Each year, the Las Fallas festival in Valencia, Spain takes place on the same dates. The main events run from March 15 to March 19, but numerous events take place during the two weeks leading up to this week. So the official 2020 dates are Sunday, Mar 1, 2020, to Thursday, Mar 19, 2020.
Las Fallas is a month-long spring festival with fireworks, giant paper sculptures, bonfires, food, and parties. It's such a major event that it has been dubbed a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (ICH) event.
About Las Fallas and Key Dates
As with most celebrations in Spain, Las Fallas includes Catholic holidays as part of its origin. In Valencia, they celebrate St. Joseph's feast day on March 19. There is also a ceremony to pay homage to the Virgin Mary. On March 17 and 18, thousands of people make their way through the city dressed in traditional costumes headed for the Plaza de la Virgen, where they'll lay beautiful floral arrangements in front of the statue of the Virgin Mary. The procession starts around 3:30 p.m. but the event lasts past midnight.
The word, Falles refers to the festival and the artistic monuments that are built for the event and then burned on the last night. The building of these structures and characters are commissioned by neighborhood groups. They are then judged on March 15th and are paraded through Valencia during the days that follow.
There are different events throughout Las Fallas. There are fireworks in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento around 2 p.m. starting on the first of the month, as well as parades, shows, and other festivities. Once you have seen the Falles figures, the next huge event involving these structures and accompanying puppets is on March 19th when the smaller structures are burned at about 10 p.m. and then the large ones are burned at about midnight forming immense bonfires.
Where to Stay During Las Fallas
Accommodation during Las Fallas can be expensive and will fill up early. Book early to avoid disappointment. In addition, with all the firecrackers, fireworks, and celebrations going on, central Valencia will be a place where you won't get much sleep. Those who need their rest may want to stay on the outskirts of town.
Or, perhaps, doing your research and finding out in advance that your hotel has quiet rooms (not facing the street) will be an option. The Ayre Hotel Astoria Palace is one of those central hotels with both quiet rooms and street-side rooms. There are a variety of Hotels in Valencia as well as youth hostels but for all of them, booking early is key.
Getting to Las Fallas
If you are traveling from other cities in Spain, you can get to Valencia by train and bus or drive yourself:
- Madrid to Valencia
Madrid and Valencia are connected by the AVE high-speed train, meaning the journey takes just over an hour and a half.
- Barcelona to Valencia
The high-speed train services this route and tickets can be purchased online. There are also buses which travel between the two cities taking about four hours.
- Malaga to Valencia
It's not so easy to get from Malaga to Valencia—the best option is to take the high-speed train, changing at Cordoba.