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Matadors Prepare to Fight

Matadors Prepare to Fight

Each morning, 6 bulls run through the streets of Pamplona from their corral to the bullring, where, later in the afternoon, a bullfight completes the ritual. 960 1280

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San Fermin's Chupinazo

San Fermin's Chupinazo

Revelers are sprayed with water as they celebrate during the "Chupinazo," which marks the start of the San Fermin Festival in front of Pamplona's town hall with the launch of a firecracker. Tens of thousands of people pack the streets for the kick-off to Spain's most well-known fiesta. 960 1280

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Parade of Gigantes y Cabezudos

Parade of Gigantes y Cabezudos

Each morning is celebrated with the parade of "gigantes y cabezudos" or "giants and big heads." The huge figures are more than 150 years old and roughly 13 feet tall. 960 1280

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Running of the Bulls on Santo Domingo Street

Running of the Bulls on Santo Domingo Street

Runners sprint alongside bulls on Santo Domingo Street, rounding the infamous "Dead Man's Corner," named for its slippery, sharp turn. 960 1280

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A San Fermin Bullfight

A San Fermin Bullfight

The picador, on horseback, helps the matadors during the first stage of the bullfight. He uses a lance to prod the bull, causing the animal to straighten its charge toward the matador and lower its head to prepare it for the next stage of the fight. Multiple bullfights are performed throughout the days of the festival. 960 1280

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The Pena Voladora Parade

The Pena Voladora Parade

On the first day of the festival, the Pena Voladora parade makes its way along Estafeta Street in Pamplona, Spain. 960 1280

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Woodchoppers Compete in the Aizkolaritza

Woodchoppers Compete in the Aizkolaritza

Woodchoppers carve tree trunks in the Aizkolaritza, a Basque wood-chopping competition that's just one of the many events during the San Fermin Festival. 960 1280

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Revelers in the Streets of Pamplona

Revelers in the Streets of Pamplona

Festivalgoers hold up their red handkerchiefs, known as pañuelos, during opening day. 960 1280

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Runners on Estafeta Street

Runners on Estafeta Street

A fighting bull collides with runners along Estafeta Street during the San Fermin Festival. 960 1280

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Fireworks over Pamplona

Fireworks over Pamplona

Fireworks mark the end of the festival's first day, before participants rest up for another day of running for their lives through the northern Spanish streets. 960 1280

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Toro del Fuego

Toro del Fuego

A Toro del Fuego, or flaming bull, is run through the streets of Pamplona on the second day of the San Fermin Running of the Bulls, with kids and adults alike dodging the flying sparks. 960 1280

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11 Photos
Prado Museum (Madrid)

Prado Museum (Madrid)

Open since November 1819, the Prado Museum houses several collections and more than 2,300 paintings, including El Greco’s The Flight to Egypt and Goya’s The Countess of Chinchon. The museum hosts exhibitions featuring works by well-renowned artists such as Michelangelo, Picasso and Rembrandt. Visit the Spain and enter now to win a $10,000 trip for 2! 960 1280

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Plaza Mayor (Madrid)

Plaza Mayor (Madrid)

Thousands of tourists converge on Plaza Mayor each year. Shops and cafes are located around the square, and it’s not uncommon to see street performers entertaining the foot traffic that’s flowing through the popular tourist destination. Grab a seat, order a pitcher of sangria and enjoy the weather and people-watching. 960 1280

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Sagrada Familia Basilica (Barcelona)

Sagrada Familia Basilica (Barcelona)

You cannot leave Barcelona without seeing the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia, a magnificent work of art that is still in progress after more than a century. In 1883, Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi was commissioned to complete the project started by Francisco de Paula del Villar. Gaudi finished the chapel of San Jose, the crypt and the Nativity facade, but after his death, different architects continued to work on and add to his original idea. 960 1280

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Gothic Quarter (Barcelona)

Gothic Quarter (Barcelona)

Take a stroll through Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, located in the city’s Ciutat Vella (“Old City”) district. Most of the streets are closed to traffic, allowing tourists to wander from La Rambla to Via Laietana to view the city’s medieval past. 960 1280

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Horchata (Valencia)

Horchata (Valencia)

Travel to Valencia, the home of horchata. This tasty concoction — made from tigernuts, water and sugar — is a summer beverage that is usually served cold. To sample your first horchata, head to Horchateria Santa Catalina, which is located in Valencia’s Santa Catalina Plaza. 960 1280

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Valencian Paella (Valencia)

Valencian Paella (Valencia)

During the mid-19th century, paella originated near the Albufera lagoon in Valencia. Locals and tourists can try seafood paella, mixed paella or Valencian paella, which is made with white rice, green vegetables, chicken, rabbit, land snails, beans and seasoning. We recommend sampling paella at a local restaurant such as La Matandeta, La Pepica or Tridente Restaurant. 960 1280

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Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba (Cordoba)

Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba (Cordoba)

Tourists who visit Cordoba, Spain, should add a tour of the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba — also known simply as the Great Mosque-Cathedral — to their must-do list. On the site originally was a Catholic church, which was then divided into Christian and Muslim halves after the Muslims conquered Spain in 711. Caliph ’Abd al-Rahman I purchased the Christian half, tore down the church and built the current magnificent structure, a monument to Moorish architecture, in 784. Today, it is a Roman Catholic cathedral, despite the pleas from Spanish Muslim lobbyists who want to be allowed to pray there. 960 1280

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Alhambra (Granada)

Alhambra (Granada)

