Abrigo de Tortosilla

Useful Information

Location: Meeting point: Casas de Madrona (district of Ayora)
6 km from Alpera, in Cerro del Bosque. A-31 exit 136 Alpera, CM-3201 to Alpera, in the center left, after the town right, CV-438.
(39.021371, -1.220262)
Open: MAR to OCT Sun by appointment.
Fee: Adults EUR 3, Children (0-12) EUR 1.50, Seniors EUR 1.50.
Classification: SpeleologyErosional Cave ArchaeologyPainted Cave
Light: n/a
Guided tours: D=1 h, Min=10, Max=25. Español - Spanish English
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: Anna Alonso, Alexandre Grimal (2012):
100 años del hallazgo de Tortosilla (Ayora): primeros temas del Arte levantino y Esquemático en la Comunidad Valenciana
Varia X, Diputación de Valencia, Valencia, pp. 61-104. Español - Spanish
Inés Domingo, Rafael Rubio, Bruno Rives ed (2012):
Abrigo De Tortosillas 100 Aniversario De Su Descubrimiento
Primer Hallazgo De Arte Rupestre En La Comunidad Valenciana Ayora 14-16 Octubre 2011. Actas De Las Jornadas. Español - Spanish
Address: Ayuntamiento de Ayora, Marquesa de Zenete, 60, 46620 Ayora (Valencia), Tel: +34-96-219-10-25. E-mail:
Tourist Info, Virgen del Rosario, 35, Villa Isabelita, 46620 Ayora (Valencia), Tel: +34-96-189-06-58, WhatsApp: +34-676-546-110. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1911 the brothers Daniel and Pascual Serrano discover the first prehistoric complex in the Valencian Community.
191? visited by Henri Breuil, Juan Cabré and Pascual Serrano.
1985 declared an Asset of Cultural Interest.
1998 inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.


Abrigo de Tortosilla (Tortosilla Shelter) is a round, overhanging wall, a natural shelter, which is famous for prehistoric paintings. Such paintings became known in the late 19th century, Altamira was discovered in 1879 but people could not believe its authenticity. But in 1902 Henri Breuil stated publicly that he was wrong and that the paintings were real and apologized. Subsequently, all over France and Spain cavers and archaeologists reviewed caves and shelters for signs of prehistoric art. In the years before World War I numerous sites were discovered, in general long known sites, which were never checked for paintings. The brothers Daniel and Pascual Serrano searched in the Valencian Community. In 1911, they discovered the first site in the region here at Abrigo de Tortosilla. Soon numerous other sites were found in the vicinity.

Soon after, the site was visited by Henri Breuil, Juan Cabré, and Pascual Serrano. They made an inventory at that time, which was published as a book titled El arte rupestre en España in 1915. However, a lot of research was necessary, interrupted by two World Wars and the Franco regime, but finally the Spanish Historical Heritage Law of 1985 allowed the declaration of Assets of Cultural Interest. Tortosilla was protected with the highest priority. And finally it was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List with all the other sites in 1998.

The site shows realistic human and animal figures which belong to the Arte Rupestre Levantino (Levantine Rock Art).

This site is located quite remote, is not easy to find, is on private property, there are only very poor trails, and fortunately the main paintings are protected by an iron bar gate. Officially the site can only be visited by guided tour which must be booked in advance. The tours are arranged by the Ayora Town Hall. Nevertheless, it is quite dangerous for the ungated part, that the site is published on numerous websites. We were not sure if we should actually list this site, but it is important, and we hope that our description will actually protect the site.