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Get Down and Dirty at Five of the Messiest Festivals in Europe Read more

Anyone who's ever backpacked knows that things can get messy when you travel.

Messy, clothes-wise. Messy, booze-wise. Messy, packing-wise. Oh, and messy, MESSY-wise.

From flinging tomatoes to snorkelling through bogs, Busabout have collected some of Europe's weirdest, messiest festivals.

la tomatina, spain
Once a year the tiny town of Buñol becomes the stage of a tomato bloodbath, as thousands of people and 100 metric tons of tomatoes combine for the messiest food fight ever! With just one hour to throw as many squished tomatoes as you can, there’s no better (or more bizarre) way to let off steam, whilst some serious after partying in nearby Valencia guarantees the ultimate in fruity fun long in to the night.

la batalla del vino, spain
If you think La Tomatina is messy, then wait till you hear about la Batalla del Vino – Wine Battle! In late June, the village of Haro, Spain celebrates this unique festival in style. Instead of drinking and savoring red wine, the people of La Rioja region prefer to splash it all over the place and everyone gets wet, sticky and they all turn into a beautiful shade of purple!

Revelers gather where wine pours onto the crowd and the whole town gets to frolic in wine! What’s not to love?! Join a bunch of fellow “wine lovers” and fight to the death on Busabout’s 3-day La Batalla Del Vino trip. Haro is located just a 2.5hr train ride from Busabout stop, San Sebastien.

clean monday flour war, greece


There’s nothing really clean about Clean Monday! The ‘Flour War’ street party takes place at the end of carnival season and the beginning of the Greek Orthodox Lent in the elegant seaside Greek town of Galaxidi. In an effort to use up flour before the fasting season, villagers fill hundreds of bags with baking flour, tinted with food colouring, to be used as bombs.

We have Pancake Day, and the Greeks have a Flour War!

carnevale d'ivrea (the battle of the oranges), italy
At the end of February in the small northern Italian town of Ivera, the annual Battle of the Oranges begins! It’s a little unclear why the festival began, but folklore suggests the Carnevale d’Ivrea dates back to the Middle Ages when beans were thrown by the poor back at the feudal lords who had gifted them.

At some point in history, oranges began to be used instead, apparently first thrown by young girls from balconies to get the attention of the boys they liked. The messy festival is actually quite organised, with participants (dressed in period costumes divided into teams in order to pelt oranges at each other!

bog snorkelling, wales


Of course, we couldn’t forget the UK’s very own World Bog Snorkelling Championships which takes place every August in the tiny Welsh town of Llanwrtyd Wells.

Competitors are required to wear goggles, a snorkel and flippers, and must swim two lengths of a dug-out, 60-yard trench in a bog. We'd recommend keeping your mouth closed if you're thinking of taking part!

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