Although based on the earlier traditional Muixeranga of Algemesí in Valencia, the tradition of castells within Catalonia originated in the Ball dels Valencians (Valencian Dance) in Valls, near the city of Tarragona, first documented in 1712. Over the course of the 18th century, they spread to other towns and cities in the area, including Vilafranca del Penedès and Tarragona, though it was not until the last 50 years that the practice of building castells began to spread to the rest of Catalonia. Interest in castells began to grow in the 1960s and 1970s. In the 1980s, the inclusion of women in the formerly male-only discipline ushered in the època d'or (golden age) of castells; the presence of women is credited with allowing castells to be built lighter and stronger, permitting the construction of previously undreamed-of 9 and 10-storey castells.
While in Catalonia, the Ball dels Valencians began to focus more on the acrobatic nature of building ever taller human towers, their more religious and allegorical predecessors retain their traditions: the Muixeranga, which is performed in the city of Algemesí, and in other places in the Valencian Land and Catalonia, where it is often called the moixiganga.
In 2015 the Coordinadora de Colles Castelleres de Catalunya hosted 99 groups, including Castellers de Vilafranca and Minyons de Terrassa, who were able to construct the tallest human tower to date, the "4 de 10" (10 levels of people with four in each level).