NOTE: The Monte Castillo caves, located in Puente Viesgo, are a set of four cavities. Two are open to the public: El Castillo and Las Monedas. If you wish to make a reservation for the two caves, the intervals between the start of each visit should be of at least 60 minutes of difference. Remember to be at the box office, located at the cave of El Castillo, at least 30 minutes before the start of the first visit to obtain the tickets from one or two caves.

LOCATION Puente Viesgo

The visit is guided and has an approximate duration of 45 minutes. For reasons of conservation, there is a maximum quota of people per session and per day. In low season (from November 1 to March 31) the visit is done in groups of maximum 15 people, and in season medium and high (from April 1st to October 31), in groups of maximum 13 persons. It is advisable to book at least one day in advance via website, email or phone. The reservation must be formalized at the box office at least 15 minutes before the start of the visit. You can combine your visit to El Castillo with the cave of Las Monedas located 600 meters of distance.

-Low Season:
From 1st November to 31st March.
Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, and 1st and 6th January, 24th, 25th, and 31st December.
On Monday 2nd November and Tuesday 8th December open in holidays opening times.
From Wednesdays to Fridays open from 9:30 am to 15:30 pm (last visit at 14:40 pm).
Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays mornings open from 9:30 am to 14:30 pm (last visit at 13:40 pm) and afternoons from 15:30 to 17:30 pm (last visit at 16:40 pm).
-Mid season:
From 1st April to 15th June and from 16th September to 31st October.
Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays except the Mondays 6th April, 25th May and 12th October.
From Wednesdays to Sundays mornigs open from 9:30 am to 14:30 pm (last visit at 13:40 pm) and afternoons from 15:30 to 18:30 pm (last visit at 17:40 pm).
- High season:
From 16th June to 15th September.
Closed on Mondays.
From Tuesdays to Sundays mornings open from 9:30 am to 14:30 pm (last visit at 13:40 pm) and afternoons from 15:30 to 19:30 pm (last visit at 18:40 pm).

Normal: 3 € (major of 12 years)
Reduced: 1, 5 € (from 4 to 12 years, both inclusive)
Free: from 0 to 3 years (both inclusive)

Allows entry of a family, an unlimited number of times, for a year in the network of museums, cultural centers and prehistoric caves of Cantabria.

The cost of the card is 70 € per family per year. The year will be calculated from the day of your request. You can buy the card at any of the Museums, Caves or Cultural Centers where allows you to access.

Check conditions of visit:
www.culturadecantabria.es and www.srculturaydeporte.es

The centre has the following facilities available:

- Visitor service point
- Car park for cars and coaches
- Guided visit
- Interpretation centre
- Workshop of Prehistory
- Snack bar
- Toilets

Access by vehicle: from the centre of the Puente Viesgo municipal district, next to the car park, take the Monte El Castillo road. After about 1.4 km., you come to a car park. From there access is on foot to the Interpretation Centre and to the caves.

Access on foot: from the centre of the Puente Viesgo municipal district, next to the car park, take the PR-S17 footpath. After a 25 minute walk, you reach the Interpretation Centre and the caves.

On the banks of the Pas River, on its way through Puente Viesgo, Monte El Castillo rises up, a cone-shaped limestone hill, which inside hides an intricate labyrinth of caves. These caves were frequented by man at least over the last 150,000 years.

Five of them have artistic expressions dating back to the Paleolithic, particularly in El Castillo, discovered by H. Alcalde del Río in 1903. This cave has been researched archaeologically, the results of which are a reference point for understanding human development and behavior in Prehistory, in southwest Europe.

The stratigraphic sequence found there, with a depth of about 20 meters, located outside by way of a shelter, contains evidence of human occupation. Thanks to its archaeological record, it is possible to determine the environmental conditions, the flora and fauna, human anatomy, technological development, economic activities as well as social and symbolic behavior of the last 150,000 years. Its sediments and materials housed there speak of Homo Neanderthal and of Homo sapiens, of glacial and interglacial periods, of cold fauna and temperate fauna, of how hunting was organized, of planning the exploitation and use of the natural resources, of the technical processes involved in working bone, stone and antler, of embellishments as decorative elements as well as for use in society, of decorated supports as artistic expression and of social cohesion, besides a long etcetera.

