Just returning from Spain I thought I would post some information about La Tomatina which is a tomato fight festival in a small town called Bunol near Valencia. La Tomatina is quite a young tradition in Spain, but is very popular with backpackers and tourists. I went this year for the second time and spoke to a few people on the way there and back and noticed a lot of La Tomatina go-ers found many blog posts inaccurate in information about the festival.
So here are the some bits of information about La Tomatina's tomato festival in Bunol, Spain that I have found useful, and a few people found useful whilst I was there at the festival...
In order to get to the festival you really need to leave early, although close to Valencia the amount of people makes the journey from Valencia to La Tomatina in Bunol about 1-1.5 hours.
If you have luggage or bags with you, don't worry too much about getting them covered as there is several places you can leave your bags for around 5 EUR with the Bunol locals.
When you arrive you will be greeted by a bar and a T-Shirt/souvenier shop normally, generally everything is cheaper about 100m down the road closer to the actual tomato festival. Expect 5EUR per litre.
La Tomatina isn't just about the tomato festival and the tomato fight its a weekend long celebration for the locals with fireworks, concerts, and lots of other celebrations.
The festival will start at about 11, you will hear a big cannon fire as the trucks start to come around the center - it finishes either at 1 or when someone gets the Jamon from the top of the greased pole.
Before the festival you will see all the families in the street eating and drinking from 10 onwards, this is another part of the La Tomatina festival.
Many people go there the night before, and stay all night at the night club in the town, and then hang around in the morning for the festival, sometimes sleeping wherever, or in their cars if they drove.
A few Spanish phrases that may assist you whilst there, although most will speak English it is nicer to try, and the locals will appreciate you trying. Cuanto es? (KWAN-TO-ESS) How much is it?
Dondé es ....? (DON-DE-ESS) Where is .....?
Disculper (DIS-KUL-PA) Excuse me. (This is only when getting someones attention, not excusing yourself for something)
por favor (POOR-FAV-OR) Please.
Hablas ....? (AB-LAZ) Do you speak ....? (Further to this here are some language names: English (Ingles [IN-GLAYS]), German (Alemán [AL-EH-MAN]), Russian (Ruso [RUH-SO]), French (Francés [FRAN-SAYS]), Italian (Italiano [IT-AL-IAN-O]), and Swedish (Sueco [SWE-KO]
If you are booking trains to go somewhere after returning from La Tomatina in Bunol it would be prudent not to book anything leaving Valencia before 4pm at the earliest, you may get back before but if you miss the first train thats it.
Staying in the area before and after the festival will be cheapest in hostels in Valencia, it is also the closest main train station and airport. If you are looking for a place I would suggest Hostel World, and some places to an all-in experience including Valencia tour before or after La Tomatina in Bunol like STA Travel.