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Experiencing La Tomatina: The Epic Spanish Tomato Throwing Festival

  • Post last modified:May 16, 2024
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Have you ever heard of La Tomatina? This Spanish tomato throwing festival is definitely a wild experience, and one for the bucket list!


The first time I went I did the trip as a solo female traveler, and the second time I went was this last year as a couple and with my brother joining us.


Having two different experiences has given me all of the information to properly write a complete Tomatina travel guide, so that all different types of travelers can properly plan for an epic Tomatina experience.

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Important Info for La Tomatina Festival

First things first - let's talk about when and where La Tomatina is!


When is Tomatina?

Every year La Tomatina is on the last Wednesday of the month of August. This year, the date that it falls on is August 28th.


Where is La Tomatina Festival?

La Tomatina Festival is held in the town of Buñol, Spain. Buñol is 38 km west of Valencia, and about a half hour drive away.


How to Get to Buñol, Spain

The closest airport to Buñol is Valencia AIrport.


International cities that fly direct to Valencia include Agadir, Amsterdam, Athens, Bari, Basel, Belfast, Belgrade, Berlin, Billund, Birmingham, Bologna, Bordeaux, Bratislava, Bristol, Brussels, Bucharest, Budapest, Cagliari, Casablanca, Cluj Napoca, Cologne, Copenhagen, Cork, Dresden, Dublin, Dusseldorf, Eindhoven, Fes, Frankfurt, Geneva, Hamburg, Istanbul, Karlsruhe/Baden, Krakow, Liege, Lisbon, London, Luxembourg, Lyon, Malta, Marrakesh. Marseille, Memmingen, Milan, Munich, Nantes, Naples, Nottingham, Nuremberg, Palermo, Paris, Pisa, Prague, Porto, Riga, Rome, Rotterdam, Santa Maria, Sofia, Stockholm, Tangier, Timisoara, Toulouse, Trieste, Venice, Verona, Vienna, Warsaw, Wroclaw, and Zurich.


Domestic cities that fly to Valencia include A Coruña, Amsterdam, Asturias, Barcelona, Bilbao, Cordoba, Girona, Gran Canaria, Ibiza, Lanzarote, Madrid, Malaga, Mallorca, Menorca, San Sebastian, Santander, Santiago, Sevilla, and Tenerife.

Flight Tip: Using Skyscanner you can put your city to "Spain" and then take a train, bus, Bla Bla Car, or flight to Valencia from there. You can also try out the calendar feature to see which are the cheapest dates for flying to Spain.


How to Get From Valencia to Buñol

You can get from Valencia to Buñol in a number of ways:

  • Stay in Valencia and take the train to Buñol
  • Stay in Valencia and get the offiical bus combo for Tomatina
  • Get a La Tomatina package from Madrid or Barcelona
  • Rent a Car and drive to Buñol

Option #1: The Train from Valencia to Buñol

While attending La Tomatina as a solo female traveler this is the option I used, and it's certainly the most budget friendly option. Trains take 1 hour, and are just a couple of euros.


Option #2: The Bus Combo

Many tickets for La Tomatina include the official Tomatina bus transfer. This is good for those that don't want the hassle of having to wait in line to get their wristbands, and would rather have everything organized with a larger group.


Option #3: La Tomatina Packages from Madrid & Barcelona

If you're coming from Madrid or Barcelona and don't want the hassle of booking your transportation and everything, then this is the perfect option to experience La Tomatina.


These are day trip packages, leaving Barcelona at 4:30 am and Madrid at 5:30 am, and arriving back to the city at 3:30 pm.


Option #4: Drive to Buñol

This is the option I chose for my second time experiencing La Tomatina in Spain (last year). We were on a road trip through Western Europe, so we had our rental car with us.


The pro about this is not having to worry about a schedule, and the con is that you'll have to wait until you sober up to leave Buñol (it's also important to note there are a lot of police check points opon leaving the town).


We spent a few hours partying after the festival, and then took a long nap before heading back to Valencia.


Parking in Buñol for La Tomatina

We ended up driving to the parking lot right outside of the city center, and parked there the night before. We also found a few other groups doing this, but of course you could drive there first thing in the morning.


Parking is very limited, and the day of the streets are also blocked off, so the only option will be parking outside the city and walking a bit.


Where to Park for La Tomatina in Buñol

We parked in "Parking Buñol, which is located on Av Perez Galdos, and it was about a 20 minute walk into the main area of La Tomatina.


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What Happens in La Tomatina? A Complete Experience Step-by-Step

Now that you know how to get to Buñol, let's talk about what the full experience of La Tomatina Festival looks like!


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La Tomatina festival in Spain travel guide
La Tomatina festival in Spain travel guide
La Tomatina festival in Spain travel guide

First- How Many Hours Does La Tomatina Last?

The tomato throwing festival of La Tomatina itself lasts just one hour. However, Tomatina really is an all day event, as you'll find people partying a couple of hours before, as well as a couple of hours after.


