"Jewels of Cantabria - San Vicente de la Barquera" San Vicente de la Barquera by nomad7890

San Vicente de la Barquera Travel Guide: 29 reviews and 113 photos

The ria gives the town its unique environment

San Vicente de la Barquera is a typical and picturesque Cantabrian sea community with many interesting places to visit. From the Castle, to the beach, to walking along the ria, to the harbor, it offers something for everyone. Given its location and bus facilities it is an excellent place to establish a base for day trips to other nearby locations in Cantabria (see Off the Beaten Path tips).

This is also a place where I noticed many families with children walking around with strollers and enjoying the views. The town is very small and easy to navigate on foot - actually a car is more of a liability as parking is limited and traffic into town can be very busy at certain times of the day, particularly early evening.

Contrasts of sea and mountain

The region of Cantabria is in what is considered "green Spain". Other than the "main sights" it offers many areas to hike, one of them shown here behind the church of Our Lady of Los Angeles. When you get into the woods, you could wonder if you're in Ireland - the greens are incredible and the weather is at times wet and rainy, but the hills let you know you're in the north of Spain.

Santuario de la Virgen de la Barquera

The beautiful sanctuary of the Virgen de la Barquera sits past the Puente de la Barquera bridge on the way to the "Rompeolas" (wave breaker) down the Paseo de la Barquera. It is a beautiful structure that blends into the countryside. If you look inside, you will see a ship hanging from the entrance of the church - this is very proper of the sanctuary in this town devoted to sailing out to sea.

Jesus Cancio wrote the poem "Bronces de mi Costa" - the first part shown below:

La Virgen de la Barquera
tiene un barquito velero,
un bergantin de juguete
de los bazares del cielo,
y dicen que a medianoche,
cuando el pueblo esta durmiendo,
la Virgen de la Barquera
manda bajar a un lucero
y se va con el al mar
en busca de rumbos nuevos
sin andanades de espuma
ni bocanadas de viento.

... ok, being raised by the ocean I'm in tears just about now. In English it goes somewhat as follows, although abbreviated as part of the impact is lost in translation:

The Virgen de la Barquera
has a little sail boat
a little toy boat with oars
from the heaven's bazaars
they say that at night
when the town is sleeping
the Virgen de la Barquera
sends for a star to descend
and goes with it to sea
in search of new routes
without sea foams or currents
or wind gusts in its path.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Experience a typical Cantabric coastal town
  • Cons:There are none
  • In a nutshell:Quiet waters and Cantabrian greenery welcome your soul.
  • Last visit to San Vicente de la Barquera: Aug 2009
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (14)

Comments (4)

  • HORSCHECK's Profile Photo
    Mar 31, 2013 at 1:36 PM

    Fabulous page with brilliant photos and very helpful tips. I especially like your transportation tips. We will explore Northern Spain at the beginning of May and also would like to use mainly public transport.

    • nomad7890's Profile Photo
      Apr 1, 2013 at 4:16 AM

      Thank you Holger! Not sure how long your journey is. We went from Santiago de Compostela all the way to San Sebastian via public transport - staying over in different places. Going east from Santiago there is Ortigueira (we stayed in Espasante). There is a "must see" town called Luarca, I know feve.es stops there. Not sure about how easy it is to see it on foot. Another favorite was Oviedo, and a day trip to Covadonga - that is beautiful. If you decide to go to Covadonga, there is an outstanding restaurant, don't think I've had time to write a tip. All the best! ps. coming to Gluhwein meet?

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    May 2, 2010 at 8:13 AM

    Lovely page and your photographs a beautiful. Nice page!

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Nov 20, 2009 at 10:50 AM

    I've never been to this part of Spain, but it looks really nice. I see you have signed up for the VT meeting in Karlsruhe on December 4, so I look forward to meeting you there.

  • Redang's Profile Photo
    Sep 10, 2009 at 1:06 PM

    Qué bonita página!


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