It’s a whole different ballgame in the Basque Country, where sporting obsessions are of a very distinct kind. Pelota (a version of which is known as jai alai, Basque for “happy party”) is played all over Spain, but in Euskal Herria even the smallest village has a pelota court or fronton, and betting on the sport is rife. Rowing is also hugely popular, and regattas are held every weekend in summer. During local fiestas, you’ll also see other unique Basque sports including aizkolaritza (log-chopping), harri-jasotzea (stone-lifting), soka-tira (tug-of-war) and segalaritza (grass-cutting). The finest exponents of the first two in particular are popular local heroes (the world champion stone-lifter Iñaki Perurena’s visit to Japan resulted in the sport being introduced there – he remains the only lifter to surpass the legendary 315kg barrier).

Essentials

Everything you need to know before you set off.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Spain features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Video: a 1 minute guide to Spain

Video: a 1 minute guide to Spain

From the Moorish marvels and flamenco heartland of Andalucía to Ibiza's bleached-sand beaches and hedonistic nightlife, Spain is a country you'll want to visit…

27 Jul 2017 • Colt St. George videocam Video
The 10 best summer festivals for escapism in 2017

The 10 best summer festivals for escapism in 2017

Festivals are a different beast in 2017. They used to be associated with drinking warm cider while watching crusty bands in your naffest clothes; now the best e…

07 Jun 2017 • David Hillier insert_drive_file Article
Why you should visit Palma in 2017

Why you should visit Palma in 2017

Forget package holidays: Palma is far more than just the gateway to Mallorca’s beach resorts. The Balearic capital is a dynamic city of stylish restaurants, c…

28 Feb 2017 • Helen Ochyra 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