A 30.000 pies por viajeros para viajeros


Trails through the most beautiful landscapes in Cantabria

Cantabria is pure nature. In a small territory there is a wide range of landscapes, lovely beaches, cliffs, green valleys with exuberant nature and even the greatest mountains at Picos de Europa (a.k.a. “the Picos”).

Through these routes of incomparable beauty the hidden secrets of Cantabria will be revealed in the perfect spot for the most demanding hikers.

The redwood forest in Monte Cabezón

Follow the path in this forest, which was declared a natural monument, is a great experience. Some people think that this kind of vegetation can only be found in California but that’s not true. At Monte de las Navas there are thick redwood forests where sequoias can reach 36 meters high. To get in the park, you should go to the limit between the towns of Cabezón de la Sal and Udías to take the path that leaves from the parking there.

Nansa valley

There are many routes you can choose here. One of the most famous is the thematic path dedicated to water, the river route in Nansa, which links many viewpoints, all linked to the hydrology of the valley and its natural heritage. It begins at Uznayo, where the Collavín river starts, and finishes at Tina Menor. In total, coming and going through this path takes around 14 kilometers, from the top to the river’s mouth.

Oyambre Natural Park

At the same coastal zone of Saja and Nanja there is the Oyambre Natural Park, which has one of the best-conserved coastlines in the area. It covers the area from Comillas to San Vicente de la Barquera, and includes the estuaries in La Rabia and San Vicente de la Barquera, with large areas of marshland, dunes and beaches like Oyambre. This is a beautiful natural landscape to discover, with the Picos de Europa as a background.

The Aliva route

The perfect route to follow would be to start from Fuente Dé, at the foothills of Picos de Europa, and to take the cable car to Mirador del Cable. From here, you can go down Horcadina de Covarrobes to reach the valley of Camaleño, with lovely views. The route takes about 11,5 kilometers and is doable in about 4 hours, more or less.

Along the Cantabrian coastline

One of the best-conserved sections of the Cantabrian coastline is the area that goes from La Tablía, in Suances, along the coast to Punta Ballota. It goes by the beaches of Sable de Tagle or San Telmo and through Ubiarco coastline until it reaches the inlet of Puerto Calderón. This is a pleasant route that takes about 10 kilometers, specially meant for families.

Caballo lighthouse

By the Buciero hill you can follow a route of about 12 kilometers that passes by the Caballo lighthouse and mysterious holm oak forests. The route starts in Santoña, passing by the coastline of Berria and the old prison in El Dueso. At the end, the reward is a stunning view from the cliff at the Caballo lighthouse.

The route from Faro de Cabo Mayor

If you prefer to stay in the city, there is a nice route in Santander that leaves from the lighthouse in Cabo Mayor, at the northern area of the city. This lighthouse is also a museum dedicated to the Cantabrian artist Eduardo Sanz and his hyperrealist work of marshes, waves and lighthouses. From here you can take a route that goes along the coast and ends at Virgen del Mar, taking about an hour and a half, in total, to complete.

Picture from Áliva by Florentino Alonso

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Magical Routes

The scenery in this land is highly varied, featuring the best of Cantabria, with its rugged coastline and inland landscapes blessed with nature in its pristine state. We are going to concentrate on two routes that traverse the province and boast an extraordinary historical and cultural legacy, studded with a host of priceless Romanesque churches. Both are listed as World Heritage by UNESCO.

The Northern Road to Santiago

Also known as the “Coastal Road” and running for 936 kilometres, in the Middle Ages it acted as a distribution network along the north of the Iberian Peninsula. The coastal road coincides roughly with the current layout of main roads, stretching across the whole region from east to west.

The miraculous discovery in 813 of the tomb of St James sparked the beginning of the pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela, situated at the western edge of the known world. This centre of pilgrimage gradually grew in importance, vying with others in Rome, Jerusalem and Liébana. The pilgrims took the roads that led westwards which were generally old Roman ways still in use. In addition to the main route, which led across the north of the Meseta, there were alternative routes like the coastal road, part of which ran through Cantabria’s maritime districts. Thus, the road led through Castro Urdiales, Comillas, Laredo, Santander, Santillana del Mar and San Vicente de la Barquera, all of which boast valuable medieval religious buildings, both Romanesque and Gothic.

