Visit date: April 30, 2016, approximately 7:00 p.m., overnight.
It may be the most beautiful village with the most people.
The road from Bilbao to Cantabria is full of ups and downs
Santillana del Mar is the most beautiful village in Cantabria. There is a big city called Santander nearby. In fact, I wanted to go from Burgos, which was much more efficient, but due to various reasons and weather conditions, I chose the route from Burgos to Bilbao to Santillana del Mar.
You probably don’t know what it is if you don’t have a sense of geography.
By the way, it was really hard to drive on the highway from Bilbao to Santander. The scenery was nice, though. The next day, we had to go back the same way, and it was also hard…
The most beautiful village overflowing with people?
It was very difficult to reach the parador by car because there were so many people everywhere. We somehow arrived at the Parador in the center of the village, but we didn’t know where to park our car, so we drove past the central square and parked our car in a small space near the end of the village. Fortunately, it was only a minute’s walk from there to the parador, and it was no problem even if we took our luggage with us. We decided to leave the car here tonight.
After I checked in and put my luggage in the room, I went for a walk in the city until dinner. In the central square, Plaza Mayor, where the Parador faces, there was a large group of classic cars. I wondered if it was some kind of event or a gathering of car enthusiasts.
Classic cars really look good in old European cities.
What surprised me was the number of people there! I’m convinced that it’s on « Chikyu no Arukikata ».
The scenery of the town is very nice as it is chosen as one of the most beautiful villages, but anyway, there are so many people that I don’t feel very comfortable…. Still, it’s better than Eze in France.
However, we couldn’t see the inside of the church of the councilors, the symbol of the village, because we arrived too late. This is a Romanesque church and it was built in the middle of the 12th century.
But there were people everywhere as far as I could see. I’ve never seen such a beautiful village in France, Spain or Italy. I was a bit fed up with it.
Because of the influence of the crowd and the fact that the road from Bilbao to here was a highway, but there were many ups and downs and it was crowded and I couldn’t go fast, I was very tired and I couldn’t do much sightseeing after arriving at this village. I had an impression that my stay was indigestible.
Stay at the Parador on this day.
Now, the Parador of Santillana del Mar is such a popular tourist destination.
I will write a separate post about this parador and the food here.
The World Heritage Site of Altamira was closed on May Day.
In fact, one of the reasons why Santillana del Mar is so crowded is because just a few kilometers from this village is the world-famous « Altamira Ruins, » which are prehistoric ruins, and this village is the gateway to Altamira. Naturally, it is famous as a sightseeing spot because it is a very valuable ruin in terms of world history, let alone European history. However, there is only a museum, and you can only see a replica of the very famous prehistoric wall paintings.
Of course, I had planned to visit there, but the next day was May 1st, May Day, which is one of the « devil’s day » in the European GW travel, because many facilities are closed. I went to the entrance of the cave (museum in the cave), but it was closed as I expected.
With limited time, it’s not easy to go on a convenient schedule. But I don’t mind because it happens all the time, the first day of May, the sightseeing still continues!