Adventures in Spain – The La Tomatina Festival

by Kristi Adams
Stripes Europe

Whether it’s hanging out with friends, backyard barbecues, camping, or heading to the pool or beach, summer is the season of fun. Long, sunshine-soaked days beckon us outside after the cold dreary days of winter, and somewhere deep in our bones – our spirit seems to realize … it’s time for exploring and adventure.

If you’re ready for sun and fun – it’s time to make a trek to Europe’s sunniest country, Spain. With more than 300 days of sunshine a year, it’s easy to see why Spain has long been a favorite vacation destination. But if you’re looking for a little more adventure than beaches, sangria and tapas – immerse yourself in an adrenaline-inducing event: The La Tomatina Festival. 

On the last Wednesday in August (this year it’s Aug. 29), visitors come from all over the world for the chance to pelt each other with thousands upon thousands of tomatoes. Although the festival spans just one day, more than 100 metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes will be thrown!

In preparation for the event, local shopkeepers place large plastic sheets and tarps over their storefronts in order to protect their shops from the tomato-infused carnage, as 20,000 tomato-fighters descend upon the normally quiet town. Bunol’s off-season population hovers near 9,000 but swells to nearly 50,000 during La Tomatina.   

The event has continued to gain popularity over the years (who doesn’t love a good food fight?), making tickets mandatory for participation. But don’t worry if you can’t snag a ticket. There are several other chances to celebrate all things tomato, with the La Tomatina Pre Party, the Official After Party and Valencia Boat Party. Come for the food or the fun, but either way – you are guaranteed to have a great time at La Tomatina! www.latomatinatours.com

The town of Bunol is also a short 38 kilometers from Valencia, on Spain’s eastern seaboard. Valencia is a stunning port city often eclipsed in popularity by its northern neighbor, Barcelona, and is a stunning vacation in its own right – offering a perfect destination for singles and families. Foodies will love the city’s Mercado Central – a restored food market with over 1,000 stalls, while The City of Arts – complete with six distinct zones including the L'Oceanogràfic, an aquarium boasting the largest glass water tunnel in Europe, is a perfect fit for family fun.

Spain is one of the most beautiful and captivating countries in the world, and it has it all; amazing food, majestic cities and an adventurous, free-spirited culture like no other. A special corner of the world just waiting for you to come make memories that will last a lifetime

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