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.

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
A day-by-day itinerary for the perfect weekend in Madrid

A day-by-day itinerary for the perfect weekend in Madrid

One of the sunniest and liveliest capital cities in Europe, Madrid has a lot to take pride in. Indeed, its inhabitants, the Madrileños, are so proud of their …

09 Aug 2016 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
Slow travel: exploring Catalunya’s back roads

Slow travel: exploring Catalunya’s back roads

Barcelona is one of the world’s most visited cities, but relatively few tourists venture beyond the suburbs. Yet, just a couple of hours’ drive from the met…

04 Aug 2016 • Ros Walford 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