Santuario del Pla de Petracos

Useful Information

Location: Castell de Castells.
From Castell de Castells follow CV-720 north about 5 km, turn left on Camira la Valle d'Ebo, after 1.6 small parking on the left. Signposted. 10 min walk to the shelters on the other side of the valley.
(38.76029058556768, -0.18332103644327763)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: ArchaeologyPainted Cave
Light: n/a
Guided tours: self guide
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Pintures Rupestres del Placita de Petracos, 03793 Alicante
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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1980 discovered by members of the Center d'Estudis Contestans.
1998 inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.


The Pla de Petracos rock art site is located at Castell de Castells, about 500 m asl, on the left bank of the Barranc de Malafi. The steep cliff face has a series of overhanging sections, shelters or abris, which were painted during the Neolithic, about 8,000 years BP. There are eight shelters of which five have visible painted motifs. Four of the shelters show a figure which resembles a praying person in a central position. In front of the paintings, a few meters from the rock wall, a large stone stands out on the ground that could be related to the meaning of the pictorial representations. One of the shelters contains a small but exceptional Levantine Art motif which is much younger, only 3,000 years old. It shows a wounded deer, which may have been part of a hunting scene of which only the prey has survived.

The Pla de Petracos is one of the best preserved sites with rock art in the Valencian Community. At the time when the paintings were made, it was a sanctuary. A place of worship, for people united by deep beliefs, in which fertility and fecundity, the agricultural cycle or family ties took on a special role.

The valley is today used for growing olives. There is a small parking lot, only big enough for two or three cars, but it was paved lately. If it is full, there is a bigger parking lot 200 m down the road. On the other side is a staircase made of natural rocks, which is quite noticeable. It is the begin of the trail, it is about 10 minutes walk to the paintings. First cross the dry riverbed, then follow the trail to the right, where a building stands. Its an old farm with several small buildings around a central courtyard, the buildings are renovated but closed. They are probably used by the archaeologists. This is the last building of the hamlet Petracos. From here the trail turns to the left and finally reaches the foot of the cliff face. There is a wide platform, where the debris was leveled, which allows a good view on the artworks.

Explanatory signs were erected, which explain what we currently know about the paintings. There intention, the kind of pigments used, and the technique how they were created. The shelters and the signs are fenced, to protect them from vandalism. But the best way to protect them, is by making all visitors aware of their importance,

Early in September the village holds a great fiesta under the old trees in the ancient settlement of Petracos. On Saturday the trees are lit with coloured lights, music, food and dancing goes on through the night. On Sunday morning the Saint is carried in a procession from the village church to Petracos. A mass is held under the trees. Then the families gather for an aperitif before cooking their paella’s for lunch.