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The Corrida do Toros in Lagos
Portugeese bullfighting is very different from the classical Spanish version. In Portugal the bull has a fighting chance, and is not killed in the ring. Every Saturday there is a bullfight in Lagos. Even if the price is a bit steep, it's well worth the trip. It must be one of the ultimate machismo challenges between man and beast.


The Cavaljero sets his banderillas

The ultimate challenge...


Is very dangerous. This Focador is mashed to the gound by the enraged bull...

Man and beast
Near the Marina do Lago the bull-ring holds action every Saturday afternoon. As the sun is on it's way down, the bulls and the Cavaljeros, Forcados and the Bandarilheiros makes their duelling.
These fight are being held in the major cities of Algarve and in the more classic Ribatejo-area east of Lissabon.
The Portugese bullfight has an opening where the Cavaljero on horesback tries to aggrevate the bull, and place the banderillas or farpas in the bull's neck. This is being done with the utmost machismo bravado and elegance, mocking the bull's brute force. The Cavaljero needs to be in total control of his horse, and to be very observant of the bull's movements. One moment it is charging man and steed at breakneck speed. The next moment being led on by the Cavaljero.
As the bull tires, and the four banderillos is well set, the next part begins. A team of eight Forcadores enters the arena and challenge the bull. Face to face, with no weapons they line up in a row. The enraged bull answeres the mocking calls from the Focadores and charges...

The front Forcador faces the charging bull with the others lined up behind him. With his bare hands he tries to catch the bull by it's horns, while the others catch up and tries to wrestle the bull to the ground. Even if the bull's horns are capped and covered with leather, this must be one of the ultimate machismo challenges. Facing a half-ton enraged bull charging down on you with your bare hands as your only weapon certainly demands respect!

Needless to say, it is very dangerous, and injuries are frequent. At the fight on the 1st. of July two men got hurt, trampled and thrown about by an extremely valiant and brave bull. One suffered seroius injuries and was rushed away in an ambulance. The other suffered minor nosebleeds, and posed as the hero of the day after the fight.

The bulls are finally being cajoled out of the ring. They are never allowed to fight again, and is butchered shortly after the fight.

This is the main area we covered on this trip. West from Lagos towards Sagres and north along the coast as far as Sines. Lagos/Sines is about 150 km.
Pages to visit from this trip:
Corrida do Torros | Burgau/Salimas
Sagres/Cabo Sao Vicente | Aljezur/Odeceixe
Porto Covo/Vila Nuevo Milfontes | Lissabon
Sagres Festival | Music