Visit the Alhambra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Granada. During the 13th century, this palace and fortress was the residence of the Nasrid sultans, as well as top government officials, court servants and the royal guard. Hidden by a thick wooded area, the Alhambra consists of 4 zones: the palaces, the military zone, the city and the villa of the Generalife, located on the country estate of the Nasrid emirs. 960 1280

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Generalife Gardens (Granada)

Generalife Gardens (Granada)

Schedule some extra time to stroll through the Generalife’s High and Low Gardens. Take the 19th-century Stairway of the Lions to the High Gardens, and see water fountains, beautiful magnolia trees, scented shrubs and other flora spread across several terraces on the palatial estate. Tourists may be lucky enough to catch the Granada International Festival of Music and Dance, held each summer in the Generalife’s outdoor amphitheater, located nearby. 960 1280

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Plaza de Espana (Seville)

Plaza de Espana (Seville)

Does Seville’s Plaza de Espana look familiar? The square — located on the edge of Maria Luisa Park — has been used as a filming location for movies such as Lawrence of Arabia, The Dictator, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace and Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Designed by Anibal Gonzalez, the Plaza de Espana has tiled alcoves that each represent a different province of Spain. Today, it is home to museums and government buildings. 960 1280

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The Alcazar (Seville)

The Alcazar (Seville)

The upper levels of the Alcazar of Seville are home to the royal family, making it the oldest European royal palace still in use. The Alcazar was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, and it is well-renowned as one of the most beautiful palaces in Spain. Explore the history of this amazing complex for a small entrance fee, about $10. 960 1280

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Málaga

Málaga

This stunning 1876 Mudéjar revival stadium, known as La Malagueta, seats more than 9,000 spectators. Visitors can also get a distant view into the ring from upper-level rooms at the adjacent Hotel Maestranza or along the steep walkway up to Málaga's castle ruins. A museum at the bullring is dedicated to the great 20th-century matador Antonio Ordoñez, who fought more than 1,000 bulls. 960 1280

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Seville

Seville

First opened in 1761 but not fully completed until 1881, the landmark Real Maestranza is Spain's oldest bullring still in operation and one of its most prestigious. A fascinating tour goes behind the scenes to illuminate the history and artistry of the spectacle. 960 1280

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Madrid

Madrid

Built in the majestic Mudéjar revival style in 1929, Las Ventas is Spain's largest bullring. Some 25,000 spectators crowd into every event to see the country's top matadors face the best bulls. When there's not a bullfight, visitors can tour the ring with an audio guide. 960 1280

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Ronda

Ronda

Inaugurated in May 1785, Ronda's Real Maestranza bullring was the home turf of Pedro Romero, the superstar matador of the late 18th century and a favorite subject of the painter Goya. Each September, the Goyesca Festival includes a day of bullfights in 18th-century costume. The colorful museum traces the evolution of bullfighting from the mythical past to contemporary matadors. 960 1280

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Pamplona

Pamplona

Ernest Hemingway made the Running of the Bulls famous in The Sun Also Rises and Death in the Afternoon. On the mornings of the San Fermin Festival in July, hundreds of spectators run through the streets with 6 bulls and 6 steers. Their destination is the city’s 1922 ring, where the bulls will meet their fate in the afternoon. 960 1280

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Mijas

Mijas

The small oval bullring with seats at each end is a good example of the old-fashioned bullrings that used to be in every Andalusian village. Already a popular tourist destination, Mijas fills up with tour buses every weekend from Easter until October to give Costa del Sol visitors a taste of authentic bullfighting. 960 1280

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El Puerto de Santa Maria

El Puerto de Santa Maria

The 12,000-seat stadium in this small sherry-making town on the Bay of Cadiz is one of the sport's most celebrated venues — in part because it's in the heart of bull-breeding country and gets some of the fiercest animals. Built in 1880, the building is noted for the beautiful ceramic tiles around its exterior. 960 1280

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Jerez de la Frontera

Jerez de la Frontera

Originally the home of chivalric bullfighting from horseback, Jerez eventually embraced the Ronda style, in which the matador faces the bull with only his cape and sword. The major bullfighting season at this 1894 bullring coincides with the Horse Fair in May. 960 1280

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Granada

Granada

This majestic Mudéjar revival bullring from 1928 has a grand entrance and 3 soaring levels. Several popular restaurants and bars fill its exterior walls. Like those in Seville and Ronda, the Granada arena is a rare bullring still operated by one of the regional Royal Cavalry societies (Real Maestranza de Caballeria) created by King Felipe II in the 17th century. 960 1280

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Linares

Linares

Most hard-core fans of the corrida, or “bullfight,” eventually come to see a program in the 1867 bullring of Linares. A bronze statue out front memorializes the great matador Manolete, who was fatally gored here in 1947, setting off 3 days of official national mourning. 960 1280

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Valencia

Valencia

Bullfighting in Valencia dates back to Neolithic times, and even in more recent centuries, fights took place in public squares with temporary fencing. Opened in 1859, this 10,500-seat bullring, which is modeled on the Roman Colosseum, starts the season earlier than most, with bullfights during the Las Fallas festival in March. 960 1280

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Bilbao

Bilbao

Although bullfighting is often associated with southern Spain, Bilbao has an enthusiastic fan base for the spectacle, as well as the largest bullring in the Basque Country. The original 1882 stadium burned down in 1961 and was replaced the next year by the unabashedly modern Plaza de Toros de Vista Alegre, which seats more than 14,000 people. 960 1280

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Barcelona

Barcelona

A favorite concert venue of the late, great flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia, Plaza de Toros Las Arenas ceased to hold bullfights in 1977, long before the government of Catalonia outlawed the spectacle. In 2011, it was transformed into the 6-story Arenas de Barcelona shopping center by British architect Richard Rogers. 960 1280

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