Cardona Castle sits proudly on a hilltop opposite the mines of Salt Mountain. The stone fortress was built in Gothic and Romanesque style in AD 886, and is perhaps the most iconic medieval structure in Catalonia. Inside this symbol of Catalonian identity stands the stone St. Vicenç Church, which dates back to the 11th century.
Cardona Castle played a key role in the War of Spanish Succession; it was one of the last points of resistance before the siege of Barcelona in 1714. Day trips to the medieval town of Cardona from Barcelona usually include a tour of the castle and the historic city center. Castle tours can be combined with a visit to the mines of Salt Mountain Cultural Park, or with a stop at the picturesque Montserrat Monastery.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Cardona Castle is a must-visit for history buffs and families traveling with children.
- Wear comfortable shoes suitable for walking over uneven surfaces.
- Tours of the castle last about 90 minutes.
- The castle is not wheelchair accessible.
How to Get There
Cardona is located about 56 miles (90 kilometers) from Barcelona via the C-55 and C-16. If you’re not driving or joining a guided tour, take one of four daily buses from Barcelona to Manresa, then change buses for Cardona.
When to Get There
Guided tours of the castle are only available on Saturday and Sunday, or by reservation during the rest of the week. Visitors who come independently should know that tours led by castle staff are only available in Spanish and Catalan. Book a guided tour from Barcelona that offers commentary in English.
The Tragic Tale of the Torre de la Minyona
This castle tower is one of the few structures remaining from the ninth century, and it played host to one of the castle’s great tragedies. During the 11th century, a Moorish jailer fell in love with Adalés, daughter of the viscount of Cardona. When the girl’s family found out about the relationship, they imprisoned her within the tower with a mute servant as her only contact until she died not long after.