The co-founders of QuestOrganizer (Ela and Douglas) are on the move from our previous workplace of Málaga to Poland then our new home of San Francisco.

On our way we are taking a road trip across Europe and typical fashion of Questers we are making a few stops on the way. One of them was La Tomatina. It is in the city of Buñol and many people from all over the world have flocked to Valencia where buses take tourists and trucks containing around 145,000kg of fresh tomatoes will deliver locura (more than loco) to this small Spanish city.

How to get to La Tomatina

There are several options depending on your preference of ease. You can book a tour that will provide you all you need: transport, t-shirts, goggles, accommodation, and tickets to the all night after-party. We went with a simple option and for 37 euros we bought ahead of time a bus ticket including confirmed entry ($10 city tax to Buñol) as we were not sure if they would sell tickets at the event (they sell tickets at La Tomatina if you go in 2016).

Our Experience

We saw the many foreigners in Valencia the night before and it is a beautiful city. We then caught our 7:30am bus to Buñol which took about 30 mins to arrive to the industrial ruins and small quaint Spanish town.

Many local vendors sell beer and sangria and other entrepreneurs sell 1 euro goggles which will break before the fight. There is also Paella and many other options to eat and it seemed the local people really embrace the touristic boom and attention this festival brings.

After choosing the entrance that would have the most tomatoes, and in turn the most people. We slowly started our way to try and peek at the craziest participants who attempt to climb a greased pole that is crowned with a Spanish ham. When the first participant reaches the prized jamon the tomato fight begins. Above there are locals spraying hoses out of their balconies and a few overly ripe tomatoes at the giant crowd below. However the crowd returns the tomatoes and appreciates the cool water as we all patiently wait the gun shot to begin the real chaos.

 

Trucks begin to pass through the already fully crowded street where people have stopped pushing through for 20 minutes as it is seen as impassable. The crowd is forced backwards down the street and to the sides where there now is definitely no sign of empty space left.

The fight was crazy, and we can report that tomatoes do not leave a bruise when thrown at full force. It soon became a tomato soup below our feet and that is the reason for the multiple trucks with participant reloading the battle with new whole tomatoes to again toss at the target of choosing. Many people flocked to the side for relief or to the center to be the target of all others. It ended quickly with the smell of tomato in the air. We then followed the direction of the locals to go down to the river for a rinse, but there are also many locals who will hose off passersby as a kind gesture of thanking people for visiting, or maybe to stop the mess from spreading.

In summary, this is an event that I would recommend to anyone who is prepared to get a little messy, but not as a solo destination as it only lasts an hour.