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Hola Valencia’s Top Five: Festivals

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Well, I bet you’ve already guessed one of the festivals on our list! Sorry, Assumption Day, it’s not you. Here are the five festivals we loved the most during our time in this party-loving city!

Fallas

Fallas is the Valencian festival, for an entire week turning the city into a exploding, singing, marching, crying, drinking madhouse. We love it. If you visit Valencia during Fallas, you will never, ever forget it.

Our Mega-Fallas Überpost

Wine Festival in the Turia

Not really a traditional festival in the sense of the others on this list, but a great time regardless. The annual wine festival in the Turia seems to grow in popularity every year and, why not? With an incredible selection of cheeses, sausages and wines, and a great atmosphere which seems to buzz with the joy of spring, this is an event which no one should skip. Unless you’re one of those teetotaling losers.

Heaven on Earth? The Wine Festival

Virgen de los Desamparados

Possibly even crazier than Fallas is the celebration of Our Lady of the Forsaken — Valencia’s patron saint. The Sunday morning parade is the shortest, most intense religious freak-out I’ve ever seen.

The Traslado de la Virgen

Corpus Christi

In May, Valencia’s second most important festival gets underway, with bizarre parades, towering dancing figures and la moma — the lady dressed in white. It’s all tied to religion, of course, but what a giant-headed dancing Moor has to do with the body of Christ is anyone’s guess.

Paseo de las Rocas 2010

9 de Octubre

Get out your Valencian flags and head down to the Ayuntamiento, where the city will be celebrating itself in a grand fashion. This is the most nationalistic of Valencia’s holidays, and there’s often trouble as black-clad (and perhaps slightly fascist) Spanish nationalists come up against Valencian separatists. A good time!

Separatist Shenanigans at the Lowering of the Senyera

Car Rentals Valencia

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September 2, 2010 at 8:49 am Comments (2)

Bike Trip from Utiel to Venta del Moro

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Through pine forests, almond trees and fields of grape vines, and alongside an old railway track, we recently took a long bike trip from Utiel to Venta del Moro, and back again. Gorgeous scenery greeted us along every step of this route.

During the tiring 5 hour trip, we often felt like we were completely alone in the world. The area south of Utiel is cultivated, but sparsely populated. With a landscape dotted by out-of-use, decrepit structures pertaining to the old railway, and not a human to be found, the sensation was unsettling — like visiting from the distant future.

Check out these pictures… Valencia has a whole lot more to offer than just beaches and architecture.

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If you’ve got a bike, you should be collecting Levante’s series: “Cycling Routes of the Valencian Community”. They come free with the newspaper every Saturday & Sunday, and are incredibly detailed, accurate guides to some of the most stunning scenery in the region.

– Our Albufera Bike Tour

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May 20, 2010 at 2:53 pm Comments (0)

22nd Festival of Wine and Sausage

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For us, one of the highlights on the Valencian calendar is the yearly Wine Festival, celebrated in the Turia riverbed. The Mostra de Vins i Menjars offers cheap wines and food (for €10, you get 4 glasses of wine and 4 samples of sausage or cheese), in a wonderful location.

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Valencians show up to this festival in droves and, by around 9pm, everyone on the grounds will be buzzing, providing an exciting and boisterous atmosphere. It’s easy to fall into conversation with both vendors and other attendees; inhibitions are largely not present.

The festival, which began on Wednesday evening and runs through Sunday the 18th, features over 140 stands. We plan on visiting all of them… let’s see, 3 days, 140 glasses of wine. Doable.

Keep in mind that the closing time is early, at 10pm, probably to avoid drunken late-night rowdiness. If you’re in Valencia, we highly recommend this feria — go, sample some wines, and buy a couple bottles of your favorites.

Sausage Festival in Requena

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April 16, 2010 at 9:22 am Comments (3)

Granada – Bodega Barranco Oscuro in Las Alpujarras

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Midway into our drive through the Alpujarras, we stopped at Bodega Barranco Oscuro, a small family-run winery near Cádiar. It was the off-season, and just after 5pm, so I think the owner was a bit surprised to see our car ambling up the muddy path. Two huge dogs bounded towards us in greeting, and we let them guide us to the bodega’s doors.

spanischen-wein

The owner was extremely gracious — her husband and son were on tour in France, but she let us in and introduced us to their selection of wines. The interior of the bodega was neat; it had just been recently redone and sported wooden tables for wine tastings and enormous windows showing off a magnificent view over the Alpujarras and the Mediterranean. On a clear day, she said, you could even see to Morocco.

After we tasted the Pinot, we were taken on a little tour of the bodega. The current family has been running the show for about a decade, making all-natural wine with the grapes grown in the unique, cool mountain conditions. And the house has a history of wine-making going back hundreds of years. We saw the press and barrels, and then the ancient storage area, not in use anymore. Juergen was in Photographer’s Heaven.

We spent too much money, but the wines really are great. If you’re in the area, we definitely recommend popping in to Barranco Oscuro, especially during the harvest season. They have a website and blog with news and information here.

Buy your Granada guides here. Click for: USA, UK, Germany, Spain

More from Our Granada Trip

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March 1, 2010 at 4:23 pm Comments (6)

Opening Today: Wine Festival in the Turia

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If you’re looking for me between the hours of 7 to 10pm tonight (April 1st), or from 11am to 10pm on the 2nd through 5th, head down to the Turia riverbed. I’ll likely be standing on a bench in the middle of the wine festival, favorite bottle in hand, slurring a rambling speech on Death & the Cosmos in my awful, broken Spanish.

That’s right — it’s time for Proava’s annual Traditional Valencian Wine & Ailments Festival, which was one of our favorite events of 2008.

This is the 21st edition of the festival, and will unite 113 companies offering wine, sausages, cheeses, liquors, and more. More than 200,000 visitors are expected to show up during the festival’s run. If it’s the same as last year, a €10 entrance will allow you to sample 5 glasses of wine and 5 tapas. It’s as much fun to wander around, deciding on whom to bestow one of your precious tickets, as it is to actually consume the goods.

If you’re lucky enough to be in Valencia between the 1st and 5th of April, this is an absolutely must-go event. And if, towards the end of the night, you spot me lying beneath a bench, give me a little kiss on the forehead and cover me with a newspaper.

Location on our Valencia Map


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April 1, 2009 at 10:35 am Comments (0)