Not only are there small parties in the streets, but late at night there is an official La Tomatina After Party that you can attend which goes all the way into the early hours of the morning!


La Tomatina festival in Spain
La Tomatina festival in Spain
La Tomatina festival in Spain

La Tomatina is more than just the tomato throwing festival!


Experiencing La Tomatina Festival

As soon as you arrive in Buñol you'll start to notice everyone walking down the hill towards the center of town. There are different tents for people to pick up their wristbands, get their T-shirts, or drop their belongings off in lockers (we'll explain more about what and what you cannot bring later).

Kiosks of La Tomatina

You'll also see plenty of people selling food & drinks on the streets, people playing music, and overall a fun atmosphere of people getting for La Tomatina.


We spent a few hours eating and drinking before the event, and part of experiencing La Tomatina is definitely the preparty.


La Tomatina Tomato-Throwing Festival

There are baracades around the central area of where the tomato throwing festival will happen. Once you go into this area, you'll have to get rid of any food or drinks you have.


Security blocks the central area, and will check your bags before going through to the ticketed area of La Tomatina.

security at La Tomatina festival

There is one long street where the trucks come down, so everyone starts to try and get a good spot around an hour before.


Palo-Jabon

Before the tomato-throwing starts, there is also a fun activity you won't want to miss out on! The palo-jabon is a long pole that holds a traditional leg of Spanish jamon on the top of it. It is super slippery, and the one who gets to the top gets to keep the jamon!


It looks a lot easier than it is, and you'll see a ton of inebriated locals and tourists alike who will be competitively working to get to the top. 


It's actually super funny to watch, as some people are pretty cocky and try to outshine others, while other people work together to try and push people up to get the jamon. It can get pretty crazy with a lot of pushing, so be careful - but it's a big highlight of La Tomatina so don't miss out!

Palo-jabon at La Tomatina

You can see the Palo-jabon next to the palm trees!

The Tomatina Tomato-Throwing Part of the Festival

Right before noon the main street with be blocked for the trucks to come down, and everyone will need to find their spot on the sidewalks. 


One by one, trucks come through, and the people on the top of the trucks (yes - you can also be a part of this!) start throwing the tomatoes down at the people on the streets.


trucks at La Tomatina Spanish  tomato throwing festival
trucks at La Tomatina Spanish  tomato throwing festival
trucks at La Tomatina Spanish  tomato throwing festival


More and more tomatoes are thrown, and the people on the streets continue throwing the tomatoes around as well.


After the trucks all go through (probably half way through the hour or a little more) the streets open back up for the food fight to continue.


The streets fill with thousands of tomatoes until you'll actually find yourself ankle deep in thick and chunky tomato juices.


La Tomatina Spanish  tomato throwing festival
La Tomatina Spanish  tomato throwing festival


The idea is that everyone squishes the tomatoes and doesn't aim at anyone's face or throw too hard.


The reality is that you can expect a tomato tor two to hit you harder than you might like, and you'll most likely have it all over your face, which is why a lot of people protect their eyes with sunglasses or goggles.

La Tomatina Spanish  tomato throwing festival

Finishing the Tomato-Throwing Festival

After one hour the streets will be cleared out, and people will start wandering the rest of Buñol where you'll find people with hoses washing people off, djs playing music, and more and more food kiosks all set up.


people hosing off after La Tomatina
people hosing off after La Tomatina
people partying off after La Tomatina


You may have thought that the party is over, but it really is just getting started! 


One hour may seem like a short amount of time, but we promise you it is quite sufficient for the activity, and you'll be more than ready to finish by the time they start clearing people out.


La Tomatina After Party

Like we said, after the tomato-throwing festival has finished, the fun is certainly not over!


There are quite a few djs playing. people dancing, eating, and a whole mess of fun going on in Buñol.


We suggest trying to wash off as soon as possible, and then continuing the fun in the streets, otherwise you'll end up regretting it later.

La Tomatina Spanish  tomato throwing festival

The peels of the tomato and chunks will start to harden so wash off as soon as you can!.

The Official La Tomatina After Party

The parties in the streets are completely free, so what is this afterparty included in these tickets? Well, actually it's a large event in Valencia at night.


Come 2 or 3:00 a lot of people start heading back to their hotels. The afternoon is for showering, resting, and then getting ready for the afterparty.


In Spain, parties often start late, like 2 or 3 am, and then go through the entire night. However, as there are a lot of tourists, you can also see plenty of people getting there a few hours earlier.


La Tomatina after party
La Tomatina after party
La Tomatina after party


The venue is large and has both indoor and outdoor areas. There is a small pool, lounge areas, and dance floors with different genres of music to enjoy and slightly different party atmospheres, as well as face painters.


Whether you go to the official La Tomatina after party or not, don't miss out on enjoying your night in Valencia. There will be people out partying all over, and it's certainly worth experiencing a proper night out in this Spanish beach town!

