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).

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

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…

16 May 2018 • Colt St. George videocam Video
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 …

15 May 2018 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
An expert’s guide: the best places to stay in Madrid

An expert’s guide: the best places to stay in Madrid

A trio of world-class art galleries, an atmospheric historic core, the most successful club in the history of football and some of the best tapas, bars and nigh…

14 May 2018 • Simon Baskett insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right