Oldest murals of the world in the Ardales caves

Near Finca Las Nuevas you can admire cave paintings in the Ardales Caves. These cave paintings contributed to a new archaeological discovery! Before 2018 homo sapiens were considered to be the first ones to decorate the cave walls. Now it appeared to be the Neanderthals. A visit to this cave is absolutely a unique experience.

The history of the cave paintings

The limestone cave, situated at 565 meters above sea level, was discovered in 1821 when an earthquake reopened the cave’s entrance. The entrance had been closed for 3500 years. The five-chamber cave was opened for domestic tourism in 1823.

It wasn’t until 1918 that a French prehistorian researched cave art. He described twenty animal figures in ten different locations. Nowadays there are 1010 images in 252 locations (98 animal images, 10 human figures and 9 handprints) In addition to these images, many utensils were found, including stones and bones, which may have been used to engrave some figures. They were found near the paintings.

The cave is located near the centre of Ardales. It is a fairly steep road uphill. And the road isn’t completely paved.

All year long, the cave has a constant temperature of approx. 15 degrees, so you’d better not forget to bring a sweater in summer.

The best thing about this cave is that it still looks very authentic. There are no paved paths through the cave, no light shows with coloured lamps. Sometimes you literally step over the cave paintings. Pay attention: The entrance has a fairly steep staircase. Wearing sturdy shoes is handy!

Visit the cave

The cave can exclusively be visited by appointment (max. 15 persons a day) on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 10.30 am. Entrance tickets can be booked by telephone or e-mail or at the archaeological museum in Ardales.

Tel. 0034 952458046 of 0034609200165 patrimonio@ardales.es or at the Archeological Museum in Ardales; Avenida de la Málaga 1, Ardales

Activities in the area

In the area are various other activities, such as:

The lakes of Ardales, are a good place for swimming and relaxing.

Bobastro, a ruin of a Mozarabic church

Caminito del Rey, a spectacular path along the steep cliffs of a deep gorge.