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Northern Spain The Charm of Cantabria

Northern Spain The Charm of Cantabria

Visit the unspoilt region of Cantabria with its amazing landscapes, charming beaches & cultural treasures


Visit the unspoilt region of Cantabria with its amazing landscapes, charming beaches & cultural treasures


Santander is the capital city of the Cantabria region on Spain’s north coast. The Palacio de la Magdalena, once the royal summer residence, lies at the mouth of the Bay of Santander on the rocky La Magdalena Peninsula. West, the city centre is home to the Catedral de Santander with its octagonal cupola and Gothic cloister. Nearby, the Paseo de Pereda promenade runs along one side of the Jardines de Pereda gardens.



Suances is  in the Besaya region of northern Spain, which stretches around the confluence of the rivers Saja and Besaya. It has excellent beaches, like that of Los Locos, which is ideal for surfing.Known as the former Portus Blendium by the Romans, several discoveries from that age have been made next to its church. Although it is also devoted to fishing, Suances is currently a major tourist town, developed around the series of beaches grouped at Dichoso point, a natural harbour backed by cliffs. It is worth highlighting the beach of Tagle, which invites you to take in spectacular sunsets on long summer afternoons, those of La Tablía, La Concha, which is a kilometre long, La Ribera and La Riberuca. 


Santillana del Mar

Situated on the northern route of the Pilgrim's Road to Santiago de Compostela, Santillana del Mar is a beautiful medieval town which was developed around the collegiate church of Santa María. Its various defence towers and Renaissance palaces make Santillana one of the most important historical areas of Cantabria. Half-timbered houses stand side-by-side with noble mansions built out of warm, local stone and the cobbled streets make this one of the prettiest towns in Spain.

Altamira Caves

The cave of Altamira in northern Spain contains some of the world’s finest examples of Paleolithic art. For years, visitors came to see the bisons, horses and mysterious signs painted and carved into the limestone as far back as 22,000 years ago. But in 2002 the cave was closed to the public when algae-like mold started to appear on some paintings. The damage was attributed to the presence of visitors and the use of artificial light to help them see the works. The new visitor centre boasts a spectacular reconstruction of the remarkable pre-historic cave paintings.


Comillas is set across hilltops crowned by some of the most original and beautiful buildings in Cantabria and lies sixteen kilometres west of Santillana through verdant countryside. It has a lovely golden beach, a tiny fishing port and a pleasant, cobbled old centre and quaint squares with large houses displaying coats of arms on their facades.



Bilbao is the largest city in the province of Biscay and in the Basque Country as a whole. It is also the largest city proper in northern Spain and the winner of the 2018 European City of the Year award by the Academy of Urbanism.

It’s famed for the Frank Gehry–designed Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, which sparked revitalization when it opened in 1997. The museum houses prominent modern and contemporary works, but it’s the curvy, titanium-clad building that receives the most attention.


Picos de Europa

Comprising of three limeston massifs, the jagged, deeply fissured Picos de Europa mountains straddle southeast Asturias, southwest Cantabria and northern Castilla y León. The rocky crests, gorges, valleys, vast glacial lakes and leafy forests combine to make up some of the most spectacular scenery in Spain. This high mountain range separates the wet northern coast of the Bay of Biscay from the high dry plateau of the interior. The mountains are affected by both the continental and maritime climates and sudden dramatic changes in the weather are common.



Day 1

An early morning departure from Cumbria as we head south to Portsmouth and the Brittany Ferries Pont Aven overnight sailing to Santander. Relax into your cabin and then enjoy dinner on board as we sail south.


Day 2

Breakfast on board as we continue with the majority of the day at sea as we cruise through the Bay of Biscay to arrive in Santander, northern Spain at 18.00, from here we only have a short drive to our hotel, the Gran Hotel Suances. A welcome drink and local tapas is served on arrival prior to Dinner in the hotel.

B, D

Day 3

This morning we head west along the coast to the pretty village of Santillana del Mar to explore its cobbled streets and admire the honey coloured churches. We then have a lunch stop at the visitor centre at the Altamira Caves, which boast a spectacular reconstruction of its remarkable pre-historic cave paintings. In the afternoon, we continue to Comillas which is home to many neo classical buildings. Dinner in the hotel tonight.

B, D

Day 4

Day at leisure to explore the resort of Suances.

B, D

Day 5

This morning we are joined by a local guide for a full day excursion through the Spanish countryside, we stop at the Picos de Europa National Park’s Sotama Visitor Centre, close to the village of Potes. After lunch we have an included journey on the Fuenta Dé cable car up the sheer mountain slope to enjoy spectacular views from the top. En route back to Suances, we stop off at picturesque San Vicente de la Barquera, an old fishermen’s refuge, which has lovely beaches, an old village and exceptional backdrop of the Picos de Europa mountains. Dinner in the hotel.

B, D

Day 6

Today we take a scenic drive to the port and city of Bilbao, the capital of the Basque Country. The city is situated in the area known as Bizkaia and is surrounded by a fertile landscape with forests, mountains, beaches and steep coasts. We have time to explore at leisure and have lunch before returning to Suances. Dinner in the hotel.

B, D

Day 7

Today, we will travel to the engaging capital city of Cantabria, Santander. Full of fine beaches, shops, cafés and some intriguing cultural attractions, time at leisure and for lunch before we join the early afternoon Brittany ferries sailing to Portsmouth. Enjoy the superb facilities on board the Pont Aven. Dinner is included on board

B, D

Day 8

Final breakfast on the ship and we are due to arrive in Portsmouth early afternoon and once we have left the ship, we head home to Cumbria arriving home late evening.


B=Breakfast Included, D=Dinner Included

The Gran Hotel Suances

The Gran Hotel Suances is set on a hill 400m from the beach and is an impressively grand, brilliant white Victorian style building. This elegant hotel is incredibly fresh and bright throughout, with marble flooring and is decorated in stylish fabrics. Each of the 99 air conditioned bedrooms is decorated in light colours with traditional furniture and is equipped with a TV, hairdryer, fridge and safe. Two lifts service all floors and all rooms have views either of the sea or of the beautiful countryside. Guests can unwind in the stylish bar area before a buffet dinner is served in the spacious restaurant. Guests also have use of the outdoor swimming pool at the sister hotel next door.


Below is a list of pick-up points available on this tour.

Below is a list of pick-up points available on this tour.

Name Address Contact Details
Appleby The Sands Appleby
Aspatria Car Park beside Spar Aspatria
Brough Monument Bus Shelter Brough
Carlisle Entrance to Sands Centre Car Park Carlisle
Cockermouth Monument Main Street Cockermouth
Dearham Commercial Corner Dearham
Distington Outside Prospect Works Distington
Egremont Conservative Club Egremont
Flimby Railway Station Flimby
Harrington Galloping Horse bus stop Harrington
Keswick Bell Close Car Park Keswick
Kirkby Stephen Market Square Kirkby Stephen
Maryport Outside Coop Maryport
Penrith Sandgate Bus Station Penrith
Shap Village Hall Shap
Tebay Old Services Car Park Tebay
Thursby Bus Stop Thursby
Waverton Bus Stop Waverton
Whitehaven Bus Stop Tangier Street Whitehaven
Wigton Old Bus Station Wigton
Workington Lay By opposite Grahams Travel Jane St. Workington
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