Release your inner child and paint the streets of Buñol red in the world’s largest food fight! La Tomatina is an epic Spanish festival held every August near Valencia in the quaint town of Buñol. Chances are, you’ve probably never experienced anything quite like this. Buñol’s population of 10,000 triples as visitors from across the globe come to join in on the tomato-throwing antics of this food-loving festival.
At exactly 11 am, a cannon is fired to announce the start of the world’s largest food fight, and the tomato throwing mayhem begins. The food fight is full of frenzy, cheer, excitement, and a hint of anarchy. Some lucky food fighters may even score a position on top of one of the tomato delivery trucks: a prime tomato-throwing position. The food fight lasts exactly one hour in the town square, which becomes completely saturated in tomatoes. During the fight, locals cheer on combatants from the sidelines. Some observers will stand on rooftops and dump buckets of water onto the food fighters below.
When is La Tomatina Festival?
The food-filled festival of La Tomatina is held on the last Wednesday of August each year in the town of Buñol near Valencia in Spain. Buñol, is a small town, with a population of around 10,000 people, but each year the festival attracts up to 20,000 participants! The festival officially kicks off at 11 am as tomato filled-trucks travel to the fight zone, and once they arrive the battle begins!
Aftermath & Party
The fight concludes at the sound of the second cannon at noon. Afterwards, local fire trucks hose down the streets. Participants can wash-up using the designated showers on site, or opt for a quicker clean-up with hoses provided by the locals. After the fight you may want to head back to your hotel, clean up, rest up, and nurse your tomato bruises. However, if you’re still feeling invigorated, head to the Tomatina After Party in Valencia and dance the night away with your fellow La Tomatina anarchists! Tickets can be purchased online or at the door, and range from €20 to €60. Show up early before the crowds get out of control!
What is La Tomatina?
An organized food fight in the heart of Spain might sound too good to be true, but this Spanish festival has been a tradition since 1944 and hosts tens of thousands of travelers every year. Located in the Valencian town of Buñol, tonnes of tomatoes are made accessible for revelers to hurl at one another until their arms go numb. The fight only lasts an hour, but the memories will last a lifetime, and if you’ve ever wanted to live out your wildest food fight dreams, you know where to go.
On the morning of the famous food fight and before the battle officially begins, the first event of the day is the “Palo Jabón”. The name of the game is to successfully reach the top of a greasy pole before anyone else and release the ham that’s been tied up there. Locals and tourists alike embrace the challenge to climb the pole and claim the giant leg of ham, or simply drop it to the ground. Traditionally, the fight cannot commence until the ham is claimed.
How did La Tomatina start?
La Tomatina has been celebrated in Buñol since 1944 but the verdict is still out on exactly how the tradition came to be. Different theories include that it originated from a friendly local food fight, a practical joke on a musician, a juvenile class war, and an attack on the city council from disgruntled townspeople. The tradition continued on from that point to the massive food fight extravaganza it is today.
Where is La Tomatina?
While you’re making the trek out to Buñol, plan some time to explore this dynamic village. Buñol combines modern and historic—with beautiful architecture, urban parks, and an ever-present music scene. The village is surrounded by mountains and the Mediterranean forest, ideal for those who love hiking, biking, and climbing.
How long does La Tomatina last?
La Tomatina lasts 1 hour. At 11 am on the dot, a cannon is fired to announce the start of the world’s largest food fight and the tomato-throwing mayhem begins.
How many tomatoes are used in La Tomatina?
Participants throw over 100 metric tons of overripe tomatoes in the streets. That’s over 150,000 tomatoes!
How to prepare for La Tomatina
La Tomatina Festival is considered a bucket list experience for many across the world. Here are our top tips to prepare you for your tomato-filled festival to ensure a comfortable, yet memorable experience.
- ✓ Eat a hearty breakfast before the fight and hydrate.
- ✓ Remember to play fair and by the rules.
- ✓ Wear comfortable, close-toed shoes – the streets are packed, messy, and slippery!
- ✓ Wear goggles or cheap sunglasses to protect your eyes.
- ✓ Wear white clothes that you’re OK with discarding (the white will help show off the tomato mess!)
- ✓ Wear sunscreen, August in Spain is hot!
- ✓ Purchase a waterproof case for your camera and/or phone.
- ✓ Bring a change of clean clothes for afterward.
- ✓ Smash your tomatoes before throwing them so they are squishier and don’t hurt your friendly opponents.
- ✓ Book your ticket and accommodations or tour early.
Operators with La Tomatina Trips
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