Bull Running on Terceira Island: An Azores Tradition

Disclaimer: WC and I, by no means, support or encourage the act of bull running/bullfighting. We are huge animal lovers! However, we do feel it’s important to experience cultures and traditions when we’re traveling. For that reason, we attended this traditional bull running event and wanted to share the experience. If it’s not your thing- we totally understand!

First of all, if you’re visiting Terceira Island, the bull running is just one of MANY ways to experience this beautiful Azores spot! We flew to Terceira just to spend the day from Sao Miguel Island where we stayed throughout our Azores trip. In 13 hours on Terceira, we saw A LOT: caves, farmland, natural swimming pools, even a “haunted forest!” And we wrapped up the day with a variety traditional Terceira experience: bull running.

TIP: Check out our post on One Day on Terceira Island to help plan your trip.

Bull statue on Terceira Island

The History of Bull Running on Terceira

First, a little bit about the history of bull running on Terceira, Azores: Just driving around the island, you’ll notice the importance of the bulls here. The Monument to the Bull celebrates the culture of bullfighting on the Island.

Bullfighting on Terceira Island is called tourada à corda which means bullfight by rope. It’s a form of bullfighting that’s unique to Terceira. A rope is placed around the bull’s neck and the six main participants hold onto it as they lead the bull around the course. The goal of tourada à corda is NOT to kill the bull.

Bull running on Terceira Island, Azores

Our Experience

The bull running events move from town to town throughout the season on Terceira Island. On the day we visited, an event was taking place in the town of Cabo da Praia. Since it was close to the airport, we finished our day by watching a portion of the event in the town square– yes, it happens right in the middle of town, not in an arena!

They bull running on Terceira Island takes place in the late afternoons when most locals are finished with work and able to participate. It is truly a community event. What struck us most is the way the town came together to celebrate. There were parties taking place at the homes lining the main street and everyone seemed welcoming and in such high spirits. The event really seemed to bring the community together!

Sometimes locals will hop into the course to taunt the bull, as well. Of course, when it starts running after them, they have to take off running too and jump the wall to safety. One thing we learned about halfway through the first event: sometimes the bull will jump the wall. Yes. Jump the wall! Thankfully that didn’t happen while we were watching!

 

If you happen to be in Terceira during the bull running season, consider checking out an event. But, if it’s not your thing, you’ll still have plenty to do on this diverse island.

Need more Azores inspiration?

Check out these other blog posts to help plan your Azores trip:

Married with Wanderlust Travel Blog

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