Green Spain route I

A journey through fishing villages in the Cantabrian coastline from Limpias to Vilalba among beaches, cliffs, meadows and lush forests.

Days 1 and 2
Sunday and Monday.
The journey begins in Cantabrian territories. Limpias is famous due to the Christ of Agony, popular for his manifestations of life by means of tears, sweat and blood, who you will find in the Church of San Pedro. There are many interesting fishing towns nearby, such as Laredo, where La Salvé, one of the most extensive and beautiful beaches in the region, Castro Urdiales and Santoña can be found. This area is ideal for rowing and canoeing. A visit to the Cabárceno Nature Park, a 750-hectare park with more than a hundred animal species from the 5 continents in semi-freedom, or the Ansón Valley are also interesting. Santander, with its fried squid and its Botín Centre, and Bilbao, with its famous pintxos and its Guggenheim Museum, are also other attractive places to visit. You must try the artisan anchovies in olive oil, the tinned food that would also be the perfect souvenir.
Day 3
Tuesday.
Santillana del Mar, a medieval town with cobbled streets, is a true gift for the traveller by itself. The streets, palaces and mansions, the Romanesque Collegiate Church of Santa Juliana or museums such as the Regina Coelli of Religious Art, await you to be discovered as a great treat for your eyes. You cannot leave the area without visiting the Neocave of Altamira and its Museum to learn about our past and marvel at the “Sistine Chapel of Rock Art”. Other recommended visits are Comillas, Santander or the Cabárceno Natural Park. Visit the El Soplao cave on your way to Asturias, with unique karst formations, or coastal towns such as San Vicente de la Barquera.
Day 4
Wednesday.
Asturias is at its highest expression in these lands. In the village of Cangas de Onís, we recommend discovering the Roman Bridge, from where a copy of the 10th-century Cruz de la Victoria that commemorates the battle of Covadonga hangs, the Chapel of Santa Cruz and the Cortés Palace. To soak the culture of the Principado, you should enter some chigre (a type of bar) to see the show of pouring cider and taste it together with Cabrales cheese or some other delight of the many prepared in this region. A destination for hikers and mountaineers, next to the National Park of Picos de Europa, visit Casa Dago (visitors’ centre). The Royal Grounds of Covadonga, which houses the Santina, is one of the places of special interest in the area together with the Covadonga lakes (Enol and Ercina) and the Cares route.
Day 5
Thursday.
Gijón: historical, commercial and industrial, where the sea, the rolling mountains and the big city come together to create one of the most attractive cities in the north of Spain. Its mild climate invites you to enjoy it all year round. The San Lorenzo beach, the seafront promenade, the marina, the Semana Negra literary week, the social life and the party atmosphere make you want to get to know the city. You have to walk by the fishing neighbourhood of Cimadevilla and go up to the hill of Santa Catalina, where you will see the sculpture of Chillida "Praise of the Horizon", and from where the Cantabrian coast offers a beautiful panoramic view. Among its many attractions, Gijón has a museum network and diverse cultural offerings: International Film Festival, Salón del Libro Iberoamericano book festival, the Railway Museum, the International Bagpipe Museum, Jovellanos’ birth house, the Nicanor Piñole museum, the Revillagigedo palace, the Laboral Ciudad de la Cultura... And if you have not yet succumbed to its charms, it is time to taste a hearty fabada or other Asturian dishes such as cachopo or its unbeatable rice pudding. On the way to Galicia, Avilés is well worth a stop to visit the Niemeyer Museum and typical fishing villages such as Candás, Luanco and Cudillero. Pay attention to the majestic Indian mansions placed throughout the territory! Among its many attractions, Gijón has a museum network and diverse cultural offerings: International Film Festival, Salón del Libro Iberoamericano book festival, the Railway Museum, the International Bagpipe Museum and others display the city's incredible history, including the Jovellanos birthplace museum, the Nicanor Piñole museum and the Revillagigedo palace.
Day 6
Friday.
Following the coast along the Jacobean Route of the Northern Way we arrive in Ribadeo, a Lugo fishing town bordering Galicia and Asturias. At the end of the route, it provides us with the necessary rest to discover places of great beauty and several beaches, including As Catedrais beach, one of the most spectacular in the world due to its set of cliffs over 32 meters high that, sculpted by the wind and the sea, form arches and vaults, and it was declared a Natural Monument. It must also be noted the Ribadeo estuary, included in the Eo River Biosphere Reserve, Oscos and Tierras de Burón, a natural cove of great ecological and environmental importance, and it is also great for all kinds of nautical and sports activities. We also suggest visiting the Fuerte de San Damián fort, the Puente Do Santos bridge and the nearby town of Castropol. You can treat yourself by tasting great creations and products of the north with typical dishes from the traditional Galician cuisine, such as seafood, empanada, lacón, broth rice with lobster from the Cantabrian Sea, hake from Puerto Celeiro or delicious suckling beef tenderloin with Cebreiro cheese sauce.
Day 7
Saturday.
On our way to inland territories, our destination is ancient and stately Vilalba, a land full of legends where the river environment and the plain are the main features of the landscape. Close to Vilalba you will find the natural landscapes of the Magdalena and Ladra rivers and the medicinal pond of Alligal, with thermal springs. Here you will discover the most authentic Galician cuisine. We invite you to try traditional dishes such as pulpo a feira (boiled octopus with olive oil and paprika), meat and cheese pie or the delicious filloas (type of crepes) filled with cream, without forgetting some more comforting foods during the cold season, as Galician soup or the stews. If you travel during Christmas, don’t miss the opportunity to try the precious and superb “Vilalba's capon”, a cockerel castrated at a young age and fattened for being eaten. You can’t forget to visit two nearby urban centres: Mondoñedo, a little cobblestone town surrounded by green mountains and declared a Historical-Artistic Site. The atmosphere here is magical. During the winter, the fog slides through narrow streets where time seems to have stood still, while in the summer its stunning cathedral, declared a National Monument, shines even brighter. Don’t forget to sweeten up with the delicious Mondoñedo cake. Another city you will love visiting is Lugo, where you will find the Roman wall, World Heritage Site because of its perfect state of preservation, and one of the best cuisines of Galicia, where tapas are a religion.