Cantabria in Northern Spain is often known as ‘Switzerland by the Sea’ for its magnificent sandy beaches leading to green meadows, river valleys and dramatic mountain peaks. Included in this tour is a visit to a remarkable wildlife park and another to the museum of the world-famous Caves of Altamira, which feature prehistoric cave drawings.
Day 1 Following collection from home, travel to Plymouth for the afternoon Brittany Ferries mini cruise to Santander in Northern Spain. The evening is free to relax and enjoy the many on board facilities of this superb cruise ferry (meals payable on board).
Day 2 After a lunchtime arrival in Santander, make the short journey to the Hotel Juan de la Cosa near Santoña where we stay for seven nights dinner, bed and breakfast.
Day 3 Today is a full day excursion to the Picos de Europa mountain range. We take a scenic journey to the market town of Potes, before continuing to Fuente Dé where, subject to good weather, there will be an opportunity to take a spectacular cable car ride into the mountains (cost approx. £11 payable locally).
Day 4 This morning is at leisure in Santoña. Later, we take the boat across to Laredo for the afternoon, then drive back along the coastal road to the hotel.
Day 5 A free day to relax in Santoña. Perhaps take part in the activities available at our hotel and enjoy a tapas lunch.
Day 6 A half day excursion to the Cabarceno Natural Park, one of the major attractions of Northern Spain. Set amidst the most spectacular scenery, this is an ideal setting for the wildlife park, where the animals have an exceptionally large area to roam. This afternoon is free to enjoy the hotel facilities.
Day 7 Departing the hotel after breakfast, we drive to nearby Cicero to board the FEVE narrow gauge railway for a spectacular journey through the Cantabrian Hinterland to Bilbao. This lively city is the capital of the Basque region and more recently, home to the amazing Guggenheim Museum, as famous for its incredible architecture as it is the wide range of modern art exhibits. We return to Santoña by coach.
Day 8 After a leisurely breakfast, we head to the pretty village of Santillana del Mar. Listed as a World Heritage Site, Santillana is famous for its Medieval buildings and cobbled streets and is best described as a living museum. This afternoon we visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Caves of Altamira, containing some of the world’s ﬁnest examples of prehistoric rock art. The museum and easily accessible replica cave provide a remarkable experience.
Day 9 Depart the hotel after breakfast and journey to Santander with free time to explore the picturesque coastal resort. Later, board the Brittany Ferries sailing for Portsmouth (meals payable on board).
Day 10 On arrival in Portsmouth midafternoon. We rejoin our coach for the return journey to the local area where our door to door service will be waiting to return you home.
Our vessel represents the very latest in cruise ferry technology and oﬀers unrivalled levels of comfort. Accommodation in two-berth inside cabins (bunks) equipped with private facilities is included. Two bedded cabins are available at a supplement.
Situated in a fabulous position within private gardens, lovely terraces and delightful sea views of the unspoilt beach at Playa de Berria. All bedrooms are air-conditioned with TV, telephone, safe, hairdryer and kettle. Leisure facilities include heated indoor swimming pool, Jacuzzi, sauna and games room. There is WiFi and a lift to all ﬂoors.