San Vicente de la Barquera

Memorable coastal towns


The serenity of life by the sea

Fishing boats coming into port with their catch, sailors striding towards the market with fish to sell, nets piled on the dock, the lights at twilight… We could be in any of the enchanting coastal villages of northern Spain, in Galicia, Asturias or Cantabria. These villages maintain their authenticity, as places where you can still experience life by the sea in its purest form.

Shelter from the ocean in Baiona

To the south of the Rias Baixas area (Galicia), the bay of Baiona seems to invite you to shelter from the ocean. A splendid historic town centre, mountains, riverside paths, the lush vegetation of the estuary, and an exquisite cuisine combining the best of land and sea. Baiona was the first port in Europe to hear of a new continent, America. The news arrived on board the caravel Pinta in 1493, and every first weekend in March they celebrate the Fiesta de la Arribada to commemorate it. The rest of the year, you can visit the Museum of the Carabela Pinta, a replica of the ship with a recreation of that important moment in history.

Aerial view of Baiona

Film locations in Asturias

Two exemplary coastal towns, Ribadesella and Llanes, are located in the eastern part of Asturias. Ribadesella, between the Picos de Europa and the Cantabrian Sea, owes much of its charm to the river Sella. A famous international canoe race is held on the river in August, accompanied by a celebratory atmosphere and plenty of other activities, but you can follow the same course at other times of year. The Sella is a calming presence, and the combination of exercise, nature and good food is always a positive experience. The Tito Bustillo cave and its visitor centre, the viewpoint at Guía or a historic tour of the port are other options to enjoy the seaside lifestyle of Ribadesella.      We recommend stopping at the acantilados del infierno, the “cliffs of hell”, before you reach Llanes, just 30 kilometres away, to take one of those photos that always remind you of unforgettable trips. Enormous multicoloured cubes by the Basque artist Agustín Ibarrola, arranged as breakwaters, capture the attention of new arrivals. This is Llanes, a town with a truly beautiful historic centre, which has been the setting for around twenty films. Intriguing cinematic and maritime routes, like its beaches, its coastal path, and its fabulous golf course next to the shore.

Photos of Ribadesella
Los Cubos de la Memoria

Cantabria from end to end

From San Vicente de la Barquera to Laredo, via Santoña. This is our suggested route, under 100 kilometres, to see the best of these three Cantabrian seaside towns. Oyambre Natural Park, close to San Vicente de la Barquera, is an almost perfect representation of the area’s biodiversity. A large fleet of fishing boats is moored in the port of San Vicente, a stage on the northern St James' Way, and the starting point of the Camino Lebaniego. Its medieval heritage includes a castle, a bridge, and the city walls.  Santoña is another perfect destination for understanding the character of a seafaring people. This is where the technique of preserving anchovies in salt was perfected, and the town has plenty to see, from the wetlands of Las Marismas Natural Park to the lighthouses of El Pescador and El Caballo, reached via a challenging 800 stone steps. Finally, La Salvé beach in Laredo, one of the longest in northern Spain with nearly five kilometres of fine sand, where you can imagine the past and present importance of the sea to these towns. Every September, a major fiesta recreates the historic Landing of Charles V in Laredo, thought to be his last journey before he died. Another unusual event is the Battle of the Flowers, which the locals prepare for months. The goal is to design the most spectacular float, decorated entirely with fresh flowers, in a tradition of painstaking precision passed down through generations.

Photos of Laredo and Santoña