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Spain welcomes millions of visitors from all around the world every year, and many come for the joy of delving into the country's long and rich history. If you happen to be a history buff or an archaeological enthusiast, then you'll definitely want to set your course straight for Costa Brava for a day of discovery at the ruins of Empuries. Those lodging with us here at Exceptional Stays may count on our dedicated concierge team to make arrangements for your tour of these and other excellent ruins that are found along the lovely Costa Brava.

About the Ruins of Empuries

Ruins of Empuries SiteFound on the Costa Brava directly between L'Escala and Sant Marti, these fascinating ruins offer an incredible look into both Greek and Roman history. Originally settled by the Greeks in 575 B.C., it was later conquered by the Romans in the 1st century B.C. The beauty of the area apparently stole the heart of Julius Caesar, and he ordered the Roman settlement to be built at 10 times the size of the original Greek settlement. It included a huge amphitheater, sport-training fields for the citizens to get in shape for the great physical conquests that were used for entertainment, elegant mansions and elaborate mosaics and other fabulous forms of ornamentation.

The city thrived during both the Greek and the Roman occupations as a major commercial trading center thanks to its perfect location on the Mediterranean Sea. However, its location also proved to be its ultimate undoing because ruthless Vikings found it easy to sail right up and invade the city beginning in the 9th century. Ultimately, the city was completely abandoned by the 3rd century, and it simply disappeared beneath the sands until archaeologists discovered the hidden city and began to excavate it in 1908. The really exciting part about these excavations is that they are still ongoing, so you're likely to see something newly uncovered even if you visit the ruins every year.

Exploring the Ruins

Today, visitors are welcome to come and explore this amazing archaeological site that boasts some 2,500 years of history, and your visit can only be made better by the beautiful natural surroundings of the beaches and coves along the Mediterranean Sea. The very best way to get to the ruins is by way of a gorgeous traffic-free coastal walk from L'Escala, and the walk itself is a wonderful excursion as you make your way through two lovely fishing villages and some of Costa Brava's most beautiful beaches and coves. It's also possible to make arrangements for pickup directly from your vacation residence.

Ruins of Empuries Tile FloorOnce you arrive, you may purchase a map of the ruins if you wish to explore on your own, or you may choose a guided tour to ensure that you don't miss anything. Either way, you're free to take your time discovering the treasures of the ruins of Empuries. You'll wind your way around ancient streets, walls, columns and houses, and these are just a few of the archaeological finds that you may expect to enjoy.

  • Statue of Asclepios, the Greek god of medicine
  • Greek and Roman temples
  • Amphitheater
  • Basilica
  • Early drainage systems
  • Greek wharf
  • Early factory
  • Forum
  • Marble artifacts
  • Greek and Roman paintings
  • Elaborate mosaics

Archaeology Museum of Catalonia

Your ticket to the ruins also includes entrance to the onsite museum, which houses important pieces that have been found among the ruins. These include a great many sculptures, utensils, ceramics and coins, and many special events and activities are held at various times throughout the year. These are just a few of the most popular.

  • Children's Tour: Designed to get children interested in history, this guided tour offers everything that a regular tour provides with something extra for the youngsters. Every child on this tour will have the opportunity to personally discover a bit of history, and it will be explained to them with an intriguing story that is sure to capture their imagination.
  • Theatrical Tours: These tours are extremely popular with families who are traveling with children and teenagers because it literally brings history to life with brilliant performances by talented actors. Tours include the Roman Visit, which showcase the ancient Roman inhabitants of the city going about their daily lives in their homes and in the temples, markets, squares and streets. You may also enjoy the Sunset in Empuries tour, which boasts curious characters who unveil the history and secrets of the city with a fascinating performance.
  • Performances: The museum hosts a number of live concerts and theater and dance performances, and the public is welcome to attend.
  • Archaeological Dig: Come be an archaeologist for a day with this popular activity, and you'll learn what it's like to discover ancient artifacts. This workshop is open to adults and children, and everyone is sure to enjoy this hands-on experience.