Wherever you are in Spain, but particularly in Andalucia, you are likely to know the name of a small town in Las Alpujarras, even if you have never been there. Order a bottle of water in a bar, or buy one in a shop and the name you will mostly likely see emblazoned across it is Lanjarón, a place that is famous for water, in more ways than one.

This modest town was the first in Spain to bottle its spa water and you can still drink the water free of charge direct from the spring. There are also several fountains to be found throughout the town, where you can fill up your bottles before a walk or a day out. Lanjarón is also a spa town, and at the balneario you can find all sorts of treatments, from the cosmetic to the health-giving, that use the local water. 

But the one week of the year when you can really experience how important water is to the local community is from June 23rd, the Noche de San Juan, to June 26th. From midnight on the 23rd, everyone, old and young, resident and tourist, ready or not, will get wet as the biggest water fight in Spain, Europe and probably the world, begins. The aim? To soak and be soaked, before going off for a drink and a bit of a party. 

The biggest shock you will encounter is that a water pistol is not going to cut it; on the balconies of the main street you will see water hoses worthy of fire stations and the residents are not ashamed to use them. You can get your own back, at least a little, by buying a bucket before the fun starts (they are on sale everywhere), standing under a hose to fill it up, before throwing the contents at someone else. In less than an hour, the party has moved from one end of the town to the other, the main street is a river, and you will wish you had worn your swimsuit after all…