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Bullfights in Madrid

The Las Ventas Bullring, Madrid Bullfight in Madrid

The Las Ventas Bullring

Madrid's main bullring is called La Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas del Espíritu Santo, or more simply, Las Ventas (Alcalá street, Metro: Las Ventas). Built in mudejan style, this impressive building is formed of red brick and ceramic tiles. The construction, designed by José Espelius and Muñóz Monasterio, was terminated in 1929, although the ring itself wasn't inaugurated until 1931. Today the ring is also used for rock concerts and political meetings. More info here...

San Isidro

The best time to see bullfights in Madrid is during the months of May and June. The world famous San Isidro bullfight festival takes place during these months and brings together the best fighters, bulls and aficionados. There are fights every day for 20 days, starting at 7 o'clock in the evening. The festival includes a variety of different fights, with novillos (young bulls), rejones (bullfights on horseback) and Goyesca fights (in period costume)

During the festival it's possible to see the bulls close-up in their pre-fight corral at La Venta de Batán, near Batán metro station.

Madrid Bullfight Tickets for San Isidro

We now offer the chance to buy your bullfight tickets online ! Please just click here, and you will be taken to TicketsToros, where you can purchase tickets online for any of the Madrid bull-fights.

If you prefer to organise everything yourself once you are in Madrid, tickets are sold at the Las Ventas bullring ticket offices from 10.00 until 14.00h for fights on the following 5 days, and until 19.00h for the fight of the same day. However, the better or more popular fights, and especially those during the San Isidro festival, are often sold-out almost immediately. Ticket prices can range from just a few euros to over 100 euros, depending on the seating area, and with shaded areas (Sombra) being more expensive than sunny ones (Sol).

The rest of the bullfighting season

The bullfight season runs from March to October. Outside San Isidro, fights are normally held every Sunday, starting at 7 o'clock in the evening. Some of the fights will be novilladas (fights with young bulls and less experienced fighters). Tickets for all fights may be purchased here.

Tickets for bullfights outside San Isidro

For the general public (non-season ticket holders), tickets can be acquired at the Las Ventas bullring ticket offices on Friday and Saturday before the fight from 10 to 14h and 17 to 20h. Also, on the day of the fight itself (Sunday) from 10h until 19h. Again, tickets for all fights may be bought here.

We now offer the chance to buy your bullfight tickets online ! Please just click here, and you will be taken to TicketsToros, where you can purchase tickets online for any of the Madrid bull-fights.

Bullfight Notes:

A corrida or bullfight normally lasts around 2 hours, but there is no fixed time limit and depends on how many bulls are sent back to the corral or any other incidents during the fight itself.

A normal fight brings together 3 matadores (the ones who actually kill the bull) with their respective troupes and 6 bulls, 2 for each fighter. The matadores fight in turn, the most experienced fighter first, unless a new fighter is being presented for the first time in Madrid, in which case the most experienced fighter will cede his turn to the new fighter. This is called dar la alternativa.

The matadores can be distinguished from the rest of the troupe since they will be the only ones whose traje de luces (suit of lights) are braided in gold.

Each matador directs a 15 minute session, called a faena, which in turn is divided into 3 sections. The first section involves the matador receiving his bull with a large cape. Here he is able to make his first judgements regarding the bull's strength, courage and general validity for the fight.

The second section, la suerte de varas, involves picadores and banderilleros. Picadores, on horseback, use long lances to weaken the bull's neck muscles. The bull's courage can be discovered by his willingness to approach the horse and lance. Secondly, the banderilleros stab brightly-coloured barbed sticks or banderillas into the bull's back.

The matador receives the bull alone in the third and final section of the faena, perhaps the most interesting for aficionados. Holding a small red cape now, he attempts to pass the bull as close to his body as possible in an artistic and varied manner. After effecting these passes, he will take a real, sharpened sword to attempt to kill the bull by bringing it on to him with its head lowered so he can thrust the sword between the bull's shoulder blades.

The fight is then judged by the public. They may whistle and boo, remain silent, clap or award the matador one or both of the bull's ears by waving a white handkerchief until the fight president awards this coveted prize. If a fighter receive two ears in the same afternoon, he is lifted up on to somebody's shoulders and transported out of the ring and through the main gate. He has thus opened the Puerta Grande, the maximum accolade for any fighter.

The public may also judge the bull to have been so brave and noble, that it should have its life spared (indultado). This happens only very rarely.



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