Introducing Spain’s Tomato Throwing Festival: La Tomatina

If you’re looking for a unique cultural experience in Spain, look no further than the annual Tomato Throwing Festival, also known as La Tomatina. This iconic event draws visitors from around the world to the small town of Buñol, located in the Valencia region of Spain. The festival is a celebration of food, community, and cultural heritage, and it has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Spain.

At the heart of the Tomato Throwing Festival is the world’s largest food fight, which involves participants throwing ripe tomatoes at each other for an hour. The festival has a rich history and cultural significance, dating back to the mid-20th century when it began as a local tradition. Today, it has grown into a global phenomenon, attracting thousands of visitors each year.

Key Takeaways

  • The Tomato Throwing Festival, or La Tomatina, is a popular cultural event in Spain.
  • The festival features the world’s largest food fight, with participants throwing ripe tomatoes at each other.
  • The festival has a rich history and cultural significance, dating back to the mid-20th century.

Spain Tomato Throwing Festival

History of La Tomatina

The origins of the Spain Tomato Throwing Festival, also known as La Tomatina, can be traced back to a local food fight that took place in Buñol, a town in Valencia, in 1945. As the story goes, a group of young people were enjoying a parade when one of them stumbled and fell, causing a heap of tomatoes to spill onto the street. In a fit of playful mischief, they started throwing the tomatoes at each other, and soon the whole crowd joined in on the fun.

Over the years, the food fight grew into an annual tradition, albeit an unofficial one. Despite attempts by local authorities to quell the event, the people of Buñol were determined to keep it going, and eventually, it became a sanctioned festival.

Today, La Tomatina is recognized as one of Spain’s most unique cultural events, drawing thousands of tourists from around the world each year. It takes place on the last Wednesday of August, and participants come from all walks of life to join in on the world’s largest food fight.

history of la tomatina

The Tomato Festival in Spain

The tomato festival, also known as the “La Tomatina”, is a cultural festival that is celebrated annually in the town of Buñol, Spain. This unique festival has become world-renowned and a significant tourist attraction that draws visitors from all over the world.

Spain is known for its vibrant cultural festivals, and the tomato festival is no different. It is one of many festivals celebrated throughout Spain, each with its unique traditions and customs. However, the tomato festival is unlike any other, offering a one-of-a-kind experience that is both entertaining and exciting.

Buñol, the town that hosts the tomato festival, is a quaint Spanish town located in the region of Valencia. The town’s narrow streets, historic buildings, and charming atmosphere are part of the attraction for the festival’s visitors. The town’s population of around 10,000 swells to nearly 40,000 during the festival, making it an unparalleled experience.

tomato festival in Spain

The unique characteristics of the tomato festival in Buñol are what make it stand out from other tomato festivals. The festival involves thousands of people throwing tomatoes at each other for an hour. It is considered the world’s largest food fight, with more than 100 metric tons of tomatoes used each year. The festival’s participants wear old clothes and shoes and goggles to protect their eyes from the tomatoes’ acid.

The tomato festival is not only a fun event but also has cultural significance. It is believed to have originated from a food fight among friends in the town’s square over a decade ago. The festival represents a time of unity, where everyone comes together to participate in the tomato fight regardless of their social status or background. It is a cherished tradition that celebrates the town’s culture and history.

What is the Tomato Festival All About?

If you’re looking for an extraordinary experience that combines thrilling activities with fun and festivity, look no further than the Spain Tomato Throwing Festival. Held annually on the last Wednesday in August in Buñol, this unique event is the world’s largest food fight, attracting thousands of visitors from around the globe.

At the heart of this incredible festival is the tomato fight, which takes place in the town’s main square, Plaza del Pueblo. Participants hurl over 150,000 overripe tomatoes at each other, creating a sea of red goo that covers everyone and everything in sight. Of course, there’s much more to the Spain Tomato Throwing Festival than just throwing tomatoes!

The festival starts early in the morning, with locals and visitors alike gathering in the streets to watch the arrival of trucks loaded with tomatoes. As soon as the signal is given, the tomato fight begins, and chaos reigns for the next hour. It’s impossible not to get caught up in the excitement and energy of this unique event, which has become an iconic part of Spanish culture.

