Ooh aa, take the world and paint it red
Ooh aa, paint it red – These lines from Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’s iconic song ‘Ik Junoon’; was
many people’s first glimpse into the iconic La Tomatina Festival of Spain. Popularly known as
the Spanish Festival of La Tomatina or Battle of the Tomato is a spectacle in itself. Owing to its
growing popularity, the festival now sees attendees from all over the world. With only less than 2
months remaining, preparations for La Tomatina 2023 are already underway.
What is La Tomatina in Spain?
The La Tomatina in Spain is one of the unique events held in the Spanish town of Buñol
(Bunyol), close to the city of Valencia. A whole lot of people gather around the narrow
mediaeval streets of Buñol, each year for a tomato battle. Yes, you heard that right! On the final
Wednesday of August, every year, more than 20,000 people gather together and pelt each
other with 140 tonnes of ripe tomatoes for one hour. While it is not quite environmentally
friendly, it is a symbol of Buñol’s culture.
Well, La Tomatina 2023 is going to be no different. This is not only Spain’s biggest food festival
but it is also Spain’s messiest festival. La Tomatina 2023 is going to be a fun and unique
experience, you would not want to miss it.
Origins of La Tomatina
There are several speculations about how this tomato throwing festival started.
It is believed to have first taken place in 1944. The first instance states that a scuffle occurred between locals during a parade. The crows started grabbing tomatoes from a nearby vendor’s stall and started
hurling them at each other. The second story says that it was a class war between lower-class
macarras and upper-class pijos. Another story says that it was the young local’s way of
protesting against the government. The next year these youngsters got tomatoes from their
homes to repeat the event. Since then it went on to become a tradition. However, it was briefly
banned in the 1950s but was revived in the 70s. In 2002, La Tomatino was officially declared as
the ‘Festival of International Tourist Interest’. Spain’s biggest food festival started attracting
visitors from all over the world. Hence to control the crowd, the town introduced a limited
number of visitors.
If you want to be one of them, get your hands on La Tomatina Festival 2023 official tickets
before it’s too late by choosing among our various Spain Tour Packages that include the best of Spain.
How to get to La Tomatina 2023?
These revellers can be very competitive and the La Tomatina tickets do get sold out pretty fast.
If you have already got your hands on your La Tomatina tickets, let’s get started on the trip
Apart from tickets to the Spanish Tomato Festival, you will need some other things to make sure
you can attend the festival. Start with getting your Spain Visa (Schengen Visa) first. Along with
Spain, the Schengen visa also grants you access to 26+ countries in the European region. You can easily get your cheap flight bookings online. Since Buñol is a small town, it does not have many
accommodation options. La Tomatina 2023 attendees are advised to instead book their stays in
the neighbouring cities of Valencia or Barcelona. It is best to get your hotel booking in Spain
done in advance for big discounts and savings on your Spain accommodation.
What Happens at the La Tomatina Festival?
Celebrations in and around Buñol begin the prior weekend itself. There are so many activities
that lead up to the main event, like paella cook-offs, parades, verbenas (open-air parties) and
fireworks. The main event is rather short-lived.
La Tomatina starts with a crazy pre-battle ritual called el palo jabón. A piece of ham is hoisted
on top of a soapy pole in Buñol town’s main square. A frenzied crowd struggles to climb up and
pull down the ham. At 11 am, the food fight starts with a massive boom of a water cannon that
signals tomato-filled trucks to enter the streets. Bystanders must make way for the trucks,
cramming closer to each other. For one whole hour, pick up all the tomatoes you can, squash
them and hurl them at your fellows. The whole thing might look silly but is absolutely a riot of
laughter and fun. After one hour, another boom signals the crowd to stop the tomato fight.
The tomato-soaked crowd gather on the street sides again. Now it is time for a shower as a
number of fire brigade trucks move down the streets hosing water on people. But the party
doesn’t stop here. Once everybody is cleaned and changed, there is live music, dancing and
contests and a lot of sangria.
How do I get to La Tomatina 2023?
Your best bet at enjoying the festival is by getting packages that cover not only your La
Tomatina tickets but also take you to Buñol and back. They also have guides, lockers and
sometimes drinks are also included.
If you are staying in Valencia, it is only 40 kms away from Buñol. Catch an early train or bus
from the city to reach Buñol. Similarly, you can also commute to Buñol from Barcelona which is
a 4-5 hour journey.
La Tomatina Festival Rules
Due to the chaos-ensuing nature of the festival, Buñol’s town council has put several rules in
place for the festival attendees. They are as follows:
Tomatoes must be squashed before throwing them. Unsquashed tomatoes can cause
- No ripping of clothes.
- Only tomatoes are to be thrown. No other objects, especially things like glass bottles are
- Once the second boom goes off, no more tomatoes are to be thrown.
- Make way for both the tomato-carrying trucks and the fire brigades.
- Wear old clothes that can be thrown away. Carry a clean pair to change into later.
Well Buñol is largely known for hosting La Tomatina, but it is also a picturesque destination you
can explore with our all-inclusive Spain Tour Packages. Check out Buñol’s Cueva Del Turche,
Castillo de Buñol, de San Luis and the La Tomatina Museum.
Spain is home to a number of adventures from scuba diving to skydiving. It also has quite many
adventurous festivals like Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls or the crazy pyrotechnics of Las
Fallas in Valencia.
Do you plan on experiencing the madness of La Tomatina 2023 with your friends or solo? Or
have you already been there? Tell us in the comments below.
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