Walking in Cantabria

Walking in Cantabria Spain
Walking in Cantabria Spain

One of the smallest regions in Spain, Cantabria is situated on the Atlantic coast between the Bay of Biscay and the Cantabrian mountain range towards the Basque region. It is popular destination for many of the Spanish escaping the intense heat of central Spain. The region has many diverse landscapes which make the rich tapestry of its natural beauty, valleys created by strong flowing rivers and supporting a wide variety of fauna. Its outstanding beaches and marshes are a haven for wildlife and the Oyambre natural park preserves some of the most diverse ecosystems living side by side.

Its coast line has been shaped over thousands of years by the torrential rivers of this area that forge their way down the limestone mountains creating deep valleys. Santander Bay is the most well known and a fine example of such features.  The Cantabrian coast line and its unique features have been protected by several natural parks and offer you the chance to walk in this area.  The park Las Dunes de Liencres preserves the distinct dune complex and Las Marismas de Santona y Noja preserve the ecology of these vital estuaries.

The Cantabrian mountain range is not only a natural fortress for the northern regions, but it also protects Cantabria and its neighbouring regions from the Moorish influence that the southern Spain experienced. For the more experienced walker there are several possibilities for those who wish to have a more challenging walk. As a result Cantabria has many wonderful examples of Romanesque architecture. Among the rolling Campoo valley is a fine illustration of these influences in the San Pedro church in the small village of Cervatos, just south of Reinosa.

The province has warm summers and mild winters, both of which are interspersed with rainfall.  Cantabria has an oceanic climate and as such has less sun than the rest of Spain.  But its spectacular scenery more than compensates for the odd rain shower and for the independent traveller or walking enthusiast the cooler temperatures mean that walking is still pleasant during the summer months.


There is only the Santander airport in this region, but Bilbao's airport in neighbouring Pias Vasco is a short drive into Cantabria.

  • Santander
  • Bilbao (1hrs drive into Cantabria)

Ferry Port
There is also the possibility of catching a ferry to Santander with Brittany Ferries from Portsmouth.

  • Santander

Santander is the capital city of Cantabria and although in 1941 it suffered considerable damage from the great fire it has been carefully reconstructed over the years so that all its charm and elegance has been maintained.  The Santander Bay has some of the most beautiful and expansive beaches along the sides of the bay.  As one of the regions beauty spots the bay has been protected so that future generations can enjoy the wonders of this unique landscape.

Walking in Cantabria Langre Beach
Walning on Beach Cantabria Spain

The city hosts the prestigious summer university programs event of the international calender in the magnificent La Magdalena Palace.  The city's museums are also home to many valuable classical paintings of the 17th and 18th centuries.

West of Santander is the town of Santillana del Mar, situated just off the coast it boasts some of the most spectacular mountain scenery as its backdrop. A stones throw further west of Santillana del Mar is the famous Cueva de Altamira. These caves are world renowned for their rupestrain cave paintings and a fascinating visit for all the family.

Cantabrian border with Asturias is one of the few areas in Europe were certain species on the danger list, such as the brown bear and golden eagle can live and breed in safety.  These animals live in the natural park of  Saja-Besaya, which is a basin naturally formed by these rivers. The extensive forest area also supports the wolf, whilst its rivers are an ideal habitat for salmon and trout.

Click here for a list of companies offering Walking Holidays in Cantabria