We report the first apatite fission-track thermochronologic data for 17 samples from the southern Catalan Coastal Ranges of NE Spain. Thermal histories of Carboniferous metasediments, Late Hercynian intrusions and Lower-Triassic Buntsandstein sediments from three tectonics blocks, Miramar, Prades and Priorat, are derived and interpreted within the geodynamic framework and tectonic evolution of the region. The apatite fission-track ages range from 198 ± 24 to 38 ± 5 Ma and mean fission-track lengths are all < 13.3 μm. Samples throughout the study area underwent total track annealing during the Late Hercynian magmatic episode, followed by fast cooling prior to the deposition of Lower Triassic sediments. The Lower Triassic sediments and basement rocks underwent a temperature increase during a first Mesozoic rift phase in Middle Triassic-Early Jurassic times resulting in the complete or near complete annealing of the fission-tracks. During a second Mesozoic rifting stage, in Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous time, differential tectonic block activity is observed in the three studied tectonic blocks. Subsequently, during Late Cretaceous a long-period of thermal stability, detected in all samples, is related to the post-rift episode. The onset of fast cooling registered in the apatite fission track system during Paleogene times is related to the Pyrenean orogeny. Compressional forces associated with the ongoing southern migration of the convergence forces at the Iberian plate boundaries caused unroofing of about 2-3 km of material of the Prades and northwestern flank of the Priorat block. Extensional collapse in Late Oligocene-Miocene related to the Western Mediterranean rifting triggered the denudation of about 2 km of material from the southeastern flank of the Miramar, Prades and Priorat blocks. © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.