Man illuminating rock art representations in the Cueva de Chufín in Riclones, Cantabria

Prehistoric Rock Art Trails: the first art of mankind


In Spain, there are more than 100 sites with engravings and cave paintings of great value that form part of the Council of Europe's Cultural Route of Prehistoric Rock Art. These are the representations that, thousands of years ago, our ancestors drew on rocks in the open air and in caves such as Altamira. This is an invitation to discover, with your own eyes, humanity's first works of art. 

The oldest art

More than two million people visit these rock art sites every year. In them, we can see the symbolic figures and representations that signify the first important cultural and social expression of mankind. They are fascinating drawings and artistic forms, naturalistic but also schematic or abstract, reflecting the beliefs, concerns and everyday life of prehistoric people. 

Representation of bison in the Altamira Caves in Santillana del Mar, Cantabria

An extraordinary heritage

Spain is home to some of the most important cave sites and deposits in Europe, and they are often located in beautiful natural settings. In addition, there are four major rock art sites included in the UNESCO World Heritage List: the Altamira Cave and Palaeolithic Rock Art of Northern Spain, the Rock Art of the Mediterranean Arc of the Iberian Peninsula, the Prehistoric Rock Art site of Siega Verde and the Cultural Landscape of the Fallen Crag and Sacred Mountains of Gran Canaria

View of the ancient settlement of Risco Caído in Gran Canaria, Canary Islands

Cave routes in Spain

Through the 15 routes that have been designed, it is possible to discover the first art of humanity at site found across most of Spain. Many are small sites, such as caves, rock shelters or open-air rocks, but it is also possible to visit large museums, archaeological parks and infrastructures that reproduce the cave spaces excellently without compromising the conservation of the original sites. The Prehistoric Rock Art Trails route is a spectacular journey back to our artistic origins. Welcome to the oldest "art galleries" in the world!!! 

Tourists in the neo-cave of the Altamira Caves at Santillana del Mar, Cantabria