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Covalanas Cave

Cantabria (Spain)

Natural Environment:

The Valley of the River Calera, a tributary of the River Gándara, is framed by large limestone cliffs. The narrow valley is wooded along the riverside, while holm oaks grow on the rocky slopes where numerous of rock-shelters and caves can be seen.

Regional Archaeological Context:

In northern Spain, a large number of caves have similar red paintings, characterised by the technique of using dotted lines and partial or total colour-wash, and with hinds as the main animal represented. These caves are found between the Basque Country (Arenaza Cave) and the middle course of the River Saja in Cantabria (Cualventi Cave). This group of sites, known as the “Ramales School”, includes Arco and Pondra in Ramales, El Salitre in Miera, La Pasiega in Puente Viesgo and El Pendo in Camargo. They are dated in the Gravettian and early Solutrean.

Site History:

Covalanas was explored in 1903 by Lorenzo Sierra and Hermilio Alcalde del Río. In the 1950s it was developed as a show cave; the path to the cave was built and the floor in the entrance of the cave was lowered to make access easier.

Archaeological evidence at the site:

Palaeolithic rock art (paintings)

Short Description:

Covalanas contains an outstanding group of 23 animal figures, most of which are hinds. There is also a horse and possibly reindeer and an aurochs. Quadrangular signs, dots and other motifs complete the list of depictions. The ensemble is very homogenous and appears to have been painted all at the same time.


Gravettian or Solutrean (26,000-20,000 years old)

Type of Site: Cave
Adress: N-629, Km. 188, Ramales de la Victoria, Cantabria.
Telephone: 942 598 425
Fax: 942 598 305
Website: www.culturadecantabria.com / http://cuevas.culturadecantabria.com 
E-mail: reservascuevas@culturadecantabria.es

State/Region: Cantabria
Province: Cantabria
Municipality: Ramales de la Victoria
Town: Ramales de la Victoria
Location: Monte Pando

Opening Times:

  • Open every day except January 1 and 6, and December 24, 25 and 31.
  • From November 1 to February 28: 9.30-15.30 (last visit 14.40).
  • From March 1 to June 14 and from September 15 to October 31: 9.30-14.30 (last visit at 13.40) and 15.30-18.30 (last visit 17.40).
  • From June 15 to September 14: 9.30-14.30 (last visit at 13.40) and 15.30-19.30 (last visit 18.40).
  • Duration of the guided visits: 45 minutes.

Booking and access:


  • General 3.00 €
  • Children under the age of 12, 1.50 €
  • For safety and conservation reasons, the visit is not recommended for children under the age of 10.
  • Maximum number of visitors daily: 70.

Visitors’ Centre:

There is a small reception centre near the cave.


Nearby cultural destinations:

Cullalvera Cave in Ramales. Palaeolithic Park at Cueva del Valle and Stonemason Museum, in Rasines. Typical Cantabrian villages in the Valleys of Soba and Ruesga. Kobenkoba, a Visitors’ Centre about European Palaeolithic art, in Lanestosa. Pozalagua Cave in Karrantza.

Nearby natural destinations:

Rising and valley of the River Asón (Soba). Peña Ranero and Picón del Carlista (Ramales). Santoña Salt-marsh (Santoña).

Accommodation near the site:

Ramales de la Victoria: Hotel Casa Pardo, Hostal Río Asón, Los Castores camp-site, La Barguilla camp-site.

Restaurants near the site:

Ramales de la Victoria: La Victoria, Ancillo, Casa Nieves, Río Asón, Anjana, Trastolillu.


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11th May 2010 the Council of Europe granted the Mention European Cultural Route to the PRAT-CARP network.