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FAQ About Bullfighting, Spain’s Oldest Tradition

When referring to bullfighting, Spain is the mecca. In fact, bullfights are considered a quintessential element of the country’s culture. As a visitor, it’s a unique experience in which you’ll get caught up in the spectacle, color and crowd noise as soon as the spectacle begins.

Here are a few questions that may arise while you consider attending a bullfight. The answers provide all the practical information you need to know before going to the bullring.


If you are interested in the current season, check the official dates of Madrid and Seville.

Are you planning to attend one? Make sure to get your tickets well in advance!


What is a novillada or corrida de novillos?

In a corrida the bulls are at least 4 years old (toros) whereas in a novillada the bulls are less than 4 years old (novillos). It’s a training fight for novice matadores, before becoming fully qualified in a ceremony called tomar la alternativa.


When does the season begin in Spain?

The season begins in February and ends in mid-October.


What time do the bullfights begin?

The start of a bullfight is determined by the hours of sunlight, and is confirmed by the bullring management a few weeks before each fight. Usually, they start between 17:00 and 19:00. Check your bullfight tickets if you aren’t sure!


How long does a bullfight last?

A bullfight can last between 1h30 and 2h30.


How can I find my seat?

On the ticket, ‘Puerta‘ is the door number that you enter, ‘Fila‘ is the row, and ‘Numero‘ is the seat number.


Can I enter after the bullfight has already started?

Yes, but not while the bull is in the arena. You can only enter during the breaks between bulls. Therefore, try to arrive early (15-30 minutes before the start of the fight) otherwise your seat might be filled with other people or you might be barred from entering.


What happens if it rains?

A bullfight can still take place if it rains. It will be cancelled only if it rains cat and dogs for a long period of time. If the weather forecast predicts that it will rain and you want to continue watching the bullfight, bring a raincoat with you to the bullring. No one will let you open an umbrella, as you will obstruct everyone’s view.


Can I take photos and/or film?

Yes, you can take as many pictures as you like and film everything you want.


Can I eat and/or drink during the bullfight?

Yes, you can. All bullrings have bars at the ground floor. Additionally, vendors selling water, soft drinks and beer will walk around the grandstands during the breaks. Beverages are not included in your bullfight tickets; you’ll have to pay for these separately. But my suggestion is that you should bring a bottle of water and a small handy snack (e.g. candy bar, chips). On a sunny summer day it can get very hot and you might not be able to get up if a bullfight is going on. Remember that you can only leave your seat on during the break between tow fights.


Can children attend the bullfight?

Yes, as long as an adult accompanies them. Unfortunately, there are no special bullfight tickets or prices for children. They need a full fare ticket to get a seat. If you are thinking about seating the child on your lap, I suggest you reconsider this option. In a bullring the seats are extremely narrow and have no back. Actually, your back will be touching your neighbor’s legs.


Seriously, how narrow are seats in a bullring?

Actually, if the bullring is very crowded you will be literally squeezed against people on all sides. So don’t bring a backpack or any shopping bags, there is no legroom or any other place to put them! One more thing, wear some comfortable shoes, leave your high heels home and avoid short skirts, especially if you have short legs like me… The bullring’s grandstands have pretty high steps!


Is there a way to feel more comfortable?

Unfortunately, seats are extremely narrow and stark – just a concrete step, there is no back. But you can rent cushions in most bullrings for a small amount of money. You should definitely get one of these if you plan to last the whole bullfight. Your butt will appreciate it.


Do I have to be quiet during the bullfight?

No. In fact, you can talk (or even better, whisper) as much as you like. However, don’t stand up and out/talk loudly during the third act (faena) as the matador is trying to kill the bull. You will notice everyone is very quiet out of respect as this is a very tense and dangerous part. Remain quiet as everybody else.