The Ruins of Empúries (Costa Brava)

Empúries (originally called “Emporion”, meaning “trading place” in Greek) was a colony founded by the Greeks in the 6th century BC.


A few centuries later came the Romans, and they liked so much the place, that they decided to include it and its picturesque surroundings (the whole Iberian Peninsula) in their vast empire. They called this new portion of the Roman Empire “Hispania” (Spain & Portugal today)

roman wall

And a few years later (2,200 years, roughly speaking), Covetotop visited Empúries armed with his reflex camera just to blog about this ancient mess.

Covetotop in Empúries

The Ruins of Empúries consist mainly of ruins and Mediterranean ambience.

Empúries Roman houses

Seagulls are regular visitors of the Ruins of Empúries.

Empúries seagulls

A powerful defensive wall surrounded Empúries.

Defensive wall

Empúries had an Acropolis somewhere …

Acropolis Empuries

Empúries had an Asklepieion (a therapeutic and religious center consecrated to the Greek god of medicine Asklepios) ….


In 1992 the Olympic flame arrived from Greece in this ancient city on its way to Barcelona, for the 1992 Olympic games. A modern monument commemorates that event.

Olympic flame in Empuries

The Roman houses of Empúries were luxurious –I guess- and had chic mosaics, extraordinarily well preserved …

Roman mosaics of Empuries


Roman Empuries

Mosaics by the Mediterranean Sea

Mosaico Ampurias

The older Greek houses of Empúries had simpler mosaics …

Greek town of Empúries

Weak minded and poor of spirit people wouldn’t see anything but stones and chaos everywhere …

Empúries Roman baths

… but Covetotop’s readers (all of them are sensitive and incredibly intelligent people) would experience an overwhelming feeling of history, art, culture, cosmos, philosophy, tempus fugit, delenda est Carthago, etc., if they ever visit this magic place.

Greek town of Empúries

Talking about Carthago, in 218 BC, during the Second Punic War, the Roman army under Gnaeus Cornelius Scipio landed at the port of Empúries in order to attack the Carthaginian troops that were boring everybody in the Iberian Peninsula by then. Scipio won and, consequently, the Roman culture and the Latin language prevailed in the whole Iberian Peninsula up to a few years before the arrival of pop culture and trash tv.

Greco Roman wharf of Empúries

In 2014 AD Covetotop swam around the very same Greco-Roman wharf of Empúries where General Scipio landed. This is an incredible place to swim, because the ancient wall is extraordinarily well preserved. The beach is nice and the feeling of history is guaranteed.

Ancient harbor of Empúries

Swimming in archaeological sites always makes me hungry.

Swimming by the ancient  wharf

Not far away from Empúries (a few minutes walking by idyllic beaches) it is the fishing town of l’Escala. A wonderful coastal path connects both locations (see my post “The Coastal Path of Empúries“).

Empúries beach

Getting to l’Escala takes less time if you ride a bicycle …

Empúries beach 2

At l’Escala there are superb and sophisticated restaurants, like “El Molí de l’Escala” or “El Roser 2”, but taking into account that I am not superb nor sophisticated, I opted for the traditional and economical “El Roser” (founded by the grandparents of the fashionable “El Roser 2” owners).

Roser Ampurias

It is located just behind the church of  l’Escala …

l'Escala church

(Note to my readers: this blog is not sponsored by anybody; moreover, nobody at the restaurants or places I visit is ever aware that Covetotop is there. My recommendations are always very personal)

This Greco-Roman day I ate the menu of the day at the old “El Roser”: lobster cream and a delicious paella, plus dessert, mineral water and a bottle of local white wine for just 14 Euros (19 USD).

Lobster cream

Paella El Roser

Ave Caesar!

PD: The official web page of the archeological park of Empúries is this one:


About Covetotop

A Mediterranean blogger
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16 Responses to The Ruins of Empúries (Costa Brava)

  1. Sarah says:

    The art work on the floors is phenomenal! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Empuries looks more interesting than the ruins of Carthage…well, after Carthage had been ‘delenda’d and rebuilt, anyway….

    • Covetotop says:

      Thanks for commenting, Helen. I am afraid that I have never been at the ruins of old Carthage and cannot compare. But I have visited the ruins of Carthago Nova (New Carthage), and they are pretty amazing. Carthago Nova is the modern Cartagena (southeastern Spain, in the Mediterranean coast). Cartagena was to live its period of greatest splendour under Roman rule between the end of the 3rd Century B.C. and the beginnings of the 2nd Century A.D. You have more info about this wonderful and little known city here:

      • We weren’t too impressed by old Carthage…but the museum in Tunis had the most remarkable collection of mosaic…for the first time I saw what a real art it could be!

        We hope to be in Spain in the autumn, at our house in the hills behind Castellon de la Plana….but I know I won’t be able to get as far as Cartagena this time as we have only just taken over the house and it will need a lot of time and attention…..but one of these days…!

      • Covetotop says:

        The hills (and the coast) of Castellón are nice. I understand you …

  3. harri8here says:

    Superb C2T, muchas gracias for sharing these phenomenal mosaics.
    You have a knack of communicating the very essence of a place.

  4. Trish says:

    What a superb and sophisticated blog post! Excellent photo of the wharf you swam around. Sounds very enjoyable. And aren’t mosaic floors amazing? They last forever, it seems.

    • Covetotop says:

      Thank you Trish! 🙂 The mosaic floors are certainly amazing, and they are very well preserved. Romans (or their poor slaves) worked really hard putting togheter those thousands of little pebbles.

  5. It’s been a long time since your last post Covetotop, but I’m happy to see you’re back!

    I remember being quite nearby Empuries when I was in Roses. Wish I had known about El roser, the paella looks excellent!

    • Covetotop says:

      Yes, I am a little far away from the digital world lately, but from time to time I come back. Empúries really deserves a visit … and the paella was in fact excellent! Thanks for visiting, Nathan!

  6. a ferreira says:

    Tempus fugit, really!
    I myself haven’t been blogging often and so I miss my favourite bloggers’ posts!
    Another splendid virtual tour, Covetotop, I’m a bit crazy about roman mosaics (and ruins), these are superb! And just through your words and images, there’s certainly a feeling of history, art, culture, cosmos, philosophy, tempus fugit, delenda est Carthago, … but also of swimming and walking by idyllic beaches and fishing towns! Great! 🙂

    • Covetotop says:

      Gratias tibi ago, Ana, for your kindorum commentarium! 🙂

      • a ferreira says:

        Can you believe that Google translater says your reply is Indonesian? I checked it 😉 just in case I was missing something of your multi-language skills. 🙂 Is there a chance that you also know greek? That greek mosaic is so simple and so lovely, I’ve never seen anything like it and I’m curious about what may be written there.

      • Covetotop says:

        Multi-language skills? Thank you, but I must confess that “kindorum commentarium” was a psicodelical invention of my own. I just pretended to turn English (“kind comment”) into something that sounded like Latin. As far as Greek is concerned, my vocabuary is limited to television, telepathia, cronological … and a bunch of words like these. I am afraid that I don’t have the slightest idea about the meaning of that mosaic 😦 Gratias tibi ago means “thank you” in Latin (if I am not wrong). So, gratias tibi ago, again, Ana 😉

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