National Museum and Research Centre of Altamira


in short

The Museum of Altamira is a centre for conservation, research and communication about Cave of Altamira. The main reason for a visit to Altamira is to learn and know your earliest art. In 1985 Altamira was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Museum building
© Museo de Altamira
Logo: National Museum and Research Centre of Altamira

National Museum and Research Centre of Altamira

in detail

The Museum of Altamira is a venue devoted to learning about, enjoying and experiencing the life of those who painted and inhabited the cave of Altamira. The museum’s most attractive offer is the possibility of becoming familiar with Altamira, humanity's first art. Based on scientific rigour and at the service of all types of users, it is a centre for preservation, investigation and dissemination of the cave of Altamira and Prehistory.

The Museum of Altamira is in charge of a legacy of maximum value that is recognised nationally and internationally: the cave of Altamira. Its mission is to manage this heritage in a responsible way for society's benefit. The Museum of Altamira generates knowledge about this heritage, its environment and historical and cultural context, and its mission is also to disseminate this scientific knowledge to everyone, no through curiosity or training, education or recreation.

The Cave of Altamira
The cave of Altamira is a milestone in universal art history and meant the discovery of Palaeolithic cave art and one of its most spectacular manifestations.
Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola began the initial archaeological research on the cave in 1879, and after discovering its art, attributed it to people from the Palaeolithic. Subsequently, archaeological research has enabled us to learn about the successive human occupations that have taken place over the last 22,000 years.
The showiness of the artistic expression of the cave's inhabitants was recognised by UNESCO, which in 1985 registered it on the World Heritage List. In 2008 this registration was extended to include another 17 caves with Palaeolithic rock art in the north of the Iberian Peninsula.

The Neocave
The Neocave presents Altamira as a Palaeolithic venue, a habitation site and a sanctuary. It is a meticulous, exact reproduction that is able to convey the beauty of the original. Made in full scale, it reconstructs what the cave of Altamira was like in Prehistory based on data provided by archaeological and geological research and the most cutting-edge topographical technology. In this sense, the Neocave is more faithful to the Palaeolithic cave than the real cave that has lasted until our day, because the interventions made in its interior during the modern era (walls, stairs, etc.) were not reproduced and it retains the large entrance existing prior to the rock falls that occurred in prehistory. The paintings have been reproduced with absolute fidelity to the original using the same artistic technique and the same natural colourings: charcoal, ochre and water.&nb
National Museum and Research Centre of Altamira
The new Altamira Museum is a modern, functional museum, integrated in the landscape. It is a museum where the latest technology and the most modern systems of communication take visitors back to the Times of Altamira.

It is a minimalist building integrated in the landscape as a continuation of the essence of Altamira Cave, planned to hold the replica of the famous Chamber of the Paintings, the permanent exhibition, laboratories, workshop rooms, lecture hall, library, cafeteria, and shop.

The protection of Altamira Cave was the main consideration when locating, planning and building the new museum, which was designed by Juan Navarro Baldeweg.

Visitors can stroll freely in the natural environment surrounding the museum building, and enjoy its magnificent scenery. To the nort, the typical green meadows of Cantabria can be seen, with the gentle hillsides and valley location of the village of Santillana del Mar. To the south, on clear days, the majestic mountanins of Picos de Europa and the ferile spurs of the Cantabrian Cordillera can be viewed. This large park has been restored with vegetable species that we know once existed around the cave, tahnks to pollen studies carried out on the sediments in Altamira cave.
3,00 / 1,50 EUR Free admission: Saturday after 2 pm and Sunday.
The museum on google maps:


Visitor entrance

National Museum and Research Centre of Altamira
Av. Sanz de Sautuola
39330 Santillana del Mar
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Opening Times

09:30 - 15:00
09:30 - 20:00
09:30 - 20:00
09:30 - 20:00
09:30 - 20:00
09:30 - 20:00
Summer (May - October): Tue - Sat from 9:30 to 8 pm. Sundays and holidays from 9:30 to 3 pm.

Winter (November - April): Tue - Sat from 9:30 to 6 pm. Sundays and holidays from 9:30 to 3 pm.

Closes on mondays and Jan 1,6, May 1, Dec 24, 25 and 31. - The exhibition portal for Europe