Fortress of Salses
Built at the turn of the 16th century to guard the former border of France and Catalonia, the Fortress of Salses boasts a strategic location between the Corbières Mountains and the coastal lake of Étang de Salses. Remarkably preserved, it’s notable for its medieval architecture and impressive fortifications.
Visitors can explore the ground floor of the fort on a self-guided tour, including the grounds and stables, but access to the upper-floor galleries, keep, and battlements is by guided tour only. Tours are included in the ticket price and run regularly in high season. It’s worth purchasing skip-the-line tickets in advance, especially if you’re visiting during the peak months of July and August.
Things to Know Before You Go
Entrance is free for children under 18 and EU citizens under 26.
Guided tours are conducted in French only, but English-language information boards are located around the castle.
A combination ticket is available for the Fortress of Salses and Fontfroide Abbey.
Visitor facilities include free parking, restrooms, and a gift shop.
Some parts of the fort are wheelchair-accessible.
How to Get There
The fortress is about a 25-minute drive north of Perpignan. Hourly trains run from Perpignan to the village of Salses-le-Château and take around 20 minutes. The fort is about a 15-minute walk from the train station.
When to Get There
The Fortress of Salses is open daily year-round, but opening times vary throughout the year, so be sure to check ahead. Weekends and holidays can get busy, especially in July and August, when a morning visit is recommended.
History and Architecture of the Fortress
Built by order of King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella of Spain, the fort has a long history of battles, captures, and sieges. It changed hands between the French and Spanish repeatedly in the 16th and 17th centuries, finally being taken by the French in 1642. Designed to be impregnable, the castle features drawbridges, a keep, artillery towers, and curtain walls.