It was originally a refuge for fishermen and is now a modern town that was developed due to the creation of what is now the International Station and the opening of the railway line in 1872. It originally belonged to the municipal area of Colera and has been independent since 1934. The passing of trains and the customs office is the town’s main activity.
We should mention the funeral monument in memory of Walter Benjamin and all the European refugees of the Second World War. It features contemporary architecture and comprises a walkway looking out to the sea, a platform-vantage point, an olive tree and the philosopher’s grave. It is the work of Dani Karavan and was officially opened in 1994.
Building work on the Santa Maria de Portbou parish church began in 1879. The façade is ornate with relief work of the Sun, the Moon and figures and was restored by Frederic Marès. In the altarpiece behind the altar is the Virgin Mary by Frederic Marès (Portbou 1893 – Barcelona 1991). The tabernacle and the cross are works of Domènech Fita (1927). Inside the church, there are thirteen stained-glass windows between the buttresses. The bell tower measure 36 m tall at the base.
Querroig mount, stands 670 m tall and closes Portbou valley and the northernmost point of the county of Empordà. On the mount are the remains of the fort, which had already been documented in the 10th century. Walking to the top is not difficult. You can reach it along the forest path that goes from the El Frare hill on the old N-260. Next to it, the Catalan flag flutters constantly as a mark of the historical and cultural unity of these lands. As we reach the summit, we will have crossed two states and three municipal areas: Portbou, Cervera and Banyuls de la Marenda.