La Tomatina tomato fight in Buñol near Valencia happens every year on the last Wednesday in August though the partying starts earlier in the week. The highlight of the festival is the tomato fight which takes place between 11am and 1pm on that day. The event has become one of the highlights on Spain’s summer festivals calendar with thousands of people flocking to this little Valencian town for this chaotic event. Most young visitors book cheap accommodation in Valencia then take the train to Bunyol for the day.
Such are the numbers going to La Tomatina that the event has become a victim of its own success. The sheer number of people means that it’s extremely difficult to get anywhere near the central area where the tomato lorries arrive so you may well find yourself a few streets away from the main action. Never mind, there are plenty people in the same boat and the street partying goes on no matter where you are.
Accommodation in Bunyol
Bunyol is a small village of some 9000 people whose population swells to some 30,000 on the day of La Tomatina. There is hardly any accommodation in the village itself so your best bet is to stay in a Hostel in Valencia or take a look at some Valencia Hotels. Be sure to book well in advance
On the morning of the festival there are trains from Valencia Central Station, which is about 40km away, at eight minutes past the hour (check at www.renfe.es just in case this has changed). There is no need to book tickets in advance and the journey takes 50 minutes.
The actual tomato fight lasts little over an hour beginning at midday and continuing until shortly after 1pm. So the 8.08am, 9.08am or 10.08 trains will get you there in plenty time. The earlier the better as the trains do get full. Alternatively, you can arrive by local bus or rent a car though this might not be a great idea considering the mess you’re likely to be in after the tomato battle.
Make sure you take a change of clothes for the return train journey – there are some public showers in Bunyol near the river.
Top Tip …
I have just returned from the Tomatina Fiesta. Had a great time.
Our biggest problem was we did not want to party on in Valencia and then get the train, Bunol was fully booked, after looking on the internet for many hours we found a small family run campsite in Chiva. Just a 10 minute train ride from Bunyol.
It was fantastic, one of the best things is you did not need anything, they provide the tent, bed, sheets, towels. Breakfast and evening meal if you want and there is a small pool. It is a small family run campsite.
I am not sure if it is possible but if this could appear on your website I think it would help many who come to the Fiesta and find themselves with nowhere to stay but a park bench in Bunol and it would help the owners of this new campsite.
We will certainly stay there next year.
History of La Tomatina
The origins of La Tomatina aren’t clear with several theories explaining how Bunyol has become home to the world’s biggest tomato fight. However, the most plausible suggests that the most likely explanation dates back to 1945 when an annual parade of enormous figures with big heads (Gigantes y Cabezudos) was passing through the streets of Bunyol.
It seems that some youngsters tried to join in the parade and accidentally knocked over one of the giants who got to his feet and started swinging out at everyone around him. In retaliation the youngsters grabbed some tomatoes from a nearby vegetable stall and started throwing them at him until the police arrived to break things up.
The following year on the same last Wednesday of August these young people returned to the town hall square and started another tomato fight using their own tomatoes. Again the police intervened and in subsequent years the local council tried to ban the ‘El día de la Tomatina’ but with little success as the event continued to grow year after year reaching the ludicrous size it is today.
Rules of La Tomatina
The following rules have been set down by the Bunyol Town Council:
- It is illegal to bring any kind of bottles or other objects that could cause an accident.
- You must not tear t-shirts.
- Tomatoes must be crushed before throwing so that they don’t hurt anybody.
- You must be careful to avoid the lorries which carry the tomatoes.
- As soon as you hear the 2nd banger you must stop throwing tomatoes.
“Try to enjoy yourself as much as possible but respect these rules and the people. In the “tomatina” festival there has never been a mishap and we would like it to stay that way so everybody around the world can have a good time.”