(Alcoy, Spain)

Alcoy, Spain: come for the cuisine, stay for the raucous pool parties.

Alcoy, Spain: come for the cuisine, stay for the raucous pool parties.

"I took this photo a year ago at my friend María's pool party, which she always throws at the beginning of the summer. We were 8 girls. We filled a big watermelon with rum and juice, like we do every year, and just spent all day sunbathing and swimming naked in the pool. The most important part of the day for me was the freedom that I felt taking photos of nude people. I mean, everybody was naked and i was taking pictures all afternoon and nobody was worried about it. They were very natural, and I think this is reflected in the photos. It is part of the magic."

-Anabel Navarro Llorens

Go: By bus, about an hour and twenty minutes from Valencia.

Stay: By European standards, lodging in Alcoy is quite reasonable. A room at the Massia la Mota, a 300 year old villa located within a national park can be had for €100/night. As for securing an invitation for María's next pool party, you're on your own.

Eat: The area is renowned for its cuisine, especially fish, shellfish, hearty rice dishes, and stews. Don't miss Llauna de Calp (fish stew), Putxero amb Pilotes (meatball and vegetable stew), Lubina a la Sal (bass baked in salt), Fideuá (a noodle dish usually made with white-fleshed fish and crustaceans) and of course, Paella.

Drink: Rum soaked watermelon. Mix 1 cup rum with 2 cups fruit juice. Pour into half of large watermelon. Cover with plastic and refrigerate over night.