Ten archeological sites that will transport you to Andalucia’s Roman Empire
Andalucia’s artistic wealth and rich heritage is a product of the melting pot of cultures that have lived on these lands throughout the centuries. You can find vestiges of the region’s ancestors in every corner of southern Spain that help us imagine what it was like during its different historical eras. One era of splendour, known as “Bética,” was the Roman Empire. If you travel through Andalucia, you must visit the archaeological sites of the early years of our history. Theatres, baths, aqueducts and necropolises are perfectly conserved the length and breadth of the country. Don’t miss these ten Roman sites we recommend in southern Spain that will transport you to the heart and magnificence of this great empire that conquered the Mediterranean.
1. Acinipo in Ronda (Malaga)
This is undoubtedly considered one of the most interesting Roman sites in Andalucia due to how well it has been conserved. Located in the heart of the Serranía de Ronda, the surrounding fertile lands led to our ancestors building a city in the place where some vestiges remain today. If you decide to visit beautiful Ronda and its mountains, don’t forget to pass through this Roman site that will transport you back to the Bronze Age. At Acinipo, the theatre stands out for its architectural value, which represents the town’s splendour during the 1st century BC.
2. Cartama Aqueduct (Malaga)
The Romans were pioneers of many architectural innovations, but, without a doubt, one of the most outstanding was the channelling of water through aqueducts. We can find a clear example of this in Cartama. This structure connected the source of the river with the municipal neighbour of Alhaurín el Grande. If you want to visit, you can also spend a day in the town enjoying its gastronomy, white alleys and charm—a perfect plan for a perfect getaway.
3. Baelo Claudia in Tarifa (Cadiz)
Baelo Claudia is home to some of the most spectacular Roman ruins in Spain. The Romans fell head over heels in love with Bolonia Beach in Cadiz and decided to establish one of their settlements there. With unparalleled sea views, this Roman city was a strategic point for trade with Africa. The site has conserved the most representative elements of the city, such as the square, the salted meat and fish trading post, the theatre and even the necropolis. Don’t miss this artistic complex on your Roman route through Andalucia, since you can enjoy the smell of the sea while you tour the site.
4. Hedionda Roman Baths in Manilva and Casares (Malaga)
Julius Caesar bathed in Hedionda so that its water would cure his skin infection. Their special characteristic as sulphur baths and their extensive use by man have enriched their role in historical and scientific reality. If you‘re travelling through the Province of Malaga, pay a visit and enjoy these domed ceiling baths, which are also the keepers of mysterious legends. The story goes that the devil, prior to being expelled from the place by Santiago, took his last breath here, leaving the smell of sulphur that exists today.
5. Roman Necropilis (Cadiz)
The Romans were very careful with their funeral rites. If you want to see one of the recently discovered necropolises, head to Cadiz. The complex comprises a total of 28 tombs from the Roman era dating from the 1st century BC to the 2nd century AD. The burials carried out through the rite of incineration and internment were done in simple pits, though there are also some uninterred bodies in masonry boxes. If you travel to Cadiz on holiday, do visit this curious site.
6. Italica (Seville)
A good Roman route in Andalucia worth its salt must also include Italica. This ancient Roman city located in the Seville municipality of Santiponce was the first to be founded in Hispania and also a pioneer in that it was established outside Italian territory. The site complex has been conserved very well and you can see the theatre, baths, aqueduct and even the remains of houses. The mosaics are one of the most outstanding artistic elements that will transport you to the magnificent era of the Roman Empire.
7. Roman Theatre (Malaga)
Malaga’s Roman theatre dates from the 1st century and was built during the era of Emperor Augustus. It is located in the heart of the city at the feet of the Alcazaba. If you come to the Province of Malaga, you must visit this bewitching Roman enclave. Street shows are now held with the site in the background, fusing the Roman cultural scenery with modern artistic expression. Make sure you visit this privileged corner to enjoy one of the best views in the capital of the Costa del Sol.
8. Villa de Caviclum in Torrox (Malaga)
The archaeological site of Caviclum in Torrox is one of the most outstanding in the Province of Malaga. The architectural complex is made up of a town, some pottery ovens, a necropolis, baths and a salted meat and fish trading post. This place was an important enclave in Roman times for agricultural production and fishing. Make sure not to miss this important site on this roman route through Andalucian lands.
9. Roman Necropolis of Riotinto (Huelva)
The mining zone of Riotinto in Huelva also has its own Roman necropolis. This place is also home to remains of architectural monuments, such as a mausoluem or funerary tower with an almost square floor that conserves part of the foundation work and tombs dug into the rock that match cremation rites. If you decide to visit the singular copper coloured landscape of the Riotinto Mines, don’t forget that its bowels hide other remains of the Roman occupation in ancient Betica.
10. Bovedas Baths of Marbella (Malaga)
A little over 33 feet from Guadalmina beach between Marbella and Estepona, you can find the “Bovedas Baths.” This site, which dates from the 2nd century, is considered one of the most unique in the entire Spanish territory belonging to this era. You mustn’t miss this enclave, which has even conserved its cover, as you take your Roman tour through Andalucia. A must see if you are taking a few days’ break on the Costa del Sol.
So, if you have a passion for history and decide to visit Andalucia, you must take the Roman route we recommend. It is a simple, natural way to take a unique tour that will transport you to the most intimate parts of the great Roman Empire.
WHERE TO STAY
If you want to follow this cultural guide that immerses you in the Roman era of southern Spain, make sure you stay at a Fuerte Hotel. The chain has establishments in all of these fantastic corners that will facilitate your tour through history.
Our hotels and apartments offer excellent service, are leaders in quality according to TripAdvisor and backed by over 50 years’ experience. They truly are the best choice to disconnect and experience this historic and cultural route. Marbella, Conil, Grazalema, El Rompido, Estepona and Torrox are just some of the places where you can find this magnificent holiday accommodation.