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Amenities at La Tomatina

Now that you know all about how La Tomatina festival is celebrated, let's cover all of the logisitics so you can be properly prepared.


Are There Showers at La Tomatina?

Unfortunately there are no showers at La Tomatina, and walking around all day with tomatoes is a pretty terrible option.  


The thing is though, that if you don't wash off RIGHT away, the tomato juices and chunks will start to harden and will get harder and harder to get off your skin, and particularly out of your hair.


I made the mistake the first time I celebrated La Tomatina to wait until I got back to my hotel in Valencia. Let's just say I was still finding pieces of tomato in my hair even a week (and several showers) later.

La Tomatina aftermath

So Where Does Everyone Go After the Tomato Fight to Clean Up?

You will actually find a lot of people throwing water off their balconies, and even offering their hose for a small fee for people to wash off.

water throwing at La Tomatina

People throwing water from their balconies

Even the showers didn't quite do the trick for us though, so we found a nearby lake where we washed off (we also brought mini shampoos and soap bars which were a God send).


This is a really popular option for many people, and a pretty wild thing to experience in itself.

washing pff after La Tomatina

This was a small lake we found, but we definitely suggest going to the bigger one where everyone else goes.


Food & Drink at La Tomatina Festival

During the tomato throwing festival you actually will not be able to bring any food or drinks inside the gated area.


There are some tickets that include paella and a drink, which you can find at one of the offiicial kiosks.


If you don't have the package, there are a ton of people selling food and drinks on the streets both before and after the tomato throwing at La Tomatina. You can find everything from beer to homemade sangrias, and quick sandwiches to full meals being served. 

La Tomatina lockers

We suggest getting there early and grabbing a glass of Sangria the streets, and a tortilla sandwich to take with you, but there are also plenty of restaurants where you can sit down and have a proper meal if that's more of what you're looking for.

food at La Tomatina

You can also find plenty of restaurants to sit down at.

Are There Bathrooms at La Tomatina Festival?

On the outside of the tomato-throwing area of La Tomatina you'll find a few areas that have portapotties which are free to use. You may want to bring your own tissues and hand sanitizer, as many ran out when we used them.


There are also some houses that will offer their bathroom for a small fee like a euro, or you can grab a beer or bite to eat at a restaurant and then use their bathroom free of charge.

portapotties at La Tomatina
portapotties at La Tomatina

Lockers at Tomatina Festival

You show up and realize you accidentally brought something you don't want to get ruined, or maybe you want to bring a camera for the pre party, but you (definitely) don't want to bring it into the tomato-throwing zone. 


Well, don't worry! There are lockers at La Tomatina so that you can safely leave your belongings. There are tickets that include this, but if you don't have one you can simply wait online and pay on the spot.

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La Tomatina Price & Timetable

Now we're going to go over some important details for attending La Tomatina in terms of finances.


Is it Free to Go to La Tomatina?

Tickets used to be free to go to La Tomatina, but due to the festival getting so big (and there being not so much space in little Buñol) they had to limit the number of people that could enter.


If you want to just enjoy the pre parties and after parties but not throw tomatoes, you can enjoy celebrating in the town of Buñol free of charge.


How Much Does La Tomatina Cost?

Basic entry to La Tomatina festival is 15 €, and there are also a variety of packages you can purchase like:

  • Tomatina entry +  Battle Equiment + Party - 34€
  • Tomatina entry + Lockers + Party - 40€
  • Tomatina entry + T-shirt + Party - 40€
  • Tomatina entry + Paella + Drink + Party - 40€
  • Tomatina entry + Bus + Party - 46€
  • Tomatina entry + T-shirt + Bus + Guide + Party - 63€
  • Tomatina entry + T-shirt + Bus + Guide + Party from Madrid - 88€
  • Tomatina entry + T-shirt + Bus + Guide + Party from Barcelona - 88€
  • Tomatina entry + Hostel + Bus + Guide + Party - 120€
  • Tomatina truck + T-Shirt + Party - 750€

If you'd like simple transportation from Valencia to Buñol, you can also purchase the transfer ticket for 35 €.


Does Tomatina Sell Out?

Tomatina Festival does sell out! We got our tickets a few days before and were fine. However, if you are looking to get one of the packages that includes a hostel, bus, or the VIP experience in the trucks, we suggest booking much further in advance.


What Time is La Tomatina?

The tomato throwing festival starts at 12:00, and goes until 1 pm. However, people start partying in the streets in the morning, and the eariler you get there the better! We suggest going around 9 AM.


We arrived at 10 and there were already ridiculously long lines for wristbands, T-shirt pick up, and lockers.


Important Ticket Information for La Tomatina

When you purchase your tickets for Tomatina, you'll have a print at home option. These tickets are not what you use to enter the tomato-throwing festival though! 


You must use these to get your wristband, which is what you need to be wearing to enter the tomato-throwing area.


Note: Those who purchase packages with the bus transfer included won't need to worry about this as they will recieve their wristbands on the bus.