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 land in Seville, the charming capital city of Andalucia. We drive to Cádiz and check into our comfortable hotel.
Following breakfast, 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.
After lunch, 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. We have dinner in Cádiz this evening.
This morning we visit Torre Castillo de Doña Blanca and 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. We drive to San Roque and before settling down for lunch, we pay a visit to the Archaeological Museum.
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 have the option to continue to look at the Picasso Collection here, or to take some free time to relax in Malaga.
This afternoon, we continue to the Roman Theatre and Alcazaba Castle which was built by the Hammudid dynasty in the early 11th century and is the best preserved in all of Spain.
We depart Málaga this morning and enjoy a scenic drive along the coast, stopping at the Botanical Park El Majuelo where 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 freshening up, we visit the National Centre for Underwater Archaeology (ARQUA).
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 drive back to Cartagena and visit the Muralla Punnica before having some free time this afternoon.
This morning we discover Castillo de Lorca. The fortress was constructed between the 9th and 15th centuries and is of medieval origin.
After lunch we head for Los Cipreses Archaeological Park, an ancient metalworking centre, for a chance to imagine the lives of the artisans who worked here many centuries ago.
Upon arrival in Cartagena, 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
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