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Oviedo-Bilbao this June: 10 days itinerary (Raton ...)

Melbourne, Australia
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Oviedo-Bilbao this June: 10 days itinerary (Raton ...)

Thank you, Raton, for your Cantabria website and your comments here. After reading them I amended my itinerary but still need help.

We are a couple from Melbourne (Australia) in our fifties, mobile, flexible and curious. It is our third big driving trip in Spain (people don't understand why we are going to the same country again and again – they just don’t know how beautiful and diverse Spain is). We will arrive to Oviedo on the 15th of June and will fly out from Biarritz on the 30th.

I will really appreciate if you and other travelers comment my plan for the first 10 days of our trip:

Day1. Oviedo (Hostal Romero-2 nights) - exploring the city

Day2. Villages Bermiego, Barzana ; Bike riding – La Senda del Oso (may be to skip it and do the bike ride in Puente Viesgo or Potes?)

Day3. Oviedo to Las Arenas de Cabrales (3 nights): Holy Savior de Valdedios – Villaviciosa – Ribadesella - Llanes- Villahormes/Llames ( Playa Gulpiyuri) - Las Arenas de Cabrales (Casa de Aldea Florentina)

Day4. Puente de Poncebos - the Cares Gorge walk

Day5. Canges de Onis, Monasterio de San Pedro, Covadonga & Lakes of Covadonga walk (or skip the Lakes walk and go to Bulnes? Can we do both in one day? )

Day6. Las Arenas to Potes (2 nights): Trescares – Panes- Hermida - Liebana - Monastery of Saint Toribio – Mirador de Santa Catalina - Potes, a bike ride to Iglesia de St Maria Piasta(?)

Day7. Espinama - Fuente De – Aliva walk – Navedo or?

Day8. Potes to Puente Viesgo (2 nights): Panes – Casamaria- Cabazon – Puentenansa/Cueva El Soplano – San Vicente de la Barquera – Comillas – Santillana del Mar – Puente Viesgo

Day9. Cueva El Castillo (may be El Pendo or Monedasas well ) – bike ride to Ontaneda

Day 10. Puente Viesgo to Bilbao: SantanderPedrenaLierganes - Castro Urdeales – Portugalete – Bilbao

I am overloaded with info & start to panic. May be the days are overloaded and I need to skip some places? I will be very happy to hear any suggestions. Thanks to everyone.

Cantabria
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1. Re: Oviedo-Bilbao this June: 10 days itinerary (Raton ...)

Hey!

Well, I think the distribution of nights is great, you're going to see a lot and stay in some great places. I wouldn't worry too much about your days, it really depends on what you're like (with the amount you've put in there you sound like me! I know I would be able to fit in all that you've put in, but that's cos I run around like a mad thing and rely on picnics for lunch!!).

Ok a few comments would be:

-Day 3, Villaviciosa won't take long, it's worth the wander, but unless you're going to eat there (which you won't be if you've got all that to do in the rest of the day, it's a quick visit), I'd try and get in Lastres too, but you'll have to leave out Ribadesella to do that, waaaaay too much otherwise. And Llanes is worth a bit more time, maybe consider going straight from Lastres to Arenas, checking into accommodation there, and then going to Llanes for the early evening to have dinner and a wander.

-I think if you start the Cares gorge walk early, which you'll need to to park, think 8am, you'll be back to Poncebos in plenty of time to go up to Bulnes on the same day, and save you the parking hassle two days. Bulnes is worth it, but I'd only do it if you're prepared to take the funicular up and back then you can definitely do this in the afternoon...that said, check the times of the last funicular down (alsa.es/en/…). I'd say walking it after having done Cares in the morning will probably kill you! And Covadonga and Bulnes in a day is kinda in opposite directions. It'll make your day 5 much more doable, as Cangas won't take long, there's only really the bridge to see in passing, and you'll have more time to enjoy the lakes, and then have dinner in Arenas. OR you could consider starting early again this day, and going to Llanes in the evening on this day instead.

