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Salou Area / Costa Dorada

The first traces of Tortosa date back to Iberian times, and it was most likely the city of Hibera, capital of Ilercavonia. During the Roman period the city was called Dertosa, until it was occupied by the Muslims in 714 AD and became the Kingdom of the Muslim Taifa in 1035. Remaining from this period is the main building of Suda Castle, situated in the upper part of the city, offering magnificent views of the Ebro River. Suda Castle became the residence of the Montcadas and the Knights Templars. Later, King James I chose the fortress as the base from which to start the conquest of the territory of Valencia.

We make a stop in Tortosa Here we make a short guided tour along a few interesting buildings, like e.g. the former escorxador (abattoir), a building in modernist style, the Jewish quarter, the cathedral, the pilgrim’s gate (and its legend). We leave Tortosa and we go to the “Pearl of the Costa del Azahar”, to visit the “City in the Sea”: Peñíscola, the Mont St Michel of Spain. Many peoples in the Mediterranean Area had their colony here, like the Fenicians, the Greeks, the Carthaginians and Romans. Also the Arabs arrived here in 714 with their leader Tarik. Also the name of Peñíscola has an arab origin.

Peñiscola is crowned at the top of rock surrounded by the set of walls that protect the Old Town, which once was the residence of the Knights Templar and even of Pope Benedict XXIII, known as ‘Papa Luna’ (Moon Pope). In 1931 the castle was declared as National Monument Of History and Art: and the Old Town in 1972 as Historical and Artistic Complex. In the sixties of the last century Peñíscola was chosen by Hollywood for the realization of the movie ‘El Cid’ with Charlton Heston and Sofia Loren.

All these features make Peñiscola one of the most picturesque towns of the Spanish coast. And after the Alhambra in Granada it is the most visited Spanish Historical and Cultural Monument. We leave Peñiscola around 4pm and on the way back to Salou we cross the area of the Ebro Delta with its rice fields and colonies of flamingoes. During this excursion you can almost touch the important buildings of the early Spanish history, feel the presence of kings, knights and popes, territory of myths and legends. The first traces of Tortosa date back to Iberian times, and it was most likely the city of Hibera, capital of Ilercavonia. During the Roman period the city was called Dertosa, until it was occupied by the Muslims in 714 AD and became the Kingdom of the Muslim Taifa in 1035. Remaining from this period is the main building of Suda Castle, situated in the upper part of the city, offering magnificent views of the Ebro River. Suda Castle became the residence of the Montcadas and the Knights Templars. Later, King James I chose the fortress as the base from which to start the conquest of the territory of Valencia. Duration: Approx. 10 hours.

End/closing time: 7pm.

Languages: English, French, German, Spanish and Dutch.

Others: Admission to Santa Maria castle not included.