Valencia is the third largest city in Spain, behind Barcelona and Madrid. It is increasingly being recognised as the gastronomic capital of Spain and an excellent tourist destination. Since it is a large city that welcomes many tourists, there are many events that take place in Valencia throughout the year, including sport, tradition, religion, gastronomy and art. Here, the Sea Saffron team has compiled a list of some of the best Valencia events to help you decide the best time to visit this amazing city.
Perhaps the most famous of Valencia events, Valencia Fallas is a festival held every year in March, with the main events taking place between March 15th-19th. The origins of the Fallas date back to the 15th century when local artisans and carpenters burnt the scraps of timber that they had left after their winter work.
They would burn them at the intersection of two streets and welcome in the lighter months of Spring. Over the years, people began writing little snippets of gossip about their neighbours or local people on the pieces of timber. Nowadays, this tradition has changed the gossip on the wood to immense structures made of paper, wax, wood, and papier mâché. These immense structures are called ninots and often portray current events or local and international figures in a satirical way.
These figures, other than one Ninot and one Ninot Indultat (the smaller versions), are burnt at the end of the festival when, at midnight, the larger Fallas get burnt all around the city until all of the nearly 700 Fallas turn into ash. The Fallas month starts on March 1st and a mascletá takes place everyday in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento (Town Hall Square) at 14.00. A mascléta is the event of lighting hundreds of firework explosions in coordinated rhythm, aiming to stimulate the body with sound rather than the typical firework that is set for a visual display. The Mascletà begins every day during the Fallas festivities starting the 1st of March in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento and lasts for about 10 minutes.
However, the true festival begins on the 15th and ends the 19th of March. During these days, there are different events everyday with nightly fireworks.
The night of San Juan Valencia (or Saint John, in English) is considered to be the most magical nights in Valencia, celebrated on the 23rd and 24th of June. This massive celebration connects people from all over the world who want to welcome the summer in good spirits. This date originated from Christian tradition, known as Saint John’s Eve, which was established six months before Christmas Eve. The Gospel of Luke states that John the Baptist was born about six months before Jesus. However, even with the origin being based in Christianity, the celebration in Valencia does not have a religious focus and mostly derives from pagan festivals as celebrations of Summer Equinox. San Juan Valencia is enriched with all sorts of rituals and traditions, filled with bonfires on the Valencia beaches that turn into parties.
Perhaps one of the most unique of all Valencia events is La Tomatina. This is a festival held every year in the nearby town of Buñol on the last Wednesday of August, easily reached from Valencia city by train, car, or bus. La Tomatina festival is essentially one massive tomato fight. Since its beginnings back during World War II, the festival has grown in popularity and now welcomes 20,000 participants every year. Once the canons have fired to signify the end after an hour, the streets are covered entirely in a layer of red. If you want to be involved in this huge food fight then get yourself a ticket and head to Buñol to start throwing tomatoes at 11am on 26th August. This event is certainly one of Valencia's more off the beaten track festivals.
This event means the "9th of October" in Valencian and is our community day. It marks the anniversary of the Reconquista which is when the Christians took back control of Valencia in 1238 after the 500 years of Moorish rule. The night before the event on the 8th of October, fireworks are set off in the old Turia riverbed to signify the beginning of the celebration. On the 9th, there is a big parade at 12:00pm bringing in the original Valencian flag through the city and to the Plaza del Ayuntamiento. Later in the afternoon at 5:00pm, there is a parade reenacting the ancient fight between the Moorish and the Christians throughout the city center.
Every winter, Valencia hosts its famous marathon which takes place through many of the main Valencia sights such as the Turia Gardens, University buildings, football stadium, and Old Town. The most spectacular sights are the start and finish points: the City of Arts and Sciences. The race is very popular all around the world with competitors coming from far and wide to compete. It is also an incredibly flat route, making it a bit more bearable for runners. There is also typically a 10 kilometer race hosted in conjunction with the marathon for those less hardcore runners.
Or, if you aren't a runner, enjoy the marathon from up above at Sea Saffron's City of Arts and Sciences venue: the highest private terrace in Valencia with skyline views and the number one rated activity on TripAdvisor. This location offers particularly remarkable views of the City of Arts and Sciences complex, especially impressive on marathon day. Below is a picture taken from the rooftop where you can enjoy tapas and wine whilst admiring the view. If running the marathon doesn’t sound like your thing, then why not join us to watch it from above! Or, if you are one of the brave participants, celebrate with a sunset dinner and some well-deserved tapas and wine!
No matter what time of year you are planning to visit Valencia, we guarantee that Sea Saffron can offer you a unique dining experience and intimate small group tour to help you maximise your vacation. TripAdvisor's prizewinning tour company Sea Saffron seamlessly blends a tour of Valencia's most iconic landmarks with a unique multi-course tapas menu and wine-tasting in exclusive and emblematic venues around the city. Discover the Old Town as you have never seen it as your passionate host shares local folklore and the stories behind the most important monuments before welcoming you to an 11th Century Historic Monument - your unique dining venue. This exclusive space is Valencia's most historic venue and provides a truly special backdrop to enjoy traditional tapas and local wine.
On the other side of Valencia, explore a totally different style of architecture with the futuristic complex of the City of Arts and Sciences in the top-rated activity on TripAdvisor. Join this intimate small group tour as your expert Sea Saffron host shares the stories behind the architecture and feel as though you have stepped straight into a sci-fi movie. From there, ascend to the highest rooftop terrace in Valencia, your private dining venue. From here, you can see the City of Arts and Sciences from above as well as the length of the picturesque Turia gardens and the stunning Valencian coastline. Enjoy these stunning vistas alongside a specially prepared menu featuring the best of local ingredients, typical tapas and prizewinning wines from the region.