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Altamira caves

  • Bison in the Altamira caves. Santillana del Mar, Cantabria © Turespaña

    Bison in the Altamira caves. Santillana del Mar, Cantabria © Turespaña





Zona Cuevas de Altamira
39330 Santillana, Santillana del Mar

Telephone+34 942818005


Important examples of prehistoric rock art.

UNESCO granted the World Heritage designation to these and another 17 caves in northern Spain containing Palaeolithic Cave Art.

The cave has an irregular shape and is some 270 metres in length. It has an entrance hall, main gallery and side hall, and contains some of the world’s best examples of prehistoric rock art. The drawings are some 14,000 years old and show bison, deer, boar, horses… They are painted using natural, red-coloured ochre and outlined in black. To ensure their conservation, the cave structure and paintings have been painstakingly reproduced, using the same painting techniques, in the Altamira Museum’s Neo-cave. Visitors can marvel at the details of the great ceiling with its polychromed bison, and visit the painters’ workshop, where they can hear an explanation of the techniques used to create this masterpiece of rock art.

Practical information



Access to the real Altamira cave is now limited to one 37-minute visit per week for five people, with a set route and times they can stay in each place. Access is now subject to pre-appointment through a waiting list. This waiting list is closed and no new requests are currently being accepted.


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