Getting dirty at La Tomatina – Spain’s biggest food fight

Filed in Travel Ideas by on February 12, 2017

 

Tomatina Festival Spain

Tomatina Festival Spain

The Tomatina Festival is held each year in the town of Bunol in the province of Valencia in Spain.



 

Tons of ripe tomatoes are thrown in one hour by thousands of festival lovers looking for excitement at one of the worlds  biggest food fights and the messiest festival in Spain.

Many thousands of people now flock to Buñol ( pronounced Bunyol ) located in the province of Valencia.

Festival fun loverscome here to join in what has become of the most popular festivals in Spain. Numerous lorry loads of ripe tomatoes are driven into the town centre shortly before the action takes place.

History of La Tomatina

The origins of the festival date back to August 1945 during the Giants and big heads parade. Apparently during the procession one of the giants fell from a float and started swinging out at a group of youngsters, who duly grabbed a load of ripe tomatoes from a vegetable stall and proceeded to pelt the giant! The fracas was broken up by the local police .

The following year the youngsters returned with their won tomatoes and started pelting the giants once again, the police intervened once again. The next year was much of the same with the youngsters throwing the ripe tomatoes, this time some of them where duly arrested and imprisoned.

Due in part to protests from the locals the youngsters where released but the tomato throwing started to gain popularity with the towns inhabitants, the rest as they say is history as it has now become the monster food fight that it is today.

Participating in La Tomatina

Due to the success of the event  and the large amount of revellers wishing to take part it has now become a ticket only affair for the main tomato fight.

The Bunyol festival is held during the last week in August each year. The tomato fight is the highlight of the week and is held on the last Wednesday of the month between 11 am and 1 pm.

La Tomatina Tickets

Due to the huge numbers of visitors on the day and the security concerns the local council decided that it would limit the number of participants wishing to take part.

Therefor you will need to buy an entrance ticket before hand which costs €10 each and can be purchased and printed off from the official Bunyol council website. You will need to book well in advance as tickets tend to sell very quickly.

There are a number of other website offering a Tomatina travel experience where you can also buy tickets , the most popular ones can be found at   http://Latomatina.org  and  http://latomatina.info/en/.

If you do not manage to obtain a ticket you can  still enjoy the week long festivities, it will just mean you will not be able to be in the thick of the fun for the hour or so during the actual tomato fight, not to worry though as there are plenty of visitors in the same position and the party continues in areas all around the town.

Accommodation

Bunyol is a very small town with around 10.000 inhabitants  so as you can imagine there is not enough accommodation on offer for the many thousands that arrive for the weeks festivities.

Our best advice is to stay around the outskirts of Valencia which has a good choice of accommodation to suit everyone.

For  budget stays there are plenty of hostels in Valencia, we found some very nice dorm rooms for under £10 a night.  Alternatively there are plenty of hotels in Valencia to choose from, but make sure you book early to secure your room during festival week.

For outdoor lovers there are  around 20 campsites in the Valencia  mostly along the coastal area, the closest being the Valencia Camper Park and the Campsite Coll Vert which are around a 40 minute drive away from Bunyol.

Practical information

The town of Bunol is some 40 kms from Valencia and takes between 45 mins and one hour by car depending on traffic.

Most festival goers stay in cheaper budget accommodation in Valencia and get the train to Bunyol.  Trains leave at 8 minutes past the hour in the morning and the  journey takes around 50 minutes. Catch the early train and you will have plenty of time to arrive before the main tomato fight around mid day.

Train times are available  on the national rail service website at www.renfe.es.

Suitable clothing

Look its great fun we all know that, but be practical, wearing your favourite outfit is probably not a good idea as it will get ruined.

Remember as well, this Spanish festival is held in August and the temperatures can soar well into the high 3Os Celsius so lightweight summer clothing is essential.

Try  to take a clean top and trousers in a sealed plastic bag tucked away so you can change for your return journey home.

Tomatina Rules

Everyone is there to have fun but for all the chaos that is evident during the festival the local town council has issued a number of rules to the benefit of every participant.

  • Tomatoes should be squashed before throwing to avoid injuries
  • No ripping of t-shirts
  • No other objects apart from tomato should be thrown during the fight
  • After the second warning bang no more tomatoes are allowed to be thrown
  • Participants have to make way for the tomato carrying trucks

Conclusion

Of you love parties, the Spanish culture, the heat and dont mind getting covered from head to toe in tomato juice then the Tomatina festival is for you.

Have fun and if you have already been to the festival and would like to share your thoughts please do so in the comments section below, we would love to hear from you.

Some images are used under the Flickr commons creative license