Lighthouses are one of the clearest symbols of the world of the sea. Their presence is always comforting and reassuring, no doubt because their primary function is to protect the coastline. Today we travel along some of the most impressive points of the Cantabrian coast, where nature blends the shades of green and blue that are so characteristic of our region. Today we travel through Cantabria, from lighthouse to lighthouse.
Together with beacons and buoys, lighthouses are the most important element of maritime signalling. They have been used for this purpose for over two thousand years. And only recently have they been made accessible to the public and equipped with new functions, e.g. as visitors’ centres, exhibition halls, etc.
Lighthouses have always been a popular destination for history buffs. This is partly because they are associated with the stuff of legends: dramas, romances, tragedies, miracles and much more, with shades of the supernatural. Lighthouses are also popular with visitors for their dramatic setting overlooking impressive cliffs.
So today we want to visit the 9 lighthouses on our coast, located from west to east in the towns of San Vicente de la Barquera, Suances, Santander, Bareyo, Santoña and Castro Urdiales. Would you like to come along?
Punta Silla Lighthouse
Since 1871, this lighthouse in San Vicente de la Barquera has served as a navigational aid for seamen, marking the route between our town and Suances. This picturesque lighthouse allows access to the Ría de San Vicente and offers a spectacular view of the surrounding area from its vantage point. It is not far from the centre of San Vicente de la Barquera and, thanks to its height of 43 metres above sea level, it is undoubtedly the ideal place to overlook the surroundings of this beautiful town.
Punta del Torco de Afuera Lighthouse
This lighthouse, which has been in operation since 1863, is located in a strategic position in Suances, just behind the lookout point on Los Locos beach, where surfers can be seen at any time of the year. It was built near the fortress of San Martín de la Arena, which was used to defend the town against enemy raids, at the port’s entrance.
This lighthouse offers spectacular views. From its base, you can walk down a small dirt path to the edge of the rocky cliff, which is like a balcony overlooking the Bay of Biscay.
Cabo Mayor Lighthouse
It is the oldest of all the lighthouses on our coast and the one that emits the longest beam of light. The name of the lighthouse, also known as Bellavista lighthouse, gives us an idea of the panorama it can offer us. Its imposing and robust silhouette is an icon of the Santander landscape and one of three guarding the city and its bay.
La Cerda Lighthouse
The lighthouse is located right at the entrance to Santander Bay, at the tip of the La Magdalena peninsula. It was built to facilitate the unloading of dangerous goods at the nearby jetty without having to enter the interior of the bay. The location is idyllic, as it is very close to the magnificent Palacio de la Magdalena in Santander.
Isla de Mouro Lighthouse
This is the most inaccessible lighthouse on the list, but also the most unusual. It stands on the edge of Santander Bay, on the island of Mouro, which was declared a nature reserve in 1986. The biodiversity in its waters is immense, with more than 40 different species of fish, and it is also a hotspot for divers. It is certainly an idyllic location. However, because of the numerous accidents that have occurred due to the swell, which can reach a height greater than the height of the lighthouse itself, and the difficulty of access on stormy days, it was long considered by many to be a cursed place.
Located in Ajo, it is the most modern, the northernmost of the nine and one of the most photogenic due to its surroundings. If you like nature and breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside, this is a must-see. We also recommend a walk around the grounds.
Ajo Lighthouse is now one of the most popular with visitors after it was painted by Okuda last summer. The lighthouse consists of a 16-metre high tower, 71 metres above sea level. In the renovation, OKUDA used 72 shades of paint and a varnish designed to slow down the inevitable effects of the saltpetre of the sea and the wind on the paint.
Punta del Pescador Lighthouse
The first of Santoña’s two spectacular lighthouses, located at the foot of a cliff on Mount Buciero, had to be rebuilt after a powerful cyclone in 1915. Although you cannot access the lighthouse itself, the surrounding scenery is breathtaking.
Considered one of the most beautiful lighthouses in Spain, both because of the lighthouse itself and its surroundings, which can be reached via the beautiful Senda del Faro del Caballo (Horse Lighthouse Path). Although it has not been in operation since 1993, this surprising lighthouse, located at the foot of Mount Buciero in Santoña, like the nearby Pescador lighthouse, is definitely worth a visit, even if you have to descend more than 700 steps to reach it. The beautiful vistas and the colour of the water make this staircase well worth the hair-raising descent.
Castro Urdiales Lighthouse
One of the most visited lighthouses in all of Cantabria. Located above the historic castle of Santa Ana in the town of Castro Urdiales, it has been a typical image of the town’s harbour since it was first lit in 1853. The fact that it is so easy to reach and the beauty of its image overlooking the Bay of Biscay make it the perfect end to our tour of the nine lighthouses on the Cantabrian coast.
What do you think of our tour? The lighthouses along Cantabria’s coast are well worth a visit. When you do so, let us know using our Cantabria Infinita social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hastag #ComparteCantabria.
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