La Tomatina always takes place on the last Wednesday of August in the sleepy village of Bunol some 40kms west of Spain’s third largest city, Valencia.
This is an EPIC food fight of proportions you just won’t believe, with seven trucks dumping over 200,000 pounds worth of ripe tomatoes into the streets for a food war that has to be experienced to be believed.
Here we cover our top tips for surviving intact, getting the most out of your tomato battle day, and enjoying the festival to its fullest potential.
- Photography – If you do plan on bringing a camera you need to adhere to a few of the councils guidelines. No tripods, no selfie-sticks and no massive cameras will be permitted in without first gaining permission from the Bunol Council. With phones and smaller cameras for picture and video purposes make sure they are either waterproof, or are in a waterproof container. Even something as ordinary as a plastic sandwich bag can ensure your device is not totally wrecked at the end of the tomato battle.
- Accommodation – If you are planning on staying in Bunol itself options are very limited so it is best to book well in advance. Most revellers stay in nearby Valencia where there are thousands of accommodation options and plenty more sights and activities to see and get involved with.
- Clothing/Protection – If you plan on getting into the thick of the action then the clothes that you wear for the tomato fight will be destroyed, you will throw them away, that’s for certain. Make sure you take a change of clothing with you to Bunol and keep in mind that there are no changing rooms so it’s behind a car, rubbish bin or building that you’ll be doing a quick change. Goggles can be a good idea for keeping tomato juice (acid) out of the eyes although you are forever cleaning them. A peaked baseball cap is the best bet in our opinion for protection of the face and eyes. Loose fitting clothing and footwear should be avoided.
- Tickets – Again, you must get these well in advance through a company such as La Tomatina Tours as they do sell out and there is a 20,000 maximum allocation.
- Times – The first actual event on the day of La Tomatina is the “Palo-Jabón” where a giant pole is covered with soap/grease and people attempt to climb the pole to reach a hanging slab of ham at the top. Often hilarious to watch. This starts from about 8am in the morning with the tomato fight kicking off around 11am. Please note there are NO EXACT starting times for either of the events. The tomato fight lasts only an hour and a half at most.
- The Tomatoes – You must crush the tomato in your hand before throwing them as they can do serious damage to someone’s eye otherwise. Do not under any circumstances rip peoples clothing, throw projectiles other than tomatoes, or argue with officials as those are the easiest paths to ejection from the event.
- After – The best way to clean yourself after the event is to head down to the local river (all roads downhill lead to the river) where the council has erected twenty or so temporary showers. You can also find temporary showers at the train station although these are usually far more crowded. If the showers are full you can always just jump in the river.
- More – Most importantly enjoy yourself and have fun, respect other revellers and give assistance where required to anyone in any pain or difficulty. La Tomatina is an event for all experience and to enjoy, not just for your enjoyment.
Well there we have it, an abridged survival guide that’ll certainly get you through the day, but like all events we cover there are plenty of websites out there who provide detailed information on the event with the highly recommended La Tomatina Tours among the best to check-out for full La Tomatina event disclosure, day trips and hotel tour options.