A beautiful but unspoilt region rich in stunning landscapes, traditional heritage and some of the world’s most amazing cave paintings.
Cantabria, on Spain’s mountainous northern coast, attracts many native visitors for Easter, July and August but the rest of the year it is largely undisturbed by tourism and wonderful for school study visits.
The main city, Santander, has a rich heritage as a busy port with a large market, museums, shops, and sandy beaches. The Cabárceno nature reserve is home to a hundred animal species from five continents living in semi-free conditions, which are distributed in large enclosures where one or more species coexist – see lions, tigers, hippos, African elephants, wolves, bears and reptiles.
There are many delightful little seaside towns, including Comillas which offers Art Nouveau buildings such as the Sobrellano Palace and Gaudí’s El Capricho mansion. Santillana del Mar is an unspoilt 12th century village, considered one of the most beautiful in Spain. Laredo and San Vicente de la Barquera are popular tourist resorts with wide sandy beaches and Santoña has the largest concentration of forts, batteries and arsenals in Spain.
Cantabria also boasts a host of caves adorned with some of the world’s most remarkable Paleolithic paintings, ten of which are World Heritage sites.
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