Liébana, at the eastern edge of the Picos de Europa, is an area of extraordinary beauty and enormous contrasts – a little world of its own, sheltered by the mountains that surround it, yet only 40 minutes from the sandy Cantabrian beaches and easily reached from the UK.
Its imposing mountains, which reach over 8,000 feet, provide spectacular views and are home to alpine flora and fauna.
The vegetation in the valleys, by contrast, is almost Mediterranean. The higher ground is home to the Iberian brown bear, wolf, and ibex. Wild boar and birds of prey abound, and there is a wonderful variety of wild flowers.
The area enjoys its own microclimate – warm in summer, bracing in winter, and with low rainfall.
Scattered in the valleys and lower mountain slopes are more than fifty delightful villages and hamlets, where farming still dominates. Many have examples of interesting and attractive religious architecture. The Saint Toribio Monastry holds the largest surviving piece of Christ’s cross.Liebana offers a wide range of activities for the holidaymaker who wishes to do more than just relax and see the area. These include walking, bird watching, horse riding, mountain biking, mountaineering, canoeing and hang-gliding.
The main town in Liebana, Potes, has an old part with a medieval atmosphere, restaurants where you can sample the local cuisine, bars, and a wide range of services. Every Monday, a traditional market is held there, and several times a year the town plays host to larger festivals. Many of the villages also hold their own fiestas.