[Photo Journal] Adventures in Cantabria, Spain (Cantábria, España)

Back in April this year (I know, this is way late!), I was in Cantabria, Spain, and it was a gorgeous time to be there! Being in the north, it was green and lush and wonderful. Here are my best North Spain travel photos!

I spent about 2 weeks in Spain, mostly in Cantábria and Basque Country. We did a multitude of things, ranging from playing in the snow in the mountaintops, to basking in the sun next to a river, to hanging out by the ocean.

Sitges in the Spring

I was in Spain for a conference in Sitges, which is a beach town near Barcelona. The conference itself was a great experience, but I also had my first real experience with pinchos aka tapas. Then I was off to Cantabria!

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I met up with two friends to go to a friend’s family cottage in Cantabria. In the span of about 3 or 4 days, I played in the snow in the mountaintops, soaked in the sun to the sounds of rushing river nearly overflowing with melted snow from the mountains, and basked on a beach on a warm day. If someone had told me that I would be doing all of these things in such a short span of time, I would have asked them how and where is this possible. Now I know it’s in Northern Spain!

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Running around in the snow, I felt like a kid again. The views were truly amazing. I wish we could have done the short hike from the teleferic (cable car) point to a hotel where there was supposedly a nice cafe with a killer view, but the snow was a bit too deep and none of us had the right footgear.

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The same day, we went down into a nearby town and basked in the warm sun next to the stream.

Though it was the end of winter there, we did get a few days of great sunshine. It was even too warm for a jacket on our walk along the river.

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We later went to a nearby cafe to have some of these pastries called corbatas because they look like ties, with large cups of hot chocolate. This version looks like a bow tie! The chocolate was so thick that it was nearly pure melted chocolate. I couldn’t finish the entire mug and I think my limit is two of the pastries in one sitting.

Food on this trip was delicious and more scrumptious than I had anticipated. There was not one thing that I ate that I regretted eating. It also helped that I could see the tapas and know what was in it before choosing it. Anyhow, I think I ate more bread in those 2 weeks than in the whole year prior (which was also kind of a bad thing). But the tapas were wonderful! Pretty much anything will taste great when you can eat with friends with a view like this:

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I love Spain!

I also found it interesting to stay with a Spanish family, who often had friends or other family to visit. Growing up, our immediate family unit was the main family that we spent our time with. We did do occasional gatherings for holidays, but those lessened as we got older. It was different to be around people who are constantly visiting and hanging out with other family members. Coming from a family that doesn’t talk that much, just being a spectator of the lively home life of this family felt new and different to me.

Part of why I loved Spain so much was because I was able to spend time with friends. I was lucky enough to be a guest in my friend’s family home in a small village and then with another friend in a beach town near Bilbao (I’ll post about that soon hopefully), so it doesn’t get more authentic than that. Maybe this trip was bound to be amazing because I got to spend most of it with some good friends. I didn’t have to deal with planning all that much, and I didn’t have to feel like a tourist. All I know is, I need to go back to Spain to eat more of their food and see more of its wonders!

I hope to go back to Spain again some time, and this time with my Spanish phrasebooks. Although I have two, I forgot both of them on this trip! I didn’t have to speak much Spanish, but I want to learn to speak it better because I feel it’ll be useful. Strangely, I feel that it has similarities to Japanese, and so I had the urge to say something in Japanese a few times while on this trip.

I truly feel like it was a once in a lifetime trip! Have you been to Spain? What would you recommend to check out on my next trip?

  • I loved Spain when I visited several years ago and would love to return to Barcelona to see a few things I missed as well as see Seville. I’d love to see more small towns, not just the big cities. I find there’s something more authentic about small towns in Europe. I’m glad you had a good experience and lots to explore!


    • I didn’t get much time in Barcelona, but would also love to go back! I haven’t heard much about Seville. And I did enjoy the small towns! It wasn’t too crowded at the time that I went, but I think some of them would be pretty busy in the summer. Thanks for stopping by!