My first year in Spain was mainly focused on traveling around Europe as a whole, and I’ll be honest, I think I did a darn good job at it! I arrived in September 2015 and by September 2016, I’d been to around 12 countries, a couple of which I went to multiple times (England for example). I also did a fair bit of travel within Spain, but I knew there was so much more to see. So as I’ve mentioned before, the intention for my second year in Spain was to attend and participate in more holidays specific to, well Spain.
That being said, I decided Las Fallas de Valencia was one festival I could not miss. To be honest, I hadn’t actually heard of them until the last year, so if you are also unfamiliar with what this festival is about, let me explain.
What are Las Fallas?
Historically, Las Fallas were just another celebration of a patron saint (I say that because pretty much every day is a celebration of a patron saint in Spain lol), but over time they’ve evolved into festivities that span a couple of weeks. Las Fallas are typically celebrated every year just before spring at some point in late March and are a way to say goodbye to winter and welcome the spring.
Though the festival features tons of tradition with food, fireworks, singing, dancing and much more, the final night called ‘Nit de la Crema,’ is undoubtedly the reason most people flock to the city for las Fallas. That culmination can be described as the burning of elaborately designed, and often politically charged, giant sculptures (called ninots) that seem to defy gravity. Most neighborhoods in the city center spend all year creating and building these beautiful structures, which are often as tall as buildings, only to burn them down on Nit de la Crema.
It’s definitely not the safest experience, but it is very unique to Spain and Valencia.
My experience at Las Fallas de Valencia
Like many of my travel plans, it was a bit last minute, and so there was little time to plan! I went with two Australian friends, one which had previously been to Las Fallas so we slightly knew what to expect.
None of us were willing to spend too much money on transport of accommodation, so we went full broke student status. For accommodation, we couch surfed with a guy who was very nice and welcoming, but maybe a bit too welcoming……I’m sure he was harmless but we did get a slightly strange vibe from him. Anyways, we survived, so that’s what matters.
As far as transport, you won’t believe it but we spent around 120 euros for two 14 overnight bus rides from Seville to Valencia. That’s right 14 hours! Because of how late we booked, that was actually the cheapest option available. So, two of the three nights that weekend were spent on a suffocatingly warm bus with gypsies. Oh the joy! Anyways, we survived both these little travel mishaps, and to be honest, I don’t regret it.
The festival itself was amazing! We spent the two days wandering around and seeing Fallas on every corner. We picked one of the largest structures to watch the burning of, which proved to be exciting but not very safe. The fire got so huge the crowd surged backwards and bits of fire drifted into the crowd- a little bit scary to be honest.
Aside from that, I stuffed my face with bunuelos, a deep fried doughnut type thing, similar to a donut but dare I say- better?, and trying to find the best paella Valencia had to offer. Unfortunately, I didn’t find amazinggg paella, but I find some that were decent!
I saw most of the main touristic sites in Valencia in the short time we were there including the area of Ciudad de as Artes y Ciencias and historic old town. However, I would like to go back on a non festive weekend to see the city without all the chaos. It seems like such a beautiful city!