Up to 20m high, the fallas are not only works of art, but more importantly they are ironic, humorous representations of Spanish life, politics and celebrities. 

Fuel up for the fiesta

We wander around Valencia’s old town, gawping at more than 700 fallas being made ready, before moving on to the main square to fuel up on Valencian paella, washed down with a jug of agua de Valencia (‘Valencian water’, but really sangria made with Cava instead of red wine). Dessert is churros – sugared doughnut strips dipped in chocolate.

In the evening it’s party time as the streets come alive with fireworks, music and carousing.

Light show

During the festival, fireworks can be seen, heard and even felt underfoot, while the smell of gunpowder lingers throughout the city.

Don’t miss the mascleta – a huge explosion of firecrackers set off at 2pm every day at the city hall – it’s deafening but unforgettable. The Nit del Foc (Night of Fire) happens every evening, and with each performance the fireworks displays get more impressive.

We buy some beer to enjoy while we gaze in awe at a never-ending array of exploding colour. Even the odd wayward firecracker tossed at our feet by enthusiastic Valencians can’t wipe the smiles off our faces.

Traditional times

Las Fallas is a traditional celebration, which means we get a chance to experience the culture of Valencia, such as the offering of the flowers, Ofrenda de las Flores.

Locals don traditional costumes and parade to Plaza de La Virgin, showering the statue of the Virgin Mary with bouquets of red and white carnations.

Burn to down

On the last day of the festival when the clock strikes midnight, the most dramatic part of the celebration unfolds.

La Crema is the burning of the fallas, which have been stuffed with fireworks and go up in flames with a snap, crackle and pop.

Luckily for us, the fallas aren’t all set alight at the same time, so we’re able to grab front row seats to watch our favourite fallas burn.

It may seem like a health and safety nightmare as we dodge burning paper and plaster, but the excitement adds to the buzz of the night as the burning figures begin to melt and topple.

The heat is intense, but we’re carried along by the emotion of the locals who watch as their wonderful fallas are destroyed.

There’s no sleeping on the last night of Las Fallas. As the embers die down, the party and the fireworks kick on into the small hours. The Spanish have put on another spectacular fiesta.

» Justine Walker travelled with Topdeck (0845 257 5210). Las Fallas trips start from £159.