La Tomatina – a Food Fight festivalFestival in Buñol, Spain Which Will Leave Your Jaws Wide Open!
This is the legendary tomato food fight that you’ve heard about!
Bumol, Spain’s home to the largest food fight around! The La Tomatina Festival is held each year towards the end of August. For one day, guests and attendees enjoy Spain’s finest celebration of food fights and summer. Every year, a few thousands of people pile into the Buñol region for one of the wildest food fight and summer parties ever.
La Tomatina is held each year as a “summer sendoff” of sorts. Though this food festival is first and foremost a celebration of great fun and tomato throwing, insiders know that at this festival, you will find everything you ever wanted to experience about Spain From the beautiful Spanish tomatoes, to Spain’s iconic food and incredibly beautiful weather, La Tomatina is really one of those festivals that you will want to write home about.
Food Fights and Festivities
Obviously, the most iconic aspect of La Tomatina is the tomato war! Bring out your big guns, La Tomatina attendees, these tomato parties are no joke! Each year, festival fanatics come prepared with your own tomatoes bags that are perfect for holding your artilery until you are ready to squash, aim and fire!
At the end of this fight, the whole town is literally covered in seedy bits of tomato. The townspeople look like they just endured a bloody battle, and the ground is covered in the veggie carnage. Make sure you’re mentally prepared for just how sticky and messy you will get! Keep in mind, it’s all part of the fun!
La Tomatina History
It is believed that La Tomatina got its start in the 1945. According to the legend, during the annual celebration of the Las Gigantes festival, onlookers grabbed tomatoes from a nearby vendor and launched the beginning of the largest recurring food fight in history. Throughout the years following its inception, the local law enforcement struggled to let citizens participate in such tomato debauchery and enacted several tomato bans. However, the people would not be appeased with these “no tomato bans” and years later, La Tomatina was back in business.
Experiencing La Tomatina
This tomato throwing party basically lasts for one day, held every year on the 31st of August. Though the actual tomato throwing goes down once, several festivities lead up to this auspicious event. On the day of La Tomatina, festivities begin at 10 am and start with a race to grab a jamon serrano, or ham that has been impaled at the top of a pole. Participants that try to get the jam are sprayed with water while dancing and singing in the streets.
When the church bell sounds at noon, trucks and trucks of tomato vendors start rolling in with the good stuff. Once a blasting rocket sounds off, all bets are off! La Tomatina has begun and no one is safe! Look to your left, and your right you’ll see people squashing tomatoes underfoot and in hand, ready to launch their attack on anyone- be it friend or foe, stranger or family member.
What to Bring to La Tomatina
Along with your tomato artillery and white attire, you should also bring a healthy appetite and open schedule for food and drink. With a week full of fun festivities, and days of drinking, you really need to be eating a lot of carbs as well.
Just as you should carefully plan your strategy for your tomato battle, it is important to put together a good itinerary and festival plan for your stay. Staying hydrated with food in your stomach will keep you paced and ready so you don’t burn out on Day 1 from too much fun in the sun!
Do bring typical festival gear like sunscreen, bandanas, empty water bottles or camel packs, over the counter medicine, and non professional cameras.
What to Wear to La Tomatina
La Tomatina is held just at the end of summer. Given the summer weather in Spain, wearing comfortable, summery clothing shouldn’t be a problem in the day, but remember- you must wear white! Try maxi dresses, skirts, shorts, or whatever you feel most comfortable in! While some people try their best to be really fashionable, many people opt for comfort and go the route of jeans and a t-shirt. Either way is up to you. Whatever you do, please bring extra clothes! You will be covered head to toe in tomato juice, seeds, and skin. There are showers on site to wash you off, just make sure you have a set of dry, clean clothes available.
When it comes to evening weather, keep in mind that La Tomatina is held in a Spanish valley, so evening weather will be a little chillier. Take extra layers with you just in case. Don’t let the sunny days fool you into being underprepared for your entire stay.
Throughout the day and night you, you will undoubtedly end up walking A LOT. Choose to wear the most comfortable shoes possible. After standing all day, it is a definite bummer to end up walking 2 miles, especially if it’s in the wrong shoes. Many people even take an extra pair of shoes with them in case of emergency.
Getting to La Tomatina
For those that are flying in, try coming into to Valencia Airport. Once you get there, arriving to La Tomatina itself shouldn’t be much of a hassle. Choose your pick from coach bus, shuttle, taxi, or train, and you should be there in no time.
While flying into Valencia itself may be the easiest part of your trip, keep in mind that parking is often a ways away from the actual Buñol city center. Try your best to get a street car, rental or taxi on your way to La Tomatina. Many people that fly int other cities like Barcelona or Madrid and then catch an overnight bus into valencia.
Keep in mind that for drivers, parking around the surrounding village may be difficult. In addition to cabs and public transportation, La Tomatina recently added the option of a round-trip bus. No matter which form of transportation you end up with, you will need to allot a lot of time for getting to and from La Tomatina. Traffic happens whether you are on public transportation or on a bike. Stay patient and you’ll get there eventually!
Do keep in mind that traffic and accommodations may prove difficult as Buñol is a small city and doesn’t have much infrastructure or space to deal with the influx of tourists. When booking your actual hotel and lodging, try to do it very early if you want to stay in Buñol. Otherwise, most people just get a room in Valencia, and travel into town the day of.
Pricing and Tickets
Tickets for La Tomatina aren’t too expensive but you’re going to want to get professional help when planning your trip. Most of your spending at La Tomatina will be spent trying to get there, if you’re not from the area. Try to get in touch with a travel agent that knows the ins and outs of La Tomatina so you can get the most for your money. It also pays to have a tour guide when you get to La Rioja so you can find out everything about its rich history.
La Tomatina Tips
A lot of inside information can be learned from a quick search of festival reviews by former attendees. These La Tomatina insider tips may just make your festival experience the best one yet! While you’re purchasing your passes online to the festival, don’t forget to take a look at all the tickets for the other events as well.
Do yourself a favor and download the festival app before you arrive. You will get important updates and special information that you may never know otherwise. Do go to all the events if you can.
When it comes to the festival’s history and culture, try your best to get a better understanding before you arrive so you can make the most of your trip to Buñol. Many people do come a week before the start of La Tomatina just to take in as much of the city as they can, and to get a feel for the tomato related festivities! Try your best to get in touch with a travel agent so you get the most sight seeing for your money.
So whether you have been to Buñol before or this is your first time, La Tomatina is sure to be a festival for the books!
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