The tourism office in San Vicente de la Barquera has documented several day excursions to enjoy the beautiful scenery by hiking in the countryside. These itineraries appear in their website, however, they are only in Spanish, so if you need a better description you should go into the Tourist Office in the center of town and ask for directions. The documented routes are:
- Acantilados route - (easy with care for some drops) 7.5 km
- Yellow Bird route - (medium to challenging, must be in good physical condition) 12.5 km
- La Marisma del Rubin route - (medium difficulty) 12 km
- Entrambosrios route - 8 km (low to start, but gets challenging up river - looks very good!)
- Pica de Gandarilla route - 8 km (challenging route with a higher climb)
- Puebla Vieja route - 5.5 km (low diffiulty taking a little caution along the city walls - this route seems like a good way to see some of the main sights)
- Santa Marina route - 7.8 km (easy hiking).
You can see photos and descriptions in spanish in the tourist website below. Also a pdf guide in Spanish can be downloaded containing the narrative of all the hikes as well as many details about the town. Do visit the tourist office if interested in English descriptions of the routes.
We stayed in Merón beach. It locates in the right bank of river Escudo. The beach is 4 km long. And it was almost free, without people! We enjoyed fantastical view, mild sand and pleasant weather alone.
Views from the maritime promenade on the La Maza bridge by low tide and on the ria San Vicente to the north at high tide.
Although these pics were made in June, sunshine is not common in Cantabria. The temperature is mild but the skies are mostly cloudy.
San Vicente's former medieval city was completely enclosed in a defensive system constituted by the Castle and the wall that was surrounding the old citadel.
At present there remain parts of the northern walls and a door in the south.
The bridge de la Maza is an important work of medieval engineering that began to be constructed in stone in the 15th century and with her 32 arches was in that time the largest bridge in the kingdom. The present bridge dates back of the epoch of Carlos III(18th c.) and is 2 km long.
The vantage point enjoyed by this castle made it a key place against invasions by normands and vikings. From the castle can be seen part of the old city wall that used to encircle the town. This wall had doors for the use of the people walking the Camino de Santiago's north route.
The castle can be visited and it is also a great vantage point to take some good photos of the ria coming into the town.
The area at the end of Paseo de La Barquera is called the Rompeolas, and if you come here when it's stormy or just a little windy it's easy to see why - the waves break dramatically over the rocks. If you enjoy listening to the ocean, this is your place, but be careful if inclement weather (see Warnings and Dangers tip).
You can see and listen to a preview of the ocean before rain by viewing this video link .
This church was built between the XIII and XVI centuries over an older existing church, denoting the growth that was being experienced in the area. As many other churches in the region the floor contains a graveyard. The figures inside the church are quite interesting and worth the visit inside the church. No photos allowed inside the church.
The area behind the church shows Cantabria's green hills, and is the perfect spot to take a brief hike.
The Puente de la Maza is a beautiful structure and even in a rainy day, when this photo was taken it offers beautiful views. Coming from the center of town it is nice to walk along the water down Avenida Miramar towards the bus station, when you will spot many schools of fish swimming along the shore, particularly in the morning. If you are coming to the bus in the morning to take a day trip to a nearby town, leave the hotel a little earlier and take some time to check the fish. It is also nice to walk half way across the bridge and look into the town - very nice view.
This sanctuary marks the place where according to local tradition, it is said that Our Lady of La Barquera appeared at the entrance to the harbor many years ago. It is a peacful place, a beautiful structure overlooking the ria with luscious greenery around its walls. Although only a small part of the sanctuary is open it is possible to get a good look from the open area. Looking up from the front door a ship hangs from the ceiling, a gentle reminder that this is a sea faring town.
The benches in the garden that face the harbor are a nice place to have a small picnic.
Il est un fait que je me suis laissée conduire à San Vincente non pas pour visiter de vieilles pierres mais bien pour y manger des fruits de mer.
Après avoir ainsi satisfait la partie gastronomique de cette excursion je suis montée au château de moyen age qui se visite de l’extérieur. De l’église je n’ai également vu que l’extérieur mais le panorama valait largement l’effort d’y monter.
J’aime les promenades maritimes, quoique au bord de l’océan atlantique la marée basse ne soit pas le moment idéal pour une photo digne de figurer au musée. Les barques couchées sur le sable ou la vase manquent de charme. Il a fallu faire avec étant donné que la marée haute ne se produit que deux fois en 24 heures.
D’autres membres VT ont eu la chance de photographier le ria de San Vincente à marée haute, je vous suggère de regarder leurs photos plutôt que la mienne.
As I mentioned in my intro page San Vicente de la Barquera is a port. There are many fishermen boats along both banks of river Escudo. When falling time all of them are on land, but when the water begins to rise boats are ready to go to the sea.
It is a must to see the sunrise, it will lighten the castle, the pico de eurpas on the background, the little boats in the harbour.
This should be done from the other side of the bridge, anywhere there you cans ee it, just walk and see it from different angles in the beautifull morning light.
The lighthouse is in the left bank of river Escudo. The entrance to the lighthouse isn't permitte, but it isn't a barrier for photographing views from the lighthouse place.