From 550 euros p.p. sharing
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 Santander or Bilbao, collect your self drive hire car and proceed to Santillana del Mar for 3 nights.
This morning enjoy visiting Santillana del Mar, declared a national monument, and considered to be one of the prettiest towns in Spain. A great number of its 15th to 17th century houses and buildings still remain; the town is a veritable living museum. The Romanesque Collegiate Church of Santa Juliana is especially delightful. The prehistoric paintings of the famous Altamira Caves (now closed to the public) can be appreciated from the exact replicas of the caves which have been recreated in the museum nearby. This afternoon visit the seaside town of San Vicente de la Barquera, with its Romanesque cathedral and castle.
A day spent visiting western Cantabria. Potes is a ancient little town full of old balconied houses. The 15th century Torre del Infantado is a notable defensive tower. West of Potes is Santo Toribio de Liebana, which was founded in the 7th century and is one of the most revered spots in the Picos de Europa.
In Fuente De, not far from Potes, take the breathtaking cable car ride up into the Picos mountains. Enjoy hiking down and a wekll earned lunch perhaps a the Parador de Fuente De before returning to Santillana del Mar.
Today we leave Santillana and head to the charming capital of Cantabria, Santander for a 2 night stay.
Santander, once a summer resort of the Spanish royal family, is today a bustling port and a splendid city by the sea with several fine beaches including the magnificent Sardinero beach.
Worth visiting are the 12th century Cathedral which was rebuilt in 1941, after a devastating fire; the bars, cafes and restaurants of the Puerto Chico; the small zoo and gardens of the Palace of Magdalena; the Museum of Archaeology and Prehistory; as well as simply soaking up the atmosphere of this attractive regional capital.
Today why not make your way to the Cabarceno Wildlife & Nature Reserve; a good example of environmental recovery, as the reserve is on the site of old iron mines. There are hundreds of species of animals to be found here and also good walking trails nearby.
Leaving Santander today, head east to the Trasmiera coast.
Visit the coastal towns of Laredo & Castro Urdiales. Laredo, with its long sandy beach, is one of Cantabria’s most popular beachside towns. It has an attractive old town built around the 13th century Church of La Asuncion.
Castro Urdiales, a charming fishing town, features the magnificent gothic church of Santa Maria perched atop a spectacular promontory.
Later continue to the beach town of Noja with it´s three splendid beaches of Trengandin, Ris and Joyal; three of the finest beaches in Cantabria. Here enjoy a 2 night stay.
Today enjoy touring the Trasmiera coast and tows such as Isla, Noja and Santona. This stretch of the Cantabrian coast is a continual alternation of cliff areas, important marshlands and magnificent beaches.
The beauty of Isla´s three towers (especially the one of Cabrahigo at the top of a smaill hill) and its history related to the Counts of Isla (whose palace from the 17th century can be admired in the village) make Isla one of the most attractive villages in Cantabria.
In Noja four splendid beaches capture the attention of most visitors to the town.
Santona is the tuna and anchovy capital of northern Spain and is a great place to try and buy these typical Spanish products. Santona also possesses a fine esplanade for strolling which boasts one of the few coastal bullrings in Spain, which is free to visit. Santona is overlooked by Mount Buciero, which offer great walking and hiking trails. A saturday market in Santona draws many visitors to the town.
Noja and Santoña Natural Wetlands Reserve, at the mouth of the river Asón, is a haven for nature and nature lovers. Many bird watchers gather here to observe the migratory birds.