What To Expect At La Tomatina Festival

what to expect at la tomatina festival

I never imagined I would be participating in the largest glorified tomato food fight in Spain. With friends visiting from Canada, this event was on their bucket list. Here is What To Expect At La Tomatina Festival.

When Is La Tomatina Festival?

La Tomatina is held on the last Wednesday in August of every year in Buñol. This small town is located right outside Valencia. This tradition has brought thousand of people every year to participate starting in 1945. 20,000 limited tickets are sold due to safety. 

Is It A Waste Of Tomatoes?

Because of strict rules, 150 tons of tomatoes cannot be sold for consumption. Therefore tomatoes are left to rot in the fields. So no, it isn’t a waste.

Where To Buy La Tomatina Festival Tickets

Various websites offer an assortment of packages. For example:

  • Bus ride from Barcelona/Valencia + tickets
  • All-inclusive with hotel nights
  • Souvenirs with food & drink packages
  • Party packages

I purchased tickets on this trusted website www.ticketstomatina.com. Print the confirmation tickets along with meeting location instructions. Price was 38€ for a round trip bus ride from Valencia along with an entry ticket to La Tomatina.

How To Get There

Valencia is approximately a 3.5 hour drive from Barcelona. To save 40€ on tolls each way, choose “avoid tolls” on google maps.

Where To Stay

Your best option is to stay in Valencia. Many hotels and AirB&B are available.

How To Get There

Valencia is approximately a 3.5 hour drive from Barcelona. Tip: To save 40€ on tolls each way, choose “avoid tolls” on google maps.

The Day Of The Event

What To Wear

After the festival, I doubt you will want to bring back any tomato stained clothes. 

  • 100% wear closed toe shoes. Wearing flip flops is not a good idea. People will step on you and you will lose them walking through the river of tomatoes.
  • Some drunk people tend to rip other people’s article of clothing off. Ladies; do NOT wear a bikini top. Wear a sports bra instead.
  • Goggles! Although it may look ridiculous, trust me when I say it’s not! You do not want rotten acidic tomatoes in your eyes.
  • Bring waterproof cellphone case/video equipment. Selfie sticks are strictly banned. Security guards perform a thorough check before.
  • Bring a bag with extra clothes/shoes for afterwards. Locker attendants are available for a fee.
  • Carry cash for locker, shower and food/drinks.

Transportation To Buñol

Follow instructions to guide you to your bus pickup location. Staff will verify your tickets by checking your ID.  After a 30 minutes bus ride, you will be dropped off in a large parking lot. Do not leave any belongings the bus as there’s a good chance you will be taking a different bus back home. With this in mind, make a mental note of the bus company you arrived in. Continue the journey to the entrance. Please do not forget which bus company you are with. After entering the area, have the locker attendant store your bag.

Ready For The Biggest Food Fight In The World?

Doors open at 8am and the main food fight event lasts approximately 1 hour starting at 11am. Vendors are set up all along the streets offering sangria, wine, paella, etc. Let me remind you, bathrooms are scarce. Once you make it down to the narrow alley, you’ll see the “palojabon.” Imagine a long greased pole with a ham on top. The winner that can climb the pole and reach the ham signifies the start of the food fight. In most cases, this is hardly achievable. Either way, the food fight will commence at 11am sharp with the sound of the starting gun.

Workers start to push everyone along side the wall so you’re cramped like sardines. And then the truckloads of tomatoes slowly creep through. People on the truck start throwing tomatoes down to the crowd and so it begins. Technically before a tomato is thrown, it must be crushed with your hand to avoid hard hits. Let’s just say rules are meant to be broken. A total of 6 trucks pass through the alley. After the 3rd truck, we were all ready to bounce. 

what to expect at la tomatina festival

How To Get Cleaned Up?

Imagine 20,000 people trying to get clean before heading back home. I know for a fact bus drivers were denying people that were clean enough to get on. After leaving the event a little bit early, we went to get our belongings from the lockers. Neighbors will offer to hose you down for a fee of around 1€. Finally, after getting hosed down, we went to a quieter street and changed in between cars. Definitely not a glamours thing to do however there really is no other choice. Every article of clothing I wore went into the dump. 

Time To Go Home

To get back home, return to the area where the busses dropped you off. This scene is chaotic and that’s why it’s important to remember which bus you came on. What To Expect At La Tomatina Festival

I hope you enjoyed my blog “What To Expect At La Tomatina Festival.” I’m glad I had the opportunity to enjoy this once in a life time experience with my friends however this will never happen again!.

Curious about other parts of Spain? Check out my other guides here.

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