Few areas of Spain enjoy greater natural beauty than Cantabria. The coast of this northwest province is known locally as the Costa Verde (Green Coast) and certainly lives up to its name. Bordered to the east by Spain’s Basque country, this is a region of distinct customs and traditions. Vast sandy beaches, rugged headlands, quaint fishing ports, lovely coastal resorts and picturesque pine-fringed coves edge the spectacular Atlantic coast.
Just a little inland, the lush green landscape is home to pretty villages and a varied farming industry, with spectacular sunflower fields providing vast yellow vistas during the summer months. While over towards the mountain regions, piquant blue cheeses are produced by the local communities.
Beautiful snow-capped mountains pierce brilliant blue skies, while the breathtaking gorges of Los Picos de Europa (Peaks of Europe), offer wonderful opportunities for walking and climbing, and contain some of Spain’s deepest caves.
The capital of the region, Bilbao, is a highly important seaport and the place to sample real Spanish culture and everyday life.
You’ll find no shortage of good beaches along the Cantabrian coastline. However, we are proud to say that the beaches around Noja, home of the Keycamp parc, Playa Joyel, are some of the region’s finest.
One of Spain’s most beautiful medieval towns, the old stone houses of Santillana del Mar look simply breathtaking in the setting sun. The town has a labyrinth of cobbled streets and a 12th Century monastery.
A lively, bustling ferry port with splendid beaches and superb shops, plus a busy market. Boat trips around Santander’s picturesque bay operate throughout the summer months.
The easiest way to enjoy the best views from the ‘Peaks of Europe’ is to take the cable car a staggering 6,000 feet to the top of these towering mountains. The trip is well worth it, as you will enjoy superb views to the southwest of Santillana.
Kids of all ages will love a drive through this wonderful game park. There are more than 1,000 animals in residence and around 2,000 acres to explore.
The Palaeolithic caves of Tito Bustillo date back 14,000 years but were only discovered in 1968. There is a museum at the entrance displaying tools and weapons and the lifestyle of Ice Age hunters. Inside the cave there is a wall covered in pigment over which the images of animals were engraved and painted.
You can’t visit Cantabria without at least spending a little time in the Basque country’s biggest city and most magnificent seaport. Plan your visit carefully, however, to ensure you are able to park close to the attraction you most want to see. For example, you can park near to the Guggenheim Museum, famous for its many fine examples of modern art, and the old town of Bilbao. Alternatively, it could be easier to catch the train right into the heart of Bilbao. Have a look around the 14th Century old town with its boutiques and tapas bars. Plus in the Museo de Bellas Artes, you will find the works of many prominent Spanish artists, including Francisco Goya.
Santander can trace its origins back to Roman times. Every summer Santander hosts a vibrant dance and music festival. The Royal Summer Palace and Gardens are particularly beautiful, while the local art museum is a good place to view the work of both contemporary and realist artists. Younger visitors, however, are more likely to prefer the maritime museum where there is a massive skeleton of a whale.
Enjoying a wonderful setting beside a long sandy beach on the surfer’s paradise of the Cantabrian coast, Playa Joyel is also surrounded by a beautiful nature reserve.
The perfect opportunity to have a second Keycamp holiday!
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