Start: Comillas End: Tama
After arrival at Santander or Bilbao airport, you take the bus to the city centre of Santander and from there a direct bus to Comillas (3 to 4 busses a day ; in July and August up to 9; duration is 60min). If you arrive in Comillas with some time, this beautiful historical town is worth an afternoon stroll, if not you still have tomorrow to enjoy it.
Short transfer in the morning to Santillana del Mar (20min). In this beautiful town, which is a Historic Monument, we recommend to visit the Romanesque Colegiata before you start our hike along the Pilgrims’ trail “Camino del Norte”, back to Comillas.
The 7hrs walk is technically easy but very entertaining as we follow quiet (mostly surfaced) country lanes through green countryside, old woods and villages with rural architecture; mainly farms and stables made off thick dry-stone walls, carved wooden balconies, and dark orange tiles, but also vast estates, beautiful manor houses and 19th century religious buildings (churches, schools, monasteries and orphanages).
Challenge: 7 hrs, 22,2 km, 475m ascent, 425m descent. The walk can be shortened to 13 or 18,5km by taking the afternoon bus in Cobreces or Ruiloba.
Today you walk less: aprox 13-15,5 km, depending on the route you choose: either the Camino del Norte through the rural hinterland or an alternative route along the coast nature reserve and beach of Oyambre. Both routes include surfaced and unsurfaced tracks and aprox 200m of ascent and descent; they also share the impressive entrance to San Vicente de la Barquera, crossing the long bridge across the river.
Challenge: 4-5 hrs, , 225 m ascent/descent
To avoid a steep and uninteresting section, you will be driven with the luggage transfer part of the way, up to the village of Serdio. Here you will see for the first time the route signs for the Camino Lebaniego; the branch from the Camino de Santiago to the pre-Romanesque monastery of Santo Toribio, which was quite popular among pilgrims in medieval times because of a Lignum Crucis relic. Your route today takes you down to the river Nansa, then Southward along its shore.
Challenge: 5-6 hrs, 18,5 km, 450 m ascent, 475 m descent
Again you will be taken with the luggage transfer to avoid a long section of tarmac road into the valley of Lamasón, you will be dropped off at the small hamlet Burio, apparently in the middle of nowhere. A steep surfaced tractor road takes you 300m further uphill to the pass Collada de la Hoz (at 665m) from where you look down upon the Cicera valley and the limestone wall of the Picos de Europa at the back. The rest of the walk is a step back into history, as you traverse the rural hinterland, first down to the village of Cicera (465m; the only bar on the entire route), then up again to the Arceón pass (845m) and down again to Lebeña. You will have time to visit the unique Mozarabic church Santa Maria de la Lebeña and admire the gothic statue of Mother Mary, before a taxi drives you to your cosy and comfortable rural hotel.
Challenge: 6-6,5 hrs, 12,7 km, 680m ascent, 820m descent. You can shorten the route to 4,5 hrs (9,5km, 375m ascent, 845m descent) by starting at the Collada de la Hoz.
After a 10min transfer to Allende we rejoin the Camino Lebaniego on its last section. First 340m uphill to Cabañes - a small hamlet with with beautiful views of the valley - then through an old chestnut wood via Pendes and back to Tama. From here, you continue to the nearby medieval town of Potes. Here, we take some time to prepare ourselves for the spiritual climax of the pilgrim´s route, which – unfortunately – is not the most interesting part: the last 2,8 km along the sidewalk of the main road and then up and down to the monastery of Santo Toribio. At the end of the day, there will be a transfer back to the hotel.
Challenge: 5 hrs, 12 km, 620 m ascent, 575 m descent. 1h extra to go up to Sto. Toribio (2,8 km, 225m ascent/descent)
After breakfast, you take a bus back to Santander or Bilbao; BUT during high season an extra night stay at the hotel in Tama is compulsory. You might want to spend this day in the high part of the Picos de Europa; taking the cable car at Fuente Dé and starting at the upper cable car station (1835 m), walking down to Espinama, via the high pastures of Aliva. There are public buses that can take you there and back.
Challenge: 5 hrs, 14,5 km, 175 m ascent, 1000 m descent.
The hotels on this trip have been carefully selected for their location, atmosphere and/or unique services. All rooms are en-suite. Some of the hotels we work with appear here. If a certain hotel is unable to confirm due to lack of availability, we will request a similar one and inform you about the alternative booked.
A former manor house from the 19th century, this hotel is located in the very centre of the villa and about a 10-minute walk from the beach of Comillas. Rooms with a very personal decoration, each one different and all very comfortable and cozy. It also features a piano-bar area and a lounge for meetings, a small library and a quiet reading lounge.
It is a centric hotel with an excellent location at the begining of the harbour, close to the fishing quarter of “ La Barquera” and to the old town. With beautiful views of the bay and the estuary. With comfortable rooms decorated in a navy-style and a nice terrace with views to enjoy a cool drink.
This former manor house from the second half of the 19th century was fully renovated in 2010, maintaining the original building and enriching it with fine materials such as noble woods and local stone. With a modern and functional decoration, it features 19 comfortable and bright en-suite rooms. It has a very nice restaurant the combines modern and traditional cooking.
The hotel was opened less than 8 years ago so the hotel has modern facilities that maintain the essence of rural tourism and the Cantabrian mountain style. The hotel offers 14 rooms, 2 apartments , lounge, a relaxation area with sauna , jacuzzi and gym, a large terrace and garden area , cafeteria , library with computer and Internet access throughout the building. Very conveniently located, close to the well-known medieval town of Potes.
You can start on any day of the week, subject to availability, between May 1st and October 31st.
Arrive in Comillas
From Santander or Bilbao airport, you take the bus to the city centre of Santander and from there a direct bus to Comillas. There are 3 - 4 buses a day, in July and August up to 9; duration is 60min; time schedules at www.lacantabrica.net
Departure from Tama
NOTE: It is wise to book your bus tickets and taxi transfer in advance, especially for arrivals and when travelling in summer or on Friday afternoons.
Airport transfers for arrival / departure can be booked in advance through S-cape Travel. Costs will depend on number of passengers, airport used and time of pick up.
If you come by car from Santander or Bilbao airports, you should take highway E-70/A-8 direction Torrelavega/Oviedo and take exit 249 to CA-374/CA-135, direction La Virgen/Comillas/Cabezón de la Sal/CA-180/Valle de Cabuérniga. Stay in CA-135 until you get to a roundabout, take the second exit direction CA-135, then turn left to enter in Comillas.
GPS track are available upon request