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Cave of El Castillo

To truly appreciate the antiquity of Spanish culture, one must start at the beginning. So where is a good place to start?

The answer can be found in the depths of various caves located throughout the Northern Regions of Spain (the origins). Many of these caves contain art painted by the first occupants of the Iberian Peninsula, 17,000 years ago.

A sample of original prehistoric art in Cantabria

28km West of Santander, you will find the small town of Puente Viesgo, nestled in a peaceful, green landscape—cows and farms dappling the beautiful hills that roll into a quaint village. But lurking in the shadowy cracks of this pastoral vista are ancient traces of humanity, in the Cave of El Castillo (Cueva del Castillo).

What you’ll see

The Cave of El Castillo contains a sequence of preserved cave art dating back from the Lower Paleolithic Era (about 120,000 years ago) to the Bronze Age (about 6,000 years ago). Upon entering the cave, you will see a historical array of techniques and colors. The walls contain the actual silhouettes of prehistoric human hands and various representations of animals including what appears to be a mammoth, in the depths of the cave. The abstraction of these Paleolithic art styles are said to have been an inspiration for the more recent artists such as Picasso and Miro.

Cueva del Castillo is one of the many caves in Northern Spain that contains Paleolithic art. Tickets for each cave in the region are about $3 per person.


Tours begin every 30 minutes and are given in Spanish. However, the cave art continues to impress the many non-Spanish-speaking guests who visit Cueva del Castillo every year.


April 1st to October 31st:
o Morning: 9:00am – 1:00pm last tour: 12:00pm.
o Afternoon: 3:00pm – 7:00pm last tour: 6:30pm
o Closed Monday
November 1st to March 31st:
o Only morning: 9:00am – 3:00pm *last tour: 2:00pm
o Closed Monday and Tuesday in the Winter

Admission – €1.80

Getting to Cueva del Castillo

Bus – Various bus lines run Santander to Puente Viesgo from everyday. Buses information from most major cities can be found at the official ALSA Spanish bus site, or at

Driving -If you are renting a car, Puente Viesgo is a 30-minute drive from Santander, a 25-minute drive from Santillana del Mar, and a 4-hour drive from Madrid. It is located on National Highway 623 (Burgos road).

* To visit any of the caves in Cantabria, it is suggested that you call in advance, if you are able to do so.
* For further information you can contact the Cuevas del Castillo office
PHONE: 942 598425; FAX: 942 598305;
ADDRESS: C.P. 39670 Puente Viesgo.
Or visit the Cuevas de Cantabria website

By guest writer Babbie Dunnington

Babbie Dunnington was born in Nassawadox, a small town on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. The daughter of a Venezuelan mother and a Virginian father, Babbie had a multicultural upbringing. Born into a ‘globetrotting’ family, she has travelled through Aruba, Austria, the Bahamas, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Italy, Romania, Spain, Turkey, and, of course, Venezuela, to visit her relatives.

Majoring in Modern Foreign Languages (with a concentration in Spanish), and English (with a concentration in World Literature), she graduated from James Madison University in 2007, and has just returned from a year of teaching English in Sokcho, South Korea.

Map of Puente Viesgo and Santander