Bullfighting is deeply rooted in global historic traditions. But today, local public opinion leans against the tradition. Though the site includes information for tourists interested in attending the events, TripSavvy trusts its readers to make their own decisions on the ethics of bullfighting as an attraction.
Andalusia is where bullfighting in Spain was born (in Ronda, to be precise). It is here, in Spain's most southerly region and along the Costa del Sol., where you'll find the most bullrings and the biggest bullfights.
The best place to see bullfighting in Andalusia is actually in Seville (it is also the best city to visit in Andalusia, even if you aren't interested in a bullfight), but it's not the easiest to visit from the Costa del Sol by public transport. Nearly as good—and just as awkward to get to from the Costa del Sol—are the bullfights in El Puerto de Santa Maria, between Cadiz and Jerez, which have bullfights for several weekends in August (and sometimes July).
Unless you have an actual ticket (either physical or email confirmation from a reputable supplier), I wouldn't plan a trip to a town around a bullfight. Instead, here are some of the best destinations on or near the Costa del Sol where you can see a bullfight if you happen to be in town at the right time.
Beware: Bullfighting organizations are a little old-fashioned and, as a result, their online presence can be virtually nonexistent. Even the bullring in Marbella, in one of the most tourist-friendly cities on the Costa del Sol, no longer has a website since their previous site went down in 2018.
While not as renowned for its bullfighting as Seville or Madrid, Málaga is still in the heart of bullfighting country and is a good place to watch with genuine fans. The bullring in Málaga is at Plaza La Malagueta, slightly to the east of the main old town and near the Castillo de Gilbralfaro.
However, the only time you'll really get a chance to see a bullfight here is during the Feria de Málaga (also known as Feria de Agosto), one of Spain's most popular street festivals (perhaps second only to Las Fallas de Valencia).
Málaga outside this time is dominated by its airport and tourists arriving in the city on their way elsewhere in Spain. You're advised to head away from Málaga as soon as possible as crime rates are high while tourist attractions outside of festivals are rare. However, if you do wind up staying in the city during the off-season, hotels in Málaga are relatively cheap.
Ronda is the most beautiful of all the pueblos blancos (white villages) in southern Spain. Built atop a high ravine, the historic bridges are quite a sight, and Ronda is where modern bullfighting began.
As a result, the Ronda bullring is held in very high regard among fans of bullfighting. However, with Ronda tucked away in the mountains, its bullring is not that accessible for many tourists. Perhaps to preserve Ronda's status as the genuine home of bullfighting and not a tourist trap, there are very few fights actually scheduled in Ronda daily.
The Corridas Goyescas, which take place in September, are Ronda's most celebrated bullfights. There might be fights at other times, but they will be sporadic. Even if there is no fight on, though, the bullfighting museum has some impressive exhibits including blood-splattered cloaks as worn by some of the pioneers of bullfighting.
Bullfights tend to take place in the evening, so you'll probably want to find a hotel in Ronda if you're in town for a fight. Additionally, Ronda is 31 miles (50 kilometers) inland from the Costa del Sol, and the "Road to Ronda" from San Pedro is a terrifying experience! Here's how to get from Málaga to Ronda.
One of Spain's most popular cities, Granada, only has bullfights for one week a year. Bullfights are held in Granada for six days around Corpus Christi, which is earlier than a lot of other fights across the country. As a result, the weather might be milder than the summer heat usually associated with the sport.
Granada is one of the two most popular cities to visit in Andalusia (after Seville). Set in a valley with the famous Alhambra fortress looming overhead, the city has very distinct Moorish, Jewish, and Gypsy quarters as well as the best free tapas culture in the country.
Granada is just an hour north of Málaga, making it an essential visit from the Costa del Sol. However, since the bullfights are held in the evenings during the week of Corpus Christi, you'll need accommodation in Granada if you hope to catch one of these famous events.
Algeciras is a port town that's not usually high on a tourist's list of places to visit. However, the Bullfighting Festival of Algeciras is usually in late June and makes a perfect addition to your Spain travel itinerary if you're hoping to catch a bullfight this month.
Although the main reason people come to Algeciras is to take one of the ferries to Morocco—which are also accessible from Tarifa or Gibraltar—the Bullfighting Festival brings droves of crowds to this small port city each June.
Be sure to book accommodations well in advance if you plan to visit this time of year as the crowd of visitors often outnumbers the available rooms in Algeciras during the festival.
Other Costa del Sol Towns With Bullrings
There are lots of bullrings along the Costa del Sol. However, many are disused or are used for other events such as concerts instead.
- Estepona: During Feria, beginning of July
- Fuengirola: In October, during the feria in honor of the Virgen del Rosario Coronada
- Torremolinos: Sporadic bullfights during the summer
- Benalmádena: No longer used for bullfighting
These bullrings don't have much information online. Check them out in person when you are in town.
- Cortes de la Frontera
- Nueva Andalucía (Puerto Banús)