My Travel Bucket List – La Tomatina

December 14, 2010
Swimming in Tomatoes
(Last Updated On: October 7, 2014)

Admittedly, items on my travel bucket list to date have included dreams of doing really nice things such as ballooning over Tuscany or attending the Montreax Jazz Festival in Switzerland.

Well, what about doing something more fun, perhaps unusual, even a little crazy? I’ve got it all figured out – I want to attend the Tomatina festival that takes place each year on the last Wednesday in August in Buñol, Spain.

La Tomatina is basically nothing more than a one hour friendly food fight with tomatoes. Thousands (estimates are between 20,000 -50,000 people) gather in the streets of Buñol to duke it out and throw about 300,o00 pounds of tomatoes at one another.

Imagine letting loose of your inhibitions, whipping food at people without consequence, getting tomatoes hurled right back at you, wildly laughing, and getting the chance to behave like a child for an hour.  Sounds good to me!

By the time it’s over, you’ll be feeling happy and free. Of course, you’ll be drenched and covered in the stuff so it’s probably not a good idea to wear your “Sunday best” to the fight.

While the fight may seem chaotic and uncontrolled, there is actually some structure. Check out this post at Reason Pad to learn more. Also, the official La Tomatina website outlines some tips and general rules.

You may wonder how the food fight even got started (I sure did). While Wikipedia attempts to provide an overview, there seems to be a general consensus that the exact origins are not known. Regardless, the tradition carries on each and every year.

The tomato isn’t just all about the food fight either. It’s actually a week long festival of food (there’s even a paella cooking contest), music, fireworks, and parades.

The photos below offer a glimpse into this unusual event:

Procuring Weapons of Mass Destruction

Procuring Weapons of Mass Destruction

Food Fighting In A Sea of Tomato Sauce

Food Fighting In A Sea of Tomato Sauce

Swimming in Tomatoes

Swimming in Tomatoes

Romancing The Tomatoes

Romancing The Tomatoes

Watch this YouTube clip to see the food fight in action:

La Tomatina is not without controversy. Many think it’s a shame that so much food goes to waste when so many others in the world go without.  They’re sadly right. According to Wikipedia:

“The Average person eats five (5) pounds of food per day. If during La Tomatina there are over 90,000 pounds of tomatoes used then by means of a simple calculation the food wasted during this festival could feed eighteen thousand (18 000) starving people for a day or fifty (50) starving people for a year.”

Have you ever been in a real food fight? Would you go to La Tomatina? Have you been to other weird or unusual food festivals? If not, do you have dreams of attending any of them? Let me know by leaving a comment below.


  1. Food & Wine –
  2. Got Saga –
  3. La Tomatina –
  4. Reason Pad –
  5. Wikipedia –
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  • Reply Rochelle December 14, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    That looks fun…especially the Romancing the Tomatoes part! 🙂

    • Reply Cheryl Howard December 14, 2010 at 2:34 pm

      I know, right? That picture is hot. I hope to find myself a hot Spanish guy to do that with while there. Just kidding … maybe. 😉

      • Reply Rochelle December 17, 2010 at 7:58 pm

        you’re not kidding at all! 😉

  • Reply Ayngelina December 15, 2010 at 11:42 am

    Oh that´s on my list too! Those photos look amazing, even the romancing one which is kind of disturbing as I don´t know if this is a romantic event.

    • Reply Cheryl Howard December 15, 2010 at 4:08 pm

      I think it would be a blast to attend La Tomatina! With regards to the tomato flavored romance … perhaps some people oddly get turned on by food!? Maybe that’s why they call it “food pron”. 😛

  • Reply Brent January 16, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    Cheryl. I just discovered your travel blog and I have to say that I’m significantly jealous. My life has evolved to a state where the kind of adventures you are experiancing are not possible so I’ll have to experience them vicariously through info such as this blog.

    • Reply Cheryl Howard January 16, 2011 at 9:08 pm

      Hey Brent! Well, welcome to my blog. Hope you’ll return again. 🙂

      Also, hope you will be able to travel yourself from time-to-time.

  • Reply Robin May 7, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    Cool idea! I’m gonna do this too this august. Bought my tickets yesterday! Such a cool blog and you have amazing dreams and plans!

    • Reply Cheryl Howard May 7, 2012 at 11:29 pm

      @Robin – Amazing! Happy to hear you’re going to do this. 🙂

      And thanks so much for your kind comment.

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