Fallas, or Falles in valenciano, might not mean anything to you right now, but if we tell you party, culture, bonfires and yummy food you for sure will carry on reading.
A long time ago, for Saint Joseph’s day, carpenters used to make huge bonfires in the streets and town squares with old furniture and wooden waste. With these bonfires called Fallas, they honoured their Saint.
Year after year, Fallas have evolved. Today, Fallas’ bonfires represent social affairs and happenings, in a critical and ironical style. Also, now Fallas aren’t organised by the carpenters, but by casals or “homes”: groups of entire families, neighbourhoods and towns. The casals, also called commissions, organise the party; from designing and producing the monument that will be burnt, to organising events for the main Fallas week and, of course, electing the Fallera Mayor, the so-called queen of the Falla on that year.
So now you have a general idea, here you have what you can’t miss out on Fallas.
El encendido de luces – The Light show
On March 9th around 8 pm, three Fallas’ Commissions from Ruzafa and one from la Malvarrosa, turn on their light spectacle for the first time. The shows go on will continue to be run daily until March 19th,. One of the most magic, unique and unforgettable events of las Fallas.
After a whole year of intense work in the workshops of the falleros artists, all the effort is at last shown on la Plantà. This day is crucial and really exciting since it’s all about the installation of the monuments; the main reason and attraction of the party. This will happen on March 15th and you can witness it in countless places and in all neighbourhoods of the city, or example in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento or all around the neighbourhood of Ruzafa.
The Plaza del Ayuntamiento gets overwhelmingly crowded, from March 1st until Saint Joseph’s Day, March 19th, at 2 pm, to feel through all five senses the pyrotechnic show. It consists of a 5 to 7-minute noise, smoke and colour show that you really can’t miss.
Nit del foc – Night of fire
The Night of fire is the biggest pyrotechnic show of the Falles of Valencia and takes place on March 18 to 19, after midnight, around 01:00. This breathtaking firework show lights up Valencia’s sky for 20 minutes, burning thousands of kilograms of pyrotechnic material.
More than a million people congregate on the Alameda promenade to witness this great fireworks castle. Hours before the show, several bridges are closed to traffic, so that people can start taking place.
La Ofrenda – The Offer
In the Plaza de la Virgen, a magnificent wooden figure of the Virgin Mary is set and then filled with flower bouquets in the empty spaces between the woods following a beautiful design. The bouquets are taken by thousands of falleros and falleras of all ages, dressed with typical clothes. The most common colours of the bundles of the offering are white, pink and red, but they might change every year. It’s really worth visiting throughout the two days that the offering lasts, to see the figure transform into a delicate explosion of colours and emotions.
La Cremà – The Cremance
La Cremà brings Les Fallas to an end. Every March 19, Saint Joseph’s Day, all monuments are burnt observed by thousands of watery eyes of locals and tourists. Flames not only conclude the festival but welcome a new cycle, new hopes and illusion for the next Fallas.
Party time, all day and night
During Fallas, you don’t need to look for the party. Music is everywhere, all the time. Every casal sets a carpa; a big tent with a stage where DJ’s and music bands play almost every night. So, people usually hang around the streets and check out what’s up in several casals, what is great for meeting lots of people while saving money in tickets or drinks (since you can carry your drink along!). The best option is to walk around the city centre, El Carmen or Ruzafa, where the casals are really close by, so you can both observe the monuments and the carpas.
Food all day round!
Every night, the party can go on until the sun comes out. Bars and restaurants are packed full but, don’t worry, you will find countless street food trucks, with all kind of meals; from all kinds of Valencian rices to pizza and pasta and other international dishes. But to behave like a real fallero, when the munchies appear, you have to eat buñuelos or churros with a big cup of hot chocolate.
How to move around
As said, Valencia gets overwhelmingly crowded in Fallas. Since there are so many things to see and do and time is precious, what is the best way to move around and make the most out of your journeys?
First of all, plan your routes. The Valencian Community official website might come in handy, check it out!
Secondly, check public transport schedules beforehand: some bus routes might change due to the street cuts. You can check some of announced EMT buses’ detours. Nevertheless, it’s been announced that there will be buses running 24h from the 14th until the 19th of March, and metros until 2am. Oh! And, once again, remember Valencia in Fallas will be packed and so will be the public transport, so be early to avoid rushes!
And last but not least, don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes, sunglasses and sunscreen, fresh clothes and a jumper -it’s usually warm and sunny during the day, but it might get dark and cool while you explore the city!
To look deeper into Fallas events and activities here!
To make things easier we here you can check a summary of the most important events that take place in Les Fallas:
- FEBRUARY 24TH (Sunday)
2PM- Plaza del Ayuntamiento- Mascletà
8PM – Torres de Serranos- La Cridà and light and pyrotechnic show.
- MARCH 1ST UNTIL MARCH 19TH-
2PM- Plaza del Ayuntamiento -Mascletà
- MARCH 15TH (Friday)
9AM- Plantà of all Junior Fallas.
- MARCH 16TH (Saturday)
8AM- Plantà of all Fallas.
- MARCH 17TH (Sunday)
3.30PM- La Ofrenda starts. We recommend to visit later in the evening or on the 18th, since the Virgin’s monument will be dressed in flowers.
- MARCH 19TH (Tuesday)
1AM- Alameda- Nit del Foc
10PM- Cremà of Junior Fallas
12AM (midnight)- Cremà of Fallas
On the same night but already on MARCH 20th, at 1AM- Pyrotechnic show and La Cremà of the City Councils’ Falla, at the Plaza del Ayuntamiento.
Fallas are the smell of gunpowder and a multitude of colours: a party for all the senses, to eat well, to dance until dawn, to laugh with the grotesque monuments, get constantly startled because of firecrackers, and let our chests tremble with Mascletás, fireworks and the intense fallero feeling that floods Valencia. It’s almost Fallas already, will you miss it out?
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Julia is an experience enthusiast, always thirsty of adventure, involved socially and environmentally, and never indifferent towards her surroundings. Part of her understanding of the world is given by a great curiosity for the arts, culture, travelling and languages. Expressing herself to share not only information but also to spread awareness is her passion, just as much as rock-climbing and circus!"