Updated: 2 days ago
-A Valencian woman in a typical Fallas costume -
The most unique of all Valencia festivals, Las Fallas, descends upon the entire Valencian Community every March, turning cobblestone streets into a fiery extravaganza - with the greatest celebration taking place in the city of Valencia itself.
During Fallas, towering artistic sculptures called ninots are dotted throughout the city, and traditional marching bands take to the streets. Girls in traditional fallera dresses twirl and stamp, and daily fireworks shows punctuate the festivities during this greatest of all Spanish celebrations.
From its very first day on February 26, the festival crescendos to its pinnacle on March 19, when these incredible ninots are set aflame to the awe of exhilarated crowds gathered below.
Why is Las Fallas de Valencia celebrated?
- You can find chuerrias in fallas on every corner -
Unlike anything you’ve ever seen before or will ever see again, Las Fallas in Valencia has a long and storied history that echoes back centuries.
As the story goes, the festivities began as a celebration of the coming of spring, when enthusiastic carpenters would set alight the wooden staffs that had propped their lights all winter.
Over the years, the rags and old belongings added to the fires gave the wooden structures an almost human-like appearance. Valencian's humour and love for irony kicked in, until the creation of the satirical sculptures of today.
The Fallas families, or los falleros as they are known, spend all year raising money for, planning, and then commissioning their neighbourhood’s falla (yes, it's the name of the work of art as well).
Friendly rivalries evolve between neighbourhoods as they compete to create the winning design, which is then set aflame to shouts of excitement on March 19, La Cremà.
But it’s not just visual riches that await during Fallas. There is also the magnificent mascletàs. Taking place at 2pm from March 1 to 19, these pyrotechnic concerts set the city abuzz. Head to Plaza del Ayuntamiento (Town Hall Square) for a front-row seat to the deafening spectacle. It lasts just a few minutes, but it certainly leaves an impression.
Why do Valencians love Las Fallas so much?
- Happy Valencians in typical customs -
The smell of gunpowder, the palpable excitement, the excuse to dress up in their Fallas finery, or perhaps it’s just coming together to celebrate the fiery festival that makes their beloved home so unique.
Whatever the reason, it put the Valencia Fallas festival on the Unesco list of intangible cultural heritage, alongside flamenco and a unique whistling language found only on La Gomera island of the Canaries.
When is Las Fallas de Valencia celebrated
- Colourful Mascletà -
Fallas in Valencia builds up over a month-long period, with the fiery climax an unforgettable sight. However, there’s no lack of entertainment throughout the lead-up, so here are some of the key dates to plan your travels around.
The Cridà, March 1
For La Cridà on March 1, great crowds gather around the impressive Torres de Serrano, the old entrance to the walled city that looks out across the vast Turia Gardens. The year’s elected Fallera Mayor, or Queen of Fallas, makes a speech to announce the beginning of the festivities and invite all of Valencia to join.
The Mascletàs, March 1 to 19
Don’t miss out on this auditory explosion held in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento every day from March 1 to March 19. These exciting events are like fireworks displays without the colours, and despite only lasting a few minutes, you’ll need to arrive an hour early to witness this at the weekends!
A handy tip: The noise can reach an ear-shattering 120 decibels, so wear earplugs or keep your mouth slightly open!
The Plantà, March 15
Expect a night of insane activity levels as the falleros battle to get their works of art set up by the next morning. On March 16, the judging takes place, and the ‘ninot induldat’ - one of the smaller sculptures that make up a larger falla - will be the only one saved from the flames. From this date, Valencia’s streets will be crowded with people taking walking tours to see all the fallas before the bonfires begin.
Award-giving, March 17
The Falleras Mayores (the Fallas Queen of each neighbourhood) and their committee of falleros head to Plaza del Ayuntamiento to claim their prizes. With an average of 750 ninots in total, competition is fierce, and the winners will have celebrated all night.
Flower Ofrenda, March 17-18
A magnificent 15-metre-high structure appears in Valencia’s Plaza de la Virgen. Representing the Virgen de los Desamparados, the Patron Saint of Valencia, this sculpture is the recipient of flowers by the tonne as the falleras in their intricate silk dresses queue to leave their floral offering.
Nit del Foc, March 18
The night of March 18 sees crowds rushing to the gorgeous bridges that punctuate Valencia’s Turia Gardens to catch a glimpse of a staggering firework display. While the main show happens around midnight on the 18th, you’re guaranteed fireworks every night in the lead-up.
The Cremà, March 18
The night of the burning brings locals to the streets in hordes to watch as this year’s fallas go up in flames. The bonfires are staggered to help calm the apprehensive fire brigade, with smaller burnings starting at 8pm and larger ones from 10pm.
The winning falla is always burnt at 10:30pm, with the final event held in Plaza del Ayuntamiento (the Town Hall Square) at 11pm, with the burning of the Town Hall’s colossal contribution.
