Your Guide To La Tomatina!
The biggest and messiest food-fight of the year is fast approaching and it is right here, in our very own backyard, buñol, Valencia. So, we’ve not only put together the ultimate guide to enjoy this crazy tradition, we’ve also got you sorted with our very own La Tomatina Package too.
More of that later, first, let’s go back and take a look at how a small town in Spain became home to the tradition that sees upwards of 20,000 people cover themselves, and the streets, in over 120 tonnes of ripe tomatoes…
La Tomatina – How it all began
Although the exact origin of the festival is not entirely certain, it is believed to have started on the last Wednesday in August 1945, when the town of Buñol were celebrating a procession of giants and big heads. Some young people wanted to join which caused a participant to fall and, in anger, he picked up some vegetables from a stall nearby and began to throw them, starting a food fight in the crowds. Police shut down the fight but the people of Buñol decided the next year to repeat the fight, this time though, for entertainment. So, it began. The annual food-fight was not known as a festival in the first few years, in fact, the police tried to ban the event multiple times before finally embracing the idea. It took many more years, though, for the event to become known beyond the city and finally, across the globe as it is known today.
The Festival – What you need to know!
When and where? La Tomatina occurs every year on the last Wednesday of August in the town of Buñol, about 40km outside of Valencia. The food-fight begins at 11am, but most people arrive early in the morning to begin enjoying the festivities. Bars open early allowing Tomatina-goers to start warming up for the epic food-fight ahead. We’ve got your transport covered from Valencia and we’ll even help you get started with some pre-party Sangria (and a post-Tomatina beach crawl, too!).
What to wear? Traditionally people wear white clothes, which might seem a little counter-intuitive considering you’re bound to be covered in unfathomable amounts of juicy red tomatoes. Obviously, your clothes are going to be ruined by the end of the day, so wear something you don’t mind getting dirty (or even throwing out later on). When you book with us, we’ll give you your very own La Tomatina shirt! Closed in shoes are advisable, after all around 20,000 people attend the event and the likelihood of having your toes stood on are pretty high. Finally, possibly the most vital yet under-considered item of all, eye goggles; needless to say, it’s gonna get messy and you will want to keep all that tomato juice out of your eyes.
What to take? Valuables are easily destroyed, lost or stolen during an event like this, so leave the passports at home. Carry only what you need in a secure pouch attached to your body or around your neck. Keep your phone waterproof and in an extra-protective case. Go pros or similar are perfect to capture the craziness of the festival, so take one if you have one!
The food fight – What to expect
During the lead up to the 11am tomato throwing, participants are seen attempting to climb a greased up pole in order to reach a ham at the top. When the first person reaches the ham, it signals the beginning of the food fight; although, it is nearly impossible to actually reach the top and so an 11am cut-off is set, ensuring the food fight begins no later than that.
Guidelines are set before-hand advising participants to crush the tomatoes in their hands before throwing them, although this rule is not always followed. Expect some tomato-related “injuries” during the fight. You may also be in for a surprise when a bucket of water is sent pouring down from the balconies above, so maybe consider a raincoat!
By the end of the tomato throwing, the city is swimming in tomato juice and the fire-fighters head out to clean up. Many people then head to the river to wash off, or you can find locals standing around with hoses ready to spray you down.
While it sounds like a crazy, messy day, don’t worry – it’s also one of the most cultural and thrilling experiences you can have! La Tomatina sees groups of friends and strangers bond in the mutual love of vegetable-throwing, so grab your tickets now and get ready for the biggest food fight in Spain!
Created by Rebecca Jenkins