Las Ventas is the famous bullring in the district of Salamanca in Madrid. The plaza de toros or bullring is the third largest in the world. The two largest are in Mexico and Venezuela; where the bullfighting goes after the Spanish season is over in October. Las Ventas was designed by Jose Espeliú in the Neo-Mudéjar style and makes the building look more ancient than its 1931 inauguration.
The bullring is divided by 27 sections called tiendos. More importantly it is divided in two sections called Sol and Sombra or sun and shade. The tickets in the sun are less expensive but it can get very hot and rowdy. It is the perfect place is you want to immerse yourself in local culture. If you prefer shade and cooler attitudes I would recommend the Sombra side. If it is your first bull fight try finding seats in rows 9 or lower on the Sombra side so you can get a closer look at the action and not worry about the heat. I purchased our tickets through taquillatoros.com (serviced by Ticketmaster) and the process was relatively easy and clear. You print out a confirmation and bring it with you to get your tickets. You can also buy tickets when you arrive or through other on-line vendors.
To get here you can walk, take a taxi or like most people take the Metro. The Ventas stop is where lines 2 and 5 intersect and it will put you directly outside the bullring. There are also a lot of taxis waiting too if you don’t want to walk or take the metro. After you pick up your tickets and head to your seats rent a cushion for less than 2 euros. Your butt will thank you for the next couple of hours.
Bullfighting is a tradition that some people don’t agree with these days and there’s a good chance that in the future it won’t be allowed. I would recommend experiencing a bull-fight at least once in your life. Not so much for the actual bull-fight but to be part of an authentic Spanish experience.