Are you an adrenaline junky? We might just have the festival for you. Here’s a hint: August, Buñol and thousands of tomatoes. Of course, it’s one of the craziest and juiciest festivals (truth be told) in the world, introducing: La Tomatina in Buñol.
If you’re a first timer, then you need to know what the festival is all about so here’s a quick briefing to get you in the loop. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how it began but one theory is that its origin traces back to around the year 1945 when some local youths went down to the town square to see the Giants and Big-Heads parade. Apparently, one of them inadvertently stumbled and dropped a participant, thus giving rise to a fight between neighbours, who started throwing tomatoes at each other. The following year the group of kids staged a fight back and the rest is history.
Today La Tomatina attracts young people from around the world, who gather in the streets and hurl the fruit at each other. Here are our top 10 tips to help you make the most of the world famous tomato battle.
1. Agree on a central meeting point
If you’re going into this festival with one or ten mates it’s a good (tbh a great) idea to discuss a meeting point before the carnage starts and you’re all swept up in the thrill of it all and before you know it you’ve lost your pals. Surprisingly, throwing tomatoes at people is a great way to make a couple of new pals so I wouldn’t worry too much if you get separated from your friends, just stay calm, enjoy yourself and meet up at the meeting point with your mates after to tell your tales (of survival).
2. Dress to (un)impress
Excuse me while I go into mum mode with a checklist to ensure you’re fully prepped – clothing wise.
A checklist worth checkin’ out :
👕 Dress to beat the heat by wearing summer friendly clothing
👋 Wear old clothing that you don’t mind parting ways with after
👟 Protect your dedos de los pies… ie. Wear closed-in shoes
😎 Wear goggles (dw, you won’t be the only snorkeler on shore)
✅ Pro tip: Wear clothing with sealed pockets for a few valuables
3. Get yo’self a waterproof camera or a phone case
You’ve made it all the way to Spain and chances are you want to show your friends and family back home the amazing adventures you’re having through social media, but please (pretty please), leave your nice expensive cameras at home for this event, to avoid tears. Instead, a waterproof camera or phone case is the way to go to capture the day and treasure the memories of the event for the years to come.
4. Squash, then throw!
A rule to remember is to squash before you throw and don’t throw any solid tomatoes. It’s also important to make sure the tomatoes are ripe – let’s be honest, no one wants bruises. While the city council usually distributes ripe tomatoes, it never hurts to check to avoid harming anyone. Remember, safety first!
5. Accept that some tomatoes are going to hurt more than others..
Truth be told, some tomatoes are going to hurt more than others… but take a leaf out of this guy’s 👇 book and just relax and enjoy yo’self, you’re in Spain after all!
6. Find your accommodation in advance
The La Tomatina festival is held in the popular yet small town of Buñol. It is common for travellers to stay in Valencia, just half an hour from the site of the battle. The good news is that Valencia is full of hostels where you can continue the party after the event. Hostels like the Purple Nest Hostel Valencia, Red Nest Hostel Valencia and Home Youth Hostels Valencia By Feetup Hostels offer special packages that include accommodation, transport, clothing and tickets for the festival After Party.
7. Ziplock some cash and pocket it
When travelling it’s always good to have some backup cash on you however things can (and will) get messy with the gallons of tomatoes that are being thrown everywhere. To avoid losing your money, drop some cash into a ziplock bag and pop it into a secured pocket and voila problem solved!
8. Plug it! (Protect your ears)
Pack some ear plugs (or blue tack will work for you last minute packers out there) to put in your ears prior to the festival. Trust me you’ll be thanking me later when your ear canals aren’t drowned with tomato squash.
9. Pay attention to the end of the battle
Of course we all wish it could go on all night but sadly all good things come to an end. So you’ll have to watch out for the announcement of the final release of tomatoes. In any case, by then you’ll probably have launched and received your fair share of fruit anyways.
If you want to see what La Tomatina is really like, check out the video we made with Home Youth Hostel:
You may also be interested in this article: 24 of the weirdest festivals in the world.