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 speciality 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.
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 visit 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).
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