Castles remind me of my childhood.
Once upon a time, I was a kid. Well, we’ve all been there. We all played during our childhood. But perhaps, our toys were a bit different. To be frank, I didn’t have many toys to play with when I was young, and most of the toys I had were inherited from my sister and my cousins. Regardless of that, my childhood spirit always liked way more to create toys and entertainment from anything that was around me than to have nicely wrapped gifts that were hiding items inside. My childhood crew and I would climb on fig trees and pretend each tree is someone’s fortress.
Oddly enough, we would play war using any high building or a hill pretending it’s our castle and fold our hands pretending we have weapons to shoot. If now I think about it, it is not that strange considering I grew up in Croatia, on the territory of Ex Yugoslavia where the last war ended somewhere around 25 years ago – exactly when I came to this world. So I realized, that is maybe the reason why I love castles so much. I admire how castles are massive, powerful, glorious, and what people made centuries ago usually only with the power of their own hands.
I am a visual person, so while I stroll around any castle, I am imagining everything that was happening there in history – both good and bad. If you ask me, castles are like time machines. And while they can drag you back in the past and relive some amazing emotions, at the same time they can take you to the future leaving you wondering what we, as humans, will now leave behind to some future generations. To be frank, I haven’t visited many castles in my life, but fortresses. The first and actual castle I have ever seen was a castle Trakošćan in Croatia.
So let’s dive into history. In this article expect to find out everything about 11th-century old Miravet castle; where is it located, how to get here, is there any public transport, what is the nearest largest city and much other useful information. You simply have to visit this place and you are about to find out why!
PS: Travelling to Spain is not allowed until the 1st of July, so if you are currently not in Spain, save this post (or pin it) for some future travels!
WHERE IS IT LOCATED?
Miravet castle is located in the municipality of Miravet in Catalonia, the country of Spain. In the heart of the Terres de l’Ebre, and on the banks of the River Ebro. The first biggest city close by is Tarragona (around 70 km) and the second biggest is Barcelona (160km or 1h and 40 min). You can land to the airport in Barcelona (El Prat) but I advise you to choose Reus airport because it’s way closer (around 60km or 40 min).
Getting to Miravet
1. BY CAR
If you ask me, the best way is to rent a car and head off to adventure in the south of Catalonia. Do you remember my cave painting explorings I was posting about on my Insta stories? Well, here close by you can find them in the place called Rasquera. Take the AP7/A7 motorway or NACIONAL ROAD N420 or the N340 along the coast (depends what is your starting point) until arrive in Hospitalet de l’Infant and follow direction Mora (C44 and C12). If you are using GPS: search for BENISSANET and continue 3 km along the same road until Miravet.
ATTENTION: BOTH GOOGLE AND GPS Maps lead to the traditional navigation ferry powered only by the ebro river current (open from 9 to 18h in winter and 9 to 19h in summer). Access by car is only allowed for the residents of Cap de la Vila (old town), so if you decide to take the ride with this ferry, just leave the car in the parking at the Arenal square.
2. BY TRAIN
Spanish trains are the fastest in Europe plus the landscapes are extraordinary so you can expect to have a great time with the train. However, I advise you to book tickets in advance as if you do, they tend to be much cheaper.
LOOK FOR RENFE – THE SPANISH STATE RAILWAY AND The Regional R15 the station Móra la Nova / Line Barcelona-Zaragoza-Madrid. it will take you around 2 hours to get here from Barcelona.
beware that you will still have the Distance from the railway station to Miravet of 11 km. here you can hitchhike or call a local taxi in Miravet- +34 609 226 821 / +34 685 810 072)
3. BY BUS
I was driving with ALSA – Spanish bus company and those buses are the most comfortable I have ever seen. They even have screens on each seat and plenty of space for your legs. You can sleep like a baby or simply enjoy scenic views of the Spain. HIFE is also a great company that offers high-quality services in their buses.
With the Company Hife you can take the line: Barcelona-Zaragoza-Madrid. Of course, check their official website first and timetables. the CLOSEst STATION is MÓRA D’EBRE, around 6 km from miravet.
Although Spain is an affordable country especially in rural areas, taxis can be quite expensive especially if you are taking it from the long-distance from Miravet. I wouldn’t recommend getting a taxi, but if you are out of options, let it be – it will be totally worth it – promise!
MASSIVE AND MARVELOUS
Imposing Miravet castle lies on top of the historical town called Miravet, in an idyllic countryside of picturesque Catalonia.
I advise you to book a kayak along Ebro River from Mora D’ebre village where at the end of the route, the castle will emerge allowing you to admire the beautiful views of the Miravet skyline.