It’s worth noting that the tomato fight isn’t just a free-for-all; there are rules that participants must follow to ensure everyone’s safety and fair play. For example, tomatoes must be squished before throwing to avoid injury, and no other projectiles are allowed. In addition, participants must stop throwing tomatoes once the signal is given to end the fight.

Despite the messy and somewhat chaotic nature of the tomato fight, the Spain Tomato Throwing Festival is a beloved and celebrated event in Buñol. People come from all over the world to experience the thrill of throwing tomatoes, and the town embraces its role as host with enthusiasm. If you’re looking for an unforgettable adventure that combines excitement, culture, and a healthy dose of silliness, the Spain Tomato Throwing Festival is the perfect destination.

The Tradition and Cultural Significance

Throwing tomatoes may seem like a strange activity to some, but in Spain, it has a long tradition and cultural significance. The roots of the tomato throwing festival are unclear, but many locals believe it started as a way to protest during a parade in the 1940s. Others speculate that it originated as a way for the townspeople to release their pent-up frustrations and have some fun.

Regardless of its origins, La Tomatina has become a beloved cultural festival that draws thousands of visitors from around the world. It represents the spirit of the Spanish people – lively, vibrant, and full of energy. It’s a celebration of life, where people forget their worries and immerse themselves in the moment, throwing ripe tomatoes at each other with abandon.

The festival has become such an integral part of Spanish culture that it has been declared a Festivity of International Tourist Interest by the Secretary of State for Tourism. It’s a testament to the enduring appeal of this unique and exciting event, which continues to captivate and delight audiences year after year.

Spain Tomato Throwing Festival

The tomato fight itself may seem like a messy spectacle, but it also represents something deeper. It’s a celebration of freedom, of letting loose and being spontaneous. It’s a chance to forget about the mundanity of everyday life and embrace the moment with joy and enthusiasm.

Ultimately, the tomato throwing festival is a reflection of Spanish culture and identity. It’s a reminder that life should be enjoyed to the fullest, surrounded by good company, delicious food, and lots of laughter. Whether you’re a local or a tourist, you can’t help but get swept up in the infectious spirit of La Tomatina. It’s an experience like no other.

Rules of La Tomatina

If you plan on participating in the Tomato Throwing Festival in Spain, also known as La Tomatina, it’s important to be aware of the five rules that must be followed. These rules are in place to ensure the safety and fair play of all participants, as well as to maintain the integrity of the event.

Rule 1Tomatoes must be squashed before throwing to avoid injury to other participants.
Rule 2No hard objects are allowed in the tomato fight, including bottles or cans.
Rule 3Participants must make way for trucks and lorries, which transport tomatoes through the narrow streets.
Rule 4When the second firecracker is sounded, the tomato fight must come to an end.
Rule 5Participants must stop throwing tomatoes immediately upon hearing the third and final firecracker.

It’s important to follow these rules to ensure the safety of all participants and to make sure that the festival is enjoyable for everyone. In addition to these rules, it’s also recommended that participants wear appropriate clothing, such as old clothes and closed-toe shoes, and that they bring goggles to protect their eyes from flying tomato pulp.

what are the 5 rules of la tomatina

Joining the Tomato Fight

If you’re planning to participate in the Spain Tomato Throwing Festival, also known as La Tomatina, here are some practical tips to ensure you have an enjoyable and safe experience:

  • Get your tickets early: Tickets for La Tomatina can sell out quickly, so make sure to purchase them well in advance. You can buy them online or through local tour operators.
  • Wear appropriate clothing: This is not the time to dress up in your finest clothes. Instead, wear old clothes and shoes that you don’t mind getting stained or damaged. A change of clothes is also a good idea for after the event.
  • Bring goggles: The tomato pulp and juice can sting your eyes, so it’s a good idea to wear protective goggles.
  • Respect the rules: There are five important rules to follow during the tomato fight, including not throwing anything other than tomatoes, not ripping other people’s clothes, and stopping throwing tomatoes once you hear the second shot indicating the end of the fight.
  • Stay safe: Although La Tomatina is a lot of fun, it can also be chaotic and crowded. Make sure to stay aware of your surroundings and follow the instructions of the event organizers and local authorities.

Don’t forget to arrive early to secure a good spot in the action, and be prepared to get messy! This unique and exciting experience is not to be missed.

Exploring Buñol

Buñol is a small town in the province of Valencia, renowned for hosting the world-famous tomato festival, La Tomatina. The town is located approximately 38 kilometres from Valencia, perched on the foothills of the Sierra de La Cabrera.

