La Tomatina

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Page was last changed Aug 6th, 2013 @ 14:14:54

La Tomatina is a one day Spanish event where participants throw tomatoes at each other in the Valencian town of Buñol. The actual battle lasts just one hour.

There is much debate over whether this is a festival or not, with both tourist companies and various locals having differing opinions, whatever you choose to call it, La Tomatina is quite the attraction!

It is thought to have originated in 1945, facing several bans and sanctions throughout it’s time. However it’s international popularity has since the festival ingrained in Spanish culture, and mimicked in several countries.

Rules

Despite the wild and free-for-all nature of the event, there are some rules that those taking part have to adhere to:

  • Tomatoes must be squashed before they are thrown to avoid any injuries.
  • Apart from tomatoes, no other projectiles must be thrown.
  • With trucks and lorries passing through carrying more tomatoes, participants must allow these vehicles through.
  • Once the second signal shot is heard, the fight has ended and no more tomotoes should be thrown.

2013 Updates

The festival may charge an entrance fee however this is under review. UPDATE JUNE 2013 - The Town Hall of Buñol finally decided on limiting the fight to 20,000 broken down as follows, 5,000 for locals of the town of Buñol and 15,000 for foreigners. Entry will be taxed at 10€ per person. Booking must be made online at their site and you must print a "budget airline" style ticket and take it to Buñol with your passport on the morning to exchange for a wristband. There are some organised trips to La Tomatina, thisisvalencia.com offer a day trip, their eighth, which includes the entry to the fight (with ticket/wristband exchange before arrival) Showers, a swim, Paella lunch and booze, tee-shirt and goggles, and secure storage of your luggage or valuables for just 85€ per person

Vibe

La Tomatina is a very popular Spanish tourist attraction, so amongst locals expect to see participants from a variety of international backgrounds.

Other Entertainment

Tickets

This is event is free to the public.

Children

Disability Access

Weather

Location

Local Information

During the festival itself a lot of the shops and bars in the town are closed but after the fun of flinging fruit at one another the town returns to having everything you'd expect for a small Spanish town.

Travel

  • By Air: The Valencia Airport is situated in Manises with a regular metro service into the city centre.
  • By Car: Follow the A-3 Highway West from Valencia to Bunol
  • By Train: Just 45 mins on the C-3 line to Utiel will have you in Bunol

Accommodation

With an extra 30,000 people in the town it can get a bit crowded so here are some nice hotels just outside in a neighbouring town:

  • Hotel Ignacio, A-3, Salida Chiva, 323-326, 46370 Chiva
  • Masia el Ferrajón, Partida Covatillas S/N, 46008 Chiva
  • La Orza de Angel, Dr Corachan, s/n, 46370 Chiva

Site Information

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Food and drink

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Trivia

As you can imagine from the style of this festival, the history behind it is a little unusual. In the annual gigantes y cabezudos parade in Bunol a small fight broke out between some young men. Due to the close proximity of a fruit stall they began to throw vegetables at each other.

As you would expect they were arrested by the local police but after a movement by the people of the town, they were all released. The next year, the young men returned, this time with their own tomatoes to avoid another night in the cells. Although they had brought their own tomatoes this time they were still chastised by the council.

Over the following years the festival was banned, reinstated and restricted but regardless something happened every year. The first year the festival was banned a group of youths set up the funeral of the tomato with a tomato in a coffin and live music over the town.

The festival is now free to run annually and the tomatoes are even grown especially for La Tomatina.

After the hour of tomato throwing, hoses are provided for participants to clean off themselves and the streets.

Because of the acidity in the tomatoes and the hoses the streets are their cleanest after the festival.