Traditionally a destination for Spaniards escaping the soaring temperatures of the South in July and August, Cantabria in Northern Spain is now attracting international visitors thanks to great connections by plane with Ryanair and ferry with Brittany Ferries. Visitors love the combination of beautiful beaches, stunning mountain-ranges, excellent food, enchanting towns and villages and its top quality self-catering accommodation. And the fact that it hasn’t been spoiled by mass tourism and is still very much off the beaten path is very appealing for a family holiday.
Where to Stay in Cantabria
There are so many wonderful places to stay in Cantabria – whether it’s by the coast, in the mountains or in the valleys. We have travelled the entire region and have some great suggestions depending on your group size and needs.
Noja – A Great Location for Self-Catering in Cantabria
One of the most popular locations for self-catering is the coastal area around the beach towns of Noja and Isla. Just 20 minutes east of Santander, it’s part of the Trasmiera Ecopark – a member of European Destinations of Excellence (EDEN) which aims to promote sustainable tourism development models across the European Union. Take for example this self-catering villa – the superb beaches are within a 5 minute drive or 3 km walk from the house. This part of Northern Spain offers the very best soft sandy beaches. We love nearby Berria, Trengandin, Ris, Isla, Ajo, Langre, Loredo, Galizano and Somo. It’s an area that’s extremely popular with surfers and water sport enthusiasts. There are many surf schools in the area and the first surfboards made in Spain were made here. Only slightly further are the beaches of Santander city which can be enjoyably accessed by the Los Reginas foot passenger ferry from Somo or Pedrena. And between each of the beaches mentioned are beautiful areas of high and low coast, important marshland areas and woodland offering lovely walks and stunning scenery.
As you can see from the video, the holiday house is a quality, centrally heated 3-storey semi-detached villa with private garden situated in a quiet village. On the top floor are 2 double bedrooms, 1 twin/triple bedroom and complete bathroom. On the ground floor is a fully fitted modern kitchen and a second complete bathroom. Also a spacious lounge with Spanish and British Sky TV. Off this is the dining room. Both these rooms offer views of the mountains and the sea in the distance. On the basement floor is an ample laundry room with sink, washing machine and plenty of additional storage. Outdoors is a spacious well tended garden with garden furniture supplied. Across from house is ample parking and a small plaza with children’s playground and the village bowling area. Soft sandy beaches, shops & supermarkets, butcher, fishmonger, restaurants, bars and an excellent golf driving range are all close by. It’s an excellent base for a family holiday in Cantabria.
What to See & Do in Cantabria
Do you like the sound of the North of Spain but you’re not sure what to expect? Here are our tips for anybody visiting Cantabria:-
- Enjoy the beaches – whether it’s swimming, walking or surfing – there are so many beautiful beaches in Cantabria. We love Oyambre, San Vicente de la Barquera, Loredo, Galizano and Noja. We’ll give you recommendations on where to eat and enjoy the views by each beach. And we can arrange classes in surfing and other water activities for you or your family members.
- Visit Santander. Explore the traditional fish market, walk along Puertochico – one of the prettiest city harbours you’ll ever see. And weave your way around the old streets and squares on a tapas trail.
- Take a breathtaking cable-car trip from Fuente De in the Picos de Europa National Park. You’ll never forget these amazing views. Hike back down or take the cable-car and have lunch at a traditional restaurant in charming Potes or on a balcony with an amazing panorama at Cahecho where the wild boar run free at night.
- Soak up the cobbled-street atmosphere in the UNESCO-listed village of Santillana-del-Mar and take a tour of the Altamira Caves – where you go back 30,000 years in history.
- Witness the wonder of Gaudi’s architecture in Comillas which boasts one of his few buildings outside Catalonia “El Capricho”. On your way back, stop in the Cistercian monastery shop in Cobreces which sells honey, chocolate, cheese and wine from neighbouring monasteries. The wine is really really good!
- Savour the food. Whether its tuna-steaks on the BBQ, anchovies with roast peppers in a salad, or squid with a martini – you’ve got to try the great seafood. And of course, you’ll find all the Spanish food you love in Cantabria whether that’s paellas out in a restaurant, slow-cooked stews with wild boar in the mountain villages, a sliced platter of jamon and cecina in a bar, great wines by the glass on a tapas trail, hot churros with chocolate at a cafe or from a takeaway in the plaza, and delicious artisans ice-creams.
- Visit Cabarceno Natural Park & Conservation Zoo. It’s a great amenity for families and lovers of conservation. If you go now, you’ll see the young female gorilla born on 16th April this year.
Keen to visit Cantabria? Totally Spain can arrange surf classes with one of the best surf schools in the area. Classes are run by fluent English speakers and cater for all levels. We can also arrange canoeing, quad biking, golf driving, horse-riding and scenic boat excursions. The golf driving range is located only 400 metres from the house. There are four golf clubs within 50kms of the house. In Winter, skiing is possible in the Alto Campoo resort near Reinosa which is approximately 96km away. See our Suggested Surfing & Nature Holidays in Cantabria Package for 6-nights for more ideas…