-Your day 6 sounds like a more relaxing day, which I think you'll need!! It's only about 45 minutes from Arenas to Potes, more if you stop at Santa Catalina on the way, though it's only a short walk (you're probably adding on an hour to the journey stopping there to give you an idea). I'd stop in Lebeña to see the church there too on the way up the gorge, very pretty, but usually closed, so a quick visit, and doing all that you could easily and calmly be in Potes for lunch (you might want to consider stopping in at the visitors centre in Tama too, worth a quick stop), and then from there you can decide what you want to do in the afternoon, Piasca or Santo Toribio, both easy visits. Make sure you give yourself time to actually enjoy Potes too, you'll want to wander around, wander down the river and eat there at some point.

-Definitely do the Fuente Dé-Aliva-Fuente Dé walk on day 7, it's a must do, unless it's bad weather up there, in which case ask at the tourist office for alternatives. (for this walk you don't need to go via Espinama any more either, there's a cut across to Fuente Dé from the stone huts as you come down, marked and clear, which makes it much more circular.

-Day 8 sounds good too, make sure you book El Soplao in advance and get there in PLENTY OF TIME, it takes longer than it looks to get there, and you have to be there 30 minutes before to pick up your tickets anyway. Although perfectly possible, you may be a little rushed to see San Vicente, Comillas and Santillana AND soplao all in one day!! I think this is a little ambitious personally, even for me! Personally, I'd leave out El Soplao, unless you have a real desire to see it, it is beautiful, but it's a huge chunk out of your day and it's quite a detour. You could easily do San Vicente for 11am tortilla stop, then along the coast road to Comillas for lunch (if you're in a rush, go and see the Capricho from over the fence instead of paying to go in!), then Santillana for an ice cream/coffee (sneak into the garden of the Parador round the back for a drink) and the Puente Viesgo for dinner (go to the Marques! Amazing food, worth the prices). Don't forget to find the river walk in PV also, the easiest end to find of it is literally under the Marques restaurant, go down past the bowls pitch, under the bridge, and you'll see the steps down.

-Day 9 sounds nice, I'd do El Castillo, and if you want another Las Monedas, they're in the same mountain, same car park etc., so much easier than trekking of to El Pendo. You need to book these in advance. The bike ride in the afternoon sounds great too, it's about an hour each way, and make sure you get an ice cream in Ontaneda! Go up to the main road (careful, fast crazy traffic), near the church, and the best ice cream shop in the world with their homemade icecream is at the north end of the village on it. Yuuuummm, the signature cheese ice cream, or my favourite Miel con Orujo, or whatever tickles your fancy! If it's hot whilst you're there you can swim in the river at PV too, under the wooden arched bridge at the wier, where the other end of the river walk starts (but at this end you have to search a bit to find it in the undergrowth!).

-I think your day 10 also sounds a bit ambitious! There's no way you're going to get all that in. No way. You could consider maybe going to Santander on the previous evening for dinner? I'd focus purely on the Sardinero area, it's about 40 minutes drive from Puente Viesgo, go down the N634/A67 (via Torrelavega) rather than via Renedo/N623, much more direct if you're going to El Sardinero. You could easily spend the evening wandering along the Sardinero, eating at somewhere like El Balneario de la Concha on the beach (book if you do), and if you get there early enough, wander around the Magdalena peninsula. (To fit this into day 9, you could maybe consider doing the caves early in the morning, maybe only doing one of them (El Castillo, you'll see plenty there anyway), doing the Ontaneda bike ride for lunch, picnic in the park in Ontaneda, icecream for desert), and then you've got most of the afternoon to wander around Santander, would give you time to go up to the Cabo Mayor lighthouse and art gallery too, which are lovely.

