Phoenicians in Spain
Join us as we tour Andalucia and the scenic coastal landscape of southern Spain and the western Mediterranean. Almost a synonym for ancient Spain as a whole, Andalucia has been immortalised in art and music throughout history. The Phoenicians of Lebanon were one of the greatest trading powers in the ancient Mediterranean, and in Spain’s glittering metal mines they saw the potential for fabulous wealth.
From Phoenician towns to Bronze Age Ibiza and sanctuaries in the Bay of Cádiz, discover the ancient cultures of southern Spain. We also explore ancient Cartagena, stronghold of the Carthaginian general Hannibal Barca — still considered one of the greatest military commanders in history.
- Explore Cartagena, founded by the Carthaginians in 227BC; and journey through the scenic coastal landscape of Andalucia
- Discover Carteia, a Phoenician and Roman town, originally founded as a trading settlement
- See another side of Ibiza - home of El Puig des Molins, the best conserved necropolis of the Phoenician-Punic culture
- Special Access
- All Inclusive
We arrive in Seville this evening.
Today we visit El Castillo de Doña Blanca, a site which is home to both the eponymous castle and the remnants of an ancient city.
We receive a special talk from the Museum Director on how excavations at the site revealed fascinating finds, structures, and telltale signs of Phoenician settlement.
From here, we continue to the archaeological site of San Fernando. Inhabited since prehistoric times, the site paints a telling picture of the history of human settlers in Cádiz.
We explore the Bay of Cádiz, including the Sanctuary of Astarte. We also delve into the Castle of San Sebastián, built on what is thought to have been the site of a Phoenician temple, and discover the finds housed in Cádiz Archaeological Museum.
Today, we travel to Málaga, an ancient city whose founding some 2800 years ago makes it one of the oldest in the world. On our way, we stop at La Silla de Papa, a late Bronze Age settlement, and the Punic-Roman city of Carteia.
Today’s adventures include three Phoenician sites — Cerro del Mar, in Málaga; Los Toscano, near the mouth of the river Vélez; and Cerro de Villar, near the mouth of the Guadalhorce.
This morning, we visit Morro de Mezquitilla and the necropolis of Trayamar. This afternoon, we explore Sexi, a coastal Phoenician colony where Almuñecar stands today.
Bronze Age archaeological parks are the order of the day, including: La Bastida, thought to be the site of a once powerful city with impressive fortifications; and Los Cipreses, an ancient metalworking centre
A full day is devoted to the beautiful port city of Cartagena, once known as the New Carthage. We explore the two millennia of its human settlement.
We travel to Denia to visit the Mazarrón Phoenician Boat Interpretation Centre, seeing Murcia Archaeological Museum and the site of La Fonteta port en route. We end the day with a ferry crossing to Ibiza.
We have secured special access to the necropolis of El Puig des Molins — some of the earliest tombs here date from the 7th century BC, and each one is cut deep into the hillside. The site is also home to one of the two centres of the Archaeological Museum of Ibiza.
We continue to the Punic site of Sa Caleta, on a rocky headland north of Ibiza town. We move on to the Archaeological Museum of Ibiza.
On our final day, we enjoy a free morning in the Citadel of Eivissa, situated in Ibiza’s charming Old Town, before returning home this evening.
We land in Seville, the charming capital city of Andalucia, and check into our comfortable hotel.
Following breakfast we travel to coastal Cádiz, which was founded by the Phoenicians in 1100 BC and is believed to be the oldest continually inhabited settlement in all of Europe. Here we explore the Castle of San Sebastián, a stunning island fortress, as well as the well-preserved Castle Santa Catalina. Both castles were built on what are thought to be sites of ancient Phoenician temples.
In the afternoon we pay a visit to the local Archaeological Museum which houses two elegantly-carved Phoenician sarcophagi amongst other important artefacts recovered from the local area.
This morning we visit El Castillo de Doña Blanca, where recent excavations have revealed fascinating finds from the Phoenician era. Here we are treated to a special talk from the Museum Director – a fantastic opportunity to learn more about what else may be beneath this imposing Medieval structure. We continue on to the archaeological site at San Fernando, a jewel of a town whose ancient past lies under its bridges and buildings…
After lunch we visit the remains of the little-known Roman town of Baelo Claudia. Originally a fishing village, Baelo became a thriving hub during the time of Emperor Claudius, thanks to its prosperous trading links with North Africa. Here we find various remnants, some restored, of temples, shops, a market, and a theatre.
