With over 3 million people attending every year, Las Fallas Festival from Valencia is considered to be the biggest street party in Europe. Las Fallas is celebrated from the 1st to the 19th of March, though to be honest, the most important and more fun filled days are the last five. The festivities last well after midnight and the party dies only at the break of dawn on the 20th of March.
One of the biggest fallas in 2013, still in the process of being built
Visit as many fallas as you can and don't miss la crema
The fallas are humongous statues made out of papier mache, wood and wax, thousands of euro worth each. They are extremely beautiful and colorful and satiric in nature. The current social and politic affairs are particularly targeted. There are over 700 this kind of monuments placed all over Valencia during the last days of Las Fallas, and while not all of them are like from out of this world, I definitely recommend you try to see at least the first 12-15 largest ones. All these incredible models are burned on the 19th of March at midnight, event that marks the end of the festival (la crema). Seeing a fallas burning is pretty impressive and a unique experience.
Sacks of gunpowder ready for the mascleta
Attend at least a mascleta - fire-cracker display
The mascleta is a fire-cracker display held every day of the festival at 2pm in front of the City Hall. It is a very loud event, attended by thousands of people. Every day a different tune is played, but the most important mascleta of them all is the one organized on the 19th of March. Las Fallas is a festival where it's OK to play with fire, and if this is your thing, fire-crackers are extensively available in specialized shops.
The paella valenciana is the original paella and it's made with chicken and rabbit
Eat and drink
Of course, the street food couldn't miss from one of the biggest street parties in the world. Buñuelos and churros stalls spring all over the city during the festival days. Make sure you either buy from a busy stall or ask them to fry the dough in front of you, because these delicacies are at their best served hot and with plenty of sugar. Another popular option is bathing the churros and buñuelos in hot chocolate. Mmmm! Also not to be missed is the horchata de Alboraya, a sweet, milky, non-alcoholic drink made from tigernuts. Horchata, as well as the paella, are two important items to check out of your Valencia bucket list, as both were born in the nearby villages. You will also be surprised to see groups of people cooking paella in the street. These are private parties, but you can easily have a paella in almost any restaurant.
Amazing street long light display
Walk under the street light displays
Over 700,000 light bulbs lit up the fabulous street light displays during Las Fallas Festival. Strolling underneath such a street long display is like stepping in a fairytale. After you've walked up and down the street a few times and took it all in, it's really worth pausing for a moment to have a look around you at the other awe-lit faces. Many streets in Valencia have light displays, but only a few have really huge, castle-like ones. Ask at the tourism board for a map with all the important lights (as well as the most important fallas) and go explore for yourself.
See the Virgin Mary statue made out of flowers & the traditional dresses
Literally thousands of people dress in traditional costumes during Las Fallas. The men's clothes are interesting, the children are cute, but the women's dresses are beyond amazing! They are also very, but very expensive, reaching a few thousand euro each. The people dressed in these beautiful traditional costumes are called falleros (the men) and falleras (the women). For two days during the peak of the festival they cue in front of the Virgin Mary's wood structure, bringing white, red and pink carnations out of which the dress of the Virgin if being made. The flower statue is 14 meters tall and it is quite a sight.