Cave of El Castillo

Cave of El Castillo, Puente Viesgo: Tickets, Tours, Address, Phone Number, Cave of El Castillo Reviews: 4.5/5

Cave of El Castillo
4.5
About
The Cave of El Castillo contains a very well preserved cave art ensemble and an archaeological deposit with a stratigraphic sequence dating back from the Lower Paleolithic Era (about 150,000 years ago) to the Bronze Age (about 6,000 years ago).
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4.5
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JimFinPortland
Seattle, WA134 contributions
Bus from Santander was easy; short but steep hike uphill
Nov 2021
These caves are not to be missed. Great time.

Others have covered how wonderful they are, so I'm going to spend my space documenting how to get to the caves if you don't have a car and aren't on a package tour. We took the bus from the Santander bus station to Puente Viesgo. It's pretty easy to take the bus; it's not so easy to find the schedules. I don't remember the exact cost but it was less than 4 euro each way. We bought tickets for both directions at the bus station but I think you can buy on the bus as well.

Once dropped off at the main intersection of Puente Viesgo (junction of the highway and the street with the bridge), you have to hike up the hill. It is steep but not particularly long. I first used the HereWeGo mapping program on my phone because it's a great offline mapping program. It said to go a couple of blocks up the highway and turn right. Then I checked Google Maps and it said to take the street that the highway sign was pointing cars to take. I figured that Google must have been correct and we couldn't go wrong so we walked up the street. There are no sidewalks and no road shoulders. Fortunately being November, we only encountered two cars on the entire walk up.

When we were touring the caves, I asked if that was the proper way to get down and was informed that the proper route for walkers is a path. We went down the path (signed at the parking lot) and discovered that this was the way the HereWeGo map was telling us to go! So the "proper" way up from the bus stop corner is to walk south (uphill with river to the left) on the right side of the highway for two streets and you'll come to a little display case on a wall that sort of points you up to the right. Take that road (it's just a little road that serves a few people's homes) up the hill. You'll see more obvious signs pointing you up the hill once you start up. The last turn (left) from the "street" to just a pedestrian path is a little hard to see if you're not looking but it happens just before the road goes into someone's goat pasture. There is a sign, but it's facing the opposite direction. This last part of the path is quite steep with large sections of stairs. You arrive at the caves' parking lot.

Other than a few signs, you'd never know this is the way up to the caves. But it's better than walking on the road with no shoulders. The return bus comes by across the street (river side) from where you got dropped off. Our return bus was right on time at 1630 but it was a much smaller bus. It took a different route back (bypassing Torrelavega) with more stops but a shorter distance.

You do need to be in uphill hiking shape but DON'T MISS THE CAVES because you don't have transportation. It's easier than I've made it sound though it might not seem like it until you're there.

Good luck!
Written November 30, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Fi C
Shropshire, UK31 contributions
Cave art and hike
Sep 2020 • Couples
The cave is in a magnificent setting near Puente Viesgo, with great views and an optional (steep) walk to the castle ruins, which I would recommend. Seeing original, prehistoric cave art is incredible, all the more so when you know that the paintings were done by firelight, some of which are 5 metres high.
Written September 29, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

DewOnTheRoad
Sacramento, CA330 contributions
So Interesting!
Oct 2019
Our travel agent at Totally Spain pre-booked a tour with an English speaking guide for this cave. The guide was very helpful at explaining the history, discovery, and the art work. The caves themselves are a feast for the eyes. The art work is one of the oldest found on earth. Without the guide, we would never be able to pick out all the bison where the body of the bison is naturally formed by the shape of the rock and the line work is added to form the bison. Freaking amazing! Do wear a jacket as it gets cold in the cave and wear shoes with good grip as it gets slippery.
Written October 19, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

