Tourada à Corda a Bullfight in the street

Tourada à Corda

Tourada à Corda (Bullfight by rope) is one of the more unique experiences that you will have on the island of Terceira.  From May until October you will find bullfights in the street, in the fields, and even at the beach.  While the island of Terceira has the formal Portuguese bullfight, where there are “Cavaleiros” (Horsemen), “Toureiro” (Bullfighters) and “Forcados”  in a bullfighting ringthe Tourada à Corda is less formal, in that it gives the spectator the opportunity to be on the same playing field of the bull.

 Bullfighting in the Street

The Tourada à Corda happens in the late afternoon, when the work day is done for most.  Those who wish to spectate, take there place in high grounds, whether it is behind make shift barricades, up in trees, or on the verandahs of there homes.  While those brave enough, congregate in the street awaiting the release of the bull.   The bulls are brought in by crate and released one bull at a time with the rope attached.  The bulls are handled by the “pastores(Herdsmen), to ensure the safety of the spectators as well as the bulls themselves.  Depending on the stamina,the bull is let loose in the streets for a period of about thirty minutes or more.  Wannabe bullfighters try to get the attention of the bull by flailing there arms, umbrellas or capes, in hopes that the bull chases after them.  Once the bull begins to charge the wannabe bullfighters run for there lives, to higher grounds, or behind the barricades, a cat and mouse type chase.  Once the bull is tired of the chase the pastores bring it back into its crate and then release the next bull.  This will continue until all the bulls have been released, with the last bull being the wildest.

More information:

  • The Regional Tourism Association of the Azores provides an in depth brochure about bullfighting in the Azores, you can download the brochure here, or go to their website
  • Travel writer Andrew McCarthy provides his account of being a spectator in the Tourada à corda, in a short story for the travel section of the Huffington Post.  You can read that story by clicking here.
  • Diana Marcum has an article in the LA Times about Portuguese Americans continuing the tradition of  Portuguese bullfighting in California.  You can read the article by clicking here.
  • We have more photos on our Facebook page, you can see them by clicking here.
Interested in going to a Tourada à Corda, or visiting the island of Terceira?  Send us an e-mail at [email protected], or contact us at 1-888-678-9093.