Written by Scarlett Murray,
Last Modified: 31st August 2023

On August 30th, Spain celebrated its 76th annual La Tomatina festival. Find out how to unleash your inner tomato thrower… 

Thinking of buying in Spain? One of the best ways to embrace your new country is to immerse yourself in its festivities. La Tomatina is probably one of the easiest to embrace, all you need is an over-ripe tomato that would be better off splatted against a building than in a salad.

la tomatina

Embrace the pulp!

La Tomatina

On the last Wednesday of every August, thousands gather in village of Buñol, near Valencia, for this food festival. And if you are allergic to tomatoes, this is certainly not the festival for you. At 11am, more than one hundred metric tonnes of over-ripe tomatoes are thrown in the streets. They come from Extremadura, where they are grown cheaply. The fighting starts after someone has climbed to the top of a two-storey high, greased-up wooden pole to grab some ham perched at the top (if it’s you that makes this climb, hey, you get a free ham). But our tomato throwers are often too impatient and get throwing once the canons start spraying. For one hour, tomatoes are thrown and thrown across the street. Buñol is the canvas and the vision is for a red, pulpy painting.

You might like to wear protective gear, particularly goggles to avoid pulp in your eyes. It is a good idea to tuck your shirt into your trousers so that you can use it to wipe your eyes, should the acidity get too much. And if you have a pair of old shoes that you’ve been meaning to throw out, this is the place to wear them for an epic farewell. Plus, the photographs from La Tomatina are incredible but you are going to want to bring a waterproof camera.

Once you’ve let out all your tomato fury and the buildings are drenched in pulpy red, the clean-up begins. Fire trucks hose down the streets. And if you’re lucky, a resident can give you a hose down or you can hop in the Bunol River.

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What are the rules?

This a fun event, aiming to squash tomatoes, not people. You are not to bring anything hard or sharp with you. You should not rip at anyone’s shirt. Plus, keep clear of the nearby lorries. When time is up, time is truly up. No more tomato throwing.

I need to realise my tomato-throwing dreams…how do I get there?


A tomato…perfect for hurling.

In 2012, an incredible 50,000 people showed up to realise their dreams of throwing tomatoes at people. Given that the population of Buñol is just 9,000, this was a little much. So, since then, it has become a ticketed event, with 20,000 attendees a year.

Since you will have missed this year, you might want to add August 28th, 2024, or August 27th, 2025, to your diary. Here’s your go-to spot for La Tomatina planning.

The village of Buñol is just 30 minutes away from Valencia by taxi. If you are thinking of purchasing a property in Valencia, perhaps this could become part of your annual late summer fun. Alternatively, you can get a bus or train to Buñol, both around an hour. The nearest airport to Buñol is Valencia international airport, a twenty-four-minute drive. Valencia international airport has budget-friendly flights to the UK throughout the year.

Since this is a treasured national event, you’re going to want to be quick to sort tickets and accommodation.

Who thought tomato throwing was such a great idea?

la tomatina shoes

Not an event for your best shoes…

The event began in 1945. How exactly it did is up for debate, it’s thought it might’ve been stirred by a dispute between locals that changed its tone when someone grabbed a tomato from a market stall. Or that some disgruntled townspeople attacked the city councilmen with tomatoes. Whatever the truth, despite not taking place between 2020-21 due to the pandemic, La Tomatina is here to stay.

Suggested reading:

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