One Day Excursion - Ullastret and Empuries

4 September

Iberian settlement of Ullastret (Baix Empordà region)

The Iberian town of Ullastret is one of the largest Iron Age sites in Catalonia, located on Puig de Sant Andreu, a hilltop from where it dominates the gentle surrounding countryside. The town, protected by circular towers and other powerful defensive structures that marked its boundaries, was the capital of the Indikete region. Its economic activities included agriculture, animal husbandry, mining and quarrying, and it had strong trade links with the nearby Greek city of Empúries. The year 2012 saw an amazing archaeological discovery: fifteen human skull fragments, some of them perforated – the remains of a ritual practice that consisted in displaying the heads of enemies as a trophy.

The visit includes a tour of part of the town: the walls, the paved streets, the system of water collection by means of cisterns excavated in the rock, the remains of three places of worship, and dwellings that prove the existence of different social classes (from very humble houses to those of the families with the highest social status).

There is also a monographic museum, which includes explanations of the site, an exhibition of a selection of exhumed objects and a virtual reconstruction of the Iberian town.

Empúries (L’Escala, Alt Empordà)

Empúries is one of the most important archaeological sites in Catalonia, unusual in that it contains the remains of the Greek city of Emporion (which means port in Greek) and also those of the Roman city of Empúries. The first Greek settlement, founded by the Phocaeans in the 6th century BCE, was on a small island off the coast in the Gulf of Roses, which was moved to the mainland when it expanded. In 218 BCE, the Roman army used the port of Empúries as its entry point into the Iberian Peninsula during the Second Punic War between Rome and Carthage. Initially, a military camp was set up there, but with the passing of time this became a prosperous Roman town, mainly serving as a port and trade centre.

On the tour of the archaeological remains, visitors can visit the Greek and Roman urban remains, the Hellenistic enclosures of Asclepius and Serapis, the salting factories, and the Greek agora. Other points of interest include several houses with mosaics from the Roman era, the public baths, the forum, the area of the tabernae, and the remains of the basilica and the curia.
The Empúries monographic museum exhibits some of the objects discovered during the archaeological excavations.


08:00  Departure from Barcelona (Plaça Universitat) by bus
10:00   Arrival to Ullastret, guided visit of the Iberian settlement
12:10  Departure from Ullastret
12:40  Lunch in Sant Martí d'Empúries
14:30 Guided visit of archaeological site Empúries (l'Escala)
17:00  Swim on the Empúries beach
18:00  Departure from Empúries 
20:00   Arrival to Barcelona (Plaça Universitat)

Fee: 85€

Fee includes lunch in Sant Martí d'Empúries, a neighbourhood dependent on l'Escala (Girona) and preserved as a medieval town. It was once a peninsula and received its first inhabitants in 9th century BC.

Iberian settlement of Ullastret. ©Josep Casanova. DGPC. Generalitat de Catalunya

Iberian settlement of Ullastret. ©Josep Casanova. DGPC. Generalitat de Catalunya

Empúres. ©Bob Masters. DGPC. CC BY-NC 2.0

Empúres. ©Bob Masters. DGPC. CC BY-NC 2.0