Madrid, Ventas and the bulls.


Its the ultimate Madrid visit, controversial by some, but love by most. Madrid is its cradle the ultimate expression of a Torero when he knows he reach the top. A must for every visitor to Madrid, to know the city , to know the country , to know its people. I live one metro/subway stop from there for four years !!!

The Monumental plaza of Las Ventas was finished in 1929, and on June 17 1931 it held its first corrida a benefit bullfight held at full capacity to  inaugurate it.  The monumental Las Ventas is divided in rings with a group of zones call “patios” /areas of gardens done in a mudejar architecture representing the different provinces of Spain . The arena  has a diameter of 61.5 meters (203 ft),the  seating capacity  is divided into 10 “tendidos” (group of 27 rows around the “arena”), some of them in the shade and the rest in the sun. The ones in the shade are more expensive than those in the light or sun.  When you to the counter for tickets you will see areas marked “sombra” or shade and “sol” or sun.  The biggest plaza or arena in Spain ,third largest in the world. There is an old saying that I would translate as “Madrid gives the money, and Sevilla gives the fame” . It has a seating capacity of 23 798 persons. The season starts in March and ends in October, with the biggest party during May on the Feast of San Isidro, the patron saint of Madrid, and held since 1947.

Some of the great toreros that have triumph in this arena were Paco Camino, El Cordobes (Manuel Benitez), and Curro Romero. The arena has serve to hold many music concerts amongst the most famous those of  The Beattles, AC/DC, Manà, and La Oreja de Van Gogh. It was the scenario for the 2008 Davis Cup tennis competition where Rafael Nadal where in the semifinals he beat Andy Riddick for Spain to advance.

Behind the arena ,walking your way around it, you will find the Museo Taurino or the museum of the bullfighter, a nice presentation of this form of traditional expression . The hours are  during corrida season march to october from Tuesdays to Fridays from  9h30 to 14h30. Sundays and Holidays from 10h-13h. Out of Season from november to February, from Mondays to Fridays from  9h30 to 14h30.

To see the Novillada, which is novice bullfighters in action the prices in season of course are from 2,20€ to 63,90€ depending of the seat location and event. The normal corridas the prices are from 4.50€ to 127.90€.  There is a tel +34 902 15 00 25. You can ,also, buy in advance on internet at   However unless a special event, no need to do so in advance, you can buy same day as I always done without any hassles.  This is another popular venue for purchase over the internet Localidades Galicia

The Las Ventas Monumental plaza is located at 237 Calle Alcala, district of Salamanca, you get here by metro line 5 at stop Ventas or line 2. Arena is behind you!   You can come by taxi from your hotel, at the stand in Calle Alcala just in front of main entrance to the Arena.  By bus you can take any of these from various locations in Madrid ,the No 12 ,21, 38 ,53, 74, 106 ,110, 146 ,and 210. You can go to the Madrid public transport site for bus and metro information here

The main webpage for Las Ventas is here

You have Calle Alcala the main artery east west that goes into city center at Gran Via and on and on the other side can now take you to the airport Barajas or spent some time by the Retiro park or marveling of the famous monuments of Puerta de Alcala or Cibeles fountain.  No need to stay in hotels nearby as the transportation system is very good, however ,if insist the ones I know good are from the chains NH parque avenida, Rafaelhoteles Ventas, Hotel Silken Puerta de America, Novotel Punete de la paz, Hotel Convencion ( O’Donnell 53 street is an old favorite web ),you can book apartments known well to my family still there as Apartamentos Juan Bravo (Juan Bravo st 58-60 web  ).

For eating in the area head straight for Los Timbales, 227 Calle Alcala just across from the arena, my hangout and now reveal, you wont go wrong here, great food, great Spanish ambiance,and bullfight lingo always with decorations. You will need to try the Rabo Encendido or bullstails in fire dish, right off the arena the bulls are better ::) no web open from 7h to 01h0, tel +34 917 25 07 68. Metro Ventas lines 2 and 5. A bit further come to my old piso or apartment at Calle Alcala 337, here you have Docamar,  the best seafood on land in Madrid, great ambiance always lively social, Spanish, and a find by yours truly, Madrid lovers par excellence they have site for photos of old Madrid, metro Quintana line 5 (after metro Ventas, then Carmen then Quintana),try the raciones at the bar ,more and cheaper than tapas for a complete meal, webpage Another must in the area Los Clarines, Calle de Bocangel 2, metro Ventas or towards Manuel Becerra on a small side street off Alcala St but worth the secret, toreros a la carte, try the calamars or squids for tapas sublime.  webpage

Hope you are tented to try to see a corrida and judge for yourself is an awesome event,full of history and passion, just what you came to see in Madrid,Spain. This site in Spanish but tells you on the defense of this spectacle and how the bulls should be handle before admitted to the plaza, with great care and love.

Enjoy the ride into my Madrid!

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