It took me a while to come up with a good birthday present for Thomas. If you are like me and you really want to give thoughtful gifts, then you know the feeling. Nothing seems special and you are full of uncertainty and you just can’t make up your mind. This happens always before an important birthday.
Finally, I settled on the idea that it would be nice to stay a couple of days in the north of Spain, surrounded by nature. I found a website called Cabañas con Encanto that offers beautiful cottages and I was instantly seduced. I decided my gift would be a weekend in Valles Pasiegos.
This region is located about 30 minutes south of Santander, the capital of Cantabria, and is formed by the valleys of the Pas and Miera rivers. The photos are so descriptive that there’s really no need for me to try to use words to explain how spectacular this place is.
Our cottage was in the middle of nowhere and surrounded by all these unbelievably beautiful valleys and silence. Waking up in the morning with the sun and breathing absolutely pure mountain air is truly priceless. Needless to say, Thomas was elated with his gift, which of course was also a gift for myself.
We managed to disconnect completely, which was the idea. We tasted local food, did some sightseeing and a lot lof mountain hiking. I enjoyed taking photos of animals, like cows, sheep and goats. Our little cottage was great and it had a barbecue, which we of course made good use of. We would also have a nice glass of wine, or several, by the fireplace every night.
There are many things you can do in the Valles Pasiegos if you stay a long weekend as we did. Here are some recommendations if you decide to visit.
First, the nearby municipality of Lierganes is small but it’s full of life. We had great fun there one night, enjoying local cheeses in a bar located in the main square. They told us stories like that of the local legend of the “fish-man” and we learnt about the Roman bridge and the architecture of the village houses.
Second, Selaya. We brought back several souvenirs from this small municipality, including butter and cheese, after visiting “Quesería La Jarradilla”, a local cheese Factory. We also bought “sobaos pasiegos” (a kind of sponge cake, typical of this area) and a “quesada” (a dessert made from fresh cheese) from “Casa El Macho”, a famous bakery in the center of town.
Third, San Roque de Riomiera. From here you have incredible views of the valleys. You will also find what in our opinion is the one of the best restaurants in the area if you want to enjoy: mountain stew, kid goat (on request only), Lebaniego stew, baked cheese with Santoña anchovies, “carico montañés” (a round bean stew) and “tarta de sobao” (like a cheesecake made with “sobaos”). They have a lot more on their menu, but these are the dishes I would recommend.
You will need a car if you want to move around the area, but it’s really worth it, because there are breathtaking views all around and many beautiful places to see in the valleys.
There’s a Story highlight on my Instagram account called “Cantabria“. You can see more photos and videos there.
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