Cantabria, the greenest and smallest region in the north of Spain, directly on the Cantabrian Sea, is one of the autonomous regions of Spain. More Spanish tourists come here than foreigners, so the area is still unknown to many tourists. A beautiful place, therefore, if you do not like mass tourism and you like rugged nature, intended coasts and picturesque villages.
Coast of Cantabria
The countless Cantabrian beaches are not designed for party Cantabria, the greenest and smallest region in the north of Spain, directly on the Cantabrian Sea, is one of the autonomous regions of Spain. More Spanish tourists come here than foreigners, so the area is still unknown to many tourists.goers but are mainly visited by tranquillity seekers, surfers and walkers. The Camino del Norte, a relatively unexplored route to Santiago de Compostela, continues along this route. Nature lovers also indulge in the Cantabrian coast: the 150-kilometre coastline consists of secluded bays surrounded by emerald-green headlands. It is nothing like the fully-built southern Spanish coastal towns.
Cantabria has approximately 600,000 inhabitants and is the smallest region with its 5,321 km². The population lives in small municipalities, most of which have a population between 1000 and 10,000 inhabitants. The capital, Santander, lies on the coast and has around 200,000 inhabitants. The has long been a famous port city and spa, where you will find fantastic beaches, a cosy town centre and stately homes. There are direct flights to Santander, which makes this city attractive for a short city trip.
Spas can be found more in Cantabria, but most people still come for the overwhelming nature. In addition to the coast with its white sandy beaches and whimsical cliffs, Cantabria has several beautiful nature parks. To the west lies the well-known and spectacular Picos de Europa National Park. The peaks of limestone of 2500 meters high within between mountain pastures with cows and beautiful elevated lakes are certainly an absolute must for hikers, if only for the fantastic view. This area is also easily accessible for less sporty people: a cable car goes up, from where you can follow different walks.
Due to the lack of tourists and the small population, you can still experience real Spanish life in Cantabria.
In addition to the capital and coastal town of Santander, the villages of Potes, Carmona and Bárcena Mayor are certainly recommended. Time seems to have stood still in these beautiful old rural towns. Do you prefer something bigger? Then visit the picturesque coastal villages of Santillana del Mar, Comillas and San Vicente de la Barquera.
Finally, you should visit one of the many prehistoric caves in this area. The most famous cave is in Altamira, just outside Santillana del Mar. The many petroglyphs are known as the “Sistine Chapel of Cave Painting”. The El Soplao cave in Sierra de Arnero, in western Cantabria, is also worth a visit. You’ll find beautiful rock formations in this 20-kilometre corridor system.
In short, Cantabria offers an incredible variety in a relatively small area. Rugged nature, picturesque villages, prehistoric caves and pearly white beaches, this region offers it all. Cantabria is the ideal place for walkers, nature lovers and peace seekers who prefer to avoid the high-rise buildings and mass tourism of the southern Spanish coastal towns.