To join Potes one has to leave the highway Santander-Lanes and take the N621 at Unquera to Panes. The road is nice with views on the Picos de Europa.
At Panes the road enters the canyon of the Hermida eroded by the river Deva.
The 27 Km take 1 hour and the driver will be so concentrated on the narrow road with a bend every 50 m or less that he will not see a thing of the landscape.
The "fun" with this road in the canyon is that next to the tourists who want to drive slowly to see something of the river and the rocky cliffs, there are the locals who want to speed up things and there are a few lorry's who need all the width of the road in the bends. There are nearly no possibilities for a halt.
Drivers will be glad to get out of the canyon at the approach of Potes where the canyon enlarges to a valley.
Although the city of Potes suffered destructions in 1936 during the civilian war, the Barrio Viejo, old district in the hart of the city, preserved a spectacular medieval aspect. The two old bridges "puente de San Cayetano" and "puente de la Carcel" contribute significantly to that environment of past centuries.
Walking in the old town of Potes,you will see this medieval construction,it is called Torreon del Infantado.This Tower-House was built in Ghotic style in XV century, and now it is a part of the city hall.
Whose military appearance belies the fact that it is a really a 15th-c palace, built in order to demonstrate the might and power of its owners, the Marquises of Santillana.
If you have the chance, can go upstairs to the terrace on the top,climbing a interior stairs.I didn't had the time to do it during my visit,but I think that must have a very nice view of the city and mountains around.
Very close to the Torreon del Infantado,in one of the town's square,you will find two of most importants churches of the city.This one it is the old Church of San Vicente,built also in Ghotic style in XIV century.Other parts on the building was adding in next centuries and finished in XVII cent.
This picture was taken at Potes's Main Square.It is located very close of the Tower-House.As all main squares in Spain,it is a meeting point place,and around you'll find a lot of shops, pubs,bars and restaurants.This is my nephew Javier doing some shopping at the square.
This is the river called DEVA,that cross through Potes.Here you can practice some water sports as : Fishing,Swimming,Kayaking,Canoeing,Jet Ski.
Another river that is located very close is the Sella river.Also you can make some adventure sports at the mountains around as climbing, hang glinding,hiking,bunjee jumping on bridges and others.
The Picos de Europa in Northern Spain are a range of rugged limestone peaks that are home to a significant number of the world's best hiking trails, deepest caves and the odd bear. The mountains lie at the meeting point of the provinces of Asturias, Cantabria and Leon and reach heights of over 2500m. Divided into three massifs by two deep gorges they are the Occidental, the Central and the Oriental. The mountain range is overflowing with a wealth of activities and breathtaking views. Climb, cave, raft, hike or horse ride your way around the Picos de Europa and discover the most incredible National Park is Spain if not all of Europe. It is easy to find a lot of trails along all these mountains to make easy or long hiking activities,the views are just amazing!.
In wintertime you'll find some good ski resorts around for practice of Skiing or other winter sports.
Another very interesting option,when you are visiting the area,is see this beautiful monastery.It is located just 3 Km, south of the town of Potes, the Monastery of Santo Toribio de Liebana,it was founded in the 8th-c during the reign of King Alfonso I, although it is thought to have existed several centuries before, and its creation, under the name of San Martin de Turieno, is said to have been by Santo Toribio, the Bishop of Astorga. This very saint transferred the "Lignum Crucis" -the largest existing relic of the Cross- to the monastery.
Another place not to be missed if you are visiting Potes' area,it is.. .Fuente De, which has a Parador and a cable car that goes right up to the top of the central massif of the Picos de Europa,the view from top are awesome,if you are lucky and go on a clear day.Normally here only in summertime you will find many clear days but not in rest of the year,that are very foggy and also with lots of rain!.
The Parador is a very nice place to stay one night,all Paradores in Spain are a kind of luxury accommodations in special buildings like Monasteries,Palaces or in new builidings like that.
This is another nice view at Potes' Old town.Also you can see here a small and old bridge over the Deva River.On this part of the city,the buildings really looks very nice.
In bakery and supermarkets here and in all Cantabria area,you'll see a notice that show this....Hay "SOBAOS" and "CORBATAS",they are local pastry-making products,don't hesitate to buy some of them,they are really nice!!!.The sobaos,are a kind of small sponge cakes,make of butter,eggs,flour and sugar,the Corbatas are a very nice kind of puff pastry.During my first visit to the region,I was surprised,because I saw this notice and it was funny that they were selling "Ties" in a bakery.The spanish word of Ties it is Corbata,they are called this way, because of the puff pastry shape,that looks like a small tie.
Potes,it is located very close to the coastline.When you visit the area and have time enough,don't hesitate to visit some nice places along all the coastline.One of most beautiful villages is SAN VICENTE DE LA BARQUERA.Also another good idea is go to see the capital SANTANDER,and other nice places around.You'll find some beautiful landscapes exploring the coastline.In next province of Asturias some nice places to see are: CUDILLERO,LUARCA,LLANES,AVILES.
When you visit this beautiful area of Spain,don't hesitate to make a stop, at Picos de Europa National Park.It is the perfect place for a nice vacation and relax,if you like the nature. Also is the best place to see wildlife or birdwacthing.
The city has a few hotels,but I suggest you to stay during your visit to the area in Casas Rurales,it is a kind of accommodation in Spain it small houses located in mountains and small villages.They are cheaper than a hotel,and you'll feel like at home.Another intersting option,it is stay in a campground,you'll find a lot of them in the area.
This is another photo taken at the old town of the city.I enjoyed very much my short visit to Potes,the people here are very friendly.The best time to explore this region,it is in spring and summer.Also is very busy on wintertime during the high season of ski resorts around.
This is another nice place to stop if you are around Potes area.Llanes is located about 40 miles north of Potes in the coastline.Is a nice and tourist town with nice restaurants and a few hotels.Few years ago,I stayed in Llanes five days in another trip on the area,and I stayed in a nice hotel here called PARAISO.
Don't miss a visit to the harbour,old town and sea promenade.Also just next to harbour,you can find a small restaurant called "La Sidreria".Has a great variety of tapas and a very good menu of the day with very reasonable prices!.
This is a photo taken at Llanes' Sea Promenade.
Another interesting option when you are visiting Potes area,it is to have a nice horse riding up the mountains.There are a few places to rent a horse in Potes,and also there are some diferent routes that you can choose from,you will find them: from half hour to a whole day.You must to contact them the day before and let them know how many horses you will need and what route you want to do.I did a one and half hour ride,and I really enjoyed seeing the awesome mountains views around Potes.Don't miss it,especially if you are travelling with children.