If you plan on joining in on the rich, red pulpy fun at La Tomatina in Buñol this year, it’s a good idea to plan ahead and make good travel preparations so you can enjoy the festival to its fullest.
Firstly, don’t expect much from Buñol apart from its tomato festival. Buñol is similar to many other villages in the industrial and orange-growing Valencia region, and is home to just 9000 people and a cement factory. If you want fun outside of the festival, take a trip to Valencia. The city is the third-largest in Spain, and is a chaotic, intriguing conglomeration of soaring towers, friendly locals, tasty paella and plenty of surprises.
Getting to La Tomatina
To get to Buñol and the festival, take a flight to Valencia’s Aeropuerto de Manises. Once you touch down in Valencia, take the 45-minute train ride to Buñol . The train will most likely be packed with other festival-goers, whom you can follow to the center of Buñol upon arrival
What to Take with You
If you want to take part in the festival, wear old clothes that won’t slip off when getting wet. Wear snug shorts (for girls) or board shorts (for boys), an old t-shirt (not white) and tightly-laced sports shoes. Girls should wear sports bras. Leave just about everything else back at your accommodation. Do not bring glasses (including sunnies), jewelry, hats, cameras, wallets or purses as you will most likely lose them in the fight. If you wear contact lenses, remove them before going. Your passport and money should be kept in a watertight plastic bag or pouch and stuffed in a secure pocket.
To clean yourself after the tomato fight, you’ll likely to find a local giving free hosedowns.
Where to Stay in Buñol
Keeping in mind that on average, La Tomatina attracts 30,000 participants each August who vie for Buñol’s limited accommodation, it’s probably best to stay in Valencia and fork out a few extra Euros for the train ride. Valencia’s population is 700,000, so chances are that there are going to be a suitable hostel or hotel for you.
If you plan on staying at a hostel, keep in mind that most of them don’t take reservations. So if you get off your plane and want to go hostel-hunting, it’s a good idea to book your room before 11am.
If you have money to burn, there’s plenty of mid-to high-end accommodation, and many are listed in Spanish travel guides.
Communication in Spain
Spaniards aren’t the best for proficiency in English, so it’s best to learn a bit of Spanish or Catalan before you travel, use a translator app on your phone, or to have well-structured travel plans.