You stand ankle deep in a slush of passata, wiping seeds from your eyes as you scrabble for handfuls of tomatoes to frantically hurl at the crowd around you. If we haven't lost you there, La Tomatina is the festival for you. You can stay in Bunol where the annual tomato fight takes place, but accommodation is limited and it's otherwise quiet there, so your best bet is to stay in Valencia within easy reach of the Sant Isidre or Nord train stations to get you to Bunol bright and early; that way you can explore Valencia after the festival too. Here are our selected hotels for La Tomatina.
A short walk from Valencia Sant Isidre station, where you can take a direct train to Bunol, Habitaciones Barra89 is a good option for budget travellers. The décor is modern with bright, clean rooms, some of which come with a balcony. The hotel is in the quiet Jesus neighbourhood in the southwest of the city but you can easily take a metro or bus to Valencia city centre for some sightseeing.
Hotel Zenit Valencia
This popular four-star is a stone's throw from both Valencia old town and Nord station, where you can take the metro straight to Sant Isidre to connect with the regional C-3 train for Bunol. That makes it an ideal hotel for La Tomatina and a great base for exploring the city either side of the tomato madness. And if you're not too tired from pelting strangers with tomatoes, Valencia's Hotel Zenit also has an excellent gym.
L'Esplai Valencia B&B
This homely B&B is right in the old town, and the tiled flooring and tall French windows give it an authentically Valencian townhouse feel. You'll be hard-pushed to find a better location in central Valencia, and L'Esplai Valencia B&B is still just a short walk from the Nord station to get you to Bunol. It's just off the fantastic Plaza de la Reina, surrounded by some excellent restaurants and moments from most of Valencia's top sights.
Petit Palace Ruzafa
If you want to party outside the festival, you need to stay in Valencia's Ruzafa district. Russafa (as it's alternatively spelt in the local Valencian dialect) is one of Valencia's most recently gentrified and coolest neighbourhoods with a very Shoreditch feel to it. Think local produce markets, hipster cafes serving soy lattes and craft beer bars. Petit Palace Ruzafa hints at the local character with its bare-brick columns either side of the reception desk, and the rooms are of the high quality you'd expect.
Total Valencia White
This three-bed apartment is a good option if you're travelling in a group. Total Valencia White is just to the south of the old town, walking distance from central Valencia's attractions in a bustling urban neighbourhood. It's next to Placa Espanya metro station to get you to Sant Isidre station. Just make sure you leave any tomato stains back in Bunol - the name gives a clue as to the colour scheme!