Iberian Citadel of Calafell – Calafell, Spain - Atlas Obscura

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Iberian Citadel of Calafell

Calafell, Spain

Experience this Iron Age village the way that its original residents would have. 


People who visit ancient remains often see a few stones or broken walls. But the Iberian Citadel of Calafell offers a chance to immerse yourself in a village as it was some 2,500 years ago.

Calafell is located in an area near the coast that is popular with tourists, but it offers something different than most beach towns. The settlement was first built in the sixth century B.C. It is a fortified enclosure with several watchtowers. In the inner of the town there are houses of several sizes which can be visited. 

The village belonged to the Cessetani, ancient Iberian people settled in the coast of Catalonia. One of their most important cities was Tarraco (now known as Tarragona). The village was abandoned in the second century B.C., mainly due to the second Punic war and rebellions of anti-Roman resistance.

Excavation of the archaeological site started in 1980 by Joan Santacana and Joan Sanmartí. It was rebuilt using the same techniques that the original inhabitants would have used. Red lines can be seen painted on the walls in the reconstructed village: These lines mark the line between the original ancient structures and the parts that have been rebuilt.

Visitors can enter the houses and climb by ladders to reach the roofs. One of them, the biggest, is believed to have been the leader’s home. The rooms are decorated with functional furniture, pottery, curtains. Dishes filled with nuts and dried fruits are out for visitors to taste. Outside, there are animals like goats and sheep, which would have been important to their economy. There is also a Roman siege tower, which may have brought the end of this town.

Know Before You Go

By train, near to Calafell rail station (1 mile). By car, from Barcelona: C-32 towards TV-2126, take exit 6 from C-3.

In partnership with KAYAK

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