It’s not often that you’ll come across a group of grown men and women who willingly climb onto each other’s back to form a tall, if a bit wobbly, human tower. But when you do, it’s a sight to behold. Catalunya’s famous castellers – teams of people competing to build human towers – originated in Valls, near Tarragona, at the end of the eighteenth century. Over time, the rest of Catalunya embraced the tradition, and castells now form a part of festivals throughout the region. The impressive castells can loom up to ten human storeys tall, and are completed by a small child scrambling to the very top.

Castells are a feature of Tarragona’s annual Festival of Santa Tecla in mid-September. To learn more about the history, pay a visit to Tarragona’s Casa de la Festa, Via Augusta 4 (end June to end Sept Tues–Sat 11am–2pm & 5–9pm, Sun 11am–2pm; rest of year Tues & Wed 9am–1pm, Thurs & Fri 9am–1pm & 5–7pm, Sat 10am–2pm & 5–7pm, Sun 11am–2pm; free; t977 220 086). The Festa Major of Vilafranca del Penedès in late August also showcases castells.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Spain features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

From ancient temples to hyper-modern skyscrapers, these are just a few of the world's most incredible architectural wonders. Whether you're looking to wander l…

01 Feb 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
Go solo: the 20 best places to travel alone

Go solo: the 20 best places to travel alone

Solo travel can be one of the most rewarding ways to explore the world. Whether you'd rather spend it on a desert island or in a frenetic new city, here are th…

21 Dec 2016 • Rachel Mills camera_alt Gallery
Beyond tapas: the Spanish food and drink you need to devour

Beyond tapas: the Spanish food and drink you need to devour

Spain is known throughout the world for its Mediterranean diet, heavily featuring seafood, meat and fresh vegetables, all splashed with a healthy dose of olive …

15 Aug 2016 • Esme Fox insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month