Sign Up
Newsletter Signup
Free Fodor's Newsletter

Subscribe today for weekly travel inspiration, tips, and special offers.

Passport: Your weekly travel wrap-up
Today's Departure: Your daily dose of travel inspiration

Estremadura and the Ribatejo Travel Guide

Vila Franca de Xira

Vila Franca de Xira is an excellent place to see Portuguese bullfights, known as the tourada, which are held from Easter through October. Although it's different from any version of this ancient spectacle in Mexico or Spain, Portuguese and Spanish bullfights have a common origin. Both forms were born in the Middle Ages in the struggle between Moors and Christians for the Iberian Peninsula, both were essentially arts of the

nobility, and both were practiced by horsemen. Bullfighting remained essentially the same in Portugal and Spain until the middle of the 18th century. Its subsequent development into two separate styles, the matador on foot becoming protagonist in Spain and the horseman continuing to play the leading role in Portugal, was caused by the disapproval of Bourbon monarch Felipe V, who ascended to the Spanish throne in 1700. The king's French sensibilities were offended by the gore and violence of bullfighting, and he soon prohibited the practice. Spain's noblemen were forced to comply. Bullfighting, however, had become too popular to disappear. The horsemen noblemen's retinue of grooms and other helpers took the art over for themselves.

Read More

Explore Vila Franca de Xira



Trip Finder

No Thanks

Love To Travel?

Get FREE e-mail communications from Fodor's Travel, covering must-see travel destinations, expert trip planning advice, and travel inspiration to fuel your passion.

How we use your email

Thank You

Now sit back, relax, and check your inbox to start planning your next travel adventure.

Please tell us more about the type of travel you're interested in. Check all that apply.