From tomato throwing in Buñol to sherry drinking in Seville, the Spanish really know how to put on a superb fun ‘fiesta’, and the ‘Fallas’ celebrations in Valencia, beginning on the 15th of March, are one of the country’s biggest and best. The Catalan/Valencian word ‘falla’ means ‘torch’ and the high point on the final day, the 19th of March, which is St Joseph’s day, involves a massive firework display and the lighting of a number of bonfires throughout the city, where enormous papier mache-covered wooden figures are burnt. These figures are caricatures of people from films, books or current events and can be as tall as 25 metres. The various towns in the Valencian region spend winter preparing their figures, unveil them for display on the 15th of March then watch them go up in flames on the 19th!
But in the meantime the partying is huge, with mobile stages, outdoor discos, concerts, nightly firework displays and enormous paellas cooked in the street by costume-clad locals. The 17th and 18th see the ‘Ofrenda de Flores’ (Offering of Flowers), with a long procession of women from the region’s different towns in beautiful and elaborate costumes accompanied by musicians, presenting flowers to the Virgin. It’s an amazing sight and a must-see event that will not disappoint.
EasyJet has cheap flights to Valencia from London Gatwick and British Airways Swiss, Iberia and Lufthansa also fly direct from London to Valencia Manises Airport.