La Tomatina Festival – A Classic Tomato Fight

by Maure Nava
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Festival Tomatina in Spain


  1. Introduction
  2. Why is the La Tomatina festival celebrated?
  3. Where does the Tomatina Festival Take Place?
  4. When is the tomato festival in Spain?
  5. What time does La Tomatina start?
  6. What really happens in La Tomatina?
  7. How can you participate in La Tomatina?
  8. How much does Tomatina cost?
  9. How to get to “La Tomatina”
  10. Useful tips on the Spanish la Tomatina festival

Google states this when you type Tomatina Festival in the search bar. Indeed.

La Tomatina Festival 2022 is happening on August 31 and every year on the last Wednesday of August.

La Tomatina: The Tomatina is one of the biggest festivals in Spain and is known to be one of the world’s most famous and fun festivals for food fight. 

We have heard and seen a lot of fights, wars and battles happening in several parts of the world. But this is an absolutely harmless fight and guess what, the weapons are none other than ripe tomatoes.

Some may wonder why these people throw and splash tonnes of tomatoes at each other on an odd Wednesday in August? It may sound sticky and gross, but the festival holds a history of its own.

A Glimpse of La Tomatina 2017

Why is the Tomatina festival celebrated?

There are different histories of the origin of the festival. The most reliable story is as follows.

A parade happened on the last Wednesday of August in 1945 at Town Square, Bunol, Spain. One of the participants tripped and fell during the march, and as revenge for the ones who made him fall, the participant hit them with everything he got, including ripe tomatoes from the nearby stall. After a while, the people in the parade start doing the same for fun. 

This act continued in the following years. Then the government banned it in the early 1950s. 

Again, the festival was permitted after the local protests in 1957. Since then, La Tomatina has gained fame not only in Spain but also all over the world.

Where does this Take Place?

Bunol, Spain
View of Town Bunol

La Tomatina takes place in Buñol in the Valencia region in Spain. Bunol is not really a happening place, but when August begins, it all gets fun and festive because of none other than the festival Tomatina.

Distinctly said, it starts in the centre of the town, which is Plaza del Pueblo.

When is the tomato festival in Spain?

  • La Tomatina 2023: 30th of August
  • La Tomatina 2024: 28th of August
  • La Tomatina 2025: 27th of August

(Please keep in mind that the above dates may change from day to day, so double-check with your travel and tour agent.

What time does La Tomatina start?

The festival starts at 12:00 noon and goes on till 13:00 noon for an hour. Then, within a few seconds, you see everything turns red, not with blood but with tomato sauce.

What really happens in La Tomatina?

At around 12:00, many trucks pull tonnes of tomatoes into the centre of the town, Plaza del Pueblo.

The festival features ‘Palo jabón,’ a towering wooden pole covered with grease, and they place Spanish ham on top of the pole.The festival does not technically begin until someone climbs to the top of the pole and gets the ham.

La Tomatina
A Man Climbing the ‘Palo jabón’

Then the festival starts with a bang and the firing of water cannons. And the Tomato mayhem starts.

The fight ends in an hour with the second bang. No more tomatoes can be thrown at this point, and the cleaning begins.

The fire trucks spray water down the saucy streets. And the people clean themselves at aqueducts or from the Bunol River.

Once the tomato pulp is flushed, the ground is clean due to the acidity of the tomato.

Some may think, including me, as they look at all the tomatoes, ‘What a waste?!’ After all, the festival buys low-quality, overripe tomatoes (considered unfit for consumption and would otherwise be thrown away) at a low price from the Extremadura region of Spain.

La Tomatina
Amidst the Tomato Chaos

How can you participate in La Tomatina?

Official ticketing has been in place, limiting the number of participants to just 20,000 lucky people. So you have to get tickets for yourself. 

Note that only adults above 18 years old can participate in La Tomatina.

How much does Tomatina cost?

La Tomatina Ticket is 12,00€. It depends on your needs, and various packages are offered at different prices. 

La Tomatina Checklist

  • Goggles
  • Earplugs
  • Closed shoes
  • Waterproof Camera
  • Old clothes/ Swimsuit
  • Things that you really really need

La Tomatina was cancelled on year in 2021 due to COVID-19. So this year will be exciting, and you know the date and get familiar with the rules!

How to get to “La Tomatina Festival

After you get to Buol, you must travel to the town centre, where the festival is held. Be ready for sizable crowds and busy roads, especially on the festival day. Arrive early, and wear clothing that you don’t mind being ruined or dirty.

To travel there, you may:
1. Arrive at Valencia Airport and go to Buol via train or bus. By train, the trip takes around 45 minutes, and by bus, it takes an hour.

2. Rent a vehicle and travel to Buol. The settlement is 38 kilometres west of Valencia.

Useful tips on the Spanish La Tomatina Festival
  1. Wear old clothes that you don’t mind getting stained or torn.
  2. Wear closed-toe shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty.
  3. Protect your eyes with goggles or sunglasses.
  4. Apply sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun.
  5. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
  6. Don’t bring any valuables or items that you don’t want to get damaged.
  7. Follow the rules and instructions provided by the festival organizers.
  8. Have fun, but be respectful of others and avoid dangerous behaviour.
  9. After the festival, take a shower and wash your clothes thoroughly to remove any tomato stains and avoid skin irritation.
  10. Be aware that the Tomatina festival can get very crowded, so be prepared for long lines and wait times.
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It is an excellent experience if you and your friends are fun freaks and looking for a place to spend your vacation.Arrive 2 hours early. Stay safe and aware, and have some fantastic experiences at the Tomatina Festival 2022.Do not miss the official La Tomatina After Party!

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