A vibrant city with a subtropical climate, Valencia is the perfect location for a celebration. The locals appear to agree - so much so, in fact, that they have organised dozens of them, right throughout the year. Here are some you should not miss:
The Crosses of May
Visit Valencia on May 3, and you will find the streets bedecked with crosses made of flowers, in honour of the festival of “The Crosses of May.” Once a year, on the second Sunday in May, a statue of the Virgin de los Desamparados (Virgin of the Helpless), patron saint of the city is borne in a procession of flower petals from the Basilica in Plaza de la Virgin to the Cathedral, turning the entire square into a sea of flowers by the end of the festival.
July Fair - Feria de Julio
Flowers continue to fill the streets all summer long, reaching a peak with the Feria de Julio . Valencianos embrace the tropical summer days and nights, with classical and rock concerts, bullfights, theatrical performances, sporting events and fireworks displays on the beach.
Valencia Film Festival
Taking place from July to September each year, the Valencia Festival of Films is a great way to embrace the long summer holidays, with a feast of cut-price, top-quality films at the Filmoteca de Verano in the Turia Gardens.
Benicassim Music Festival
Forget Glastonbury - Benicassim has developed into one of the most popular and highly regarded summer rock festivals in Europe. Every July, the beautiful coastal town of Benicassim welcomes thousands of revelling campers to its it four-day feast of concerts. Benicassim is only about a ten-minute drive from Valencia.
For something completely different, head to Valencia on the last Wednesday in August for one of the city’s quirkiest and most enjoyable of festivals. Held every year in the town of Buñol, about 40km from the city, La Tomatina attracts people from all over the world for the Battle of Tomatoes, which makes inventive use of the annual glut of the salad vegetable (or fruit, if you’re being picky).
National Day & San Dionís
Valencia gets all loved up on October 9th for the local answer to St. Valentine’s Day - the feast of San Dionís. This is both a day to celebrate romance and the region’s National Day. All Saints’ Day Todos Los Santos, or All Saints’ Day, is a major event throughout Spain. Taking place on November 1st, it brings families out to commemorate their dead relatives. Candle-lighting ceremonies, visits to cemeteries, and other commemorative events are held.
Christmas in Valencia
If you think the Scandinavians have it all tied up when it comes to magical Christmas celebrations, you have not been to Valencia for Christmas . This city pulls out all the stops when it comes to celebrating the oldest and most joyous feast of them all. Christmas lights are switched on December 1st and remain twinkling until January 7th, marking a season of magic for all the family. Markets and fairs spring up across the city for December, building up to New Year’s Eve, when everybody gathers in the city and eats 12 grapes - one for every chime on the countdown to midnight.