A tomato-pelting festival that will have you soaked, battered, bruised and begging for more!
Prepare to party at the wildest festival in Spain, where you, your mates, and thousands of locals and tourists alike will paint the walls red – literally. It’s a massive food fight unlike any other and it kicks off every year in Buñol, a tiny, typical Spanish town 40km from Valencia. Here, you and 20,000 others will take part with the 9000 local Spanish inhabitants, in tomato warfare known as the La Tomatina festival.
Every August a tomato war erupts in Buñol
Your mission; to pelt tomatoes at everyone in sight with your weapons of ripened tomatoes – and not to get too bruised in the process.
With the sacrifice of around 150 000 very ripe and soft skinned tomatoes, you can expect to get absolutely hammered, filthy and soaked. At La Tomatina there’s no such thing as standing on the sidelines, so if you don’t want to get dirty – it’s best to stay home.
The whole event takes place in the seemingly small battlegrounds of a narrow street (La Calle de Cid) near the town centre, which once it’s over, is more comparable to a river of tomato sauce – and the smell… let’s just say you won’t want to eat Spaghetti Bolognase for a while.
The festival starts bright with the “palo jabón”, a humourous activity that consists of daring individuals and groups trying to climb a pole that’s been greased up with lard, in attempt to grab the ham that hangs at the top. Once the lucky winner retrieves the ham, La Tomatina festival officially begins.
As you stand in the narrow street amongst 20,000 others (usually already hung-over and possibly semi-drunk), you wait in suspense for a loud canon to be fired, signaling the start of the anarchic tomato fight. Usually by this time, you’ll already be soaked as old Spanish couples and young kids merrily spray hoses over their balconies as the crowd below dance and sing under the water.
Then prepare yourself for war…
Four big red trucks will arrive with your ammo and then it’s every man for himself – it’s a fully-fledged tomato pelting frenzy. After exactly one hour, a second canon is fired to signal the conclusion of La Tomatina. At this point, the friendly fireman arrive, hosing down the streets as well as those still in it (so make sure you’re still there to get a good clean).
A Handy Tip for La Tomatina Festival
The festival is held in the morning and hosts around 20,000 party-goers, so remember to arrive nice and early as the train stations from Valencia are bound to be a chaotic nightmare.
Think you have what it takes for this frenzied tomato war? Join the fine warriors on Thirsty Swagman’s La Tomatina tours.