As every year, with the arrival of March the city begins to smell of gunpowder, the Fallas people dust off their smocks and the fritter and chocolate booths are set up in the busiest areas. March in València means Fallas, and Fallas means feast, fire, satire, joy and tradition. If you don't know them, don't miss them, they are unique.
Here are our tips and a list of ten must-sees so you don't miss anything!
The first thing you have to do during the Fallas is to become aware that around 800 Fallas monuments have been planted, both large and small, the latter being for the children's falleros; numerous mascletàs are fired in some fallas (commissions or groups of falleros); and many streets in the centre are cut off from traffic on the big days; especially those of the Ofrenda (Flower Offering). The most useful way to get around is to buy the València Tourist Card, which allows you to move around without any limits on public transport and reach everywhere.
The next step is to study the FALLAS MAP and the PROGRAM to see what you are most interested in. The agenda is intense, these are days when you sleep little and live on the street. Here we tell you the plans that you should not miss:
1.- You should attend at least one mascletà. From the 1st to the 19th of March, every day a spectacular mascletà will be shot at 14:00 on the Plaza del Ayuntamiento. Valèncians and tourists gather around the fire and enjoy the deafening spectacle. Firecrackers and fireworks follow one another, at an upward rhythm, until the ground trembles in a final apotheosis in which gunpowder invades the square. This is one of the most exciting Fallas events, which is also replicated in many of the city's Fallas. The one in Cirilo Amorós street, for example, fire their own mascletàs at 2:30 pm, if you are quick you can reach any of them, or if not, the weather usually accompanies you to have a good aperitif on the terraces in the centre.
2.- Visit the Fallas of the Special Section. Each commission or falla, groupings of falleros by neighbourhoods, erects a falla and a child's falla. The commissions are grouped by sectors according to the size and quality of the monument they plant. The most spectacular fallas in the city form the Special Section. On the 16th the jury of the Central Fallera Board makes the awards of the year public, solving the mystery of which is the best falla of 2020. The city's falla is located in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento and does not enter the contest but it is also worth a visit. If you don't want to miss out and want to see the best monuments of this year, we recommend the València Fallas Tour, which you can hire in our online shop and in our Tourist Offices.
3.- The Ofrenda (Flower Offering) is without a doubt the most emotional event for the falleros. All the commissions make an flower offering to the Virgen de los Desamparados, patron saint of the city. An immense reproduction of the patron, the "geperudeta", is erected in the Plaza de la Virgen and is decorated with a colourful mantle of flowers offered by the falleros. The parade, which is held on the afternoons of March 17th and 18th, in its final stretch runs along Calle de La Paz and Calle San Vicente, with falleros and falleras of all ages dressed in traditional costume and music bands accompanying the commissions.
4.- Paella is not an exclusive dish of the Fallas, but if you come these days take advantage and eat a good one in one of the city´s many restaurants. Or a good rice dish or a menu of our Mediterranean cuisine. We recommend that you book in advance, as the city will be full during the Fallas week and many restaurants are full. What is common in Fallas are the paella contests,;many commissions organize them at noon or at night, so you will find many Valèncians cooking our most international dish on wood fire in the same street.
5.- If you like to take the pulse of the festival also at night, during the Fallas there are numerous concerts and kermesses. Put on comfortable shoes and enjoy the nightlife behind the fireworks.
6.- Despertà. Only for “early birds” and those still awake at 8 a.m. It is a tradition in the Fallas to wake up the neighbours, encouraging them to enjoy the big days from early morning. Each Falla makes parades at this time every day in their neighbourhood and their falleros throw firecrackers while the band plays. An odd, noisy and funny show.
7.- It is a tradition in València during these days to have a hot chocolate with fritters. At any time. You will see that there are stalls all over the city, but we recommend that you take it easy and go to one of the cafeterias, such as Bertal in Plaza de la Reina; or Daniel in Mercado Colón.
8.- Nit del Foc. During the great days, from the 16th to the 18th, fireworks are fired at 24:00 in the old bed of the Turia River, the Turia Gardens. The most spectacular night is the 18th, when the Nit del Foc is shot. València is completely illuminated.
9 .- On the 19th in the afternoon, the fire conquers the city with the Fire Cavalcade , a prelude to an imminent cremation. Thus, an animated show with characters related to fire goes along Columbus Street, from Ruzafa to the Puerta del Mar.
10.- The Cremà. The climax of the festivity, the moment when the Fallas monuments disappear under the flames. It is spectacular for the general public and very emotional for Valèncians. On the night of March 19th, the day of St. Joseph, patron saint of carpenters, the Fallas ladies light the wick, starting the cremation, which will reduce all the Fallas monuments to ashes. At 22:00 the children's fallas are burnt and at 24:00 the big ones, with the exception of the first prize in the Special Section and the one in the Town Hall Square, which will burn at 00:30 and 01:00 respectively. The fire gives way to the tears of the fallers while the Maestro Serrano's regional hymn sounds... And so, the Fallas of 2021 will begin.