The greatest monument in Catalonia is also the largest bastioned fortress in Europe. The Castle of Sant Ferran occupies an area of 550,000 m² at the top of the hill of Figueres. As a good frontier Castle, the location is unbeatable: It has good views of the Serra de l’Albera, which creates the border with France, and the Gulf of Roses.
Undoubtedly it was constructed to meet the need to reinforce the border after the Peace of the Pyrenees of 1659 and owes its name to King Ferran VI (Ferdinand VI). The fortification, which was begun in 1766 but was only completed in 1892, consists of two enclosures.
The interior, of more than 325,000 m2, consists of six bastions connected by stretches of wall. The size of the building cannot go unnoticed: stables with capacity for 500 horses, warehouses to store food for 10,000 people for a year, the main square, new pavilions for the accommodation of the officials and their families, and four big cisterns with a total capacity of nine million litres of water.
The exterior enclosure, with a perimeter of 3,120 metres, made up of three hornworks, seven ravelins and two counterguards. It is separated from the outside by a large moat of 10 hectares, which can currently be visited, including the underground galleries.
Its monumental dimensions have always made military activity both difficult and very costly which has frequently meant that it has not been used to its full potential. Since 1997 regular guided tours of the Castle of Sant Ferran have been organised.
- There are two types of visit to the castle that can be made: self-guided tours of the interior precinct; and supplementary visits around the exterior and the underground areas with a guide.