CARDONA CASTLE, THE LORDS OF THE SALT MOUNTAIN
Forty million years ago, nature created a mountain of salt in the area where Cardona now stands. Its exploitation from the Neolithic period onwards fostered the area’s economic and social development,until it became, in the Middle Ages, the cradle of the richest family in Catalonia: the Cardona family.
The Castle of Cardona was built in the 11th century. This imposing castle, together with the Canonical Church of Sant Vicenç, lies atop a hill that provides a view that stretches from the Pyrenees to Montserrat.
Up until 1990, the inhabitants of Cardona continued to exploit this valuable mineral, which they regarded as "white gold". Since 1997, the Salt Mountain has become a major tourist attraction. Salt continues tobe a valuable mineral, thanks to its therapeutic uses. In addition,the gorgeous natural setting that surrounds Cardona provides a healthy escape from the city for youngsters and grown-ups alike.
THE SALT MOUNTAIN
The Salt Mountain is a unique natural phenomenon in the world and is still growing, while simultaneously being eroded by rain. Its 120 metres are just the tip of an enormous geological diapir that is almost two kilometres deep. In an hour long excursion, you can go down to a depth of 86 meters and enjoy the spectacle of shapes and textures of the salt massif.
Closed on Mondays, except public holidays.
Tuesday - Friday: Site open from 10am to 3pm. Guided tours at 11.30am (Catalan) and 1.30pm (Spanish).
Saturday & Sunday: Site open from 10am to 6pm. Tours every 30 minutes. Last tour at 4.30pm.
The building of the imposing castle of Cardona began 2500 years ago,and during the Middle Ages it was the residence of the Lords of Cardona. Many centuries of history are hidden within this impregnable fortress. Inside, you can also find the collegiate church of SantVicenç, a jewel of Catalan Lombard Romanesque architecture. Relivesieges and battles and find out why the Lords of Cardona were called the "Uncrowned Kings".
Regular visiting hours
Closed Mondays except public holidays.
Tuesday - Friday:
Advance booking (groups) firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday & Sunday: Guided tours at 11am (Spanish), 1pm (Catalan) and 4.30pm (Catalan)*. (*As of 1st July until 30th September)
THE HISTORIC CENTRE
At the foot of the castle is the medieval town, a maze of charming narrow streets, majestic mansions and unique buildings like the church of Sant Miquel. Enjoy the shopping, cuisine and local products on offer while reliving the town's history at the traditional market on Sunday mornings.
The Cardona Medieval Centre is open every Saturday from 10am to 2pm and from 4pm to 8pm, and Sunday from 10am to 2pm.
Saturday: Guided tour at 12.30pm and 6.30pm (both tours in Catalan). Sunday: Guided tour at 12.30pm (in Spanish).
WHAT TO DO IN CARDONA
Eat, shop and sleep in Cardona for the full experience. Enjoy a variety of restaurants, unique shops and the Sunday market. Sleep at any of the hotels, or in rural accommodation to make your experience a unique one.
HOW TO GET THERE
By car: C-55 Manresa-Solsona
By public transport: Regular bus : Alsina Graells Barcelona-Andorra (www.alsa.es)
Package daytrip from Barcelona
Departure on Tues., Thurs. and Sat. from 15 April to 15 October.
Daily departures in July, August and September. Time 8.30am
Place: We Boutique Passeig de Gràcia. Ptge de la Concepció, 7. Barcelona
Duration 5h 30 min.
Price 65€** Includes transport, tickets to the Salt Mountain and Castle, cava tasting with local confec- tionery and a salt gift.
More information: www.webarcelona.com
Cardona Tiquet is an all-in-one ticket that gives you three guided tours at a single rate: The Salt Mountain + The Castle of Cardona + The Historic Center (18€). A visit to the Josep Arnau Salt Museum can alsobe included. This saves money and is practical and simple.
WHERE TO BUY TICKETS?