Bullfights: the magic of Spain's "national fiesta"
Plaza de toros
Listen. Can you hear the sound of trumpets and drums? This can only mean one thing: you are about to witness one of Spain's most important traditions: a bullfight. These instruments are the traditional precursors to a unique spectacle in which a man takes his life in his hands before wild animals weighing more than 500 kilos. Come and experience the excitement of our "national fiesta".
Going to a bullfight is a very intense experience. If you come to Spain you will see that bullfighters have no fear before these animals, armed only with a red cape (called "capote" in Spanish) and a sword. If you come, you will have the chance to witness this display of courage during the bullfighting season each year. This is something not to be missed.
To discover Spain is to discover "bullfighting culture" - nearly all its cities have a bullring. Some bullrings are classified in the top category, on account of their tradition and the frequency of bullfights held, such as Las Ventas in Madrid, La Maestranza in Seville and La Monumental in Barcelona. You will enjoy a real festive atmosphere, and if the fight has been good, you will see the bullfighter give a lap of the ring on the shoulders of his colleagues, exiting through "the main door" to mark his triumph. Don't forget to take a white handkerchief - to be waved enthusiastically if you enjoy the fight.
The fun and excitement of bullfights
Would you like to know the best dates for bullfights? Although there tend to be bullfights on Sundays, March-October, the ideal time to attend is during the bullfighting festivals, typical fiestas held in each region with quality fixtures. If Madrid is famous for the San Isidro Fair in May, then La Maestranza is for its April Fair, and La Monumental for the Virgen de la Merced Fair in September. The list goes on. There are also bullfights during the following fiestas: Las Fallas in Valencia (March), El Pilar in Zaragoza (October) and San Fermín in Pamplona (July). An unbeatable array of bullfights, music, tradition, gastronomy… Fun is guaranteed.
Would you like to see the beautiful bullfighting suits worn by matadors when they step into the ring? Then your wish can be granted, because many bullrings have interesting museums. Visit the Bullfighting Museum at Las Ventas in Madrid and see its impressive statues of bullfighters. You can also go on a guided tour of the facilities, take photos from the bullring's balconies and on your way out you can buy capes, bulls' heads, ceramics...
At Barcelona's Bullfighting Museum there is an exhibition with famous bulls' heads. A little more? In Valencia, the Bullfighting Museum has an audiovisual room. You can also visit the ring itself, and see exhibitions such as one focusing on artist Francisco de Goya's depiction of bulls. There is also an exhibition of bullfighting posters at the Vista Alegre Bullring in Bilbao.
In Andalusia, where bullfighting is more than just a tradition, you will love the bullrings and museums. Two examples are the Museum at Seville's Royal Bullring, where you can discover the evolution of this spectacle, and the amazing photographs on display at the Malagueta Bullring in Malaga. El Puerto de Santa María also has a beautiful bullring, as does Ronda, one of the oldest in Spain, with an extensive museum.
The majority of these bullrings have a website with telephone numbers for booking tickets and information on the calendar of events for each season. Don't think twice. Come and feel the excitement of the bullfight (following in the footsteps of Ernest Hemingway or artist Pablo Ruíz Picasso) and shout out loud... Olé!