in the Pyrenees or strolling on the beaches of the Costa Brava, there are plenty of lovely places to visit just a short drive or train ride away from Barcelona.

In fact, if you live in the Catalan capital, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to ideas for weekend getaways. Here are six of the most stunning pobles (villages in Catalan) that are definitely worth a visit.

Sitges

Sitges is a popular weekend seaside destination for Barcelonans and foreigners alike, and for good reason. The town has plenty of restaurants and shops as well as a beautiful seaside promenade and beach. Don’t miss a visit to the Maricel Palace, one of the most emblematic buildings, which also houses a collection of painting, sculpture and medieval art.

A beach in Sitges. Photo: sytpymes/Pixabay

2. Castellar de n’Hug

Located on the southern slopes of the Pyrenees, this village is near the waterfalls that are the source of the Llobregat river, which reaches the Mediterranean just south of Barcelona. Its well-preserved cobbled streets and stone houses are typical of the region, and if you board the Tren del ciment (the “cement train” that used to lead to a former cement factory) you can visit the nearby Artigas Gardens, designed by none other than Antoni Gaudí.

The awe-inspiring vistas of Castellar de n’Hug. Photo: Josep Monter/Pixabay

 

3. Begur

Begur is one of the Costa Brava’s most picturesque villages and its turquoise beaches attract many tourists in the summer. Surrounded by rocky cliffs and pine forests, the town has a colourful historic quarter dating back to the 15th century, but it’s also known for its grand colonial built in the early 20th century with a distinctive Indies style.

Begur is a sight to behold. Photo: Enquire/Pixabay

4. Miravet

Nestled on the slope of a hill and on the banks of the Ebro river, Miravet is a tiny village of just 700 inhabitants in the province of Tarragona. It strategic location meant it was occupied by a long series of settlers, but its 12th century Templar castle is the main attraction. The warm springs of Fontcalda are a 40-minute drive away and well worth a visit.

Miravet is as picturesque as villages come. Photo: Ryan Hogg/Pixabay

5. Peratallada

Just 22km east of Girona, this picturesque village takes its name from its stone buildings (the Catalan words pedra tallada mean ‘carved stone’). As one of the most significant centres of medieval architecture in Catalonia, it was declared a historic-artistic monument.

Find peace and quiet in Peratallada. Photo: Jaime Alcolver/Pixabay

6. Besalú

If there’s one place that exudes the Catalan middle ages, it’s probably Besalú. This town’s rich medieval legacy includes the 12th century Romanesque bridge across the Fluvià river, the Cùria Real and the residence of Cornellà, with its vast arcaded gallery, as well as several churches. A trip to the village could be followed by hike in the Volcanic Zone of La Garrotxa Natural Reserve, which includes 40 dormant volcanoes.

Travel back in time during a visit to Besalú. Photo: Adolfo Rumbo/Pixabay

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