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La Tomatina 2023 in Spain

La Tomatina is an annual tomato fight festival in Buñol, Spain in August 30, where people throw over 100 tons of tomatoes at each other.

4 min.
 La Tomatina festival in Spain

Is the tomato a fruit or a vegetable? At La Tomatina festival in Spain, no one really cares. They’re too busy trying not to get smacked in the kisser with one. Every year, the small town of Buñol (population 9,000) swells into a 20,000 person tomato war zone. It’s a food fight of such epic scale that it would make Belushi blush.

On the last Wednesday of August (August 30 in 2023), revelers (combatants?) at La Tomatina launch more than 100 tons of ripe tomatoes at each other for about an hour. There’s no real winner, it’s more about the silliness and camaraderie amongst blessedly immature food fighters.

The proceedings get off with a splash – literally — as the mayor of Buñol shoots a water cannon into the crowd to signify the commencement of battle. Trucks roam around loaded with tomato ammo and people grab and chuck the fruity vegetable at once another. 

Once the tomato fight is over, fire trucks hose down the streets (but not people — so many just take a dip in the river to rinse off). The festival then finishes with a yummy paella lunch. It’s the perfect ending to a saucy, fun-filled day.

La Tomatina is open to the public free of charge and begins at 12:00 and ends at 13:00. Wear clothes that you don’t mind throwing away afterwards!

How did La Tomatina originate?

La Tomatina started in 1945 when a group of young people, frustrated during a parade, began throwing tomatoes from a nearby vegetable stand. What started as a spontaneous act of fun eventually led to the birth of a new tradition. Recognizing the potential for a grand spectacle, the town embraced the tomato-throwing concept, and thus, La Tomatina was born. 

Who should go to La Tomatina?

La Tomatina is definitely one for the younger generation but is also a good event for an adventurer’s bucket list. Solo travelers and young couples will love this one, as will any old timers (like us) who are young at heart. Slow travelers see La Tomatina as a unique opportunity to experience Spanish culture and to let loose and have some fun.

Can families go to La Tomatina? Yes, they can. The town holds a special La Tomintina Kids festival for children 4 to 14.

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How to get to La Tomatina?

If you’re coming from abroad or from another European slow travel regions, fly into a major airport like Valencia Airport (VLC) if you want the shortest distance. Barcelona’s El Prat Airport (BCN) is also an option, though it’s a bit farther away. These cities have well-connected transportation options to reach Buñol. 

Train journeys in Spain are comfortable, and you’ll likely get a chance to take in some beautiful Spanish scenery along the way. The city of Valencia is about 45 minutes from Buñol by train. The average ticket costs about $4. (Note: Tickets can be purchased at the station!). 

Given limited accommodation in Buñol, the city also runs buses from nearby towns.

Where should I stay?

When it comes to finding a place to stay for the wild and messy fun of La Tomatina, you have a few options to consider. Buñol is a small town, so many festival-goers choose to stay in nearby cities that offer more accommodation choices. Here are some suggestions:

Valencia: As the closest major city to Buñol. It is a good option if you are looking for a more relaxed place to stay. Plus, you can explore the vibrant city of Valencia before or after the festival. According to Airbnb, you can expect the cost of an apartment to be around $110 per night.

A cool green loft style apartment with a swimmin’ pool on the terrace in beautiful Valencia 🤿

Buñol: If you’re determined to be right in the heart of the tomato action, you might find accommodations in Buñol itself. Keep in mind that options could be limited, so be sure to book well in advance.

There are a few other towns near Buñol that are also good options for accommodation, such as Chiva, Requena, and Utiel. These towns are smaller and quieter than Buñol, so they may be a better choice if you are looking for a more peaceful stay.

La Tomatina
Buñol, Spain
August 30, 2023

La Tomatina is open to the public free of charge.

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