The goal is to make the tallest tower.

By Jess McHugh
October 05, 2016
human tower
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Daring participants flock each year to the Catalonia region of Spain to build human towers, known as castells. The tradition is a serious undertaking for many competitors.

Competitors work in teams, called colles, some with as many as 400 people. Each team aims to build the tallest and most intricate tower—and then to dismantle it without falling.

The tallest tower ever successfully completed in the competition was 10 levels of people high and the team Minyons de Terrassa created it in 2015.

The challenges takes place across northeastern Spain, including in Barcelona and Tarragona. The competition is open to teams and spectators, but all participants in the castell-building must be part of a group.

Credit: Lluis Gene/AFP/Getty Images
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The costumes, tower designs, and drama of the competition thrill onlookers each year, and visitors from around the world can join in the fun even if they aren’t on a team.

Visitors interested in seeing the castells can travel to the region by taking flights to the international airport in Barcelona. For those who can't get enough of the castells, or want to see another side of what Catalonia has to offer, Tarragona is a short train, car or bus ride from Barcelona.

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Credit: Lluis Gene/AFP/Getty Images

Catalonia is infused with a mix of French and Spanish influences, though as many natives would insist, it's a region that's independent of either culture. Known for its fresh fish, late-night tapas feasts and unusual architecture, Catalonia offers visitors both cosmopolitan cities and rugged landscapes.

Barcelona boasts some of the best art-nouveau architecture in the world as well as some of the rowdiest late-night parties. Locals suggest dining at the Pinotxo in the Boqueria market and drinking at Otto Zutz.