The rustic cottage we’d booked was located just two and a half hours drive away from Bilbao. Although we’d originally planned to stop in the capital of the Basque Country, we ended up heading straight to the small village of Trillayo. With a population of just 31, and the medieval town of Potes ten minutes away, it was an ideal base for our adventures. We’d totally fallen in love with this 200 year old cottage when we’d seen it online and really hoped it lived up to expectations. It really did, the views from our balcony of the Picos de Europa were magnificent. We’d enjoy breakfast there before heading out each day and evenings were spent watching the swallows fly in circles around nearby rooftops. There was only one day we weren’t out exploring but we’ve pulled together our top picks for things you really shouldn’t miss.
Of all the countries we’ve travelled to, Venezuela remains one of the most memorable. And it wasn’t just the ten flights in ten days either. Our first 24 hours in South America saw us exchange currency in the airport car park, stay in a hotel with armed guards and leave the majority of our luggage with strangers. But it was an incredible trip and we did so many awesome things while we were there. Here are our top five.
We were in the Canaries during half term and had a wonderful week exploring the island. The ‘POD Father’ and I last visited Lanzarote around 8 years ago so it was great to return as a family. Although the three of us travelled all over during the time away, our base was a villa in the south. As can be the case with somewhere new, we lost our bearings and ended up on a dirt track when the tarmac road we were on disappeared.
While you can climb the Picos de Europa, it’s not something you’d attempt with a five year old in tow. Instead you take the Fuenta De cable car up to the summit where you can enjoy spectacular views as soon as you arrive. As you’d expect it’s a popular spot so we found ourselves heading off the beaten track the following day. Pico Jano (1,446 metres) is only accessible by foot from the village of Dobarganes. While fairly remote, the area is surrounded by magnificent scenery and it’s easily accessible by car. That’s the joy of travelling to Northern Spain by cruise ferry, we got to explore in our own car.
We kept ourselves pretty busy while we were in Northern Spain. In the first few days we’d taken in the magnificent Picos de Europa, trekked from Dobarganes to Pico Jano and explored the spectacular El Soplao Caves. Green Spain is an absolute gem and there’s plenty to explore off the beaten track too. The roads in the Liebana region are surprisingly good and we enjoyed having the freedom of being able to travel around in our own car.
We’ve always gone out of our way to avoid the peak holiday season so now POD’s at school we’ve had to be a little more creative. Our road trip in Northern Spain is a great example of having a tourist free holiday. It’s certainly one of the favourites as we got to go on so many adventures. We took Brittany Ferries from Portsmouth to Bilbao, driving a couple of hours to the Liebana region from there. Our destination was the small village of Trillayo which is situated in the Bedoya Valley.
Our family accommodation was a 200 year old cottage situated in the small, quiet village of Trillayo with magnificent views of the Picos de Europa. Ten minutes away was the charming town of Potes with its pretty streets and disjointed houses with their own coat of arms. We thought Potes in Northern Spain would be somewhere we visit when we needed the supermarket. Little did we know we’d fall in love with this quaint little town. Stopping off regularly after a day exploring to wander the cobbled alleyways, sample the Spanish tapas and watch five year old POD swim in the river with the locals.
When we won a ferry competition with Discover Ferries, we were more than a bit excited. The home of ferry travel consists of 12 operators spanning 55 routes to destinations across Belgium, the British Isles, France, Ireland, The Netherlands, Scottish Isles and Spain. We had no idea there was so much choice available and with our many childhood ferry trips a distant memory, we set our sights on Northern Spain.
The POD Father, as he’s known on POD Travels and our parent blog, and I have travelled much of our lives. From Africa, Asia, Australasia and the Pacific to the Caribbean, North and South America. Not forgetting of course sun, ski and city breaks across Europe. We relish the kind of holidays that enable you to immerse yourself in a country’s culture and lose yourself a bit. Adventure holidays are certainly the most favoured and they often lead to the most spectacular experiences. That’s what we relish and to us it’s what makes a holiday truly memorable.
There are some magnificent caves in the world, like the Vatnajokull Glacier in Iceland, Batu in Malaysia and the Marble Caves in Patagonia. For us white water rafting in the Waitomo Glowworm Caves in North Island, New Zealand was certainly a memorable experience. Right up there too however has to be the spectacular El Soplao Caves in Cantabria.