San Vicente de la Barquera travel guide

Cities and towns

About San Vicente de la Barquera

San Vicente de la Barquera, in Cantabria, is a picturesque town on Cantabria's coast with wonderful beaches, a pretty Old Town and an astounding backdrop in the Picos de Europa mountains.

Known for its maritime tradition, San Vicente de la Barquera was once used as a base for the seafaring exploits of the Spanish under Alfonso VIII with expeditions setting sail from here including the reconquest of Seville and the discovery of Newfoundland.The town can trace its roots back to Roman Times but was most powerful during the Middle Ages, before the plague and several fires caused a decline.Today, San Vicente de la Barquera is a fishing port known as a site of Cultural Interest because of the beautiful and interesting monuments in the Old Town such as the Church of Santa MarÍa de los Angeles, the Castillo del Rey and the 32-arch stone Maza Bridge that stretches across the Ria.

Built on a Ria, a large natural estuary formed by a flooded river valley, San Vicente de la Barquera has a number of lovely beaches. You'll also find local fish markets filled with fresh seafood and quaint shops and restaurants where you can try the local speciality of Sorroputún, a stew of tuna and potatoes. This dish is famously served for free at 'la Barquera y el Mozucu' festival at the beginning of September. Other festivals in the town include La Folia, a celebration on Easter Tuesday where a statue of the Virgin de la Barquera is carried through the streets and sailed to the chapel, the Sanctuary of la Barquera, and the Contest of the Sailor Song, a festival of choirs singing traditional seafaring songs.

The Oyambre Natural Park is right on the doorstep of San Vicente de la Barquera with the coastal towns of Comillas, Suances and Llanes all nearby. Santander is only 45 minutes away.

Why visit San Vicente de la Barquera

  • The Beaches
  • The Architecture
  • Oyambre Natural Park
  • Food and Drink

Overview

  • Country: Spain
  • Region: Cantabria
  • Province: Cantabria
  • Population: 4,500
  • Coordinates: 43.392076,-4.399338

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

Nearby attractions

Built in 1210, the Castillo del Rey (KIng's Castle) is one of the best examples of medieval defensive architecture in the region of Cantabria. Formerly owned by Alfonso I of Asturias, the castle was restored in the 1990s and...

One of Cantabria's most visited tourist attractions, this is a fantastic cave with some incredible stalagmite formations which have grown in all directions, defying gravity. A true geological marvel!

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.

Situated on the top of a hill in pretty countryside, the Museum of Altamira is a centre for the preservation, study and dissemination of the Altamira caves and their works of prehistoric art.

Places to visit nearby

Often considered one of the most beautiful towns in Spain, Santillana del Mar is a medieval town of stunning architecture 

Llanes in Asturias is a beautiful coastal town with lots of beaches, stunning hiking routes and much delicious seafood!

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