La Tomatina Festival In Valencia
La Tomatina is one of the craziest yearly Spanish festivals. Yet people from all over the world travel to Valencia in August to participate in the tomato frenzy.
What is La Tomatina Festival?
Every year on the last Wednesday of August the small town of Buñol puts on a tomato war La Tomatina.
Trucks carry 125 tonnes of fresh tomatoes along the streets for the participants to throw them at each other. The frenzy only lasts for an hour, but the aftermath is thousands of ripped t-shirts and apparently a lot of fun.
The origins of La Tomatina are not very clear. Allegedly on the last Wednesday of August in 1945 during the local holiday street procession someone got unhappy and as an act of rage started throwing tomatoes from a vegetable stand at the people.
Next year on the same day a group of young people brought their own tomatoes and started throwing them at the people in the procession. Then it picked up and La Tomatina became a popular thing.
About 45.000 people participate in the battle. Image Credit: Graham McLellan
The local government prohibited tomato-throwing two times during the 50’s, but the locals were not having it. In 1957 it became an official thing.
“Palojabón” is another holiday’s must – a greased pole with a leg of Spanish cured ham (jamón) on top. Whoever can make it to the top of the slippery pole, gets the ham for a prize.
Palojabón – a greased pole with a jamón on top. Image Credit: Hannah Moon
La Tomatina Festival’s Do’s and Don’ts
Tickets: It’s recommendable to get your tickets in advance. You can get your tickets your La Tomatina’s essentials kits here.
What to bring: wear a swimming suit underneath your clothes. During the war your clothes will probably get ripped off. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes (no flip-flops or sandals), be aware that chances are they will get destroyed too. Wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from the tomato’s acid. If you want to take pictures make sure to bring a waterproof camera!
What to leave behind: bottles or any other hard objects.
La Tomatina’s main rule:
Before throwing a tomato you must squash it with your hands to make the blow less hurtful.
Lots of fun at La Tomatina. Image Credit: Graham McLellan
What else to do in Buñol:
Walk the old quarter and visit the 13th century fortress.
Buñol 13th century fortress. Image Credit: Jesús Pérez Pacheco
How to get to Buñol during La Tomatina:
The easiest way to get to Buñol is to get to Valencia first.
By car – Be aware that on the day of La Tomatina car access to the town is blocked off at 7 am. The tomato fight starts at 11 am.
By train – From Valencia take Cercanías train C3
By bus – From Valencia’s bus station
It takes courage to participate in such a crazy festival as la Tomatina! If you are looking for a less daring but fun experience in Valencia join my evening tapas & wine tour. Taste delicious wines and local authentic tapas in a small group.