You are advised to negotiate the route in nine stages:

Stage 1. El Haya de Ontón – Castro Urdiales (21 km)
This is the first stage on the Northern Road through Cantabria. It leads through Baltezana, Otañes, Santullán and Sámano. The route is smooth, with no marked slopes, and has restaurant facilities, rest areas and drinking fountains.

Stage 2. Castro Urdiales – Guriezo (12.9 km)
A short stage. It is worth taking time to visit the Gothic church of Santa María, particularly its interior. You will pass through the villages of Allendelagua, Cérdigo, Islares and Nocina. The standout stretch is the last three kilometres, with stunning views of the Cantabrian Sea.

Stage 3. Guriezo – Laredo (23.1 km)
This takes you through Rioseco, Tresagua, Lugarejos, Iseca Nueva, Sopeña and, on the way to Laredo, through Iseca Vieja, Las Cárcobas and Valverde. The most prominent features include the hillside walk which culminates in your first glimpses of the Liendo Valley, the beautiful scenery around San Julián beach, and the town of Laredo, with memories of its medieval and modern history cast in stone.

Stage 4. Laredo – Güemes (36 km)
The municipalities traversed on this stage are Santoña, Argoños, Helgueras, Noja, Soano, Isla, Bareyo and Güemes. Noteworthy in Laredo is its 16th-century Town Hall. This is followed by a stroll along the beaches of Salvé, which stretches for over 4 kilometres, and Berria. When you come to Bareyo, make sure you visit its church, a gem of the Cantabrian Romanesque.

Stage 5. Güemes – Santander (18 km)
A short stage which allows you to explore the capital of Cantabria more fully. The places you pass through are Galizano, Somo, Pedreña and Santander. In the capital, the acclaimed landmarks include the historic centre and the Reina Victoria promenade. Don’t miss out on the Jardines de Pereda and the Cathedral, set behind the post office, in addition to the Iglesia del Cristo, where you can get your pilgrim credentials, both for the Road to Santiago and the Lebaniego Road.

Stage 6. Santander – Santillana del Mar (40 km)
Peñacastillo, Santa Cruz de Bezana, Puente Arce, Requejada, Barreda and Queveda are the population centres you traverse on this stage. From a cultural standpoint, the most striking landmarks are the 16th-century Arce bridge and the town of Santillana del Mar, a medieval museum in itself.

Stage 7. Santillana del Mar – Comillas (24.6 km)
This is a beautiful stage which, like the previous one, can be broken into two parts. One as far as Cóbreces and the other up to Comillas. Both are worthy of stopovers as they boast historical complexes. And, make sure you don’t miss the villa of the Marqueses de Comillas with its Catalan Modernist features.

Stage 8. Comillas – San Vicente de la Barquera (12.5 km)
The highlights of this stage are undoubtedly the above two towns, and the scenery along the Cantabrian seaboard which connects them. The route takes you through Rubárcena, La Rabia, Guerra, Rupuente and La Braña. Keep your camera or mobile handy as you’ll be passing through the Oyambre Nature Reserve and some idyllic beaches.

Stage 9. San Vicente de la Barquera – Unquera (16.4 km)
Everywhere you look around you reveals stunning scenery. Behind you lies the town of San Vicente and, to the front, the spectacular Picos de Europa mountain range. This stage takes you through La Acebosa, Hortigal, Estrada, Serdio and Pesués. While you’re at it, between San Vicente de la Barquera and Unquera you can take a detour at Muñorrodero if you also want to do the Lebaniego Road.

