Olmares in Basieda is ideally situated in the Liébana Valley between the National Parks of the Picos de Europa and Fuentes Carrionas in the Cordillera Cantabrica and is just an hour from some great beaches on the coast. It’s therefore an ideal base from which to explore the larger region but also has plenty of wilderness and adventure to be had straight from your doorstep.
The Liébana Valley:
This beautiful and peaceful valley is your home during your stay at Olmares. The wildlife and flowers here are varied and wonderful, and there are some excellent walks, catering for all levels, right from your doorstep (as detailed in 10 Circular Walks Around The Picos de Europa by Pete Ward and Trish Myers).
The valley is also home to numerous quaint mountain villages to be explored, and some of these have little bars and restaurants which are perfect pit stops for hungry hikers. The locals are friendly – and always ready to help and advise.
The Picos de Europa:
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 jagged limestone mountains, the Picos de Europa, were their last sight of home.
The Picos de Europa National Park: is justly famous for its natural beauty though it can become somewhat crowded in the season. Activities include birdwatching (the wallcreeper in particular), walking, climbing (some amazing limestone peaks to be explored), horseriding, canoeing, canyon ascending and lots more. Fuente De with its cable car ascent is famous. The mountains are high – Torre de Cerredo is the highest at 2,648m.
Part of the Cordillera Cantabrica are much more of a back to nature experience. This Park is not nearly as commercialized and as a result has a special subtle attractiveness. The scenery is more open, the walking a little easier and the wildlife and flowers equally, if not more, wonderful. Because it’s quieter bears roam the high places at peace with the world. The highest Peak is Peña Prieta at 2,575m.
Peter Walker, the well-known environmentalist, has written an inspiring guide including this region – ‘Walking in the Cordillera Cantabrica’.
A day trip to the coast is a definite possibility, (circa 1 hour drive) for those wanting to explore the beautiful Cantabrian coast. There are 2 roads from the Liébana Valley to the sea. The usual one through the dramatic Hermida Gorge is a little shorter but much busier than the Polaciones road. The Polaciones road takes you through some spectacular scenery and ancient villages of historical interest. Basieda is about half way between the 2 routes. There are some wonderful white sand beaches, and sleepy coastal towns. Seafood is so fresh here and some of the towns such as St Vicente are a real hidden gem. Don’t forget to stop of for a coffee and a Corbata in Unquera on your way back (a town know for it’s bow-tie shaped pastries, which the locals love to dunk in their coffee).
There are many wonderful drives with Basieda as the convenient centre base. Take the West to León and Asturias. The East to the Meseta with its Romanesque churches (the largest concentration in all Europe – details in our communal ‘Library’) and on to historic Burgos. Or take in the Roman ruins close to Aguilar de Campoo, some golden orioles and a very good restaurant for lunch! Further South drive through villages skirting the mountains and then home by the famous reservoir at Riaño. Take a picnic or eat in any of the great restaurants on your route.