Day-trip itineraries

Cantabria has one of the most diverse landscapes you can find anywhere, all within a short drive. It is one of the few places you can surf and ski in the same day, AND enjoy a relaxed spanish meal and siesta in the middle of the day.

Besides enjoying our local beaches, here are some suggested day trips and fun things to do.

1) Picos de Europa & Potes

Leave Mogro early in the morning to get the most out of this day trip. In July and August it is important to get to the gondola in Fuente De as early as possible to avoid the long lines. The gondola (“el teléferico”) climbs a vertical rock face 753m leaving you at a breathtaking vista point restaurant at 1,820m. Enjoy the view, but this is only the starting point for an adventure into the Picos de Europa National Park.

picos teleferico2

From the teleférico restaurant you can wander though the high valley looking up at more huge, ragged peaks that are more than 2,600m tall. A mountaineer can choose many different itineraries on foot, bike, horse or skis, and spend the day or weeks up here exploring these dramatic mountains. The most famous monolith for rock climbing in all of Spain, el Naranjo de Bulnes, is a couple of hours hike.

naranjo de bulnes

Returning from Fuente De you can stop in the historic mountain town of Potes to enjoy a meal and walk around. Potes has various churches, interesting architecture, a river running through it, and shopping.

On the way back to Mogro, make sure you stop in San Vicente de la Barquera. It has a beautiful beach with views looking back at the Picos de Europa with its great church and castle in the foreground. Besides having lots of good seafood restaurants, it is worth walking up the stairs to see the church and castle in the old part of town.

Note: This itinerary can be modified to skip the Fuente De teleférico gondola part by heading up to Potes for lunch and to see the Picos from a distance, then stopping in San Vicente for dinner and to wander around the port and castle areas.

2) Coastal drive from San Vicente to Santillana del Mar

Drive on the A-8 highway from Mogro to San Vicente de la Barquera. Explore San Vicente’s old town and beach. Drive east on the coastal road CA-131 to Playa Oyambre beach, very beautiful and has a fun beach bar called the Pajaro Amarillo. Drive to Comillas where you can explore the historic architecture of El Capricho by Gaudi, Palace of Sobrellano and the Pontificial University. Further east are the small towns of Cobreces and Novales. Arrive in Santillana del Mar to explore this historic medieval village and enjoy dinner there. Nearby is the museum of the caves of Altamira if you have extra time.

3) Lierganes – Rio Miera river valley – Lunada Pass overlook

This drive will treat you to spectacular views of the Cordillera Cantábrica mountain range and one of the most traditional parts of Cantabria that hasn’t changed much in centuries.

Drive east on the A-8 highway to the Solares exit, but go towards Lierganes on the E-70 to CA-160. Lierganes is a historic town with a beautiful roman bridge over the Rio Miera river. Lots of restaurants and worth strolling around the old streets.

lierganeslierganes puente

Drive south on the CA-260 to San Roque de Rio Miera along the river. The valley is very rugged with huge rock cliffs formed by sliding glaciers during the last ice age. San Roque is a very small “pueblo” hamlet with one or two restaurants. It is in the heart of the Valles Pasiegos, an authentic traditional farming community that seems lost in time. Not touristy at all.

miera valley

From here you can continue south on the same road that turns into the CA-643, a narrow and very windy road that climbs up the Cordillera Cantabrica up to the Portillo de Lunada pass overlook at 1,350m. Great views of the nearby peaks Picón del Fraile (1,619m) and Castro Valnera (1,718m) valley below to the Cantabria Sea in the distance.  You can hike from here to the the peaks or to the local ski resort.

cabin-scenics-12Castro_Valnera_Cantabria

If you want to avoid the twisty part of the drive up to the Portillo de Lunada pass, you can cut it short by going west over the CA-264 road to the town of Selaya (good restaurants), then north on the CA-142 to Sarón and back to Mogro via the N-634 through Torrelavega to the A-67 (direction Santander).

 

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