On a lovely sunny day, we decided to head to the beach and go for a walk we’d been waiting to do for a while, taking in pine woods, beautiful beaches, geologically interesting coastline, civil war remains, and one of the best places to see sunset in Cantabria. Sounds good? It was!
The walk takes in a beautiful section of the Costa Quebrada, the highlight of Cantabria’s coastline in terms of geology. Just take a look on Google Maps satellite view and you can clearly see the attraction geologywise and beachwise! It’s possible to walk the whole thing from the lighthouse in Santander to Valdearenas beach, following trails and tracks. The section we chose to do is a nice circular walk along the coast and then up the hill of La Picota with great views in all directions.
We started in the top car park of Valdearenas beach near Liencres, amongst the pine trees and picnic area here (and bar in summer). There is a clearly marked path through the trees down to the viewpoint at the far end of the pine forest, overlooking the sea.
From here, we headed right along the coast, lots of interweaving paths over the cliffs here to choose from, pick yours! We continued on along to Playa Pedruquios, where there are interesting rock ledges at low tide.
There are more of these rock ledges a little further along at the larger and sandier Playa de Somocuevas, but we didn’t head there today. We continued inland across the fields and tracks to the base of the hill known as La Picota.
Just at the entrance to the village of Liencres is the path up, and then along the ridge of the hill, parallel to the coast. Along this stretch there are several ruins of civil war battlements to explore, as well as small sections of trenches, and great views over to Santander on the other side of the hill.
We also found a great variety of orchids along this stretch – always a bonus!
The first peak is El Tolio, which has great views, but continue on to the peak of La Picota for the best of it – and here is one of the best sunset views in Cantabria – it sets over the sea and lights up the meanders of the Pas estuary beautifully.