Cantabria is a land of mountains, coast, tradition and culture, green meadows, rivers and natural parks. Traveling to Cantabria is synonymous with authenticity, local products and good food, charming towns and villages and unique corners. So that you discover this beautiful land at your own pace, we have prepared this seven-day car route with which you will not miss a thing. This plan includes 6 nights in a central hotel, of which 3 nights you will stay in Santander and another 3 nights in San Vicente de la Barquera to save on distances. In addition, if you wish, you can add tickets to the main places of interest such as Cabárceno Park and the Fuente Dé cable car. With this route you will not only get to know Cantabria in full, but you will also have enough time to enjoy its restaurants, bars, walks and shops without stress. You set the rhythm! So if you are thinking of traveling to the north alone, as a couple, with family or friends, Cantabria is your holiday destination.

7 Days / 6 nights
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Experience Details

Travel guide of 7 days. Route by car through Cantabria

Day 1:

Arrival in Santander. Discovering the capital of Cantabria.

Once you arrive in Santander by car, we recommend that you leave your bags at the hotel and head to Santillana del Mar. Another option would be to start by touring the center of Santander but we recommend that you leave it for last. Santillana del Mar is only a 30 minute drive from Santander. It is a beautiful cobbled town where you will find the Collegiate Church of Santa Juliana. Walking through its streets and visiting the collegiate church will not take you more than an hour, depending on whether you want to stop for a good sobao, a butter cake or Quesada con Leche or buy something in its souvenir stores. When you finish visiting this village, catalogued as one of the most beautiful in Spain, the next stop will be the Altamira Museum, a few kilometers from Santillana del Mar. This museum is a must-visit as it replicates the cave and the cave art of Altamira, now closed to the public. The visit will take you about 40 minutes since, in addition to the Neocave, there is an exhibition of Paleolithic tools and utensils.




On leaving the museum, if it is close to lunchtime, you can stop for lunch in Yuso, a nearby town with good restaurants with traditional menus. In the afternoon, on the way back to Santander, stop in Suances to see the coast and take the famous photo with the letters of the municipality at the Quinta del Amo viewpoint. If you travel in summer, you can take the opportunity to take a dip in La Concha beach or stroll along the promenade where in high season there are many restaurants and stores open. If you are traveling outside of the summer months, everything will be closed so don't count on eating here.




Back in Santander, leave the car well parked until tomorrow and take a stroll along the promenade which includes the beautiful Centro Botin building, the Pereda Gardens and the statue of the Raqueros in Puertochico. Climbing the stairs of the Botín Center you can get fantastic views of the bay of Santander. If you like art, you can contact us to arrange your entrance to the interior as access to the top floor by the outside stairs is free.




To finish today, you can go to the Plaza del Ayuntamiento, the Cathedral of Santander and the Plaza Porticada. If you are looking for a place to dine, you will find a wide variety of restaurants in the center.

What will you see today?

Day 2:

Cabárceno and Liérganes Nature Park

The Cabárceno Nature Park is only about 20 minutes by car from Santander. Once you get there, you will have to show your ticket at the box office at the access point. The visit to the park is by car where you will make different stops at the viewpoints that are well signposted and have a place to park and take photos and observe the animals in semi-freedom: giraffes, elephants, rhinoceroses, bears, pygmy hippos, reptiles, hyenas, lions... This ticket includes a full-day visit to the Cabárceno Natural Park and a cable car ride to see the park from the air. The visit usually lasts about 6 hours, depending on how long you spend taking pictures and if you are traveling with children.


In the afternoon, you can go to the beautiful town of Liérganes, on the way to Santander and just 20 minutes from Cabárceno. This municipality has a river and a beautiful stone bridge, the Puente Mayor, where you will find the statue of the fish man. We recommend that you get lost in its cobbled streets and, if you have time, sit down to have chocolate with churros, a typical dish here, before returning to Santander.




What will you see today?