John F
Newark-on-Trent, UK596 contributions
Interesting and informative
Oct 2019 • Couples
The caves are fairly accessible, and we had an excellent guide who did her very best to explain as much as possible in English.
The caves contain a large number of late Paleolithic paintings, made using iron oxide but also the contours of the rocks - deer, bison, horses and a lot of hands - fascinating. Only a part is open to the public, but what you do see is very unusual and worth the small entrance fee.
It has its own carpark.
Written October 9, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Dan C
Edmonds, WA22 contributions
Extraordinary ancient caves and cave art
Oct 2019
Well worth a visit to see the caves of El Castillo and Las Monedas. El Castillo is full of many different drawings dating back 40,000 years. Las Monedas has spectacular cave formations and also some well detailed drawings. This is a treasure chest of history.
Written October 9, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Bookishmary
San Jose, CA10 contributions
English Tour of Ancient Caves Occupied By Humans for 150,000 Years
Sep 2019 • Couples
My husband and I booked an English tour via phone last week; we had to buy the tickets for an entire tour (13 in total) in order to secure the English speaking guide. The best at 3€ a ticket it amounted to the a 48€ bargain! Big plus when we were able to offer free slots to other English speakers at our paradore.

Breathtaking 40,000 year old hand prints: Did they know we would get a message? I cannot include pictures of the hands or the Animal drawings because we are not allowed; but I do have one if me cowering before a bear in the outer chamber where humans lived over 150,000 years ago.

The guide was wonderful, the people working there thoughtful, and the gentle trails and views around the cave restorative. If I could give it a hundred stars I would.
Written October 5, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

SelbyDale
Saint Paul, MN172 contributions
The Real Deal
Jun 2019 • Couples
Castle Mountain has four caves with Paleolithic rock art caves but it is El Castillo and Las Monedas that are open to the public.

El Castillo is the older of the two with evidence of human occupation for the last 150,000 years. The oldest paintings are at least 40.800 years old. There are over 275 figures--animals, hands, geometric forms, and symbols using red, black and yellow colors. Most are quite faint and require focused attention and some imagination, but it is thrilling to be able to see this art in its actual setting.

Las Monedas is about a 10-15 minute walk along a path from El Castillo. Here there are just 17 animal figures and signs/ lines made with charcoal that date to 10,000 BC. Some are very pronounced. The cave itself is spectacularly beautiful. Initially I wondered if I should see both caves--the answer is a definitive YES.

It is a 45-minute guided visit in Spanish at each cave. You can book on line (advised) on their web site allowing an hour between the two tours. The caves are closed Monday (always) and Tuesday (except in high season). Tickets are picked up at El Castillo. Wear good shoes as the cave floor is slippery with the high humidity. It was was cool but not cold when we visited in June.
Written July 8, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

SimonDorset
Poole, UK162 contributions
An international treasure
Jun 2019 • Couples
This is one of mankind's greatest treasures and there was hardly anyone there! The world's earliest painting at 40,000 years old in a cave inhabited for 150,000 years. Amazing. The guides were enthusiastic and knowledgable and coped well with English. We arrived late afternoon and had no wait but reviews suggest that sometimes you have book as access is very limited. Cold in the caves and don't bother with a camera as no photos allowed. The best €6 each I've ever spent.
Written June 27, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

HardbutFair187438
Almeria, Spain40 contributions
Wow, all we can say
Jun 2019 • Couples
Was on the way back to the UK via Santander and we never like to miss something special. These caves did not dissapoint We are very avid old stuff fans but to see cave paintings from 40000 years ago was simply mind blowing. To see a young girls hand paint blown across her hand and still be on the wall for us to see today struck a deep resonance today. Well worth the 3 euros and tour which was in Spanish thanks to the guide he did throw a few words of English to save our bad Spanish
Written June 4, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Lyn&MarkfromOz
Melbourne, Australia1,001 contributions
Wonderful history
May 2019 • Couples
We were lucky to get on to a tour without pre-booking. Mind you we couldn’t book online as it required a Spanish ID number! There is a phone service which probably is OK as the lady at the ticket office spoke some English.

In any case it was midweek in May so plenty of spots.

Our guide realised that most of our group spoke English so we were lucky to have our tour in English. He was very good.

Very informative, atmospheric and rather daunting to be looking at some drawings 25,000 years old.

Fantastic value at €3 each. A well run and interesting place.
Written May 23, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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