This is a main tourist attraction in Collioure and definitely worth visiting when in the area. The history of the site is quite fascinating since over the years it has actually been the location of four castles. Below is a brief timeline of its existence.
It is known that the Rousillon area was conquered by the Romans around 120 BC and the Visogoths occupied the area from 418. The first time there is mention of this location in Collioure was when the King of the Visogoths attacked the fortified site in 673 to restrain a rebellion.
Moving to the 12th century, Girard II a Count of Roussillon bequeathed his land to the King of Aragon. Under the King’s direction work was undertaken in the town in order to improve the financial position of Collioure. The Knights Templar built the castle in 1207 and converted it to the Royal Castle in 1345.
A second castle was built by the Kings of Majorca during the 13th and 14th centuries and was used as a central travelling point and summer home.
During the 16th century it was turned into what was considered a modern fortress by the Spanish Hapsburgs who strengthened and reinforced it considerably.
Collioure was a strategic point in the war between the Spanish and French. In 1642 there was a stand off in which the Spanish eventually surrendered only due to the destruction of their water wells. In 1659 the region of Roussillon formally passed back to the French at which time Vauban, a French military engineer reinforced, yet again, the castle and it surrounding walls.
The castle was designated a historical monument in 1922 and was also a prison in 1939 and a camp for Spanish refugees escaping from Franco during the Spanish Civil War.
Currently it is open daily for visitors. It is often the site of art expositions and also the location of the annual Collioure Christmas Market. Be sure to check out this incredible historical monument – the views from the ramparts are incredible!