-Then on day 10 you'd have time to go straight to Lierganes, easy drive from PV, (not sure why you want to visit Pedreña specifically?), enjoy a wander there, then go on to Castro Urdiales, you'll actually have time for Portugalete (I presume the Puente Colgante, worth a visit, won't take long). A nice place to eat on the way if you're up for a nice final lunch could be La Bicicleta in Hoznayo (formal lunch or tapas/raciones lunch), book it though http://www.restaurantelabicicleta.com/, which is nicely between Lierganes and Castro.

Wow, I need a holiday after writing all that, you're going to need one after you've done all that! But you'll have an amazing time and have seen sooooo much!

Melbourne, Australia
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2. Re: Oviedo-Bilbao this June: 10 days itinerary (Raton ...)

Wow, Raton! I am overwhelmed with your comments – more than I expected but exactly what I dreamed about!

Northen Spain is famous with nice beaches but it is difficult to surprise us after we have here literally on our backyards  That is why we are looking for old towns with a character, architecture, history – we really miss it in Australia being from Europe ourselves. We enjoy having cortado in a small mountain villages and watch abuelos sitting together on the Plaza mayor. I always worry about missing some small but unique places (will I ever come back?) and put more for the day than normal people just in case we have some spare time we know where to go.

You’ve confirmed my doubts about some days so I amended my plan, thanks to you.

D3. Oviedo - Villaviciosa – Lastres – Llanes <-> Las Arenas de Cabrales

OR what do you think about this: Lasters – Covadonga- Las Arenas? In this case we can do Bulnes and Llanes in the evening on D5? If I need to compromise and miss some walks in Picos it looks like the Lakes walk is the only one. May be I am wrong?

D8. Casamaria- San Vicente de la Barquera – Comillas – Santillana del MarPuente Viesgo

D9. Cueva El Castillo (one cave because we saw Pinturas Rupestres in Albarracin) - bike ride to OntanedaSantander (overnight)

D10. Lierganes - Castro Urdeales – Portugalete – Bilbao

Is it worth to stay in Bilbao (parking will be a problem) or is it OK to stay in some Casa Rural nearby? I’ll appreciate some advise on the place or location. Is one full day in Bilbao enough?

Thanks a lot :)

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3. Re: Oviedo-Bilbao this June: 10 days itinerary (Raton ...)

Yup, those amendments look pretty good to me! I'd say wait and see on the weather for your day 3 changes, if it's cloudy or misty, there's not much point in going up to the lakes, but if not the lake walk is very pretty. If you're staying in Arenas anyway you can play that a bit by ear. Day 8 sounds fine. Day 9 I think you're right about 1 cave, and yes, a night in Santander is no bad idea. And day 1' sounds good too. When is your Bilbao night going to be? The night of day 10? Driving in Bilbao centre is a nightmare and I would avoid doing, if you're doing Bilbao as day 11 effectively, then you could actually go to Portugalete, cross on the carrier bridge with your car (it's very cheap), and then stay somewhere in the Getxo area, nice seafront promenades, and if you're near a metro stop you could then get the metro into Bilbao to see the Guggenheim the next day, if that's your aim. I personally think you can do Bilbao in a day easily, especially if you've done the bridge the day before. The Guggenheim, the old town, pinchos for lunch. You could also potentially stay and park easily in one of the hotels in the Barakaldo area of Bilbao, the right side for coming from Santander and Portugalete, although the opposite side from the airport, not a pretty area, its the shopping area (IKEA etc), but lots of hotels with parking and a metro link into the centre. If you're staying at any hotel, and it says it has parking, check whether it's free or paid, paid can be expensive.

And as for the beaches, the special thing up here, western Cantabria and eastern Asturias is standing on the beach and seeing the snowy mountains a step away, the motorway between Ribadesella and Llanes is spectacular on a clear day, and the coast road from San Vicente to Comillas is stunning, you can be surfing in the sea with views of the Picos, it's something else! I am biased obviously...and have never been to Oz! I think you'll enjoy them anyway :)

Melbourne, Australia
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4. Re: Oviedo-Bilbao this June: 10 days itinerary (Raton ...)