Despite its small size, Buñol boasts a rich history and a charming old town, with quaint cobbled streets and traditional stone houses. Visitors can explore the town’s numerous landmarks, including the Iglesia del Salvador church, the 14th-century castle, and the town hall.


During the tomato festival, the town transforms into a sea of red, with thousands of people flocking to the streets to participate in the tomato fight. However, the festival is not the only attraction in Buñol. Visitors can also indulge in the town’s gastronomic delights, including traditional Valencian cuisine such as paella, arroz a banda, and horchata.

For adventure-seekers, Buñol offers plenty of outdoor activities such as hiking, mountain biking, and rock climbing. The nearby surrounding of La Sierra Martes and La Sierra de Dos Aguas are perfect for nature lovers and provide breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

Cultural Events and Entertainment

In addition to the tomato fight, visitors to Buñol can enjoy a wide range of cultural events and entertainment during the festival. The town hosts live music performances, street parades, and fireworks displays, creating a vibrant and festive atmosphere.

The tomato festival is a true celebration of Spanish culture and traditions, and visitors can immerse themselves in the local way of life. From watching traditional dance performances to joining in a game of street football, there is something for everyone in Buñol.

If you’re looking for an unforgettable cultural experience, Buñol’s tomato festival is definitely worth a visit. With its rich history, charming architecture, and vibrant cultural scene, there’s no better place to experience the best of Spain’s cultural heritage.

Cultural Events and Entertainment

The Spain Tomato Throwing Festival is not just about throwing tomatoes; it’s a cultural extravaganza that celebrates Spain’s rich heritage and traditions. Visitors can expect a variety of cultural events and entertainment throughout the festival.

Live music performances featuring local artists are a staple of the festival, adding to the lively and festive atmosphere. From flamenco dancers to modern pop bands, there is something for everyone to enjoy. And let’s not forget about the traditional Spanish bullfighting demonstrations and parades that are an integral part of the Spanish culture.

cultural festival

But it’s not just about watching the performances – the festival also invites visitors to participate in various cultural activities. These include cooking classes, where you can learn to cook traditional Spanish dishes, and workshops where you can learn how to dance the flamenco.

The festival also holds a variety of competitions, such as the best tomato recipe contest, where participants can showcase their creativity and culinary skills.

Accommodation and Travel Tips

Attending the Spain Tomato Throwing Festival is a unique and exciting experience that you’ll never forget. While planning your trip, keep in mind some tips to make the most of your journey.


Book your accommodation early to secure the best options. The town of Buñol is small, so it is highly recommended to stay in Valencia, which is only 38 km away. Hotels, hostels, and apartment rentals are all available, but keep in mind that prices may be higher during the festival week.


There are several transportation options available to get to Buñol. The easiest way is by taking a train from Valencia to Buñol, which takes approximately 50 minutes. Alternatively, you can take a bus from Valencia, which takes about an hour. Renting a car is also an option, but be aware that parking in Buñol during the festival is very limited.

Other Tips

  • Wear comfortable, closed-toe shoes and clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty.
  • Bring a waterproof camera or a waterproof case for your phone to capture the action.
  • Remember to wear goggles to protect your eyes from tomato juice and seeds.
  • Follow the rules of the festival to ensure the safety of all participants.
Spain Tomato Throwing Festival

By following these tips, you can make the most of your trip to the Spain Tomato Throwing Festival. Don’t miss out on this amazing cultural event that is sure to be a highlight of your travels to Spain.

The Future of La Tomatina

The Spain Tomato Throwing Festival, or La Tomatina, has grown in popularity over the years, attracting thousands of visitors from around the world. As one of Spain’s most iconic cultural festivals, La Tomatina has become a significant economic and cultural driver for the town of Buñol.

Looking into the future, the festival’s organizers are committed to maintaining the event’s authenticity while also making improvements to ensure the safety and enjoyment of all participants. In recent years, changes have been made to address concerns around waste management and environmental impact. For example, the tomatoes used in the festival are grown specifically for the event and are not intended for consumption, reducing food waste.

Despite any potential challenges, it is clear that La Tomatina will continue to attract visitors and remain a beloved cultural tradition in Spain for years to come. As long as the festival retains its energetic and fun-loving atmosphere, it will continue to capture the hearts and imagination of people around the world.


