If you’re looking for a guide to Tomatina, you need to watch my video below. I cover everything. From what to take to Tomatina, to what to expect when you’re there, and how to make the most of your trip. You’re welcome!
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
Everything you need to know about 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.
What to take to Tomatina
The basic Tomatina rule: Don’t take anything you’re not prepared to lose or have ruined.
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
I wore a white t-shirt – kind of on purpose to show off the before and after – and kind of because it was greying after a year of dark washes and was headed for the bin anyway.
Go with Busabout and they’ll give you one of their official Tomatina tshirts, a la the guys in red in the photo above. I decided to save mine for night wear as I didn’t want to ruin it.
They also give you a bandana as you can see on my video of how to do Tomatina, although by the time I’d got there they’d ran out, so make sure you check in early.
My shorts were old. I’d had them for ages and they were bin bound too. The weather was ok in Bunol when I went to Tomatina, but you might want some sort of trouser if its any colder.
There’s a rumour that there’s always a few guys who’ll pull and rip girls tops in the hustle. For this reason, I bought a cheapo white bralet top thing in Valencia. It was tight and tough, there was no way anyone would be able to rip it.
The tight bralet also made a great storage for my selfie stick with the GoPro on the end, and my money (more on that below).
In the end I didn’t see any sign of ‘ripping tshirts’ anyway but at least I was ‘secure’.
I wore an old white bra underneath that, thankfully as white tops go pretty see through with all the tomato juice around.
And that’s it. Keep it simple and be ready to throw it all away at the end.
Should I wear goggles for Tomatina?
Some people were wearing goggles, but they were also very steamed up. I wouldn’t recommend it. They’re so restrictive and feel unnatural too.
I bought some sunglasses for €5 in Valencia and was fine, apart from that time they got knocked off my face. Get some sturdier ones than the wire ones I had and you’ll be fine. I definitely wouldn’t wear any prescription or expensive ones. You just don’t know where the tomatoes are going to come from, and you don’t want to be worried about your possessions when you’re meant to be having fun.
I wore contact lenses too. My eyes were irritated by the tomato juice, but then I never get on very well with contact lenses anyway and the redness soon went away.
What shoes do I wear for Tomatina?
I bought this delightful pair of imitation crocs from a shop in Valencia the day before for €5. They turned out to be perfect.
They had holes in so the tomatoes could get out and they didn’t end up all soggy like my fellow Tomatina friends’ trainers. They did make me at least an inch taller, making me more of a target, but hey ho. And if you’re short, that could be perfect.
Keep in mind that you’re going to be stood up for a long time so make sure whatever shoes you take, they’re comfy.
Fresh clothes to go home
Take a plastic bag with fresh clothes to wear on the bus home. They won’t let you on the bus if you’re dirty and it feels amazing to put on something clean. Go with Busabout and you’ll be able to store these under the bus while you’re at the tomato fight and showering off.
Bring a towel or a sarong if you’re a bit nervous about changing in front of everyone, because there’s not really any other option.
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 is now one of the best world festivals, and thousands flock to just throw tomatoes at each other every year!
Can you take your phone to Tomatina?
If you do want to take your phone double protect it with those waterproof cases, like below. I didn’t take mine and I definitely wouldn’t take in any sort of DSLR. You never know where the next waterbomb or tomato is coming from. Also, anyone who did have a phone had to be mindful of losing it in the carnage. Just focus on the fun!
You can leave your phone and camera on the bus to take photos at the after party.
Will I need money at Tomatina?
I took €10 in a little baggy, and kept it in my bralet top. I ended up spending €5 on a Tomatina tshirt on the way out, and €5 on a sandwich. You don’t absolutely, definitely need it as you can go back to the bus and pick it up, but I’d be anxious out there with no money.
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.