On the night of 23 June, a path of torches is formed down from the mountain to the centre of the village, a tradition that must be seen once in a lifetime.
Correfocs (fire parades), fireworks, fallas… fire takes centre stage on the night of 23 June in much of Catalonia and in the municipality of Vall de Boí there is a unique spectacle, full of light, with mystical and traditional connotations, where a zigzagging stage of lit fireworks is drawn, moving like a golden snake that descends from the mountain to the village: it is the descent of the fallas!
The Fallas festival is an ancestral event that should be on your must-see list. Not only because you can enjoy an event that has been declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, but also because it is ideal to experience first-hand a ritual that has been going on since time immemorial and is closely linked to solar and agricultural cycles. This celebration dedicated to fire and the summer solstice has been held since ancient times as a way of purifying and preserving the fields, forests and the population from evil spirits.
This festival is celebrated in more than sixty villages in the Andorran, French, Aragonese and Catalan Pyrenees, including those in the municipality of Vall del Boí, which is made up of towns such as Durro, Boí and Taüll. In some villages the fallas coincide with the summer solstice and the night of San Juan, which is celebrated throughout Catalonia, making them all the more special.
What is the preparation like days before?
With the title, “The summer solstice fire festivities in the Pyrenees: Falles, Haros i Brandons”, this tradition is recognised worldwide. And nothing is left to chance, as the festival is prepared days beforehand with the making of the fallas, which, depending on the tradition of each place, can take different forms. There are fallas (wooden torches) of a single piece, also called rantiners, and others that are made with several pieces of pine wood held together with wires and an ash knob.
What are the faults in the Vall de Boí?
The descent of the fallas begins at the lighthouse, a high place on the mountain with a very good view over the village and from this place, once the fallas are lit, the falleros carry them on their shoulders and descend towards the village until they reach the square, where a big bonfire is formed around which the villagers dance. And the party can go on all night long!
In 2023 you can experience the fallas in Boí (23 June), Barruera (2 July), Erill la Vall (8 July) and Taüll (14 July). The descent of the teas also takes place in a dozen villages in the Ribagorzano region.
You can get more information here. Choose the place and the day that suits you best and experience the magic of fire live!
Beyond the fire
This ancestral ritual is undoubtedly an event that you have to experience once in your life. But it is also the perfect excuse to enjoy the traditions, nature and the main attractions of the Vall de Boí, a municipality made up of eight small villages with between 9 and 200 inhabitants. Don’t miss it:
The Aigüestortes National Park
. It is a must-visit that will allow you to enjoy the impressive scenery, its great wealth of fauna and vegetation. Lakes, streams and waterfalls are the protagonists of the only national park in Catalonia. A real paradise for nature and hiking lovers.
Photo: Roxana Ibañez
Routes through Romanesque churches
In the Boí Valley there are eight churches and a hermitage that have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. The constructions carried out during the 11th and 12th centuries are characterised by their bell towers, the painstaking stonework and the exterior decoration of blind arches and Lombard bands. We highly recommend the video mapping projection in Sant Climent de Taüll.
Photo: Roxana Ibañez
Sign up for the Caldes de Boí Spa Resort
Ideal for indulging yourself in this space with 37 thermal springs and mineral-medicinal waters of different compositions and temperatures with curative and relaxing virtues that combine in a landscape of spectacular beauty. A place to enjoy calm and nature with privileged views of the Catalan Pyrenees.
Photo: Balneari de Caldes de Boí
In a nutshell:
Welcoming the good weather in the Boí Valley is the perfect date that will not only leave you with unforgettable memories of the fallas, but also for the architectural charm of its churches in its different villages, which are a legacy worth admiring. And if that wasn’t enough, its natural surroundings will seduce you, especially if you’re looking to disconnect. Choose the Boí Valley for your next adventure!