Is summer your favourite season? ‘Los Valencianos’, the people who live in Valencia, have the same opinion. They love the summer so much, they even dedicate a holiday to the beginning of this season. This public holiday is called San Juan and it’s a spectacular day and night. You will read all about San Juan in Valencia on this page.
John the Baptist
The origin of San Juan goes back to the birth of John the Baptist. Zacarias, his father, lighted a bonfire to announce the birth of his son. It is still a holiday celebrated in a lot of places in Spain and the rest of the world. Nowadays the meaning of the celebration changed a little, it is all about celebrating the start of the summer and the longest day of the year.
Bonfires at the beach
During San Juan in Valencia everyone is invited to light a bonfire at the beach. For once, it is not illegal to do so, although you should check the designated beaches. Everybody brings food and drinks and that’s the beginning of a great party night. Besides that, concerts will be organized and there will be fireworks. Last year the impressive amount of 35,000 kilograms of wood was burned during the San Juan parties. Between Malvarrosa beach and Las Arenas beach there are several points where you can pick up pieces of wood for your own bonfire.
Jump, jump…a little higher
While celebrating San Juan in Valencia you can see people do a lot of ‘crazy’ things for different reasons. For example:
- jumping over the bonfire allows you to make a wish;
- jumping over the bonfire three times will purify your sins;
- if you enter the sea during night time, you will wash away bad ghosts;
- jumping over the waves allows you to make a wish too.
In the city of Alicante, which is a one and a half hour drive from Valencia, San Juan is celebrated in a fabulous way. The way the people celebrate San Juan there, is comparable with the famous ‘Las Fallas festival’ in Valencia.
Celebrate on one of the beaches in Valencia
The San Juan celebration takes place at various beaches in Valencia. For example Malvarrosa beach, Las Arenas beach and Patacona beach.
23rd of June = San Juan 2019
In 2019 San Juan will be celebrated on Monday 24rd of June, but keep in mind the most spectacular happenings will take place during the night before (Sunday 23nd of June). At the end of the afternoon you will notice a lot of activity already, for example the preparation of the bonfires. Especially Malvarrosa beach and Las Arenas beach will be crowded. The best thing about San Juan is the date when it takes place. June 23rd is a Sunday and therefore the public holiday is replaced to Monday June 24th so people will enjoy an extra day off.
- Keep in mind it will be very crowded at the beach. Be sure to keep an eye on your belongings. Unfortunately, pickpockets like these kind of public holidays as well.
- You are not allowed to bring glass to the beach.
- Although it is a beach party, you might consider wearing a decent pair of shoes.
- The easiest way to get to the beach is to go by taxi, but several buses will bring you there as well. Lines 2, 20 and 32 will continue service during the night, with a frequency of every 10-20 minutes. Bus 23 has a frequency of 12-15 minutes and will drive all night too. Another option, which runs until 8 a.m., is line 25. Lines 19 and 31 depart every 7-10 minutes, but only until midnight. There is also a metro that can bring you to the beach, lines 4, 6 and 8. For the actual times and departures you can download the app ‘MetroValencia’.