Northern Spain holds much beauty for any trip, but it’s arguably at its best when you’re out on the open road taking in all the breathtaking scenic drives. In Europe car rental is competitive so be sure to check the best rates. For one of the greatest drives Spain will offer, take a trip to tour the Picos de Europa and arrange to collect your car at Santander airport to begin the journey of a lifetime.
Santander is a port city on the northern coast of Spain and it lies to the west of Bilbao. The city has a mix of many things to see and keep you entertained. If you want to enjoy some of the glorious Spanish sunshine, beaches here are perfect for that and both El Sardinero and Los Peligros beach come highly recommended. If you want to discover more about Santander’s history and culture, then you must visit both Santander Cathedral and the Lighthouse of Cabo Mayor in Santander Bay. There’s also a wealth of parks, squares and museums for you to pass your time here. And you mustn’t leave without sampling some of the finest seafood you’ll find in Spain.
Once you’ve explored city life, it’s time to head off for one of the most rewarding drives you’ll have taken in a long while. Take an hour and a half drive west from Santander and make your way to Ribadesella along the coast which is the perfect base for your trip to Picos de Europa. This small town by the sea has a number of self-catering apartments ready for tourists who wish to explore the nearby national park. Make sure you also take the time to visit Tito Bustillo Cave where you can see prehistoric cave paintings.
The Picos de Europa mountain range forms part of the Cantabrian Mountains, but as well as high peaks it also has some of the deepest caves in Spain. At its highest peak there is Torre de Cerredo, standing at 8,688ft, and at its lowest is the cave of Torca de Cerro which drops to -1589m underground.
The drive through the park itself takes you along winding mountain roads and the views are utterly stunning. Keep your eyes peeled for the bears, wolves, buzzards and eagles that call the mountain range home. There are a number of ways to explore the area, either in little short trips or by doing the complete five and a half hour round trip. With such a vast space to explore, its well worth adding on several hours for exploration if you’re planning to do the journey in one go.
Begin your journey around the park at Cangas de Onis and from here, take your pick of which places you wish to explore. Highly recommended is the Blankos de Yamos Mountain which is popular for climbing and the dramatic Beyos Gorge. There are also many villages nestled amongst and at the foot of the mountains for you to discover and even stay in if you want to stay within the park.