Our journey continues via the Punic-Roman city of Carteia at the head of the Bay of Gibraltar. Carteia was founded in around 940 BC and played a significant role in the wars between Rome and Carthage because of its strategic location. The city was rediscovered by a British Army officer in the 18th century, and has retained its urban centre as well as numerous ancient structures including a large temple and the original city gate.
Our destination this afternoon is Málaga, a Mediterranean city founded by the Phoenicians in approximately 770 BC – and the birthplace of Pablo Picasso. Its original name of “Malaka” is thought to originate from the Phoenician word for salt, most likely thanks to the fish that were preserved at the harbour here.
We check in to our hotel at the heart of the city and enjoy some time to explore our surroundings before dinner.
Today is a full day of Málagan discoveries. As part of our walking tour of the city we visit the Phoenician collection of the recently refurbished Archaeological Museum. In an illuminating exhibit dedicated solely to this ancient civilisation we find beautiful ceramic figures, excavated Phoenician gold, and even a full reconstruction of a Punic tomb.
Later we delve into the basement of the popular Picasso Museum to view the carefully preserved Phoenician and Roman ruins which were discovered here in the 1930s.
We depart Málaga this morning and enjoy a scenic drive along the coast, stopping at the Phoenician hillside necropolis near Almuñécar. This area was crucial in the production of garum, a flavourful fish paste prized by the Greeks and Romans. Besides the Botanical Park El Majuelo we tour the remains of the Roman fish salting factory which also attracted much of the region’s wealth.
We continue along the stunning coastal roads to the port of Cartagena, prized by Roman generals for the strategic situation of its harbour.
After breakfast we take an excursion to La Bastida de Totana, a unique archaeological Bronze Age park cherished as the earliest and best of all the Argaric settlements. This hillside site was once home to a powerful city with impressive fortifications. Excavations are ongoing and have so far revealed over 230 ceramic burial chambers complete with funerary offerings, as well as massive towers and a set of mighty walls.
After lunch we head for Los Cipreses, an ancient metalworking centre, for a chance to imagine the lives of the artisans who worked here many centuries ago.
This morning is ours to explore the archaeological remains of Cartagena, where we find not just vestiges of the Phoenicians and Romans, but the Moors and Byzantines too. An amphitheatre, Punic ramparts, a 13th-century castle – within this city a rich tapestry of history is just waiting to be revealed.
Following that we enjoy a boat trip across Cartagena Bay, in order to help us imagine the harbour’s comings and goings during the Age of Antiquity. Breathe in that fresh sea air.
After lunch we have free time to take in the rest of this charismatic city at our leisure. Admire its Art Nouveau buildings, lie on a sun-soaked beach, sample a selection of local tapas – or spoil yourself and do all three!
We begin today at Guardamar del Segura in Alicante province. Here we visit the museum and archaeological site, to view traces of the Phoenician colony that settled near the mouth of the Segura River. An engaging display of artefacts charts the region’s human history, from Protohistory onwards.
Later we board the ferry to Ibiza, or Eivissa, skimming turquoise waves to arrive at the gorgeous Balearic island on which the Phoenicians founded a port in 654 BC.
The highlight of our last full day of adventures has to be our visit to El Puig des Molins, the greatest source of Phoenician discoveries in all of Ibiza. Here we are privileged to receive a specially arranged tour of the necropolis, provided by a local archaeologist. Around 3,000 tombs have been discovered on this site so far – and while excavations continue there may well be more to come.
After lunch we explore the Punic site of Sa Caleta, a peaceful cove beloved by locals which was once a busy Phoenician harbour.
As our final night draws near, we tuck in to a sumptuous farewell dinner with the group.
We rise to enjoy a free morning on the island, perhaps taking the opportunity to view some of the Old Town’s outstanding Renaissance architecture, before making our way to the airport and flying home.
- Expert Guide Lecturer
- Tour Manager
- Local Travel - Private a/c coach
- Meals - All meals included with wine at dinner
- Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
- Field Notes
3 nights in Cádiz
2 nights in Málaga
3 nights in Cartagena
2 nights in Ibiza
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