The inside of the cave contains one of the most unique and important environments in Prehistoric Europe, a reference point for History. Its over 275 figures, all dating back to the dawn of the presence of Homo sapiens in Europe, represent an underground passageway through the origins of symbolic thought, the abstract mind and artistic expression.

The walls of the almost 275 meters followed by the visitor, where the majority of these artistic expressions are distributed, exemplify the techniques, themes and graphic resources used by the artists of the Upper Paleolithic to express a part of their way of thinking. At present this cave have the most ancient paleolithic art of the world of at least 40 800 years of antiquity.

Horses, bison, doe, aurochs, stags, goats, a mammoth, etc., are part of the catalogue of animal figures, a varied bestiary representing some of the animals that lived alongside man. References to the human figure are numerous although cut short, expressed by hand, and with over 50 in this cave, they are a special motif.

The signs, geometric forms or abstractions abound. The so-called dot clouds and rectangular forms, many of them complex in composition due to segmentations and internal filling, are outstanding here. Drawings and red, black and yellow paints (applied in various manners with a brush, a finger, airbrush, etc.), engravings (in their different versions responding to the features of the grooves) and at least two simple sculptures associated with painting, show a diverse catalogue of techniques.

For groups of students there are formative workshops where will be explained the different aspects of the daily life of the prehistoric man as the hunt, the fire and the art. During the accomplishment of the workshops there will appear the tools used in one or another area, there being effected a demonstration of his efficiency, where the pupil will be a participant of the own workshop. These are:

1. "It does 15.000: The hunters of the painting caves". One will speak about the hunt, the fishing and the compilation as base of the supply of the man of the Upper Paleolithic. The pupil will learn to make a prehistoric lance and a propellant, verifying his efficiency on having affected several shots.

2. "The fire". To live in the Prehistory before and after the fire supposed an important change in the manners of life. In this not alone workshop the benefits will be verified of this one, but also the disadvantages. The pupil will ignite fire by means of the friction of two sticks and for the percussion of two stones.

3. "The first graffiti". Will be explained how there were decorated the caves that they are going to visit it does thousands of years. The useful ones, the techniques and the colors used to paint finally his own hand as those of El Castillo.

4. "The evolution of the hunt". Will explain the useful ones of hunt the used during the prehistory and how these were evolving. The efficiency will be verified of each one of them and will be known why the man turned into the major predator of The Earth.

5. "Let's paint our cave". It will be necessary to find the pigments and to prepare them before painting our own cave.

6. "The nature, the supermarket of the Prehistory". We Need many things to be prehistoric (clothes, food, knives, burners, paintings, etc.) but without shops or money, how will we obtain it?

The workshops have an approximate duration of 50 minutes and are realized in groups of 25 people maximum, next to the caves of El Castillo (Monte Castillo) with a cost of 2, 50 € per student.

From the 1st to the 20th august and during Holy Week there are activities related to the prehistory open to the public. These activities will take place next to the caves of Monte Castillo (Puente Viesgo). They have an approximate duration of 50 minutes and are realized in groups of 25 people.
Price per person: 3€.
Groups superior to 12 people: 2,50€.

Timetable of activities:
- 11:30, 13:30 and 17:00h. “The Hunters of the Painting Caves”.
- 12:30, and 18:00h “The Fire”
- 10:30 and 16:00h. “The First Graffiti”

Website: www.culturadecantabria.com
E-mail: reservascuevas@culturadecantabria.es
Telephone: (+34) 942 59 84 25. Fax: (+34) 942 59 83 05.

© Consejería de Cultura, Turismo y Deporte. Gobierno de Cantabria | Private Zone | Telephone +34 942 59 84 25 | Fax +34 942 59 83 05
Sociedad Regional Cultura y Deporte Consejería de Cultura, Turismo y Deporte de Cantabria Cantabria 2007, Liébana Tierra de Júbilo Cantabria Infinita El Castillo Covalanas Las Monedas El Pendo Chufín Hornos de la Peña Santián Francais English Español