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A roadtrip around the North West of Spain

annieA roadtrip around the North West of Spain

 

Hi there! My name is Annie and I am Marketing Assistant and Administrator here at Quirky, as well as a final year Fashion Management student at Nottingham Trent University.

I’m originally from the UK, and although I live there now for University, I grew up in sunny Spain, where my family still live. This Summer myself, my sister, my mum and dad went on a road trip to discover the beautiful forests, mountains and beaches that the North-West of Spain had to offer.

 

1. BILBAO, Basque Country.

pintxos

Our first stop was the Architectural city of Bilbao, renown for it’s food, it’s architecture and the Guggenheim museum. We set off; 4 people, 2 suitcases and a season of Game of Thrones to catch up on - the 7 hour drive began. I am lucky that we are a very close family, and we have been on road trips together before so those parts were a breeze.

When arriving in the city, we quickly realized that there is a reason that Bilbao is only recently turning in to a popular city stop – although the old town is beautiful, and the outskirts surrounded by breathtaking greenery, quite a bit of the city was grey and pretty….average.

We took a stroll to the Plaza Nueva, a lovely square with a multitude of places to eat “Pintxos” – their versions of Tapas. The way to eat in Bilbao is to eat a few pintxos in each bar,  which is what we did, and every single one we ate was delicious – 100% the place for foodies!

spiderThe following day we took a stroll down the riverbank to the famous Guggenheim Museum – after ducking away from the rain in a few Pintxo placesdown the coolest street we found, Calle Ledesma. In terms of the museum itself, I definitely recommend booking in advance, but it definitely did not disappoint! It was modern, interactive and quirky and by far my favourite one I’ve ever been to.

Quirky Places to stay - Caravan Cinema or Basque Boutique

Top tip: Eat all the pintxos you can, little and often! Also book ahead for the Guggenheim museum.

 

2. COMARCA DE LIÉBANA, Cantabria.

fuente de 2

We then drove 2 hours in to the mountains of Cantabria. The scenery was breathtaking, meadows full of cows, horses and sheep as far as you could see. After a long, windy drive through the national park of the Picos de Europa (literally translated, the Peaks of Europe) and through multiple towns that had between one and three houses in, we arrived at La Vega, a very cute town full of friendly people and delicious, great value for money restaurants (well, there were only 2!).

We spent our two days here visiting the towns around the area such as Tudes, drinking the local specialty cider and eating cheeses and cured reindeer!

We also did the fastest zipwire in Europe that was a kilometer long – so much fun!

Place we stayed: Posada Bistruey, a homely BnB with quirky features and a very friendly host. Another historic option in the area with AMAZING views - La Casa de Las Arcas

Top tip: Pre-book some sort of multiadventure course or zipwire as there are plenty of options & eat and drink whatever the locals recommend. 

 

3. RIBADESELLA, Asturias

During our drive to our next stop, we stopped off at a seaside town called Ribadesella. The beach was beautiful – wide and spacious but with mountains and grass either side. We didn’t have time to explore the town but the houses were pretty as a postcard.

A quirky stay here a short walk from the beach - Hotel el Jardin de Eugenia

Top tip: Drink shandys with lemon (they have them on tap!) and eat ice cream.

 

4. PICOS DE EUROPA, León

We passed by this National Park when staying La Vega, but this time we drove up the other side, up the even longer, windier road to a town called Posada de Valdeón. Although this town was bigger, it was slightly less friendly. We realized it was more a gateway for people doing the multiple walks around the area. When we booked this spot, we had planned to do a few hikes, however my Dad had sprained his leg a few days before so that was off the cards.

posada de valdeon

In this area experience the Parador de Fuente Dé with incredible views.

Top tip: Eat at the Pension Begoña (otherwise known as Casa Campo). There is one set menu del dia that the charismatic owner/waiter informs you of on the day and you can tell its proper, homemade food made with love.

 

5. PLAYA DE LAS CATEDRALES, Galicia

catedrales

Driving to our next stop we stopped at the Playa de Las Catedrales (TheCathedral Beach), voted one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. It certainly did not disappoint, it looked like something from another planet. We strolled down the beach for a few hours, had an ice cream in the café and then jumped back in the car.

 

 

 

Place we stayed: N/A

Top tip: If you’re planning to go from July to September – book your slot! https://ascatedrais.xunta.gal/monatr/inicio?lang=es

 

6. SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA, Galicia

Our final stop was in a small town of Oleiros in an average Motel, as we only used it as a basepoint to visit a few final places. Most of the road trip we followed a part of the famous Camino de Santiago so we thought it only right to go and visit their finishing point. It was so emotional & inspirational seeing the pilgrims arrive in to the main square, as some of them had walked up to 6 weeks to arrive at that point.  It is said that Saint James is buried in the Cathedral there and people queue for hours to kiss the saint’s mantle.

Interesting place to stay - San Francisco Hotel Monumento - a historic monastry with indoor pool and hot tub for a bit of luxury in the city centre. Or if on a lower budget - Albergue Compostela

Top tip: Be prepared to queue if you want to kiss the Saint’s Mantle.

 

7. A CORUÑA, Galicia

fragos de eumeOn our last day we decided to try a bit of a hike as Dad’s knee was feeling much better. We’d been recommended the Fragos de Eume national park as there are various different routes you can take. It was a bank holiday so there weren’t a lot of people about, but when we finally found the route it was like a fairy’s grotto: mini waterfalls, bridges, rivers and moss-covered rocks. We walked for around 2 hours and then drove in to A Coruña and spent a few hours in the Square. It was a much bigger City than expected with a lot of culture and corners to explore – I wish we had a bit more time to spend there.

If you have time to stay there are Casas Rurales and Albergues to look out for here.

Top tip: Spend a day there! We only had a few hours in the evening so couldn’t explore it properly. Most of their ice cream parlors also make it fresh, so divulge!

And that was the end of our trip! The holiday was a welcomed, refreshing break from the 35-37 degree weather we sometimes have on the coast and it was nice to feel close to nature again.

Thanks for reading!