From medieval re-enactments to fire festivals, celebrations of ancient fishing songs, to human towers and walking giants, Catalonia's festivals are a shower of colour and music and truly unlike any other. Many of the events are thousands of years old and at the very heart of the nation's culture and communities. The summer season plays host to a wide variety of these traditional events which, provide the ideal way for visitors to meet with locals and discover the real spirit of Catalonia.

Human Towers, Catalonia – Year round

The most famous and most longstanding Catalan traditions are the Castellers, more commonly known as Human Towers. These incredible events can be enjoyed throughout the year across Catalonia, and the events calendar is especially full from April to November. During the season, clubs or Colles compete to create the most elaborate Human Towers, which are seen at most cultural events in Catalonia. Every two years, different teams in the country compete in the ultimate human tower competition, Concurs de Castells, which takes place in the Tarraco Arena Plaça, in Tarragona. Having gained worldwide recognition for the indescribable human structure displays, the Castellers were in 2010 rightfully designated by UNESCO a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Colles also hold open rehearsals in local towns where visitors can watch and even get involved in trying to build these elaborate human designs. For more information visit: www.cccc.cat/home

Falles del Pirineu–  June/July

Within rural villages across Catalonia, festivals are closely linked to agriculture and locals have for centuries incorporated fire into their celebrations to act as a symbol of the sun and purification. In the summer months, some villages in Lleida in the Pyrenees celebrate the Festival of the Falles, where locals cleanse the fields and forests with fire, as a way of preserving the lands and protecting their livelihoods from evil spirits. Based on ancient traditions, the festivals have since been recognised by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritages of Mankind. The festivity takes place around the eve of Sant Joan, and the village's youngest members kick off the celebrations by lighting fires on the mountainsides, which are at night dragged down to the village square, creating the famous sight referred to as the rivers of fire. The youngsters are greeted in the centre of the village with music and bell ringing surrounded by traditional dances. For more information visit: www.vallboi.cat/en/falles 

Accommodation: www.vallboi.cat/en/accommodation

Festes Majors, Catalonia –  June to September

Festes Majors are some of the most important traditional celebrations in the Catalan calendar, and the region's biggest festivals are held throughout the summer months. These festivals are celebrations in honour of the local patron saint of each village, town and city, during which local villages become host to a variety of authentic Catalan traditions, including activities for young children, parades, Correfocs – an age old tradition where locals dress up as devils and play with fireworks - Human Towers and live music. Some of the most exciting Festes Majors are the Festes de Gràcia in Barcelona, Santa Tecla in Tarragona or Les Santes in Mataró. For more information visit:  www.festamajordegracia.cat/ / www.tarragonaturisme.cat/en/events/santa-tecla  / www.lessantes.cat/ca

Revetlla de Sant Joan, Catatonia – 23 June

One of the most internationally famous parties in Catalonia is the Sant Joan festival held in the whole region on the shortest night of the year, 23 June. The Nit del Foc, as it's known by locals, celebrates the summer solstice and the birth of John the Baptist. Sant Joan remains one of Catalonia's biggest parties, and is renowned for filling city streets with music and thousands of locals who take part in the all night long festivities. Most notably, the festival is a night filled with remarkable bonfires and fireworks, lit in the middle of squares and across Catalonia's beaches. The festival wouldn't be complete without the traditional Coca de San Joan- a cake made of a dough and sugar, coated with pieces of candied fruit, pine nuts or pork rind, and of course the regions favourite beverage, Cava.

Havanera Singing Festival, Calella de Palafrugell – 1st July

Known as the 'Fisherman's lament', the Havanera Singing Festival is an homage to Catalonia's historical Latin American ties. The festival celebrates Havanera, a style of music created by homesick Catalan fishermen in Cuba. The musical style was brought to Catalonia in the 19th century by repatriates, who for generations sung in coastal taverns accompanied by a glass of flambéed rum known as Rom Cremat. Havaneras were first performed in 1966, and 51 years later it has become an annual event in the fishing village of Calella de Palafrugell, where visitors can enjoy a piece of Cuba in the Catalan coast. On Port Bo beach, with a backdrop of crisp white seaside houses, thousands of locals fill the beaches and moored boats to listen to Havanera songs performed by traditional groups on floating stages. For more information visit: www.havanerescalella.cat/en/

Accommodation: www.en.costabrava.org/accommodation

Renaissance Festival, Tortosa – 19 to 22 July

The city of Tortosa, located on the banks of the River Ebre, is recognised as the epicentre of Catalan Renaissance art and represents the medieval heritage of Catalonia. During the month of July, visitors can join the Renaissance Fair, which depicts Catalonia during the 16th century, and the medieval culture that still lives and breathes in this area. During the fair over 500 actors and musicians perform alongside 3,000 townspeople, adorned in traditional dress to bring the medieval era to life. The festival includes musical performances, dramatic depictions of life in this period, age-old sword fighting shows and elaborate dances. Visitors can also sample medieval delicacies, born out of the renaissance era which still hold a place within Tortosa's modern cuisine. For more information visit: www.festadelrenaixement.org/en

Accommodation: www.terresdelebre.travel/en/where-to-sleep

Aquelarre de Cervera, Cervera – 24 to 26 August

In the town of Cervera in the province of Lleida, during the last weekend of August the town celebrates the Aquelarre festival. The old town's cobble-stoned streets fill with hundreds of lively locals who burn bonfires into the early hours, with traditional music and songs filling the air. Witches and most importantly the Macho Cabrío, a mythological Satyr, are the festival's unique and unusual characters, who together lead the Correfocs. The three-day festival attracts people fascinated with fire, water, mythology and magic and includes magic shows, parades and activities for children. For more information visit: www.aquelarre.cat/

Accommodation:  www.aralleida.cat/en/accommodation/