La Tomatina festival is one of the most messy and fun festivals held in Spain. It is held each year in the small town of Buñol in the province of Valencia. This is where tons of ripe tomatoes are thrown by participants at each other during one of the worlds biggest food fights.
Thousands of festival lovers now flock to the town of Buñol each year, all looking for a chance to be part of this unusual Spanish festival.
The La Tomatina surely has to be one festival you should visit on your next holidays to Spain.
La Tomatina facts
The origins of the La Tomatina Festival dates back to August 1945 and was borne out of the Giants and big heads parade. Apparently during the procession one of the giants fell from a float and started a fracas with a group of youngsters, who duly grabbed a load of ripe tomatoes from a vegetable stall and proceeded to pelt the giant!, the food fight was duly broken up by the local police.
The following year the youngsters returned with their own ripe tomatoes and started pelting the giants once again, the police intervened yet 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 fest that it is today.
Participating in La Tomatina
The Bunol festival ( pronounced Bunyol ) is held during the last week in August each year with the highlight of the week being the Tomato fight which 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 and 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 and Tomatina holiday packages:
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.
Bunol 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 is a good selection 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.
The town of Bunol is situated around 40 kms from Valencia taking between 45 mins to one hour by car depending on traffic. Most festival goers stay in cheaper budget accommodation in Valencia and then get a train to Bunyol. Trains leave at 8 minutes past the hour in the morning with the journey taking around 50 minutes. Catch the early train and you will have plenty of time to arrive before the main mid day tomato fight.
Train times are available on the national rail service website at www.renfe.es.
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 30 degrees 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.
La Tomatina festival 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
Of you love parties, the Spanish culture, the heat and don't 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.
La Tomatina Tours - Book in Advance