Day 3:

Castro Urdiales, Laredo and Santona

Castro Urdiales is a beautiful seaside town, a 45-minute drive from Santander. Its beautiful promenade in Puebla Vieja will take you to the medieval bridge, which connects the Castle-Lighthouse with the port. Cross it and you will see from above how the water rushes with force in the popular breakwater. To the right of the medieval bridge or old bridge, is the small chapel of Santa Ana and, on the other side stands the impressive church of Santa Maria de la Asuncion, the beautiful Castillo-Faro and the ruins of the Church of San Pedro. Once you finish the walk through the oldest part of the town, you can go to the Plaza del Ayuntamiento for an aperitif or lunch, if the time is near. In this area, there are restaurants and bars where you can eat some "pinchos" and "raciones". Castro Urdiales is a place of sea and fishing, so if you want to eat fish and seafood, you are in the right place. If you feel like it, you can also walk to El Pedregal, where natural pools are formed when the tide rises, or walk along Ostende Beach.




In the afternoon, it is a good time to visit the beaches of Laredo and the fishing village of Santoña, both on the way back to Santander. The first stop will be Laredo, just 15 minutes drive from Castro Urdiales. Although the beach is beautiful, if you go in winter you will find it empty and somewhat desolate as it is a very touristy area. If you go in summer, you can even take a dip and eat in one of its restaurants. After Laredo, it is a good time to visit the town of the most famous anchovies in Cantabria: Santoña. This is where the cannery is located, you can sit in some of its local establishments and taste its Cantabrian anchovies or buy them in some of the local stores and take them home.




After Santoña, it is time to return to Santander for a quiet dinner in one of its wonderful restaurants.

What will you see today?

Day 4:

Comillas and San Vicente de la Barquera

Today's first stop will be the beautiful town of Comillas with the famous Capricho de Gaudí. The visit to this municipality will take up half a day as it has a lot to offer. At the entrance of the town, you will find a large free car park. Right in front you will come across the beautiful Palace of Sobrellano and the chapel-pantheon of the architect Joan Martorell. Start your visit by going to the Palacio de Sobrellano ticket office where you will be informed about the next guided tour. The entrance has a very modest price and the explanation of the interior of the palace and the Marquis of Comillas is very interesting. The visit lasts about 40 minutes. If you do not want to enter, although we strongly recommend that you do, access to the palace gardens is free. From up there you can see fantastic views of the Pontifical University and the giant Angel that the Marquis of Comillas had sculpted and that is located in the town's Gothic cemetery, facing the sea. The next ESSENTIAL visit is the Capricho de Gaudí, a modernist building by the great architect Antonio Gaudí, one of the few outside of Catalonia. It draws attention for its green tower that looks like a fairy tale. The entrance is acquired in the same enclosure and it is a most curious house. Pretty, but impractical. A total whim! Once you leave the building, you can go to the Fuente de los Tres Caños, in the center of Comillas, where you will find different restaurants where you can eat from the menu or portions. Also take the opportunity to do some shopping in the small shops in the area and, if you feel like it, before leaving this town you can go to the Gothic cemetery and the coast by car.


In the afternoon , after eating, it is time to continue our route to reach the fishing village that the famous David Bustamante made known, of which you can see photos in some of his establishments. Be that as it may, San Vicente de la Barquera is a beautiful town that, together with its small boats, its lighthouse and its monumental complex, make it a fantastic destination, especially in the hottest months, although in winter it also has its charm.

As soon as you arrive in San Vicente, you will see the Puente de la Maza and how the tide goes down at sunset to the point that the bottom is in sight and the boats stop floating. Take a walk through the little port, go to the Puente de la Barquera, stroll through the medieval streets and enter the King's castle to see the fabulous views from above. The visit will not last more than 15 minutes. In the surroundings you will find the facade of the old hospital, the Church of Santa María de los Ángeles and the medieval walls from where you can see some wonderful sunsets.

What will you see today?

