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Report 2074: Spain - Cantabria and the Picos de Europa

By Eleanor from UK, Spring 2013

Trip Description: We spent four nights in Picos de Europa in May 2013 based around the small town of Potes.

Destinations: Countries - Spain; Regions/Cities - Basque Country

Categories: Vacation Rentals; Day Tours; Sightseeing; Walking/Hiking; Independent Travel; 2 People

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Page 1 of 10: Background Information

photo by MAW

El Covaju Apartments, Acenaba

We have spent two holidays in France, sailing with Brittany Ferries and taking our car.

We enjoyed the Auvergne and fancied getting further south into the Midi-Pyrenees. This made us start to think about Northern Spain, an area we have not been before. Michael has wanted to get into the Basque country for many years.

We could use Brittany ferries to Bilbao, spend a few days in Spain and then slowly work our way north and catch the ferry back from Caen.

We discounted the coast (rainy and touristy) and eventually decided on two different areas, Picos de Europa, in Cantabria and Navarra (Trip report 2075). After that, we would spend a week in the Midi-Pyrenees near Foix (Trip Report 2076) followed by a week near Sarlat-la-Canťda in the Dordogne (Trip Report 2077).

We chose May which avoided school holidays and we thought the weather would be warm, but not too hot.

It had been a dull damp ferry crossing and was raining when we arrived in Bilbao. The rain got heavier as we drove south and the cloud was well down on the mountains. We didnít see much of the scenery. After a dull start the next morning, the weather improved and we had three days of sunshine. It wasnít to last long and much of the rest of the holiday was dull and damp with temperatures struggling to reach double figures.

We booked accommodation through Brittany Ferries and chose El Covaju Apartments, Acenaba, near Potes. This was originally a hacienda but now has several modern self catering apartments. These are in a delightful setting among the trees high above the river, reached up a side road off the CA184, Potes to Pesaguero road.

We had a very pleasant and well equipped apartment. There was lashings of hot water, and it was warm and cozy. We didnít need to light the wood burning stove. In warm weather there is a pleasant grassed area outside with table and chairs for al fresco dining.

We did all our own catering. There is a small bakery in Vieda, a tiny settlement on the road to Potes which we used for bread for lunch, otherwise we used the large Super-U on the outskirts of Potes for other shopping.

We enjoyed El Covaju and found it an excellent base to explore the area around Potes. We spent the time exploring the small settlements within an hourís drive of Potes. Although roads were good, many were narrow and winding so driving times were slow.

You do need good weather as there isnít a lot of wet weather activities.

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