Spain’s Tomato Throwing Festival, also known as La Tomatina, is a unique and exciting cultural event that draws people from all over the world. This food fight festival is the largest of its kind in the world and has become an emblematic part of Spanish culture. The history and cultural significance of tomato throwing in Spain make this event all the more meaningful.

Visitors to the Spain Tomato Throwing Festival can expect a memorable experience, with plenty of opportunities to join in the fun and celebrate Spanish heritage. While the tomato fight is the main event, there are also many cultural activities and events to enjoy, such as traditional music, dance, and performances. Buñol, the town that hosts the festival, is also a charming and scenic destination with much to offer beyond the festival itself.

For those planning to attend the Spain Tomato Throwing Festival, it is important to follow the rules and come prepared with appropriate clothing and gear. With a little planning and research, visitors can make the most of their experience and fully immerse themselves in this unique cultural celebration.

The future of La Tomatina is bright, with the festival continuing to gain popularity and recognition on a global scale. As one of the most iconic cultural festivals in Spain, it will likely continue to draw visitors and contribute to the region’s economy for years to come.

Overall, the Spain Tomato Throwing Festival is a must-see cultural event that offers a unique and unforgettable experience. Whether you are a local or a visitor from abroad, this festival is sure to leave a lasting impression on anyone who attends.


Q: What is the Spain Tomato Throwing Festival?

A: The Spain Tomato Throwing Festival, also known as La Tomatina, is an annual cultural event where participants engage in a massive tomato fight. It is considered the world’s largest food fight and attracts thousands of visitors each year.

Q: When did La Tomatina start?

A: La Tomatina originated in 1945 in the town of Buñol, Spain. The festival is said to have originated in 1945, although the exact circumstances of its inception are a subject of various stories and legends. One popular version suggests that it started during a parade when a group of young people who wanted to participate caused a commotion, and people began throwing tomatoes at each other in the ensuing chaos.

Q: What is the cultural significance of tomato festivals in Spain?

A: Tomato festivals are deeply rooted in Spanish culture and traditions. They celebrate the country’s abundant tomato harvest and are a way for locals to come together in a spirit of fun and camaraderie.

Q: What happens during the tomato fight at the Spain Tomato Throwing Festival?

A: The main highlight of the festival is the tomato fight, where participants throw tomatoes at each other in the streets of Buñol. It creates a lively atmosphere filled with laughter, excitement, and tomato splatters.

Q: Why do they throw tomatoes in Spain?

A: The tradition of tomato throwing in Spain has various theories and explanations. Some believe it symbolizes a rebellion against authority, while others consider it a way of releasing pent-up energy or simply having a good time.

Q: What are the rules of La Tomatina?

A: Participants in the Spain Tomato Throwing Festival must follow five rules: only tomatoes can be thrown, they must be squashed before throwing, no other objects are allowed, participants must not tear or throw clothing, and they must obey the instructions of the festival organizers.

Q: How can I join the tomato fight at the Spain Tomato Throwing Festival?

A: To participate in the tomato fight, you need to purchase a ticket or register in advance. There may be age restrictions, so make sure to check the guidelines before attending. Wear comfortable clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty and bring goggles to protect your eyes.

Q: What is there to see and do in Buñol during the festival?

A: Buñol, the host town of the Spain Tomato Throwing Festival, offers more than just the tomato fight. Visitors can explore its rich history, visit landmarks such as the castle, indulge in delicious local cuisine, and enjoy the traditional music and dance performances.

Q: Are there other cultural events and entertainment at the Spain Tomato Throwing Festival?

A: Alongside the tomato fight, the festival features additional cultural events, including music, dance, and traditional performances. These festivities add to the vibrant and festive atmosphere of the event.

Q: Any tips for accommodation and travel during the Spain Tomato Throwing Festival?

A: It is advisable to book accommodation in advance as the festival attracts a large number of visitors. Consider staying in nearby towns or cities if there are limited options in Buñol. Plan your transportation, such as trains or buses, and familiarize yourself with the local amenities.

Q: What does the future hold for La Tomatina?

A: La Tomatina continues to gain global recognition and is expected to remain a highly popular event in the future. Its economic and cultural impact on the region will likely lead to continuous development and improvements to enhance the experience.

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