The event began during a village parade back in 1945, when local youths started a fight, throwing tomatoes from a nearby vegetable stall. Over the years, the event has escalated to become what is now considered the world’s largest food fight, attracting travellers from all over the world to join the fun. To accommodate the growing popularity of the festival the town of Buñol partnered with growers so that the tonnes of inedible tomatoes destined to be food waste can now be used by revellers instead, so don’t feel guilty about making a mess.
The event takes place on the last Wednesday in August every year, but you can still book that flight to Valencia you’ve been eyeing even if you missed this year’s festivities.
Read on for photo inspiration and tips and tricks for next year’s La Tomatina, and when you’re ready to get your trip on the books, head to KAYAK.co.uk to search for flights.
Pro tip 1
Get there early – Thousands of people will be trying to make their way into the city, and you’ll want to avoid the traffic and queues.
Pro tip 2
Bring goggles – Tomatoes are quite acidic and sting the eyes, so bring goggles. You can also buy goggles when you buy your festival tickets, but beware you’ll have to queue for them.
Pro tip 3
Wear clothes you don’t care about – Fair warning, the smell and colour of tomatoes will haunt whatever outfit you wear to the festival.
Pro tip 4
Bring a change of clothes for afterward – While there are hoses and showers to clean yourself up after the festival, you’ll want to bring something dry and clean to change into afterward.
Other famous food fights:
If tomatoes aren’t your thing but you want to be involved in the next big food fight, check out these festivals for your chance to get messy:
La Raima, the festival of grapes, is held each August in La Pobla del Duc, Spain. In this small Spanish town, 90 tonnes of locally grown grapes are thrown by revellers. The festival’s origins date back to the 1930s when local farmers celebrated the end of the annual grape harvest by flinging surplus grapes at each other.
Every June in Coxheath, England, different teams from across the world come together to enter the World Custard Pie Championship. The festival pits teams of four against each other in a custard pie throwing contest to raise money for the village hall.
In Haro, Spain, during the last week of June, thousands of locals and tourists throw the red liquid all over each other. The event coincides with the Feast of St. Peter, but the event is referred to locally as “La Batalla del Vino” or “the battle of wine”.
Each February in Vilanova i la Geltrú, a small port town located an hour drive from Barcelona, revellers participate in the Merengada – an entire event devoted to flinging meringue. Expect to be surrounded by local children, who are given the day off from school to participate in the sugary battle. Most poncho-clad participants arm themselves with pastry bags filled with the sticky sweet.
Each year in Galaxidi, Greece, locals celebrate the start of Lent (according to the Greek Orthodox calendar) by throwing bags of coloured flour at each other. This flour-flinging battle is called Alevromoutzouroma, or the Flour Wars.
The annual Battaglia delle Arance (Battle of the Oranges) is the largest food fight in Italy. Held in the small Northern Italian town of Ivrea every February, thousands of competitors are divided into teams that hurl more than a million pounds of oranges at each other.
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