As summer allows us to enjoy some of the best spots such as Infinite Cantabria, today in this blog we wish to recommend to you some visits that are a must. It’s not only for those already enjoying our exceptional region, but also for those who will visit us in the near future. We are aware of the number of enthusiasts of the Liébana district, so we will focus on all the details that can’t be missed in this unique region.
We must admit that it is not an easy task to choose nine essential destinations when you have a choice of a vast range of options, from the imposing Picos de Europa mountain range, which boasts a few of the most spectacular nature routes on the continent, and some of the prettiest villages in Spain, which traverses the destination point and part of the course of the Pilgrims’ Route of Santiago: the Lebaniego Route. For this reason, we have decided to show you nine spots, not the only ones by far, but ones that cannot be missed.
So what do you think? Are you ready? Let’s get on with it! The following nine places are a must this summer.
1. Fuente Dé
Having mentioned the majestic Picos de Europa at the beginning of this post, our first stop must be Fuente Dé: the best, quickest and the easiest direct access point to the impressive national park. In just 4 minutes, you can rise up 753 metres on the Fuente Dé Cableway and take the tripper conveyor 1,823 metres high. You cannot miss looking out from its spectacular viewpoint (not suitable for people with a fear of heights, we might add), nor hiking along the mountain routes which rise from here.
2. Hotel Áliva
Once you reach the upper Fuente Dé Cableway station, you can enjoy the spectacular scenery and any of the routes of the Picos de Europa, either on foot, by horse, by bicycle or by quad. If, on the other hand, you prefer an even more intense experience, would you like to sleep, almost touching the stars, in the heart of the Picos de Europa National Park? This idyllic plan, suitable for everyone, of all interests and ages, can be enjoyed by staying at the Hotel Aliva.
Within less than one hour hiking from the upper Fuente Dé Cableway station, you can find this hotel, which is open exclusively in the summer season. From this family hotel surrounded by mountains and meadows, in the middle of an unmatched landscape, you can set out for incredible hikes and finally recover your strength, thanks to the delectable dishes prepared with original produce of Liébana.
3. Vias Ferratas
Do you fancy doing some outdoor or adventure sports? You are in the ideal location. Apart from the multiple routes along the Picos de Europa, there are a few of the most spectacular vias ferratas. In fact, four lines are located in the district of Liébana, two in La Hermida, one in Camaleño and one more in Vega de Liébana. Of these four vias, the one in Camaleño is the easiest, while the other three are of medium to high difficulty. However, all of them offer varied and spectacular climbs and sections from amongst to choose.
Do not forget that, although the access to the vias ferratas is free, it is always recommended to hire an expert who will guide and help you when required.
Our two following sections, Potes and Mogrovejo, are two of the prettiest villages in Spain that will delight you. Potes provides you the opportunity to explore its beautiful streets, taste its cooking, take photos of its surroundings and enjoy this extraordinary rural setting.
A true symbol of Potes is the Torre del Infantado, a medieval six-storey building which hosts the permanent exhibition of the Beato de Liébana and which has been a prison and also the Town Hall within its past.
This little hamlet is situated in a towering part of the municipality of Camaleño, below the eastern massif of the Picos de Europa and surrounded by woodlands. It is an idyllic spot like a fairy tale setting, which is ideal for feeling like Heidi in Leganiego style, with its outstanding typical Lebaniego houses and also a few unique buildings which have survived here, such as the medieval tower.
This hamlet well deserves taking a stroll around its houses and along the paths surrounding it. It gives the flavour of a traditional village and its houses look like they were inspired by a painting, with the silhouette of the rocky walls and the summits of the Picos de Europa, which seem to stand out from the roofs of the houses.
6. The Habario de Pembes
This old chestnut groove full of centenary trees, situated between Pembes and Cabañes, is in the heart of the Lebaniego Pilgrims’ Route and boasts a matchless landscape, ideal for a rest or some downtime whilst enjoying the magnificent views of the Picos de Europa.
This spot in Liébana is renowned for its landscape and offers a recreational area, a fountain, a parking area, a playground and a small football pitch.
7. Santa María de Lebeña
Our list would not be complete without the main monument of pre-Romanesque style in Cantabria, one of the most outstanding of its so-called Mozarabic style, which entails a legend of great peculiarity.
The legend tells that the Count and Countess of Liébana ordered the church to be built with the aim of hosting the remains of Santo Toribio. However, while these were being moved, the two nobles became blind, not being able to recover their sight until the corpse was returned to the Monasterio de Santo Toribio.
The guided visit to this unique temple is a surely unforgettable experience, not only owing to its history, but to its beauty as well.
8. Monasterio de Santo Toribio
Located a few kilometres from Potes, a visit to this Gothic monastery is also unmissable in Liébana. It is great importance is due to its hosting of the Lignum Crucis, the largest part of the Cross of Jesus that exists, where Jesus Christ died. This relic makes this a site of holy pilgrimage and the final destination of our last stop, the Lebaniego Pilgrims’ Route.
9. The Lebaniego Pilgrims’ Route
Cantabria is the only Christian region which has two pilgrim routes declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO: The Lebaniego and the Northern Pilgrims’ Route. So, we couldn’t end our list without mentioning this section of the Pilgrims’ Route to Santiago, which crosses over the whole district and ends in the Monasterio de Santo Toribio. This Route stretches over 72 kilometres that can be completed in 3 or 5 stages, depending on your physical condition, and will take you to some of the most emblematic spots in Liébana.
Here we have our nine recommendations, but we must remind you that they are not the only ones. Which visits do you consider a must in Liébana? Please share your experiences and ideas with us on our social media profiles on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hastag #ComparteCantabria.
Come and enjoy Liébana in Cantabria, more to discover!