The medieval town of Potes, Cantabria

December 20, 2016

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.

Known as the village of bridges, Potes is the capital of Liebana which is set among the mountain ranges of Pena Sagra, Pena Labra and Picos de Europa. We only came across two English couples in ten days which is quite something – especially in the peak summer season. The history of Potes dates back to medieval times with the most symbolic building the Torre del Infantado, a 15th century mansion with turrets and a battlements, located in the old quarter. Also nearby are the Orejon de la Lama, Calseco, Linares and Osorio tower buildings. We enjoyed the older part of the town, its cobbled side streets and the San Cayetano and La Carcel bridges over the Quiviesa river.

Heading into town there are a wealth of restaurants to choose from, all of which serving traditional tapas. We found one of the best served the equivalent of a two course meal with a bottle (of cider or wine) for only 13 Euros. We also discovered the most amazing handmade ice-cream shop which became a favourite, especially on the hot days.

Calle Sol with its stone arches was a pretty part of Potes with a few bars. We visited one during one afternoon and pretty much had the place to ourselves. We spotted a house for sale up this street and, while we couldn’t have bought this run down property opposite a bar, I wish we’d looked into how much it cost!

Opposite the bottom of Calle Sol is the Bustamante family home and mill which is located on the other side. We passed this immaculate property, or the Hermitage of San Cayetano, when we headed down to the river. Who could have known that POD wanting to play with the locals in the water would become a thing. We found a wonderful spot where the locals would sit and chat in the sunshine, the kids all taking to the river whatever they were wearing. Initially POD had ventured in wearing a dress but it was inevitable she was going to get soaked! It really didn’t matter though, she had the best time. Heading down to this spot ended up being one of the main reasons we visited Potes.

Even on foot there is much to see and do in and around Potes. We wandered into the most delightful residential areas and found wonderful little squares as well. There’s a traditional market on a Monday too albeit a small one. Potes is most widely known for its gastronomy and distilled liqueurs such as Orujo and of course its local festival. It’s is also a great base for all kinds of activities like hiking, mountain biking and horse riding plus of course skiing in the winter. It will always be a bit special to us due to the river our daughter loved to play in.

We travelled to Northern Spain via Brittany Ferries from Portsmouth. 

You Might Also Like

  • Charles McCool December 29, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    Such a gorgeous looking small village. Beautiful pictures. I would definitely visit Potes, Cantabria when I have the chance!

    • Charly Dove January 1, 2017 at 11:34 pm

      I can really recommend it Charles, it was so accessible. We took the ferry from the UK to Bilbao and drove to the Picos de Europa from there. Beautiful part of the world and so unspoilt too. We’re heading back in the summer albeit to a different area, cannot wait 🙂

  • Nanouk | Digital Nomad with Kids December 31, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    This place looks amazing! So beautiful! And how great your daughter could play with locals in the water 🙂 did she learn any Spanish words too?

    • Charly Dove January 1, 2017 at 11:33 pm

      Oh gosh it was so good. We explored much of the area and had a wonderful time. It’s so unspoilt, even Potes which the locals refer to as being touristy. She didn’t learn much Spanish although did have a fondness for saying Hola to everyone!

  • Gordon Lethbridge January 2, 2017 at 7:39 am

    There’s something indefinable and special about exploring villages like Potes. Wherever I travel I will always try to search these places out and explore them.

  • Emma January 6, 2017 at 11:28 am

    What a beautiful looking village and your photos are stunning. xx

  • Ness January 6, 2017 at 11:32 am

    It looks so beautiful. I love these mountain towns where time seems to have stood still and the pace of life is much slower. I have to admit to having a bit of a thing for drain covers so I love the ornate version with the crest.

  • susanna January 6, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    That looks so fabulous! I was in Spain last year and just loved it!

  • Rosie Corriette January 6, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    Cantabria is amazing – having spent most of my childhood summers in the north of Spain, I love doing the same with Boo, Spain is a perfect family destination.

  • Penny Alexander January 6, 2017 at 4:55 pm

    Oh this is so dreamy, makes me want to go away now!

  • Cass Bailey January 6, 2017 at 5:30 pm

    What an amazing place to visit – your pictures make me want to visit x x

  • Erica Price January 6, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    Beautiful scenery and characterful buildings: a perfect spot to explore.

  • Kara January 8, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    It looks like such a beautiful place to stay. Good job the weather played ball as you have some stunning photos

  • Sonia January 9, 2017 at 9:57 am

    Wow it looks like such a beautiful place, your photography as always is amazing 🙂

  • JuggleMum, Nadine Hill January 9, 2017 at 10:02 am

    I love the architecture of European towns and cities – all those cobbled streets and winding roads with archways. Your photos showed the beauty of the area and I love the sound of the ice cream place you frequented!

  • Wilbur January 9, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    Looks absolutely idyllic. And I thought I had done a lot of Spain…… thanks for the tip off. Wilbur.

  • Jen Walshaw January 10, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    Wow, this looks like a picture perfect place to visit. It makes me long for sun and blue skies. And the ice cream would certainly appeal to the boys.

  • Christine January 10, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    Absolutely gorgeous and I know I’d love the town and all of the walking opportunities. Think I’d have to fly though – I know Brittany Ferries are good but I’ve heard a lot about the sea route!

  • oana79 January 19, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    I love villages like that, you find them in France and Switzerland as well, so picturesque!

  • The Johnstons January 25, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    We’re heading to Spain in February, absolutely can’t wait to see these kind of places. Great photos!