Despite being a town of only 10,000 people and without being much of a tourist draw at most times of the year, there are other things to see and do around Buñol apart from La Tomatina. So if you find yourself with a few days free in the lead up to or after the festival, read on for some cool places to check out.
About the Town
At first appearance, quiet Buñol doesn’t seem to have much going on, but it takes a few days of exploring to appreciate the town’s relaxed atmosphere and old-world quirkiness.
Located about 40km from the third-largest city in Spain, Valencia, Buñol is known for its biggest and most recognised landmark: the Castillo de Buñol (Castle of Buñol). This impressive 13th-century citadel is situated high on a hill and cuts a silhouette down on the clusters of tiled roofs in the old town and across the green valley and wooded hills. It’s the highest point on two rock formations where there was formerly an Islamic settlement. The castle is separated into two rooms which are divided by man-made moats and connected by a bridge.
The town itself deserves a day of exploring. You can wander through the intricate network of cobblestoned streets including the ‘frying pan street,’ Calla de la Sarten, which is lined with centuries-old mansions, a myriad of small restaurants and cafes, shops and the occasional boutique or antique store.
The El Salvador Church is situated in the centre of town. This parish houses an archaeological museum whose halls are worth investigating, especially since archaeological findings show that civilisation existed in Buñol as far back as 50,000 years.
But it’s Buñol’s fountains that perhaps are its prettiest feature. There are close to 300 ornate pieces of sculpture scattered all over the town’s large, well-maintained gardens and beautiful parks.
Strong Masonic Traditions
The Buñol cemetery has unique masonic influence. First opening in 1886, it was the project of Joaquín Ballester, then mayor and freemason. The cemetery contains 1,700 masonic symbols featured on 465 tombs, some of which date back to the 19th century. Buñol’s population of only 10,000 people, make the cemetery’s masonic symbols the most significant burial place in Spain and maybe the world.
A Town Good for the Explorers
Since the town is located on the Buñol River and is surrounded by several mountain ranges, there are plenty of hiking trails and cycling routes you can take to explore the surrounding area. Some interesting sites to check out include Alta cave and the well-known Turche cave, which has a 60m waterfall which is usually in full flow during the wet season (spring to late autumn, so around the time of La Tomatina). It’s also worthwhile going to the big park El Planell, where people go for a walk and play sports.
How Do You Say It?
Many people would get the pronunciation of Buñol wrong. You’d be surprised to know that the town is pronounced ‘Buhn-yol’.