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The Apartments

Comfort in a remote place

The Olmares compound forms an ‘island’ in the mountain hamlet of Basieda in the beautiful, renowned Liébana Valley of the Picos de Europa. The Picos are the most significant peaks of the Cordillera Cantabria range. This range runs along the north coast of Spain all the way from the Pyrenees to the west coast of Galicia. The Picos de Europa were so known by the sailors of the whalers out of ports such as Santander and San Vicente de la Barquera because, as they sailed away to the Western Atlantic and indeed to the Pacific beyond, in search of whales; these mountains, the Picos de Europa, were their last sight of home.

The Liébana Valley, with its distinct mediterranean-type micro-climate, has 3 ‘arms’ of which this is the loveliest and least developed. Olmares is “off the beaten track” tho’ only a 20 minute drive from Potes the chief “jumping off” centre in Cantabria for the Picos de Europa. The coast, with its white sandy beaches, is only an hour away through the dramatic Hermida Gorge.  

  In Potes you will find every kind of mountain and outdoor activity on offer. Not only climbing and walking but paragliding, canyon ascending, paint ball, 4x4 excursions, mountain biking, pony trekking and so on. It also has a very fine municipal swimming pool, gym and sauna. Potes is the shopping town for the whole valley. There are 4 supermarkets as well as souvenir and ‘local produce’ shops.  There is a street market every Monday which is a must for all Lebaniegos. They come in from all around to sell their fruit, vegetables, dried meats and cheeses but also to gossip.

The Olmares apartments, with their superb situation on the side of a mountain looking across the valley to the distant peaks, are perfect for doing nothing at all should you so choose. The terraces and balconies offer glorious views and weather – sunshine most days but enough cloud or rain just to cool the place down to the perfect temperature – mid 20’s – low 30’s in summer, 18º - 25º in autumn and spring and this sometimes even on Christmas Day. We've only had the snow plough through the village 4 times in 16 years! Usually the snow lies, like icing on a cake, higher up on the mountains all around.

Doing nothing is a definite option. We call it “Basieda Disease”. That said, Olmares is a first-rate base for taking part in any of the activities mentioned above but Olmares’s true “raison d’être” is walking, bird-watching, wild life and wild flowers.

Because it’s so unspoilt here flora and fauna survive and prosper as they have done throughout the ages. In the 23 years since we came to live here there have been almost no changes to the old farming methods. You can set your telescope up on your balcony or terrace and watch birdlife from giant raptors to tiny serins go by. We can tell you where to go for golden orioles or wall creepers. For moths and butterflies you need go no further than Basieda – we have buddleia everywhere in the gardens. The short walk to the local stream produces so many different sightings – it’s like strolling through a special butterfly garden. Wild flowers in the Picos de Europa are just glorious – walking the routes from your apartment front door at any time of the year will delight you in the variety of flowers you will see – just about every one in the book of Alpine flowers from cover to cover. For mushroom lovers the woods and meadows around produce an amazing variety and abundance of them in spring and late summer but particularly in autumn when the forests are anyway at their most glorious. The colours of the leaves in the soft golden autumn sunshine is a genuinely uplifting experience.

After all the above, the cool, shady courtyard will seem like heaven. Sit down here, have a drink, cook something on the barbecue, if you want, meet others who’ve had a similar day or sit on your private terrace or balcony and enjoy the perfect peace of the place. You may prefer not to eat at home – in this case there are several restaurants within 20 minutes drive and two only 5 minutes away.

Finally, when night comes and the owls and nightjars take over, have a night cap outdoors under a bright, clear, starry sky.


Fly to Bilbao, Santander, Valladolid or Madrid. Take a ferry to Bilbao or Santander. If you come through Bilbao don´t forget to visit the Guggenheim Museum. Hire a car or bring your own.

Not suitable for young children. Those over 12 by prior agreement only. Please do not smoke at Olmares - it is a  non smoking area.

 The above and following pages give the information needed for booking your holiday at Olmares BUT we do understand you may prefer personal contact so please do either ring or e-mail us with any questions.

Please see "What's New" page for Brittany Ferries discount

For families or groups up to 14 people please see our house webpage