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Tourist information for northern Spain

Northern Spain is rightly known as Green Spain. Its climate is influenced by its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, and rain is as common as it is in western Britain. The advantage is the lush and verdant landscape, with gems such as the Picos de Europa mountains and the beautiful Northern coastline of sandy coves and hidden harbours. Add to this towns like San Sebastian and Santander, Bilbao with the Guggenheim Museum, and Santiago de Compostella in the west, and it's easy to see why Northern Spain is increasing in popularity as a holiday destination. Nestling between France and Spain amidst the high Pyrenees is the tax haven and ski area which is Andorra.

Towns and places of interest in Northern Spain:

The provinces of Asturias and Cantabria are blessed with some of Spain's most spectacular scenery. Mountains abound, and superb walking trails are everywhere. The countryside is green and verdant, and the coastline is one of high cliffs interspersed with numerous rocky coves and golden sandy beaches. The resorts of Llanes and Ribadesella are good centres for exploring the coast. The extraordinarily beautiful mountains of the Picos de Europa straddle the borders between the two provinces and offer spectacular but generally easy walking. Stay in the still relatively unspoilt town of Potes, or the somewhat more modern Cangas de Onis. Cider is the drink in Cantabria, but be prepared for the waiter to pour a small quantity from a bottle held at shoulder height, which you should down in one and wait for your glass to be re-filled.
coast green spain

Burgos, with its spectacular cathedral, is one of many beautiful inland cities of northern Spain. Also well worth visiting are big and lively Zaragoza in the historic province of Aragon, while Salamancar and Leon in Castille-Leon boast wonderful monuments and towering Gothic cathedrals. However, perhaps the biggest draw to inland northern Spain is the great mountain range of the Pyrenees. Here is every sort of activity associated with mountains; excellent walking on well-marked trails, climbing, mountain biking, and winter sports; all among some of the most beautiful scenery in Europe.
burgos cathedral

If you come from Wales or Cornwall you'll feel at home in Galicia, Spain's western extremity. The countryside, coastline and people all bear a resemblance to their Celtic counter-parts in the UK, except for the strong Catholic tradition, which it shares with Ireland. The scenery is wild and spectacular, and the weather unpredictable. The beaches are few and far between, but gorgeous, the coast being deeply cut by fjord-like rias, and here the lush and wooded countryside is a delight. Inland, the granite landscape is bleak and unforgiving.
church in galicia

San Sebastian is most important town of the Basque region, and its Basque name is Donostia. It's a delightful seaside resort as well as an important commercial centre. The more modern part of the town has wide, open boulevards, while the old town is a warren of narrow streets crowded around the harbour with its distinctive painted houses and excellent fish restaurants. The town is dominated by the high peninsular of Mount Urgull with its imposing statue of Christ, a favourite place for walking. The town has several excellent beaches and a lively nightlife, with bars catering for all tastes.
san sebastian donostia

In the east is the elegant resort city of Santander, ferryport for boats from Plymouth. The town has a sophisticated air, and the lovely promenade along its excellent main beach is filled with strollers on fine days. The rocky coast around is worth exploring either by walking to the west or by car to the east. The city spreads inland behind the beach and has a lively centre with many good restaurants and bars, although lacking a little in cultural interest. About 30 kms west lies the superbly preserved medieval village of Santillana del Mar.
santander seafront

Santiago de Compostella is the third holiest place in the Christendom, after Jerusalem and Rome. As the supposed shrine of Saint James the Apostle it has been a place of pilgrimage for centuries. The town is a compact and beautifully preserved example of a medieval walled town, and the golden granite from which it was built lends it a warm glow. The cathedral is one of the most stunning in western Europe. Being in the far west of Spain, rain is frequent, and the mossy vegetation which covers many buildings serves to enhance the visual effect. As Santiago is a thriving university town it also has a reasonably lively nightlife and some good bars and restaurants.
cathedral santiago di compostella

Andorra is a landlocked principality in the heart of the Pyrenees, bordering both France and Spain. The terrain is mountainous, with three deep valleys, and although rather bleak, offers some of the best skiing in Europe. The capital is Andorra la Vella. The average altitude of the Principality is 1996 m. It has the largest skiable area in the Pyrenees. For more information on the different resorts, click here. The special tax regime results in low cost shopping, and the summer sun makes for a pleasant walking holiday among the mountains. The Principality of Andorra can be accessed by road from France through Pas de la Casa and the Envalira Pass and from Spain via Sant Julia de Loria.The nearest main cities are Barcelona (185 km) and Lleida (151 km) on the Spanish side, and Toulouse (187 km) and Perpignan (169 km) on the French side.
pyrenees andorra