When to book your trip
- Valencia Airport -
While it might seem like the excitement is reserved for the final week, visiting before is an excellent way to soak up the wonder without getting overwhelmed. While the Plantà doesn’t take place until March 15, there is still plenty to see.
Throughout the entire month of March and even the end of February, the streets of Valencia take on an exciting role as hosts of numerous fireworks displays, light shows and celebrating falleros.
One of the biggest pyrotechnics displays happens on February 25 with the Cordà, an ushering in of the celebrations with more than 300kg of gunpowder and 20 minutes of deafening explosions.
What to expect at a Mascletà
- Mascletà plaza Ayuntamiento -
After a speech from the Fallera Mayor, every day at 2pm, windows shake and hearts thud in the elegant Plaza del Ayuntamiento, with a different company directing the chaos each day.
With no colour or lights to analyse, locals judge the fascinating mascletàs by the rhythms of the bangs, leaving little room for that siesta you'd planned.
Outside the Fallas in Valencia, fireworks in the daytime tend to be unexpected, yet with locals stamping their feet as the noise reverberates through their bodies, it’s impossible not to get carried away as the square quickly fills with smoke.
Where to find the best fallas
- Mercado de Colón -
Where to find the best fallas While the winning falla will be announced during the festivities, specific neighbourhoods have built an impressive reputation for their Fallas traditions. Canovas, Campanar and Ruzafa always put on a great show, regularly making it onto the winning list. And in multicultural Ruzafa, fallas can take on a more political edge - the British expats enjoyed 2022’s Brexit-themed falla. El Carmen also attracts attention every year, with crowds taking to its narrow streets to seek out impressive structures so large they almost look like they shouldn't fit in these Gothic spaces.
What else to do during Fallas
- Fallas Museum in the old convent of San Vicente de Paül -
Check out the Las Fallas is famed for at the exhibition held in the City of Arts and Sciences on March 15, where you can walk through rows of ninots saved from the flames in previous years. Or download a map of the current fallas, then head to the Fallas museum to soak up the unique heritage at play.
During the final days, indulge in long nights dancing on the streets to live music held in Ruzafa, El Carmen, and various neighbourhoods dotted around the city. Fortunately, Las Fallas also closes many main roads, turning the city into a vast pedestrianised zone that you can easily explore.
While you might find some peace in afternoons strolling the Turia Gardens, remember that the festivities begin early, with firecrackers sounding from around 7am.
Where should I stay during Fallas Valencia?
Your choice of accommodation depends entirely on what kind of experience you’re after. Whether seeking the heart of the action or a serene escape, friendly vibes or sophisticated style, Valencia has the idyllic hotel for you.
In the thick of it
Stay in the heart of the vibrant city to make the most of every event, with Palacio Santa Clara providing the perfect chance to experience the daily fireworks in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento. In Ruzafa, you can easily combine exquisite cuisine with elegant accommodations like boutique hotel Yours, while five-star opulence awaits at Palacio Vallier, located in the romantic Old Town.
Looking for a good night’s sleep? Staying away from the noise at night can make your Fallas adventure much more enjoyable. Consider the beachfront neighbourhood of Cabanyal, with El Balneario Las Arenas or head slightly further afield to stay at El Saler’s serene El Parador sanctuary.
In the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences.
Experience a holiday with a stunning view of the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences and discover the superb Turia Park at Hotel Barcelo,
Escape the city
The Fallas of Valencia is a festival everyone should experience once in their lifetime, but there’s no reason not to combine the action with a little peace and quiet.
Within the city, punctuate your experience with walks through the winding Turia Gardens, along the urban beaches of Malvarrosa or Patacona, or in the beautiful botanical gardens. Slightly further afield, the sweeping beaches of El Saler and the romantic sunsets at the Albufera offer serenity just a 30-minute drive away.
Extend your Valencia adventure with time spent in the picturesque fishing villages and ports that dot the glimmering coast. From the sun-soaked town of Javea, just an hour’s drive south of the city, to the gorgeous Roman ruins of Calpe, half an hour further south, these coastal towns offer a romantic escape from the vibrant city life.
For immersion in the verdant mountains that embrace the Valencian Community, we recommend the medieval town of Bocairent, a Unesco-listed village clinging to the cliffside an hour southwest of the city.
While some may like to go with the flow, a tour of the Fallas festivities can offer a great starting point for your exploration. Delve into the culture of Fallas on a walking tour, and you’ll add some context to your weekend of fire and fun. From exploring the city’s ancient sights to seeing the most famous sculptures at Falla Convento Jerusalén, la Falla Ayuntamiento, and La Falla El Pilar, discover this Unesco-listed festival on a Fallas walking tour.
Why visit Valencia during Las Fallas?
The Valencia Fallas festival is magical, an experience no one should go without. Whether you’re returning to madness or seeing it for the first time, we recommend planning your trip to make the most of this incredible piece of Valencian heritage. And from accommodation to eateries, we have you covered.
Click here to discover the top coastal town of Javea and immerse yourself in the dynamic culture of this lively region.