Northern Spain coastline
Suggested Spain Tours } Cantabria: City, Coast and County

Cantabria: City, Coast and County

<span>Cantabria, Santillana del Mar, Santa Juliana</span>Cantabria, Santillana del Mar, Santa Juliana
<span>Cantabria, Santillana. Cloisters, Santa Juliana</span>Cantabria, Santillana. Cloisters, Santa Juliana
<span>Cantabria, the Altamira cave paintings</span>Cantabria, the Altamira cave paintings
<span>Cantabria. San Vicente de la Barquera</span>Cantabria. San Vicente de la Barquera
<span>Cantabria. Potes</span>Cantabria. Potes
<span>Cantabria, Fuente Dé</span>Cantabria, Fuente Dé
<span>Cantabria. Fuente Dé cable car</span>Cantabria. Fuente Dé cable car
<span>Cantabria, Santander. The casino</span>Cantabria, Santander. The casino
<span>Cantabria, Santander. Waterfront</span>Cantabria, Santander. Waterfront
<span>Cantabria, Laredo</span>Cantabria, Laredo
<span>Cantabria. Castro Urdiales</span>Cantabria. Castro Urdiales
<span>Cantabria, the Picos de Europea</span>Cantabria, the Picos de Europea
<span>Cantabria. Reinosa</span>Cantabria. Reinosa
<span>Cantabria, Cares Gorge</span>Cantabria, Cares Gorge
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The proximity of the inland hills to the coast makes Cantabria a wonderfully diverse region.  Charming coastal towns and peaceful resorts have sprung up among the green fields and meadows where traditional farming is still very much a way of life.  Historical towns such as Santillana del Mar, Comillas and Barcena Mayor are just some of the architectural treasures to be found here. Being a relatively small province, the many facets of Cantabria can be comfortably explored in a short time.


Arrive in Cantabria and proceed to the accommodation of your choice in the beautiful village of Santillana del Mar. Note that both Santander and Bilbao airports are ideal to fly into. Or you can take the Brittany Ferry into either of these cities from the UK.


This morning enjoy visiting Santillana del Mar, declared a national monument, and considered to be one of the lovliest medieval towns in Spain.  A great number of its 15th to 17th century houses and mansions still remain; the town is a veritable living museum. The Romanesque Collegiate Church of Santa Juliana is especially interesting. The prehistoric paintings of the famous Altamira Caves (original closed to the public) can be appreciated from the exact replicas of the caves which have been recreated in the museum nearby. This afternoon why not visit the seaside towns of Comillas and San Vicente de la Barquera, with its Romanesque cathedral and castle. Accommodation of your choice in Santillana del Mar.


A day spent visiting western Cantabria. Potes is a charming ancient little town full of old balconied houses. The 15th century Torre del Ingantado is a notable defensive tower. West of Potes is the monastery of Santo Toribio de Liebana, which was founded in the 7th century and is one of the most revered spots in the Picos de Europa. Together with Santiago de Compostela, Rome, Jerusalem and Caravaca de la Cruz, Santo Toribio is one of the five places of Christianity that has the privilege of perpetual indulgences.   According to tradition, the monastery venerates the largest piece of wood from the Cross discovered in Jerusalem by Saint Helena of Constantinople. Brought from the Church of the Holy Sepulcher by Saint Turibius of Astorga, the left arm of the True Cross is kept on a gilded silver reliquary. 

In Fuente De, a short drive from Potes, one can take a spectacular ride on the cable car up into the Picos mountains.  Here there are some nice walks and it is even possible to hike back down to Fuente De on an incredibly scenic trail.  Accommodation of your choice in Santillana del Mar.


Santander, once a summer resort of the Spanish royal family, is today a bustling port and a splendid city. The 12th century Cathedral was rebuilt in 1941, after a devastating fire. Worth visiting are the small zoo and gardens on the grounds of the Palace of Magdalena, also the Museum of Archaeology and Prehistory, as well as strolling along the promenade by the Sardinero Beach. The views across the bay to Somo and Pedrena with the mountains in the distance are lovely.  A regular passenger ferry operates across the bay between Santander and Somo / Pedrena and is worth taking for the views alone. Accommodation of your choice in Santander.


Enjoy the day visiting the award winning Cabarceno Wildlife & Nature Reserve; a good example of environmental recovery, as the reserve is on the site of old iron mines.  It´s a wonderful place to spend the day. There are hundreds of species of animals to be enjoyed here.  The park allows visitors to drive around it and once inside there is a good choice of inexpensive restaurants to have lunch or you could take a picnic.  The birds of prey show is especially entertaining as is the sea lion performance.  Accommodation of your choice in nearby Santander.


Visit the eastern coastal towns of Laredo & Castro Urdiales. Laredo, with its long sandy beach, is one of Cantabria’s most popular beach resorts.  It has an attractive old town built around the 13th century Church of La Asuncion. Castro Urdiales, another charming fishing town features the magnificent gothic church of Santa Maria perched atop a spectacular promontory.  Later enjoy a walk along the stunning Trengandin beach in Noja.  Accommodation of your choice on the Trasmiera coast, east of Santander.


Return to your point of departure.


Suggested Itinerary Extension

Take a trip to Bilbao, the largest Basque city, which in recent times has enjoyed a well planned revitalisation bringing a new lease of life to this very charming old port.  Sights include the famous Guggenheim Museum, the Fine Arts Museum, a splendid Old Quarter, a lovely riverside walkway, a funicular ride that affords terrific views of the city.  Include a visit to the Puente Colgante; a remarkable Hanging Transporter Bridge built in 1893 and still in use today.  Accommodation of your choice on the Trasmiera coast, east of Santander.


Today enjoy a tour of the interior of Cantabria.  Travel through the mountains to the Embalse del Ebro where the River Ebro rises.  Visit Reinosa, a small town with some traditional stone houses.  This fertile region also features a winter ski resort, Alto Campoo.  From here continue to the charming old town of Barcena Mayor, which appears to have stood still in time.   This is a good place to buy local crafts.  Accommodation of your choice on the Trasmiera coast, east of Santander.





If you like the look of the above Suggested Tour we will gladly prepare a quote for you. The itinerary is not rigid and can be modified to suit your needs.

Below is a selection of the accommodation we would recommend for this tour. Click on the Hotel Code or info symbol for photographs and detailed information about each property. If you have registered to use our Spain Travel & Holiday Planner, you need only click on add to planner to insert it into your itinerary.

Cantabria: City, Coast and County Hotel Code Classification Information
3 nights in SANTILLANA DEL MAR CAN11 Country Inn
CAN28 Country Inn
CAN29 Country Inn w/ pool
CAN32 Country Hotel
2 nights in Santander CAN35 Central Hotel
1 night in Noja CAN15 Country House w/ pool
CAN22 Country House
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Cantabria: city, coast & county (10 days) Hotel Code Classification Information
3 nights in SANTILLANA DEL MAR CAN11 Country Inn
CAN28 Country Inn
CAN29 Country Inn w/ pool
CAN32 Country Hotel
2 nights in Santander CAN35 Central Hotel
3 nights in Noja CAN15 Country House w/ pool
CAN22 Country House
add to planner
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