Sant Pere de Ribes has a lot to see and enjoy. A good example of this is the castle of Ribes. Also known as Bell-lloc castle or Sota-ribes castle, it is one of the buildings with the most history of our population and a valuable cultural heritage for the area that has been renovated as a cultural space.
Ribes Castle: one of the things you have to see in Sant Pere de Ribes
It is not only a nice symbol on our shield. The Castle of Ribes has a history and environment worthy of a visit. Will you accompany us to discover this space a little more?
What is Ribes castle like
Before we start, let us explain that over the centuries the original structure of the castle has been clearly reduced. Today a defense tower and two of the naves are preserved. In the tower, which dates from the late twentieth century and has a circular plan design and 17 meters high and 7 in radius, we can see two floors covered with turns, the typical windows that served as triggers, a portal with the classic horseshoe arch and well-kept battlementsof the time.
For more than 50 years, the castle of Ribes or Bell-lloc has been classified by the Generalitat de Catalunya as a Cultural Asset of National Interest in the category of Historical Monument.
The history of the castle of Ribes
Wars, conquests, advances in medieval society, music and art … Ribes Castle is one of the clear protagonists of our rich historical legacy. Discover all the history that treasure its walls:
The castle’s rugged beginnings
Although its exact origins are not known, the first time this castle appears documented is in the letter of frankness and settlement that the town of Ribes received from Bishop Vives (974-995) and which dates from the year 990.
This document granted favorable treatment to the inhabitants of Ribes towards their feudal lord. This distinction, which served to promote the growth of certain areas and / or try to prevent their migration, became very popular in the middle of the Middle Ages. However, Ribes was one of the pioneers in receiving this privilege throughout the Catalan territory together with Cardona and Montmell.
The castle was linked to the bishopric of Barcelona since its inception, serving as the seat of the capital in the lands of Garraf. However, we cannot know much more about the building that was originally located here since it was razed by Almanzor in one of his raids in the area back in 985.
The first occupations of the castle
Once rebuilt, Ribes Castle was occupied by Viscount Geribert of Barcelona due to a conflict with the bishopric. Although he died in 1020, the fortress continued to be occupied until 1039 first by Ermengarda de Barcelona, Geribert’s wife, and later by his son, Folc Geribert, who returned the castle to the clergyman.
It did not last long in the hands of the bishopric since in 1041 the castle was invaded by Mir Geribert, youngest son of the Viscount of Barcelona, who was there for almost 20 years.
The arrival of the Ribes family and return to the bishopric
In 1060 Ribes castle was recovered by Guislabert, a cousin of Folc and Mir who, during his time as Viscount of Barcelona, supported his cousin’s revolts to, later as bishop, reconquer the territory on behalf of the church. The latter returned the fortification to the central bishopric of Barcelona who, in turn, decided to entrust it to the Ribes family.
This family, a key part of the history of Sant Pere de Ribes, was in the castle until the beginning of 1389. Thereafter the enclave returned to the hands of the bishopric, who took charge of it until 1836.
The castell de Ribes becomes the home of an artist
After more than a century of disuse and with much of its structure already lost, in 1970 the castle became the home of the dancer, choreographer and virtuoso of the castanet José de Udaeta. This famous artist of the 50s, 60s and 70s fills the castle with art and character, respecting at all times the original architecture and ornamentation of the castle.
Ribes Castle today: visiting the tower
Although the castle has been closed to the public for many years, the Ribes castell site has recently been rehabilitated in order to once again become a point of reference for the town. Today it not only serves as a museum, but also serves as a cultural space, hosting all kinds of activities.
Guided visit to Ribes castle
Since mid-2021, the Castell de Ribes offers guided tours for all those who want to immerse themselves in the history of the place. In them we can, in addition to touring the castle and its facilities, enjoy a recreation of the evolution that life has experienced in the town from the 900s to the present, as well as learn more about the life and work of its last occupant: José de Udaeta.
Visits to Castell de Ribes are normally carried out from Friday to Sunday in 2 shifts (10:00 and 18:00) and can be booked in both Catalan and / or Spanish as well as in English. It should be noted that they also have a guided tour of the Ribes castle for children between 5 and 12 in which they can discover the space through a map with a game of clues.
The price of the guided visitto Castell de Ribes is € 5 per person and € 2.5 for children between 5 and 8 years old (from 0 to 4 have free entry) and you can buy themhere.
Activities and events at the castle
In addition to the visits, the Bell-lloc castle has been renovated to host all kinds of events. So far we have been able to see video projections and concerts on the occasion of the Udaeta Festival, whose first edition took place at the end of May 2021.
Although the current situation and the restriction of capacity have not allowed the development of new activities, it is expected that Ribes Castle will soon accommodate new proposals such as workshops, talks, live musicand much more. You can learn more about the new activities by clicking here.
Plan your getaway to Castell de Ribes
Whether with family or friends, a visit to the castle is always an excellent plan for the weekend. In addition to the cultural tour, its location makes it the perfect target for those who enjoy excursions in contact with nature and even for photography lovers in search of beautiful panoramas. In fact, it is possible to find various routes in wikiloc that pass through the castle of Ribes. Among all we highlight this circular route to Ribes castle, perfect for stretching your legs and getting a little hungry.
If you don’t feel like doing sports, Sant Pere de Ribes and its surroundings hide other perfect treasures to complete a day away from home. Visiting centuries-old farmhouses, taking a route through the best wineries in Sant Pere de Ribes, visiting the Garraf Buddhist monastery or disconnecting on the beach are just some of the options that the area offers you.
Where is it and how to get to Ribes castle
The castle rests on top of a small hill located at the junction of the Riera de Ribeswith the Torrent de l’Espluga, a few meters from the Cemetery. This area, currently known as Sota-Ribes and located at the gates of the town in the direction of Vilanova i la Geltrú, was the authentic center of Sant Pere de Ribes centuries ago, with the old parish and a small nucleus of houses also being found here.
Getting to the Castell de Ribes is very easy. By car we just have to take the C-32 until exit 26 (BV-2113 road)and follow the indications that we find towards it. If we prefer to walk, the Ribes castle is just a few minutes’ walk from any point in Sant Pere de Ribes. From the Caburé, for example, it will only take you 15 minutes … and we are located at the other end of the town.
We leave you here the exact location of the castle of Ribes so that you can calculate the best route for you.
Castell de Ribes Cava and Wine: Does it have something to do with it?
At present we can find at least two Castell de Ribes produced by different wineries, although with a common denominator: the D.O. Penedes. One of them, the Rocamar winery, uses this name to make Castell de Ribes wines. Available in white, red and rosé, these have very good evaluations by winemakers and critics, who classify them as fresh and fruity wines at a very competitive price(between € 3.5 and € 6 a bottle).
On the other hand, we have the Castell de Ribes cava made by Joan Sardà, perhaps the better known of the two. This family winery, whose history dates back to 1927 and is currently run by the grandchildren of the founders, has a collection of wines and sparkling wines that pay tribute to different iconic locations in the area. Castell de Ribes cava can be found in its Brut version and in the Brut Rosé version, and whose prices range between € 6 and € 9 per bottle.
Where to eat in the castle of Ribes
Although there is nowhere to eat around the castle, you can find various restaurants in Sant Pere de Ribes itself. Without going any further, ours, the Caburé, is located less than 5 minutes by car(15 on foot) from the Castell de Ribes. Here you will find a relaxed atmosphere in which to enjoy all kinds of Mediterranean cuisine. Discover our menu.