For those who are looking to discover a new part of Spain, the North promises a whole different adventure from gastronomic delights to breathtaking scenery and dramatic landscapes full of dense forests, lush, evergreen meadows, and the majesty of rugged mountains contrasting with the intimate charm of coastal towns, fishing ports and picturesque beaches.
This part of Spain, known as “Green Spain”, is comprised of the regions of Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria and the Basque country.
Here is a place known for its unexpected discoveries and fascinating lore – with up to 7 UNESCO World Heritage declarations and an abundance of natural beauty – a place where towering cliffs rise to the sea and green valleys abound!
The Cantabrian Sea, along with the mountains and valleys of the inland area, are the natural larder of "Green Spain” producing delicious dishes based on traditional recipes, but also novel, imaginative, avant-garde culinary creations. The result is unique gastronomy with extraordinary variety, renowned throughout the world. Once you try it, you are sure to come back for more.
More than 50 restaurants have a Michelin Star in Green Spain with the highest concentration located in the Basque Country.
Each region in the North of Spain boasts of phenomenal cuisine – from the Galician shellfish to the exquisite quality and flavours of Asturian dishes like the fabada stew and cider, the variety of Cantabrian cuisine from the Cocido Montañes (stew with beans, vegetables and meat) to fluffy cakes (sobaos pasiegos) and the ever popular local tradition of ‘going out for pintxos’, the Basque version of tapas.
In “Green Spain”, gastronomy is an art and forms part of the cultural heritage of the region. You will see for yourself the moment you sit down at any one of its restaurants and taverns. Enjoy the most delicious kind of journey. ¡Buen provecho!
Both the cities of Bilbao and Santiago de Compostela are connected to main international airlines while cities like San Sebastian, Santander, Oviedo, A Coruña and Vigo service regional flights from the rest of Spain.
The North of Spain is also well connected from Madrid by train and the cities of Bilbao and San Sebastian in the Basque Country are equally accessible from Barcelona.
There are many ways to explore this part of Spain. If you wish to discover individual regions, Galicia and Basque Country are well connected by train between key cities but to appreciate their scenic beauty and visit lesser- known coastal villages, renting a car is highly recommended.
The regions of Asturias and Cantabria known for its rugged beauty is best explored together by road and may take up to a week to cover. To explore the entire stretch of Green Spain from Galicia to San Sebastian could take between 2-3 weeks.
For the more discerning traveler, the Transcantabrico hotel-train offers a bespoke way to experience the North of Spain. Travel in comfort and style as you journey from the shores of Biscay to Galicia, passing by the most beautiful landscapes, sampling regional cuisine and embarking on guided visits to key destinations.
The North of Spain is traversed by one of the most famous pilgrimage routes in the world – El Camino De Santiago or The Way of Saint James. Year after year, millions cover hundreds of kilometres on foot, by bicycle or on horseback, on trails running through stunning landscapes and isolated villages with the end goal of reaching the historic city of Santiago de Compostela. Today, it is more than just a pilgrimage route – it is an exciting and unforgettable adventure and a unique way to discover Northern Spain.