The philosopher José Ortega y Gasset said that to truly understand the Spanish you first have to understand the bullfight. Many Spaniards detest the corrida, but if you want to get some understanding of it, a tour of this grand, neo-Mudéjar bullring is a good place to start. Huge and rather desolate when there are no crowds around, Las Ventas is Spain’s largest ring, with a capacity of 24,000. It opened in 1931 with the intention of offering affordable entertainment to the masses, and tickets for bullfights are still available for as little as 8€, rising to around 200€ for the best seats. There are fights every Sunday at 7pm from March through October, and one every day during the Fiesta de San Isidro in May. Self-guided tours begin at the Puerta Grande, through which victorious matadors emerge shoulder-high only if they receive the highest honors from the President. A “point and click” audioguide takes you through the ring, the stands, and the chapel where matadors pray alone before the fight. There’s a good explanation of the technicalities and traditions surrounding the corrida, and a heavy dose of propaganda about the bull’s high quality of life prior to the ring. For a few euros more you can pose for a green screen photograph which produces a remarkably convincing picture of you—in a suit of lights, muleta in hand—taking on a bull.
Plaza de Toros Monumental de Las Ventas
Calle Alcalá, 237
Our Rating Hours Tours daily Oct–May 10am–5:30pm; June–Sept 10am–6:30pm; summer night visits Thurs and Sat 8pm–10:30pm. On bullfight days closes 3 hr. before the show. Transportation Metro: Ventas Phone 68-773-90-32 Prices Admission 14.90€ adults, 5.90€ children 5–12, free under 5 Web site Plaza de Toros Monumental de Las Ventas Other Mar–Oct tours close 4 hr. before corrida
MapCalle Alcalá, 237 Madrid
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.