“Bullfighting is the only art in which the artist is in danger of death and in which the degree of brilliance in the performance is left to the fighter’s honour.” Ernest Hemingway Death in the Afternoon 1932
After flamenco, watching a bullfight is seen as one of the top priorities for getting in touch with the local culture of Spain, and although it’s perhaps less central than it was even 50 years ago, in the south bullfighting is still both popular and big business, as well as a source of many iconic images. So whether you regard it as an inhumane bloodsport or a form of art, like Hemingway did, there remains a fascination with the matador standing alone in the ring in the glare of the late afternoon sun with his cape and sword, pitting his skill against the brute strength of the bull.
Official poster for 2013 featuring famed Sevillano matador Juan Belmonte
Seville’s bullring (La Plaza de Toros de la Real Maestranza de Caballería de Sevilla) is located next to the river in the Arenal neighbourhood. It’s the oldest in Spain, the first corrida having been held there in 1765, and the original model on which most later bullrings were based, with its carpet of yellow sand (albero) and circular tiered seating rising to an arched colonnade that protects the most expensive seats from the sun. When there are no bullfights you can still visit the arena and the bullfighting museum and experience its unique atmosphere for yourself.
The main bullfighting season is in April, during the Spring Fair. This year the daily corridas (the standard bullfight) run from April 10 to April 22, followed by a season of novilladas (fights featuring young bulls and novice bullfighters) on Sundays during May. There is also a short season in late September, during the Feria de San Miguel. Prices depend on the type of bullfight and on where you’re sitting relative to the arena and the sun (sol, sombra, or sol y sombra) and for corridas start from 13 euros (if you don’t mind sitting with the sun in your eyes) and go up to 155 euros ‘face value’ for the best seats.
For a great view of the bullring from across the river, stay in one of our apartments on Calle Betis.
Imagine waking up of a morning, looking out of your window, and seeing views like these! All of them are views from veoapartments in the historic and beautiful city of Seville in Southern Spain
Cathedral – There are lots of apartments that give you a glimpse of the 15th century cathedral and Giralda tower, but from the Cathedral Terrace apartment you get the whole thing.
Indian Archive – This is a fine view across Constitución to the Archivos and the little garden in front of them from the Constitución 5 apartment. The Archivos were originally built during the 16th century as the trading centre for the merchandise brought back from the New World, before being converted to their present use.
Metropol Parasol – A fascinating view of the newest addition to Seville’s city centre, the world’s largest wooden building, as seen from the Laraña Terrace apartments.
Iglesia del Salvador – The El Salvador church as seen across the square from Salvador Terrace apartment. It was built on the site of the original Grand Mosque, and elements preserved from that time can still be seen in the church courtyard.
Alcázar Gardens – It’s only a glimpse, with one of the towers of the 12th century fortifications, but the rest of the view from the Murillo Terrace apartment is pretty good too, taking in the Plaza Santa Cruz in the heart of the old Jewish quarter.
Maestranza Bullring – This is the view across the river from the Betis Blue apartments of the Arenal waterfront, including the famous bullring, one of the oldest and best preserved in Spain.
Iglesia San Luis – An unusual up close and personal look at the towers and dome of San Luis church from the San Luis Terrace apartment in the famous Macarena neighbourhood of Seville.
Fine Arts Museum – A view across the street from the Museo 5 apartment to one of Spain’s most important art museums, housed in the impressive Convent de la Merced.
Isabela bridge – Seville’s iconic Triana bridge, with some of the expo ’92 pavilions in the background, again from the Betis Blue apartments in the old sailors’ and gypsy quarter of Triana.