Buñol, Valencia

A sleepy Spanish town that sees red once a year with the fruit fight to end all fruit fights – La Tomatina.

Population: 9,835 turns to over 30,000 around Tomatina time

Language: Spanish

Nationalities: Spanish, tomatoes

Surf report: surf down the streets in juicy, juicy tomato pulp

Cookie-cutter must see’s: feeling serious? Here’s the serious sights:

Castillo de Buñol – fancy a little castle visit while in town? This is the place to go to get a throwback Polaroid of the town’s heritage and to satisfy your mom that you are doing cultural shit.

Bodega Vera de Estenas – a small family-owned winery, rated as “vino de pago” – the highest rating a winery in Spain can get and meaning that they’ve mostly used local grapes in their wine. You get to try three wines at the end of your tour. Would be rude not to.

Paseo San Luis – a pretty area with a park, chapel and bar. An auditorium also opens up there in the summer. Good for a stroll.

The alternative cool shit: feeling avant-garde? Here’s the Stoke choices:

Sliding down the street with a tin of tomatoes in one hand and a box of vino in the other.

Water and wine fight – this happens in a little town near Buñol called Requeña. It’s a bit more chilled than La Tomatina, there is a parade through the streets with a brass band and the local douse you in wine from their windows and doorways.

Posada Venta Pilar – Food fights can really take it out of you. Stuff your face with a bunch of cheap eats at this restaurant in town.

La Tomatina – the biggest fruit fight in the world happening the last Wednesday in August. Thousands gather to vent their rage with squishy, pulpy ‘matoes. Be there or be a rotten tomato.

Under no circumstances does Stoke recommend…(nudge nudge, wink wink)

Racing a billion other crazy humans to climb up the slippery, lard-covered pole to get the leg of ham at the top (and therefore kick off the tomato fight). It’s a weird tradition. If you’re feeling particularly superhuman, or you really like ham, go for it.

Rocking up to the tomato festival without a pair of goggles – tomato juice in the eyeballs stings like a bitch.

No seriously, Stoke does not recommend: tourist traps

Bringing your own tomatoes to the tomato fight – save your money and take the sloppy ones the trucks throw at you.

Visiting Buñol for any reason other than getting coated in tomatoes.

Going into the thick of the tomato fight if you are claustrophobic – rather stay on the edges, you’ll still get pulpy without freaking out.

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