Serinyà Prehistoric Cave Park

200,000 Years In 1 Day – Meeting the Neanderthals and Ancient Humans Tour

Highlights

  • Travel north of Barcelona for a private tour of the excavations of the Serinyà cave system with hominin (early human) settlement dating back over 200,000 years, along with Neanderthal and modern human occupation from the Palaeolithic
  • Visit some stunning medieval villages of rural Catalonia where you will discover the archaeology and history of Catalonia's Iron Age, Roman period, and medieval period 
  • Experience the tranquil, stunning countryside of Catalonia “away from the madding crowd”
  • Immerse yourself in the charms of this Mediterranean region’s culture and heritage in an expert-led tour
  • Have a traditional Catalan lunch in a local restaurant or have a gourmet Catalan picnic

Duration: Approximately 8 hours

Activity level: Light/Moderate

Price: From € 200 per person

Itinerary

Morning
Tour leader Killian Driscoll and your chauffeur will pick you up from your chosen location, and you’ll start your tour driving out of the city with Killian introducing the day ahead, and answering any of your questions.

Throughout the day, Killian will share with you his knowledge of the archaeology and history of the region, and the places you visit. You will be given an insight into the lives of our ancient ancestors who inhabited the area over the hundreds of thousands of years, from the Palaeolithic to the present.

For this tour, you’ll travel 75 minutes north of Barcelona to the Serinyà cave system in Girona province with hominin (early human) settlement dating back over 200,000 years, along with Neanderthal and modern human occupation from the Palaeolithic.

At the Serinyà caves, you’ll have a private tour of the remarkable set of caves which is an active excavation, and includes a lovely interpretation centre nestled in the wooded hillside. Here, you’ll learn about the first hominins (early humans) that settled in Catalonia almost a million years ago. You’ll visit the cave where the 200,000 human remains were found, and discover the roots of our earliest ancestors.

Along with the early hominin remains, the archaeologists excavating the caves have uncovered impressive evidence for the Neanderthal settlement in the area, along with settlement by modern humans who first came to Catalonia 40,000 years ago. You’ll experience 200,000 years of prehistory in one day.

Lunch
From there you'll continue through the stunning scenery to have your leisurely lunch in a local restaurant of your choice or your specially prepared, gourmet Catalan picnic.

Serinyà Prehistoric Cave Park, Mollet I cave excavation
Serinyà Prehistoric Cave Park, Mollet I cave excavation

Afternoon
After lunch, you'll visit the stunning medieval town of Besalú to explore the beautifully preserved mountain town, with the Fluvià River running through it on its way to the Mediterranean Sea. In Besalú you'll see the archaeology and history of this living, authentic medieval town. While exploring the winding streets and laneways, you'll learn about lives of the people who lived in the town and its environs, from the Iron Age (about 2500 years ago), Roman period, medieval period, to the present day.

Among the wealth of historical sites to visit is the 800 year-old Jewish bathhouse, overlooking the 11th century fortified bridge. The Jewish bathhouse - mikvah - is one of the last remaining in Europe, and part of Besalú's medieval Jewish quarter.

Driving back to Barcelona through the breathtaking scenery of the foothills of the Pyrenees, you'll stop at another medieval village where you can have a relaxed coffee in a local cafe, followed by a wander through the village.

Medieval archway, Besalú
Medieval archway, Besalú

Interactive Google Map of the 200,000 Years In 1 Day – Meeting the Neanderthals and Ancient Humans Tour itinerary, with some of the stops marked, along with the route to and from Barcelona