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Potes travel guide

About Potes

Potes in Cantabria is a pretty medieval town beside the stunning mountain backdrop of the Picos de Europa National Park.

The former dominion of the Dukes of El Infantado, Potes has a fascinating Old Town for you to discover - a maze of cobbled streets with some wonderful architecture. The Torre del Infantado (Tower of the Infantry) is the historical symbol of Potes, a square, very solid work of masonry which was the stately residence of the Dukes of El Infantado. The beautiful church of St Vicente also sits in the Old Town. Now classed as an historical monument, the Old Town was mostly destroyed by a fire set by Republicans during the Spanish Civil War and has a distinct medieval atmosphere. Just outside of the town is the Ermita de la Virgen de Valmayor, a pretty chapel containing the image of the Virgin of Valmayor, which is carried through the streets in a procession every year  on 15 August.

The town has many festivals and fairs throughout the year, many are religious processions but there is also the Feast of the Orujo in November which celebrates the local speciailty grape brandy, Orujo. Be sure to try some of this brandy, made from the products left over from wine-making, which can come in a variety of different flavours. Sample some after a bowl of traditional cocido labienagos, a stew made from chickpeas for which the area is known. Or, why not visit the Monday market and buy the produce to make your own version of this classic dish, or pick up some locally-made cheeses and honey? There are many shops in the town for souvenirs, maps and guidebooks with some shops offering climbing and outdoors supplies for those wanting to explore the local area.

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Potes has its own Mediterranean microclimate, meaning that vegetation from the Med stands in contrast to the snow-capped mountains of the Picos only a short distance away. The area around Potes is great for outdoors activities such as quadbiking and horseriding as well as hiking and climbing in this mountainous area. Take time out to explore an area of incredible natural beauty with a trip to Fuente Dé, where you can take a cable car up through the mountains to a height of 1850m above sea level. On the way there, don't miss a vist to the Monasterio Santo Toribio, where what is thought to be the largest piece of Jesus' cross is held. Also nearby are the charming mountain village of Mogrovejo and the Desfiladero de la Hermida (La Hermida Gorge).

Why visit Potes

  • Picos de Europa
  • Fuente Dé cable car
  • Food and Drink
  • The Architecture
  • Festivals


  • Country: Spain
  • Region: Cantabria
  • Province: Cantabria
  • Population: 1,500
  • Coordinates: 43.154542,-4.62224

Coordinates shown are based on the WGS84 system, please check driving directions before departing.

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Nearby places of interest

Fuente Dé cable car

This famous cable car stretches across 750 m, taking you up to a height of 1850m above sea level, affording breathtaking views of the mountain range and the hills and valleys below. Once at the top its up to you whether you want to go hiking, climbing, mountain biking or why not try some cross-country skiing or snow-shoeing?

Picos de Europa

Less than 30 minutes from Potes and stretching across a surface area of 260 square miles is the Picos de Europa National Park. Formed 230 million years ago beneath a shallow sea, the rocks here have a unique geology. Home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, you'll discover oak woods, rocky cliffs, beech groves, riverbank forests and scrubland amongst other landscapes to explore.

Monasterio Santo Toribio

On the road to Fuente Dé you'll pass this peaceful monastery. The church was built in the 13th century and has some interesting features such as the Door of Forgiveness, only opened on Holy Jubilee Day. The biggest draw, however, is the chapel, which contains the True Cross - what is said to be the largest section of the cross of Christ.


This charming little village of pretty alpine buildings nestles against the mountains of the Picos de  Europa and is one of the most beautiful villages in Spain. 

Desfiladero de la Hermida

This spectacular gorge runs for over 20km and is furrowed by the River Deva. With steep slopes of limestone rising up to 600m and sparsely covered in oak forests, the view is stunning with the occasional brown bear being spotted here!

Potes' top attractions