Travel Tramp’s survival series continues with an excessive take on surviving La Tomatina.

Get ready to get knee deep in puree at the world’s largest and most outrageous food fight. You’ll be scraping tomatoes from every orifice by the end of it all but with this deficiently informative guide, you might just make it out alive.

La Tomatina is almost upon. This is the world’s messiest fiesta, and anyone in attendance had best be prepared for a rather large dollop of tomatoes being thrown their way. For one day a year- the last Wednesday of August, this year to be held on August 26th- the otherwise unassuming Spanish town of Bunol loses its shit and lets the carnage of an unimaginably large food fight overtake its streets. I threw myself into the mess of the fiesta to help you survive your own Tomatina.

Surviving La Tomatina

Photo by Nedim Chaabene

If you love tomatoes then bloody fantastic…

Over 40 tonnes of them are quite literally dumped in the streets of Bunol  during La Tomatina. That’s around 150,000 tomatoes that have to be thrown at someone. Messy is a word I’m throwing around abundantly here, but few other adjectives really do justice to the resulting mess of thousands of tomatoes.

Surviving La Tomatina
Go home if you’re claustrophobic…

Bunol has some of the narrowest streets known to man…and it’s those streets that host the fight. And damn are there a lot of people. Prepare for the crush.

Surviving La Tomatina
You might get run down by a tomato truck…

Just when you think you couldn’t fit anther person on the street, the Spaniards decide to drive a truck full of tomatoes right down the middle of it all. I suppose they have to get the tomatoes to the people somehow- and heavy duty vehicles certainly get the job done.

Surviving La Tomatina

Photo by flydime

There’s  a greasy pole with a ham on top…

Spaniards know how to kick off a fiesta in style. Before the first tomato can be thrown, the greasy pole- with, obviously, a huge ham at the top- has to be climbed. Once the ham has been claimed, the trucks roll in and the carnage really begins.

Surviving La Tomatina

Photo by Graham McLellan

You have one hour…

And once the ham has been taken you have exactly one hour of fighting. After that, it’s poor form to chuck food around.

Surviving La Tomatina
Prepare to get wet…

With 40 tonnes of tomatoes being flung wildly around the place, the streets and the people need a big clean up at the end of it all. Fear not though, the locals head out in full force from their red, absolutely plastered houses to spray down passers by.

Surviving La Tomatina
Clean up…

Take full advantage of their watery hospitality. You won’t be allowed back on the train until you pass inspection. Clean up.

Surviving La Tomatina
Get there early…

It’s going to be a long day, but get to Bunol early to navigate the maze of streets. There’s plenty of sangria to go around, so don’t worry about that…but arrive too late and you might not get into the thick of it. Trains run from Valencia, but make sure you head to the right station. Saint Isidre station is where you need to be to  get to the fight.

Get your ticket…

It used to be a free event, but because of its staggering popularity, the local town council has had to introduce tickets to keep the numbers down and make a bit of cash. Buy them here in advance, or you won’t get to experience the joy of hurling a tomato at a complete stranger. When you get there, change your ticket for a band…then get tanked.

Surviving La Tomatina
Waterproof everything…

That flashy camera will get ruined. Take a waterproof, or a Go Pro if you want epic footage. The same goes for your eyes. My glasses were knocked off minutes in, I was lucky to find them. Wear contacts and if you need to then wear goggles.

Surviving La Tomatina
Your clothes WILL get wrecked…

Nothing will survive. Especially your shoes. But wear some solid trainers or your feet will regret it after. If you’re a girl watch out for shirt rippers. They don’t discriminate.

Surviving La Tomatina
You will get wrecked…

It’s an hour of intense food fighting, in packed streets with dangerous heavy goods vehicles and a shit tonne of drunken maniacs. But get ready for an experience you won’t soon forget.

Surviving La Tomatina

Richard Collett

Love a good fiesta? Then check out the Travel Tramp guide to Surviving the Running of the Bulls. It’s sensationally dangerous.

Got a good tip I’m missing? Then leave a message in the comments!

Unless otherwise stated, all photos here were taken by Mr Challenge 365.