Whilst Catalonia has banned bullfighting, Madrid has protected it as an artform which is considered to be of special cultural value. Anyone guilty of trying to stop bullfights taking place is subject to substantial fines for attempting to damage Madrid’s cultural heritage. This puts bullfighting on a par with some of Madrid’s great buildings such as the Prado Museum and Plaza Mayor in terms of the protection it is guaranteed.
Although Catalonia’s stance in banning the bullfight has been welcomed by animal rights groups, the reason for doing so was influenced as much by political motives as by animal welfare ones. Many villages around Madrid hold bullfights in temporary arenas but the top venue for bullfighting is the Las Ventas bullring in the centre of Madrid city.
Las Ventas Bullring
La Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas was built in 1929 and the first bullfight was in 1931. It is the most important bullring in the World with a capacity of 25,000. It is located in the east of Madrid. The best way of getting there is by metro to Las Ventas station or by taxi. Madrid’s bullring attracts the real ‘aficionados’ of the bull fighting world who really understand the art of bullfighting. As such it is the hardest bullring in which to succeed for matadors.
The best time to see a bullfight in Madrid is during the months of May and June when San Isidro, the world’s most famous bullfighting festival takes place. Every day for three weeks there are fights at 7 o’clock in the evening which last from two to three hours.
The price of the seats depend upon how close they are to the “arena” and whether they are in the sun or the shade (the latter being more expensive). Tickets are difficult to get hold of during San Isidro as every evening is a sell out.
For less important bullfights during the rest of the season you can often get tickets 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. A number of ticket offices also offer tickets in the centre of Madrid.
Madrid Bullfight Ticket Agencies:
- Teyci – Goya, 7. Pasaje Comercial Carlos III. Tel: 91 576 45 33
- Galicia – Plaza del Carmen, 1. Tel: 91 531 27 32
- Plaza de Las Ventas – Alcalà, 237. Tel: 91 356 22 00
- La Taurina – Pasaje Matheu. Tel: 91 522 9216
- Localid – Parking Pza. de Santo Domingo. Tel: 91 559 50 28
- El Corte Inglés – Tel: 902 400 222