The Castle of Sant Joan is one of the most emblematic buildings and undoubtedly one of the most characteristic landscape elements of Blanes, along with the iconic Sa Palomera.
The Castle of Sant Joan was built between the 11th and 13th centuries. The first time it was heard of, it was the year 1001 and it belonged to the Viscount of Cabrera. We find it located at the top of the Sant Joan hill and it has a height of 173 meters above the sea, a characteristic that allows a panoramic view of the entire city of Blanes.
The Castle of Sant Joan was built to monitor the maritime incursions of pirates, especially in times when the kingdom of Mallorca was under Arab rule. This castle offered the population of Blanes a safe place when the invasions came.
It was formed by a walled enclosure 23 meters wide and 34 meters long, but the element that stands out the most is the tower with a cylindrical base 15 meters high. From the 15th century, together with the palace of the viscounts, it formed part of a great axis of fortifications that have been called the line of the castles of Tordera. These fortifications, which began in Montseny and ended in Blanes, had the mission of protecting the city of Barcelona from the north.
The castle gradually lost its strategic importance from the end of the 15th century. On the one hand, the Cabreras enjoyed a more comfortable and secure palace within the Villa, and on the other hand, the evolution of military technique with the introduction of gunpowder and artillery led to many fortifications, such as Sant Joan, practically useless.
The castle was abandoned until, between 1849 and 1859, a military optical telegraphy station was installed. During the Spanish civil war, it was used as a refuge.
About the hermitage of Sant Joan, it was built as a castle chapel and due to lack of space, it was located outside of the enclosure. It appears documented already at the beginning of the XIII century.
During the seventeenth century, it was a pilgrimage center for the day of Sant Joan Bautista. The current state of the church responds to a restoration in 1959 in which the roof was replaced and the local artist from Blanes M. Teresa Bedós painted the fresco. The paintings by the illustrator Pilarín Bayés are from 2007 and the current state of restoration corresponds to a performance from 2012.
The view of Blanes and its coastline profile from the castle, make it a must for all those who want to know the beauty of the Costa Brava and the profile of the Blanes coast. From here, you can also see the Serra de las Gavarres, the coastal mountain range, the Montseny, and even on a clear day, the Montjuïc mountain.