Looks like our minds are alike, Raton " in Portugalete cross on the carrier bridge with your car and stay somewhere in the Getxo area" :)

I can't wait to see your coast, the only reason I mentioned beaches - to explain why we are missing beach resorts/towns ...Why Santander is troubling me? Is it special and very different from other bigger towns? Feel like I can loose time there and miss something special...In this forum somebody (Alex?) mentioned Saja area with wild flowers - can we see them in June?

Could I ask here about Guernica area in Basque or I need to go to their forum?

Thanks

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5. Re: Oviedo-Bilbao this June: 10 days itinerary (Raton ...)

I'd go the Basque forum for Guernika.

Saja is a very beautiful natural park, one long valley full of beach woods, wild deer, and yes, beautiful flowers, June is a good time, especially as spring is still not fully sprung here this year!

It's an easy place to visit as there is a very pretty road which runs all the way up the valley, the CA280, off the motorway at Cabezón de la Sal. There is one place very much worth visiting here, Barcena Mayor, a bit of a detour as it's a dead end road, but a fantastic example of Cantabrian mountain village architecture, all old stone buildings, river, and some great places to eat, however it is a bit of a detour, and if you're going to Santillana anyway and are pushed for time...may have to be a miss. All the villages between Cabezón and Saja village have great places to eat here, game meat is the specialty. Anyway, you can make the Saja valley into a circular trip by going all the way up the CA280, which takes you into the beautiful Campoo valley, then at Espinilla go towards Reinosa (along this road are 2 places of interest, the castle in Argüeso and the Nacimiento del Ebro in Fontibre, the start of the longest river in Spain, only a short stop, nice restaurant next to the source itself), then either you can nip quickly back down towards Santander on the A67 motorway (it's about 50 minutes), or take a little detour on the way down by taking the motorway exit for San Miguel de Aguayo, and then going down the windy, rocky, pine lined gorge of the N611, entering onto the motorway again at the next opportunity (or prolonging the gorge by staying on the N611 through the Iguña valley and then back into the gorgey bit down to Los Corrales de Buelna and entering onto the motorway there, some of the villages along here also have some beautiful houses, Barcena Pie de Concha, La Serna, Molledo, plus there's a random bit of English architecture, the Palacio de los Hornillos in Las Fraguas, with its random Greek temple, off the SV2011 (the temple is on Google maps as the Iglesia de San Jorge, and the palace is just opposite, you can't visit, only see it, it was the set of the film The Others too!).

And as for Santander, the beach area, El Sardinero, is worth a visit, very regal Spanish beachfront, you get the idea that the king of Spain did indeed use to go there on holiday, the Magdalena Palace (where he stayed) and Peninsula, and possibly the Cabo Mayor lighthouse and art gallery, but you could do this for an evening happily, just by going and having dinner there. If you miss it, you miss it, it's not the end of the world.

Hope that's helpful and doesn't confuse you completely!!! You're going to need 3 months to visit at this rate!

Melbourne, Australia
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6. Re: Oviedo-Bilbao this June: 10 days itinerary (Raton ...)

A very big temptation!

But it is tooooo much even for us :)

If we are not lucky with the weather and can't do high mountains walks (it happened last May - we run away from Pamplona's +5 to Madrid instead of going as planned to the North), we can go to Saja valley from Potes for a day. Right?

we are happy with the plan now, thanks to you, Raton.

Have a lovely day.

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7. Re: Oviedo-Bilbao this June: 10 days itinerary (Raton ...)

Yup, totally, and I was thinking today as I was walking through Saja that actually, you're going to get plenty of mountain meadows and flowers doing the Aliva walk anyway, so I wouldn't worry about all that, it's too much!

Have a great time, and if you remember, write us a trip report on here when you get back!

8. Re: Oviedo-Bilbao this June: 10 days itinerary (Raton ...)

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