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Bullfight with a rope: what it is and when it happens in Terceira island

Bullfight on a rope: all you need to know

First of all, the bullfight on a rope is a very famous tradition on Terceira island and it attracts more and more people every year. So, if you want to know more about the essence of the Azores, you should really watch one of these demonstrations! So, here you can find out what is the Bullfight at Rope, its origin, when it takes place and much more!


What is the Bullfight at rope?

The bullfight at rope is known to be the largest manifestation of popular character in the Azores, having greater relevance on the island of Terceira. During this event, 4 wild bulls are released, which are controlled by a rope tied around their necks (which gives the bullfight its name). In this sense, the ropes are held by 6 men (called shepherds), who lead the fight and prevent it from leaving the section defined by scratches on the ground. To signal the release and the withdrawal of the bull, firecrackers are thrown and, to protect the spectators, the bulls have their horns covered.

This tradition is especially interesting since it promotes interaction with the people of Terceira. This is mainly due to the conviviality that is provided in the intervals of the bullfight and at the end of it. In short, the population gathers to eat in taverns installed in the place or at tables provided by the inhabitants of the island. The party that follows the bullfight is called the “fifth bull”.


What is the origin of the Bullfight on a rope?

The first record of a bullfight on a rope dates back to 1622. However, it is believed that these bullfights have been going on for much longer.


When does the Tourada à Corda take place in Terceira Island?

If you are planning to attend a bullfight on a rope, you should travel to Terceira Island between May 1st and October 15th, which is the so called “bullfighting season”. The bullfights have a maximum duration of 2h30 (between 15 to 30 minutes for each bull, with breaks) and follow these schedules

from 1 major to 15 August: 18h30;
from 16th August to 15th September: 6.00pm;
16 September to 30 September: 5.30 p.m;
1 to 15 October: 5 p.m.


If you want to book a tour that includes Bullfighting, Pro Island Tour is the ideal solution! This way you will get to know Terceira island from several different perspectives. Come be amazed by us!