If you’re looking for a guide to Tomatina, you need to watch my video below. I cover everything. I think.
I went to Tomatina last year and it’s without a doubt one of the craziest festivals I’ve been to. I knew when I was there that I owed it to any future festival goers to put all my Tomatina advice together in a video.
You will get tomatoes in your face. You will get drenched. Your clothes will not survive. Don’t even think about taking a phone in. And you will have a brilliant time (for most of it).
I went to Tomatina on a package with Busabout – it was brilliant.
All my Tomatina advice is in the video above, but if you like my words, rather than my face, I’ve summed it up below.
Guide to Tomatina
Getting to Tomatina
Go to Tomatina with Busabout and you’ll be taken direct to the site via an early morning pick up from your hotel. Go solo and there are buses and trains to get you there, which I haven’t used, but I’ve heard are crazy. You can also expect a bit more of a walk.
“You’re going to Tomatina! It’s what you’ve been waiting for for ages!” – our guide Ainslie
You need to get a ticket for Tomatina nowadays. They’re cheap, but highly sought after. Go with Busabout and they’ll sort all that shizzle out for you. They’ll give you your wristband on the bus – look after it!
It didn’t used to be ticketed, but a few years ago 40,000 people turned up so they had to. It’s intense. If you don’t want to be all squashed in among the people and get a bit overwhelmed in huge crowds then stand on the edge so you can dive into the laneways if you need.
It’s just a Spanish square in a little town, not quite built for the hoards of tourists who descend every year.
Drinking at Tomatina
Some people were buying pints on the way down to the festival plaza, at 8am, but I wouldn’t recommend it. You’re going to be stood for a long time. You do not want to need to go to the toilet.
I took a little hipflask with me, and drank it all for the warmth, thirst and the buzz. Didn’t go to the toilet until we got back to the hotel that afternoon.
What to wear for Tomatina
There’s too much to say on this – expect a full article tomorrow.
The Tomatina pole dash
Tomatina isn’t just a tomato fight, there’s also the pole dash. A huge pole is covered in grease and anyone who fancies their chances can climb up to try and get the huge ham at the top, just for the glory.
They had to get the layers of grease of the pole before they could climb up, so they were flinging it at the crowd. Lucky me was just close enough to get hit. Lush.
Some years they make it, some years they don’t. I stood for two hours watching them try to get the ham off the pole – I’m not exaggerating. Check out the video above for footage – it was crazy.
During this time the locals will be throwing ice cold water on you from above, just to keep you on your toes. As soon as we got the tomatoes we pelted them back at them to teach them not to mess with us tourists, but I don’t think they could’ve cared less.
What to expect at Tomatina
More tomatoes than you’ve ever seen in your life. Like so, many, tomatoes. I was there, 5 ft 9, taller than the average Spaniard and with shoes that probably added another 3 inches. I also had my GoPro perched atop a selfie stick. I was a target, for everyone. My sunnies were smashed off my face. I was pelted from every direction. It was horrible. I couldn’t even see to pick one up to throw it back because I was so off balance at having them thrown at me from every direction.
When the trucks come through it’s every woman and man for themselves.
I’ll admit I had to go and hide up an alley way. There were some 18ish year old girls there who looked terrified. One of them looked at me and told me it was the worst thing she’d ever done. Another said she felt like a dirty plate at the end of dinner. At that point in time I agreed with both of them.
I did see them later having a lovely time, it was just there and then that got too much.
Being right in the midst of it all can seem like a great idea at first, and then it’s just overwhelming. Stand near an escape route if you think it might get too much for you.
Once the trucks have passed, things start to relax. In a way it was more fun afterward, walking back to the showers and the after party. Everyone was throwing them in a more gentle way, playing, and it was much easier to cope with.
Bunol is just a small Spanish town. The rest of the year nothing much happens but during Tomatina, life gets crazy here.
The houses are all white wash, as you’d expect from these parts, so the locals have to put up huge tarpaulins to protect the paintwork. You might think they’re being dramatic but the walls get in an absolute state from the flying tomatoes.
How to get clean after the tomato fight
There are showers on the way back up to the bus park and you need to get every speck of tomato off you or you won’t be allowed on the bus.
Guys come in with huge pressure washers straight after so the red doesn’t stain. If you ask them nicely they’ll spray you off too so you don’t have to queue for the shower, or walk around with moulding tomato all over you.
Or you could always jump in the river.
History of Tomatina
Any decent guide to Tomatina needs a bit of history, right?
Well, there’s a week-long festival leading up to Tomatina for the locals. No one knows how the festival actually started but here are two of the stories.
1) There were some like hooligan, punk teenagers who got in a bit of a row and they were in front of a vegetable stand. And the food fight started.
2) There was a big Spanish festival going on, one with the big heads and one person pushed the other and ended in a fight.
On the way down to the festival you’ll see the locals have set up tables and feasts – these are not for you!
Some locals will be selling snacks to the tourists, but make sure you know the difference before you start sticking your fingers in any food showcases.
Tomatina After Party
Once you’re all showered off you can join the Tomatina After Party, although showering isn’t actually a necessity, I just feel you’ll make more friends that way. Head back towards the buses and you’ll find stalls, music, bars, and street parties set up to carry on the party.
Enjoy guys, enjoy.
Sound awesome? No?
If you have any questions just let me know below.
Click to book the same 3 night 2 day Tomatina package as I experienced on the Busabout website.
– I received the package in return for a review and article on their site, which you can see here: A Tomatina Survival Guide. All thoughts are my own, obvs.