Planning your summer vacation when living in Europe for a limited time can be challenging. We try to visit places most the children have never seen, work in some history, activity, food and relaxing. Hence our first day in Spain took us to the Saguntum fortress ruins.
It was the siege heard round the world–or at least the Mediterranean world. The year was 219 B.C. and Hannibal (of crossing the Alps with elephants fame) was about to set off the 2nd Punic War by taking Roman cities across Spain. In spite of the blazing heat that had them ducking into every bit of shade, our four sons had a great time hiking, climbing, and clambering through prickly pear cacti over the ruins billed in Spain as Castell de Sagunt, north of Valencia (pronounced Balenthia). We walked through time and history in one place that was first Roman, then Carthaginian, Roman again, Moorish, European medieval, and I even stood in modern cannon openings on one section of wall.
You can see from the photo I made at one end of the complex how distant the furthest parts of the fortification were (back left of image). Feral cats kept their distance as my eldest made an approach. Our youngest discovered pocked marble poking out from beneath a more recent addition. Our 2nd son tried to pick and eat a prickly pear which we learned was a recent addition supposedly brought back from the New World by Christopher Columbus to Spain. Experiential learning from 219 B. C. to 1492 left us hungry and longing for the AC in the car not to mentiona dip in the fabulous pool at our hotel (La Pinada -family apartment for 90 euro). You may prefer to stay near the Spanish castle or bridge used in Game of Thrones, but for our crew of active kids with education focused parents, Sagunto was well worth the visit.