Santander – Santiago – Circular tour
Based on 14 nights self-drive independent tour in Spain
The classic Northern Spain itinerary adapted to combine with the ferry crossings to Bilbao and Santander. The stops are interleaved to keep driving times reasonable so you can cruise to Spain in style with your own car, motorbike or classic car – and discover north-west Spain at a leisurely pace.
This out-and-back tour is a great solution for those wishing to enter and return via the same Spanish airport, combing well for example with the routes from Manchester and Bristol to Bilbao or Dublin and Edinburgh to Santander.
The route follows close to one of the main ways of St James yet never far from the dramatic coastline and with the stunning Cordillera de Cantabria mountain range as a backdrop. From start to finish you’ll find great walking, superb food and wine, great cities and lovely, well preserved towns to investigate as well as the legacy of hundreds of years of pilgrimage.
The full route takes two weeks but you can do as little, or as much, as you like.
- The ‘Way of St James’, steeped in history
- Spain’s most beautiful beaches
- World class wines and gastronomy
- Breathtaking mountain scenery
- Magnificent cities, unspoilt villages
- Ancient architecture to ultra modern Guggenheim
Day 1 to 3 – Asturias: Picos & Dinosaur Coast
- Picos de Europa soaring directly above the coast
- Mirador del Fito – the best view of the Picos & the coast
- Jurassic footprints by the beaches
- Canoe down the Sella or get out on a fishing boat
- Oviedo’s fine Pre-Romanesque architecture
Day 4 & 5 – Costa Lucense, Galicia
- Great seafood – famed throughout Spain
- Playa de los Catedrales, one of many fantastic beaches
- Unspoilt coastline with lovely fishing villages
- Viveiro, lively seaside city with an atmospheric old town
- Sagadelo pottery, traditional yet with a modern look.
Day 6 & 7 – Santiago de Compostela, Galicia
- Journey’s end, for centuries Europe’s most important pilgrim destination
- World heritage city centred around the magnificent Cathedral, said to house the bones of St James
- Guided walking tour, there’s so much to discover
- Lively bar scene, great tapas and young Ribeiro wine, or if you prefer, a drop of Albariño
Day 8 & 9 – Western Asturias
- Pretty fishing villages such as Cudillero & Luarca
- Beautiful beaches & dramatic cliff-top coastal walks
- Dinosaur coast & Jurassic museum
- Oviedo, historic Asturian capital & Gijon by the sea
- National Park of Somiedo – maybe you’ll see bears!
- Visit a traditional Asturian cider house (sidrería)
Day 10 & 11 – Picos de Europa
- Breathtaking mountain scenery, walks & activities for all
- Wildlife, butterflies to birds of prey, bears too!
- Make a pilgrimage to Santo Toribio
- Cable car at Fuente De whisks you up to 1800m
- Potes, Cangas and Arriondas, historic yet full of life
- Local mountain gastronomy, cider & Orujo
Day 12 to 14 – Western Cantabria
- Historic seaside towns of San Vicente, Comillas or Santillana del Mar
- Sandy beaches and craggy protected coves
- Carmona, Barcena Mayor in the beautiful valleys
- Prehistoric cave paintings at Altamira and many more
- Wonderful walks along the coast or in the rolling hills
The itinerary includes the following:
- Accommodation in our listed hotels – 2 sharing 1 std. double ensuite, B&B
- Economy 4dr car hire
- or ferry crossings with Brittany Ferries (car + 2 berth interior cabin)
- Guide book to Northern Spain
- Restaurant guide covering regions en-route
- Instructions to find all accommodation & regional road map
- Flights – but we are able to advise
- One-way car hire charges, where applicable (see your quote email)
- The following car hire extras – these can be added at pick-up point
- extra driver
- child seats
- Garage parking where applicable (mostly city stops) – please ask us about parking charges
An out-and-back itinerary, this route is best enjoyed either from the Basque Country (Bilbao) or Galicia (Santiago – A Coruña). The best options are:
- Flight connections from-to:
- Stansted: Bilbao with Easyjet / Santiago with Vueling and Ryanair
- Heathrow: Bilbao with BA / A Coruña with BA
- Gatwick: Bilbao with Vueling / Santiago with Easyjet and Vueling
- Manchester: Bilbao with Easyjet
- Edinburgh: Santander or Vigo with Ryanair
- Dublin: Santander with Ryanair
- Bristol: Bilbao with Easyjet
- Ferry: if you wish to bring your own car, classic car or motorbike
- Ferries Portsmouth or Plymouth: Santander or Bilbao – 5 sailings weekly. We can include the ferry crossings as part of the package
Make the same itinerary point-to-point – please click here for more details
For those coming on the ferry you will use your own vehicle but in either case we will provide full instructions to arrive at each hotel, complete with GPS, as well as a map of the area. Please consult about parking at hotels if travelling with a classic car, motorbike or other ‘special’ vehicle.
For passengers travelling by air we will include a hire car as part of the package. Normally we include a 4 door economy class car but please let us know if you would like something different.
What our clients say
3 week tour in Cantabria, Asturia and Galicia, interesting, different, wonderful scenery, great food, superb accommodation
A great itinerary.
This was a completely new part of Spain for us which we have wanted to explore for a while and it did not disappoint.
The hotels were great, scenery was stunning and the food was fantastic. We had an amazing time.
Made to measure!
Excellent accommodation and itinerary, very clear information prior to booking and to guide us on our journeys.
Real attention to detail for all aspects of the trip.
The hotels and holiday information were excellent and we enjoyed all the places we visited.
Casas Cantabricas was very helpful on the phone in booking the tour …. Well planned and well organised!
We saw fabulous beaches and coves, mountains and forests and managed to fit in some cathedrals and museums along the way. New to holidaying in Spain we put ourselves in the hands of the excellent people at Casas Cantabricas who worked out an itinerary which suited our needs.
Casas Cantabricas and their information, especially on their app made the whole experience so simple and gave us so many ideas of places to go and things to do along each leg of the journey. My Spanish was not always up to the occasion but it provides a Winter project ready for next year’s Spanish road trip – with Casas Cantabricas.
We thoroughly enjoyed the beauty and variety found in this region of Spain. Staying in a range of small independent hotels – all of which were special in their own way – we received a very warm welcome and excellent service at each of them.
Our holiday exceeded our expectations – Casas Cantabricas did a good job.
Northern Spain has lovely sandy beaches with a splendid mountainous backdrop. The roads are quiet and in better shape than our own UK roads and driving is stress free.
Casas Cantabricas proved to be very knowledgeable about the region visited. Their service was excellent, meeting all of our needs.
– client 2016
Casas Cantabricas arranged a stunning tour of Green Spain. They made it easy for us to get full enjoyment out of this lovely area. The tour was well paced giving us ample time to relax and enjoy the sights.
– client 2016
The Hotels were very good and extremely interesting, fully matching our desire for older properties full of character. We would definitely use this company again and recommend anyone to do likewise.
– client 2016
The hotels were wonderful and we have no complaints on any score. All of the owners/staff were extremely welcoming and very helpful to us in making the most of our visit.
– client 2014
We had a really great time and thoroughly enjoyed the tour which you had put together for us. It contained the perfect combination of interesting places and sights and gave a wonderful oversight of the entire region.
– client 2014