The Lebaniego Road

This is one of the most important and beautiful pilgrim routes. In fact, 2017 will be a Jubilee Year in Liébana. The Lebaniego Road runs from San Vicente de la Barquera to the Monastery of Santo Toribio, passing through the municipalities of Val de San Vicente, Herrerías, Lamasón, Peñarrubia, Cillorigo, Potes and Camaleño. The route traverses some beautiful natural spots and boasts fine examples of Cantabria’s architectural heritage. It also provides access to the Northern Road (or Coastal Road), the French Road and the Road to Santiago from the routes in León and Palencia, pointing to the historic ties between the diocese of Liébana and the kingdoms of León and Castile. Many pilgrims make the journey to Santo Toribio and then connect up with the two roads to Santiago for the purpose of attaining both credentials. It is advisable to negotiate this route in three stages:

1st Stage. San Vicente – Cades (28 km):

San Vicente de la Barquera is one of the major and most touristic towns in Cantabria. Although outside the scope of the pilgrim’s route, it also features interesting sites like the 13th-century Castillo del Rey, the 15th-century Convent of San Luis, where Charles V lodged before being proclaimed king in 1517, the bridge known as Puente de la Maza and the Sanctuary of La Barquera, both dating from the 15th century. From there you set out to Serdio, and on to the mountain trail that leads to Muñorrodero. The trail ends in Camijanes. You then pass through Cabanzón with its Medieval Tower and, finally, you come to Cades.

2nd Stage. Cades – Cabañes (30.53 km):

From Cades, you head for La Fuente. There you can visit the Church of Santa Juliana, one of the jewels of Romanesque art in Cantabria, listed as a Cultural Interest Site. After reaching Cicera, the road leads to Lebeña, passing through an oak and beech forest with millennial specimens, as well as field mushrooms of all kinds in season. The route ends in Cabañes after negotiating a slope.

3rd Stage. Cabañes – Santo Toribio (13.7 km):

The first stop is in Pendes, which you cannot leave without trying Liébana’s typicalquesucocheese. From there, the road leads to Tama, and then on to Potes, with its impressive Torre del Infantado, the town’s most emblematic landmark and one of the finest in Cantabria. It makes a priceless picture with the Picos de Europa in the background. Finally, you come to the Monastery of Santo Toribio, where the Lignun Crucis is venerated. The classical Gothic and Baroque monastery was built from the 13th to the 18th century. It features the 15th-century Gate of Pardon which is opened every Lebaniego Jubilee Year; that is, every time 16 April falls on a Sunday, the feast of the monk St Toribio, a historic figure acclaimed for having brought the Lignum Crucis to Liébana. This is regarded as the largest relic of Christ’s Cross.

Full information on the Road can be found here. In addition to the information, news and routes, there is a link to a map of the Road.

Millennary Yet Modern Road

The Lebaniego Road was the first pilgrim’s route to have a wi-fi internet connection, thanks to the project, Camino Lebaniego en Red. The connection is achieved via a system of waymarkers that provide a signal throughout the route. The technology enables travellers to interact with one another, access information and share their experience with other pilgrims. It is also accessible to people with disabilities and is generally designed as a comprehensive system for those covering the 72 kilometres of road. More information here.

So, take up your backpack and don your sturdy footwear for the journey. Live out the experience of the Road for yourself. Check out our flights here.


Text and images by Turismo de Cantabria

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From La Porticada to Puertochico

In Santander, we have met one of these persons who knows the town like the back of his hand. While he is talking about history and curiosities of Santander, he takes us through different bars and taverns in order to show us every specialty of each place.

At a dramatic pace we go from one tavern to other while he recommends us tasting the best bite of cod, or he warns how rude is the waiter in that place but let´s going in because they have the best seafood! Or “here there is the bestpiconcheese you can ever taste” There is no time to waste because in Santander there are many good taverns and he wants to show us all of them (or, at least, he will try)

The tavern tour is not quite expensive, because in Santander bites and plates are cheaper than in other northern towns. Bites cost between €1 and €2,50 and plates between €6 and €18 depending on what is ordered.

From beautiful Plaza Porticada (arcaded square), that hosted the International Festival of Santander for many years, to the popular neighborhood of Puertochico let´s walk around the excellent cuisine of Santander!

El Marucho
Calle Tetuán 21

Typical restaurant and bar without any comfort but where you can enjoy some exellent fish and seafood well-priced. Here we tasted some extraordianr rabas. During the high season it is not easy to find a place.

La Flor de Tetuán
Calle Tetuán 18

The specialty of this bar is fish and seafood. Prize is higher than in other local places but they serve the best grilled shrimp in Santander (plate costs about €12). Rabas, barnacles, spatter ... all the seafood is great!.

