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Bullfighting

From Easter until late October, some of the best bullfighters in Spain appear at the Plaza de Toros Real Maestranza, on Paseo de Colón 12 (tel. 95-422-45-77). One of the leading bullrings in Spain, the stadium attracts matadors whose fights often receive TV and newspaper coverage throughout Iberia. Unless there's a special festival going on, bullfights (corridas) occur on Sunday. The best are staged during April Fair celebrations.

Tickets should be purchased in advance at the Ticket Office (despacho de entradas) on Calle Adriano (tel. 95-456-07-59), beside the stadium. You'll also find many unofficial kiosks selling tickets placed strategically along the main shopping street, Calle Sierpes. However, they charge a 20% commission for their tickets -- a lot more if they think they can get it. The prices vary, often beginning at 11€ ($18) for a nosebleed seat (grado del sol), which means you'll be at a hard-to-see elevation in the fierce sun. For a front-row seat in the shade at a major bullfight -- barrera de sombra -- expect to pay as much as 120€ ($192).

The major bullfights are called corridas de toros and feature more experienced matadors. For apprentice bullfighters with younger bulls, the bullfights are advertised as novilladas. Because of the excessive heat in July and August, corridas most often occur on Thursday nights at 9pm or Sunday afternoons at 5:30pm. Posters around town advertise the various bullfights.

Even people not attending one of the corridas de toros like to see the bullring, arguably the most beautiful in Spain. It was constructed in the 1760s, across the river from the Triana district. It is oval in shape and holds some 14,000 spectators. You can tour the attraction with an English-speaking guide (you can find these independent guides at the entrance) daily from 9:30am to 2pm and 3 to 7pm for 6€ ($9.60). On bullfight days, hours are 9:30am to 3pm.

As part of the tour, you can visit Museo Taurino, the bullfight museum. On display is a stunning collection of trajes de luces, those jazzy "suits of lights" as they are called. Look for bullfight memorabilia, along with pictures of famous matadors or even more famous fans such as Don Ernesto Hemingway. At the end of a tour, you're taken into a chapel where matadors come to pray to their patron, La Macarena, before facing "death in the afternoon."

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.