Built on a strategic position, this medieval castle is one of the best examples of the Romanesque architecture of the Order of the Templars in Europe. Terres de l’Ebre region is full of monuments and fortresses but this castle is the most popular monument in the area. The purpose of the building was military and religious, built in the defensive style with enormous walls around 80 meters that rise up over the River Ebro. The views are simply stunning! If it wasn’t so windy that day, I’d stay even longer, just staring and sitting…
After its conquest in 1153, the castle ended up in hands of the Christians. After Christians, it has been given to Pere de Rovira, master of the Knights Templar. Under Knights Templar’s power, the castle has been reconstructed becoming one of the main centers of Christian power on the Iberian Peninsula. However, Miravet castle is not just a castle but a walled citadel with constructions on different levels. On the picture below you can see different levels that I am talking about.
Templars constructed the building in a relatively short time, but the remains of an Andalusian fortress are still visible especially in the lower sections of the wall.
WHEN TO VISIT?
Anytime! The castle is closed on Mondays except for public holidays, 25th and 26th December and 1st and 6th January.
From 16th December to 28th February: from 10 am to 3.30 pm (+30 min)
From 1st March to 31th May: from 10 am to 7.00 pm (+30 min)
From 1st June to 30th September: from 10 am to 7.30 pm (30 min)
From 1st October to 15th December: from 10 am to 5.00 pm. (+30min)
Castell de Miravet
Camí del Castell, s/n
43747 Miravet (Tarragona)
Tel. (+34) 977407368
TICKET PRICE TO MIRAVET CASTLE
We visited Miravet at the beginning of June and we were surprised that the entrance was free – probably due to the coronavirus and the whole global situation that is currently going on. Usually, the ticket is symbolical – €5.
PS: Beware that you still have to wear face mask both indoors and outdoors in Spain. Fines are huge – don’t mess around! We couldn’t come inside without face masks.
HOW DOES IT LOOK FROM THE INSIDE?
Miravet is one of the largest fortified structures in Catalonia. The castle complex includes spaces and rooms that are clear proof of the economic independence of Templars: a church, granaries and storage rooms, shops, a large kitchen, and a dining room, etc. In total, there are 15 rooms. Apparently, this castle had everything that anyone needed at that time.
If you ask me, the most interesting room is the church of the Virgin Mary because it’s hidden and it is the most simple church I have ever seen. Comparing to churches that were built later especially today, Templars seemed to me like a modest organization instead of a wealthy one. In fact, there are only a few, barely visible crosses engraved on the walls. Nothing fancy, quite minimalistic – just a room where people used to come to pray.
The castle suffered the most (as well as people) in the time of the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) when it was repeatedly damaged and rebuilt.
After climbing the spiral staircase to the very top, you should find yourself in an open area with some extra amazing views of the surrounding countryside and river Ebro that flows with its long 928 km! However, this part was closed for us and I have no idea why – we did not even ask. We blamed it on coronavirus. In this area, you will also emerge yourself inside one of the five rooms, all with different purposes. The last room will be the church.
WHAT ELSE TO SEE?
A CHARMING SMALL MIRAVET TOWN
After you finish sightseeing at the castle, stroll around picturesque Miravet town. This cute place is a perfect corner of Catalonia to get lost and wander… The Moors built this old town on the steep red rock and houses are charming with pastel colors, perfectly matching with the natural shades of the area, full of bunny ear cactuses and prickly pears. Oh, and of course – oranges!
There’s also one Romanesque church that you probably noticed on my previous pictures with stunning views. This gorgeous city offers many street cafés right on the banks of the river, little shops, and restaurants where you must sit, perhaps eat a bocadillo, tapas or drink a cerveza and enjoy the cozy atmosphere.
PRO TIP: If you have time, check MIRAVET’S POTTERY, THE “PAS DE BARCA”, THE LAST ORIGINAL OF THE EBRO, AND THE ARTWORK OF THE GREAT PAINTER JOAQUIN MIR
I would describe this town as a fairytale because that is how it made me feel. I know many people aim mostly for Barcelona when they visit Catalonia but there is a lot more to see such as this piece of paradise. Miravet should be a must-see and on everyone’s bucket list of places to visit in Spain. Beautiful little streets, stunning views, pottery, art, traditional ferry or a kayaking adventure along Ebro river…there’s a bit of everything here for everyone!
EXPLORE MORE ABOUT MIRAVET TOWN AND SURROUNDING PLACES OF
Terres de l’Ebre
You can actually overnight in this blue beauty! The Palau de Miravet is the most emblematic Miravet civil building. The location is so dreamy overlooking the river Ebro and the historic site. It’s vibrant blue color caught my eye already from the river. However, it is indeed pricy and my pocket is not that much deep, but if yours is – just go for it!
in case you didn’T KNOW…
The Knights Templar was a huge organization of devout Christians. They were active during the medieval era and their mission was of great importance: to protect European travelers visiting sites in the Holy Land while also carrying out military operations. They were extremely wealthy, powerful, and mysterious order. Historians are still fascinated by them and their architecture and so am I, and so will you be too!