Follow these Seville bullfighting tips and you will experience the event just like a local would do. Thanks to this practical advice you will have an awesome experience and create everlasting memories.
Seville bullfighting tips #1: Get your tickets well in advance
As a rule of thumb, bullfights in Seville are very popular. So as soon as the official season dates are announced, people get their tickets.
Why is that? Because they know it is the only way to get tickets for the bullfight(s) they want to attend and to secure the best seats.
Therefore, you should do the same: purchase your tickets as soon as you know your travel dates.
However, securing coveted seats to a bullfight can be a confusing process. But with a little planning in advance, it is actually easier than ever.
You have 3 ways of buying bullfight tickets:
- You can buy tickets at the bullring taquilla (La Maestranza ticket office). Unfortunately, buying tickets at the bullring can prove very tricky unless you speak Spanish as you need to know exactly what tickets you want.
- Otherwise you will find numerous ticket touts offering to sell tickets outside the arena just before the bullfight commences. But you should be aware that waiting until the last minute is risky – you may pay a much higher price or, even worse, you may not find tickets at all!
- By getting your tickets in advance online, you are afforded a wide selection of bullfights to choose from and a great choice when it comes to seat selection. You can take your time, study your options and make an educated purchase. And all of this from the comfort of your own couch!
That’s why the 3rd option is the one I always recommend. Buy your bullfight tickets online and forget about the hassle long lines, the language barrier at the ticket office, and the risk of not having tickets.
Here is a complete guide to help you get your Seville bullfight tickets in a few minutes.
Seville bullfighting tips #2: Bring a few goodies with you
All bullrings are open spaces and almost all seats are uncovered. So you will not have the luxury of a roof to protect you from the wind, the sun or the rain.
In Seville, the weather in spring is completely unpredictable. Thus, my advice is to wear clothing appropriate for any eventuality.
Here is what I consider the most practical and useful bullfight aficionado kit:
- Cushion, or something soft to sit on. La Maestranza, like most bullrings, does not have proper seats – you will seat on a hard concrete surface… Narrow and very uncomfortable. So it will be nice to spend a couple of hours seated on something softer.
- Sandwiches or any other snack you want to bring in case you want to grab a bite. And something to drink as well. In Seville bullfights start relatively late in the afternoon, so the event will surely overlap your usual dinner time.
- White handkerchief to show that you are happy with the matador‘s job. Once the fight is over, wave it at the president and ask him to award the matador a trophy.
- Hat and sunscreen, especially if you will be seating in the Sun section (sol) of La Maestranza.
- Fan (abanico) if the weather forecast expects the afternoon to be hot. You might think abanicos are a stereotype, used only by flamenco dancers and old ladies. Not at all, both women and men use them to cool themselves.
- Small binoculars to watch the action. Depending on the bullfight tickets you purchase, you may end up seating far away from action. So a good pair of binoculars may prove very handy.
- Umbrella (or a waterproof jacket) if the weather looks rainy or stormy. Even if it’s pouring down, the bullfight will be rarely cancelled, so you should be prepared for any eventuality.
Obviously, none of this is mandatory, but it will make your experience much more pleasant.
Seville bullfighting tips #3: Arrive to La Maestranza early
It is always a good idea to arrive to La Maestranza about an hour before the bullfight actually starts.
The atmosphere around the bullring before a bullfight is electric, and I consider that enjoying it is part of the experience of attending a bullfight. Actually, once you get there, you will see that lots of locals are there too.
And this is for a number of reasons:
- Sevillanos love to soak up the ambience before the bullfight. So why wouldn’t you too? On top of it, it is a great opportunity to take pictures and blend with them.
- You will notice that La Maestranza is surrounded by “bullfighting bars”, where local aficionados and journalists gather beforehand to discuss the upcoming event. You can find them on Calle Adriano, so look yours up before you head to the plaza de toros and get a pre-bullfight drink.
- It gives you enough time to await the arrival of the toreros, which happens around 30 minutes before the bullfight starts. They enter La Maestranza through the Puerta 16 located in Callejón Iris. Look for the amidst crowds of autograph-seekers, and you will easily spot it.
Seville bullfighting tips #4: Don’t lose your ticket
Your Seville bullfight ticket is crucial, not only to enter the bullring but also to find your seat on your own.
The 4 main pieces of information on your ticket related to your seat are:
- Tendido: the bullring sector where your seat is.
- Fila: row of seating.
- Número: seat number.
- Puerta: the gate you need to access your tendido through.
If you don’t speak Spanish, or don’t feel confident of understanding the bullring staff member, don’t panic. You will find your seat on your own. It may take you a few minutes but you will make it. It is a matter of patience and having a bit of time.
That is why you need to get to La Maestranza at least one hour before the bullfight begins.
Seville bullfighting tips #5: Don’t enter La Maestranza 5 minutes before it starts
Just as you would do when going to a concert or to a sports event, make sure you get to the bullring well in advance.
La Maestranza is a big bullring, with 13 entrance gates, many corridors inside and the seats grandstands are divided into several sections (e.g. tendido alto, tendido bajo,…).
It is very easy to get lost and even if you don’t, it will take you a while to get to your seat.
Just make sure that you don’t get there late, because if you do, you won’t be allowed to access the tendido (seating section) once the first bull has entered the arena. In that case, the staff will forbid you to enter and you will have to wait in the corridor until the first fight is over.
Here is what I suggest you to do:
- 30 minutes or so before the bullfight begins, locate your entrance gate (remember, this information is on your ticket). Use your common sense – if you see a long line to enter, wait with the others. If not, you can still wander around to experience the atmosphere.
- Once you get to the gate, show the bullring staff member your tickets. Even if you don’t speak Spanish, ask him for some basic directions to get to your seat. You will know where to go until you find your way or someone else to ask for help.
Seville bullfighting tips #6: Ask for help to locate your seat
La Maestranza is a very big venue – there are many access gates and inside, it is full of corridors and doors. Unfortunately, it is very easy to get lost.
That is why you should always anticipate that it will take you a while to get to your seat.
Locals are fully aware that it can be tricky for a foreigner and they are always happy to help. printed on your ticket
The first thing you need to know is where is the gate you need to use to access the bullring.
Now that you are inside La Maestranza, look for the information signs on the walls. You should find out where the bullring section, also called tendido (bajo or alto), printed on your ticket is.
Can’t find what you are looking for? No problem! Show your ticket to someone and ask for directions.
Navigate throughout the corridors until you find the inside gate leading to the tendillo where your seat is.
Finally, now that you are in the grandstands, look for your row (or “fila“) and your seat number (“número” or “nº“). The rows are very narrow, and the seats’ labeling is usually hard to find.
So, here again, ask for help showing your ticket. People are very nice and they will point you in the right direction. Just make sure that you seat at your actual seats. The space is limited and if you make a mistake it will be hard to move around once the bullfight starts.