La Bodega de Santoña
Calle Peña Herbosa 21, enfrente del edificio del Gobierno Regional

Typical products from Cantabria like cheese and anchovies.

Casa Lita
Paseo de Pereda 37, al lado de Puerto chico

Great assortment of tapas and snacks from the more classic ones, like the bite of tortilla (Spanish omelette) to their own specialty Cantabrian bite. His chef, Joseba Guijarro, has one Michelin star and Casa Lita has awards for the quality of its bites.

Bodega Fuente Dé
Calle Peña Herbosa

Here we find picón cheese, an excellent blue cheese made in Cantabria. When you get into Bodega Fuente Dé, a hard mix of smells of cheese and pickles bits your nose. Few minutes later, this smell develops in an addictive fragance.They also serve tapas and typical dishes like cocido montañés, cocido lebaniego or picadillo de Potes.

El Solorzano
Calle Peña Herbosa 17

Vermouth with siphon. Great assortisment of tapas, mussels, rabas (squid rings), (tentacles), and many others.

El Diluvio
Calle General Mola 14

Just like Casa Lita, this place is a pioneer in Santander in serving elaborated tapas as País Vasco style. La Cigaleña
Daoiz y Velarde, 19

Un auténtico museo del vino en el que probar especialmente la tapa de bacalao rebozado. Riquísimas.

Tapas y Vinos
Calle Marcelino Sautuola

Rioja wine well-served and excellent tapas. The best one is the Spanish omelette with pork rinds.

El Tivoli
Calle Marcelino Sautuola

Exquisite squid rings and tentacles and very well served portions of ham.

La Conveniente
Calle de Gómez Oreña, 9

With to El Marucho, it is one of the most frequented by Santander visitors. Good plates of anchovies and fried bites served on big tables, that we ate all together listening a piano music.

El Cañadio
Calle de Gómez Oreña, 15

Excellent tapas cooked by one of the best chefs in the town. Here we ended the tapas tour because we ate too much not because there were no more bars or restaurants.

When we were returning home, he still recommended us to go to El Riojano (that looks like a museum with its painted by celebrities barrels), La Gloria, El Cantabria, Las Hijas de Florencio, La Malinche, Días de Sur, La Bodega de Jesús Quintanilla...

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Must-see in Santander

Cabárceno Park: an ideal place to spend the day with the family and feel in touch with nature. This is not your typical zoo but a park where you can see around a hundred animals living in semi-freedom. The more than 20 kms of tracks covering the park take you through fantastic gorges, tranquil lakes and evocative rocky features.

Caves of Altamira: Cantabria’s most famous image and the most important Paleolithic cave discovery. The cave is situated near Santillana del Mar and has been a World Heritage Site since 1985.

Comillas: 20 km from Santander, Comillas is one of the most interesting towns from an architectural point of view and in addition, offers a beautiful beach.

Fabulous beaches : Santander has wonderful urban beaches such as El Sardinero, the Camello, the Playa de Los Peligros or La Magadalena, as well as more isolated spots such as the Usgo, Virgen del Mar or Cuchía beaches. Its golden sands will certainly impress you as will all the beaches along the rest of the Cantabrian coast.

The Magdalena Peninsular

The Magdalena Peninsular is one of the most emblematic locations in Santander thanks to its situation between the city centre and the El Sardinero beach. It is also recognised as a Place of Cultural Interest.

Its two beaches are situated to the south of the Peninsular, La Magdalena and Bikinis. They offer a total of 1,570 metres of fine, golden sand, from where you can make out the islands of La Torre and la Horadada, the spectacular Santander Bay and the beaches of El Puntal and Somo.

Its 25 hectares also include a spectacular public park featuring a mini zoo with penguins, seals, sea lions and ducks.

The Magdalena Palace stands on the summit of the peninsular, built in 1912 by Bringas and Riancho. It was later given as a gift to King Alfonso XIII and used as a summer residence until 1930. Today the Magdalena Palace is the headquarters of the Menendez Pelayo International University and its Royal Stables now provide lodgings for hundreds of foreign students.

Image: lito

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