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EL TOSSAL DE LA CALA, BENIDORM (English)


For those who think that in Benidorm you can only find sun, beach and terrace, from our deepest respect, we can only express that they could not be more wrong. There are places of great cultural and historical importance scattered throughout the city and for all ages. Plans with enormous educational interest: such as visiting museums, historical buildings, monuments and even archaeological sites. And now more than ever, with the health crisis, such visits are more recommended than ever, always complying with the regulations imposed in each space.


One of those must-sees is the recently "musealized" archaeological site of Tossal de la Cala, whose remains of the old Roman fortification are already open to visitors after the new excavations and refurbishment works last year.


'El Tossal de la Cala' is the 100 meter high hill located in the southwestern part of Benidorm, between Cala de Poniente and Cala de Finestrat, and serves between the two towns. To climb it you can do it both on foot and by car, thanks to the fact that since 1960 an access road and a viewpoint were built on the summit, and part of the hill is urbanized on the north slope.

Part of the archaeological site with stunning views of Benidorm. / Photo: AlicantePlaza

Its first excavation dates from the 1940s by Father Belda and in 1965 and 1984 by Professor Miquel Tarradell and Francisco García Hernández respectively, finding archaeological remains in various layers from between the 2nd and 1st centuries BC. , although the oldest remains date back to the 4th century BC.

The reports of Enrique Llobregat (archaeologist and university professor) proposed that it is an Iberian town abandoned or destroyed in the 1st century BC, a date that is unanimous by all researchers. But finds of Greek ceramics of the IV a.C. and Carthaginians from III BC. brought discrepancies about the origin of said town; as well as several typical metal objects of the Roman settlements. This opened the debate on the true origin of the site, since the vicinity of Tossal and Finestrat Beach was an important point of commercial exchange, fishing and landing during several centuries of antiquity.

View from below of the archaeological site.

The most recent excavations, which house much more light about this site, reveal that there was a Roman settlement occupied by the armies of Quintus Sertorius during the Sertorian War. Its wall, the different rooms and the materials found, demonstrate the presence of Roman soldiers and confirm, without a doubt, that Tossal de la Cala was a Roman fortress around 77 BC.

In 2013, Professor Feliciana Sala Sellés directed a fourth excavation, and it was conclusively confirmed that it is not an Iberian settlement but rather a Roman fortification. A wall was discovered that previously were believed to be house walls. It is more logical to assume that they were the quarters of the Roman Sertorian soldiers.

El Tossal de la Cala has been duly "musealized" in order to receive visitors. / Photo: Benidorm.org

El Tossal de la Cala was part of a Roman chain of coastal military enclaves located in the two regions of 'La Marina', all located on cliffs and coves with difficult access, which played a fundamental role in controlling the movement of ships during the war. Therefore, the remains found, both of Iberian and Carthaginian origin, could be previous material destroyed by the Romans when building the fort. It was also added that the military contingent from the Tossal de la Cala de Benidorm site received supplies from the indigenous villages located in the interior and belonging to tribes such as the contestanos, in which Sertorio always sought support to be able to give a warlike response to his enemies. .


Despite the damage and various problems caused both by various constructions and by clandestine excavators in the 20th century, numerous objects and structures have been saved, preserved in the Prehistory Museum of Valencia and Alicante, the Prehistoric Research Service of Valencia or in the Benidorm City Council itself. Jars and pieces of Iberian origin, spears, crockery, bone pieces for writing and culinary ceramics of Roman origin.

Iberian jar from the 2nd century BC. found in the Tossal. Conserved in the Museum of Prehistory of Valencia. / Photo: Wikipedia

The 'castellum', as the Tossal de la Cala is now also known due to its real origin, has been museumized in different phases and can be visited from Monday to Friday from 08:00 to 14:00. there is an audio guide and information panels throughout the site. Guided visits will be made to groups, which can be arranged through the email patrimonihistoric@benidorm.org.


On the other hand, and as we explain in the section "what to visit in Benidorm" of this same web page; On this hill, apart from the archaeological site, you will also have the opportunity to visit the 'Hermitage of the Virgen del Mar' and at the same time enjoy incredible panoramic views of the city of Benidorm from its viewpoint located in a privileged point at the top of the Montana. At the foot of this hill is the wonderful 'Paseo de Tamarindos', a pleasant pedestrian area where you can walk on the beachfront with views of the impressive Benidorm skyline from this area of Poniente.

A place that you cannot pass the opportunity to visit.

Part of the Paseo de Tamarindos.







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