Bullfighting - Tickets

The Symbolic colours of the Seville Bullring. © Michelle Chaplow
The Symbolic colours of the Seville Bullring.

Bullfight posters will appear in the town and surrounding locality about two weeks before a fight. These detail the type of fight, the names of the matadors, the ranch from where the bulls are reared, and the date and time. Bullfights always start promptly in Spain.

Tickets (billetes) prices vary considerably depending on the bullring, the bullfighters and the occasion. Tickets for corridas usually cost from 20 EUR to 100 EUR, although tickets for the cheaper seats in a novillada are usually less than 10 EUR. Tickets for top fights may be sold by touts for up to ten times their face value.

 © Michelle Chaplow Buy your tickets online or in the street
Buy your tickets online or in the streeet

Seats are usually designated as being in the shade (sombra) or the sun (sol), with shaded seats being more expensive. Sun and shade (sol y sombra) seats are those that become shaded as the fight progresses. The closer you are to the action, the more expensive the seat, with ringside barrier (barrera) seats in the shade being the most expensive. So are those nearer the president's box ( where the bullfighters often play towards). Some rings have seats designated as contrabarrera which are the next rows to the barrier seats. The seats behind the ringside seats are called tendidos and my be divided into high (alto) and low (bajo) areas. They are the cheapest seats in the ring. Cushions may be rented for around 0.30 € and are advisable as the seats are usually stone or concrete. Children aren't admitted to bullfights.

Tickets show the section name and number (eg tenido 10), the row (fila) and the seat (asiento) number. It's best to purchase tickets from the box office (taquilla) at the bullring or at the official ticket office. Tickets sold by agents have a surcharge. You should avoid buying a ticket from a tout who will often tell you that the bullfight is sold out when it is not. Most fights do not sell out completely so if you arrive at the bullring in reasonable time you should be able to get a ticket. Booking early offers the chance of a better seat for the same price. The exception to this are the most popular fights during the summer fiesta in larger towns.

At popular fight you may be approached by 'touts' on the way to the booking office. They sometimes sell tickets at less than face value. Do not pay more than the face value printed on the ticket unless you are sure the tickets are definitely sold out at the booking office. A tout will tell you that the bullfight is sold out when it is not. Be careful when buying tickets from touts, although there is little risk of forgery the tickets sold may not correspond to seats located together. Check the tenido (section), fila (row) and numero (seat number) carefully.

Don't miss the opportunity for buying souvenirs such as old posters, photographs and assorted memorabilia. You can also buy flowers to throw at the bullfighter when he does his lap of honour.

All seats are numbered. Enter the ring in plenty of time and take trouble to find your correct seats. There should be somebody on hand to help you. If you see spare seat do not assume it is vacant until after the first bull. Many times people arrive at the very last minute to claim their seats from others who took the opportunity for a better view. This leads to a game of musical chairs.

Waiting for the bullfight to start look out for the different sections in the arena. These include the president's box, the VIP box (special guests of the promotor or the town hall), the municipal brass band's section. Around the ring notice the 'callejon' (passage) which is where the bullfighter's assistant 'apoderado' will run. There are also marked positions for the various officials, doctors, police, municipal observers, press photographers.

At the advertised time the band goes quiet, the bullfighters take up their positions and the first bull charges into the ring. If you have not already done so, read our guide to the bullfight.