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Our Drive on the Map

Open out a road map of northern Spain with a bit of geographical detail and it’s full of promise: roads skirt estuaries, wriggle enticingly inland between mountains with offshoots ending in mountain villages or cliff tops. It’s a landscape made for driving or biking with ever changing scenery, magnificent views, and enough effort required to get a real sense of satisfaction and having travelled. On the whole the roads are quite good too if sometimes necessarily narrow.

On a previous trip we flew to Bilbao and hired a car, which worked fine. This time we brought our car travelling with Brittany Ferries from Portsmouth to Santander – definitely to be recommended in terms of convenience and comfort. The rough plan was to head westward along the coast and then loop round through the Picos Mountains, no great distance, more a meander with time to explore and sample the splendid local cooking of Cantabria and Asturias. We pre booked some accommodation and left other nights to chance as we like to do. There are lots of options outside the busiest months of July and August from family friendly campsites and self-catering accommodation to fabulous Paradores in historic buildings. During our trip we stayed in three characterful posadas which you’ll find on the map.

  1. Barry Kadwill permalink


    Thoroughly enjoyed you journal.

    Some friends and myself of our local Triumph TR club did it in our old classic cars two years ago.

    We did not get into the top of the Picos but enjoyed up to Potes and Covadonga and lots of coastal stops in between.

    However we are going to have another trip in 2014 probably doing some of Cantabria then threading through to finish in the Oveido area. Maybe across the high part.

    Happy Motoring!

    Barry Kadwill

  2. editor permalink

    I’m glad you enjoyed the Journal Barry.

    Motoring through the Picos in an old classic car does sound fun and I definitely recommend the high bits, lots of bends and fabulous views (weather permitting).

    Did you cross by ferry to Santander – I like the view of the mountains fising abruptly as you close the coast, a promise of interesting scenery!

    Do keep in touch and let us know how the trip goes next year.

  3. Irma Baldanza permalink

    Hi Diane, thoroughly enjoyed reading about your journey through Green Spain. When did you take this trip (what year and which month) and how long did it take, beginning in Santander until Ibio? I am just now planning a driving trip to northern Spain for mid-June (2014) for 13 days and I am seriously thinking of following your route! We will be arriving and departing from Madrid (business commitments of my husband), but we are renting a car and planning to drive north to Bilbao and San Sebastian. After reading your wonderful journal I’m quite interested in heading west to the Picos de Europa and following some of your route.

    Thanks for sharing your adventure!

    Irma Baldanza

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