Day 5:

Picos de Europa, Fuente Dé Cable Car, Mogrovejo, Santo Toribio and Potes Monastery

The first stop today will be the Fuente Dé cable car. To get there with the car you will drive through the Desfiladero de la Hermida, a beautiful road where you can admire the Picos de Europa. When you arrive at the Fuente Dé Cable Car, park your vehicle in the parking lot. With the ticket, you can go up to the cable car at a height of over 8,000 meters and in 4 minutes you will have reached the upper station where you can see the Picos de Europa or have a hot drink in the cafeteria. There is also a hiking route down well signposted but keep in mind that it takes more than 4 hours .... That depends on your time and your desire.




When leaving Fuente Dé, if it is close to lunch time, it is a good time to stop at one of the restaurants that overlook the road and try the typical lebaniego stew of this area.


At only 18 minutes by car, you will have arrived at Mogrovejo, a small village catalogued as the most beautiful village in Spain, where the movie Heidi was filmed, an Indian adaptation to Bollywood cinema. This town can be seen in 15 minutes as it is tiny. Leaving Mogrovejo, head to the Monastery of Santo Toribio de Liébana. It is on the way to Potes and has a valuable relic, the Lignum Crucis. Specifically, the largest of any Christian monastery or temple. Admission is free.




After visiting the Monastery of Santo Toribio, a place of pilgrimage, the next stop will be Potes, a beautiful mountain village, a favorite of many travelers. As soon as you arrive you will see the Torre del Infantado, park there and continue walking. The church, the stone bridge and its small streets invite you to do so. In this village, you will find stores with typical local products and souvenirs.




To end the day, return to your hotel in San Vicente de la Barquera, a 45-minute drive from Potes, rest and get ready to go to dinner at one of the charming restaurants by the sea.

What will you see today?

Day 6:

Cave of El Soplao, Cabezón de la Sal, Ruente, Carmona and Bárcena Mayor

Today is going to be a very full day so we recommend that you get up early to start the route around 9am, so you can arrive at Bárcena Mayor at 3pm to eat.


The The first visit will be the cave of El Soplao, 28 minutes by car from San Vicente de la Barquera. (Closed every Monday). The guided tourist visit lasts one hour in which they will show you the different galleries of the cave and will explain everything about the formations, among which are the magnificent eccentrics, the protagonists of El Soplao. Once you leave the caves, in the municipality of Cabezón de la Sal you will find the impressive redwood forest, the largest in Europe. The walk will not last more than 30 minutes.


After 10 minutes you will come across the town of Ruente and its Fuentona, which, although small, has a beautiful nine-eyed bridge. Take a walk and find the source of the Fuentona that carries water to the stream. Another 20 minutes from Ruente is Carmona, cataloged as the most beautiful town in Spain, a place where time seems to have stopped. Enjoy its mountain houses, its stone streets, its stream and its green landscapes that are wonderful.


To finish, it is time to visit another of the most beautiful towns in Cantabria: Bárcena Mayor, the urban center of the Saja-Besaya Natural Park. This town, the oldest in Cantabria, has a great livestock tradition where the Tudanca cow is the protagonist. You will be able to see this black cow along the way, grazing freely.


After eating, in the afternoon, it is a good time to return to San Vicente de la Barquera and enjoy a walk through the port and its corners. If you have time, you can look out to Oyambre Beach, crossing the Puente de la Maza.

What will you see today?

Day 7:

Farewell to Cantabria and back home

On this last day, it's time to say goodbye to Cantabria. Take the opportunity to make some minute last purchases and take some sobaos and quesadas home. You will surely miss them!

Remember that...

If you travel by plane

If you travel by plane, remember to be at the airport at least 2.5 hours in advance, especially if you have to return the rental car as you may find queues. It's better to be early than late!

Activities

Contact an expert

If you have any questions about this experience, if you want more details or if you want to customize your trip, don't wait any longer! Contact us and we will help you tailor your trip.

Contact us if you need to add flights, rental cars, transfers or events to your trip. We will solve all your doubts and we will help you finalize your reservation.