In this Madrid bullfight guide, you will find a complete tutorial of all the steps you should follow to have the best experience to enjoy a corrida de toros while you are in Madrid.
Before the Madrid bullfight starts:
While you are enjoying the Madrid bullfight:
Of course, none of this is mandatory. This is just some practical advice including insider tips and recommendations…
As soon as you know the dates of your trip, have a look at the Madrid bullfight official schedule.
That way, you will check whether one or several bullfights will take place while you are in Madrid.
Please note that the release dates of the official schedule varies from year to year, but the information will be updated as soon as they are made public.
Once you have decided that you want to watch a bullfight, your next step should be to get your tickets.
Why should you do it in advance?
Because you will avoid the risk not having tickets at all (especially during the most popular festivals) or ending with not-so-good bullfight tickets.
The easiest and fastest way is to purchase your Madrid bullfight tickets online.
Why should you do it online?
Because you won’t need to wait in line at Las Ventas ticket office, and you won’t have to deal with the language barrier (most staff won’t speak English).
You may have very little understanding of what a bullfight is, what happens exactly during the event and how to experience it like a local.
If you intend to fully enjoy a bullfight, do your homework before the event and read about bullfighting as much as possible.
The good news is that I have done all the work for you, so there is no need to wander throughout the Internet looking for practical information here and there.
There is no written dress code, but given that traditionally attending the bullring was an honor you will notice that part of the crowd is elegantly dressed.
Again, this is not mandatory.
So what should you wear to a bullfight in Madrid?
In practice the answer is surprisingly simple: you can wear whatever you want and feel comfortable in. Just keep in mind the obvious basics:
Thus, my advice is to wear clothing appropriate for any eventuality.
Between private and public transportation, you have plenty of options to get to Las Ventas bullring.
Choose wisely as you will need to get on time not only to Las Ventas, but to your seat itself…
Otherwise, you won’t be allowed to access the tendido (seating section) once the first bull has entered the arena. If that is the case, the only option is to wait in the corridor until the first fight is over.
Among the available options, my preferred one is getting the subway as it is the cheapest and most reliable means of transportation. Take either line 2 (red) or line 5 (light green) and get off at Ventas station.
Once you get to Las Ventas, you will realize how big the bullfighting venue is.
From the outside, you may have the impression that being a rounded-shape building, finding your seat will be a piece of cake.
Unfortunately, the truth is that he Madrid bullring is a maze. After entering one of its gates you will be in a huge corridor full of smaller gates, corridors, and stairs.
It is very easy to get lost and it will take you some time to get to your seat. Make sure you get to it in advance! As I mentioned before, getting late means that you will miss (at least) the first fight.
You will find all the information relative to your seat in your ticket. So allocate enough time to find your way inside Las Ventas – I would say 30 minutes before the corrida starts.
As a rule of thumb, talking during a bullfight is not forbidden. Nevertheless, you will notice that most of the audience tend to whisper while the bull is out on the arena.
During the tercio de varas and the tercio de banderillas, some people may clap or shout “ole” in admiration for the performance of the picador, the banderillero or the torero. On the contrary, if the bull does not cover the expectations or someone performs poorly, the crowd can whistle or even boo.
During the faena the audience remains completely silent out of respect. This is without a doubt the most dangerous moment of the bullfight and the most crucial too as it will dictate whether the matador does a good job. Or not.
So do as aficionados do – remain quiet and don’t stand up or walk out.
Once each individual fight is over, it is time for the audience to judge it (including yourself). If you are not sure about the quality of what you just saw, do as the rest: whistle and boo, remain silent, clap or request an award for the matador by waving a white handkerchief.
As the band starts to play and the participants leave the arena, you should remain in your seat until most of the crowd has left the tendido. There is no need to rush.
You are advised to wait until the aisle is clear before departing. Always move slowly and carefully to your nearest exit, practice social distancing at all times and do not stop to meet or chat to other spectators on the gangways.
Take into account that other 23,000 people are as eager as you are to leave Las Ventas bullring. And as I said before, corridors within the tendillo and internal staircases are very narrow. So it is very easy to trip.
Wait for a few minutes, be cautious, and watch your step.