Spacious 16th Century House in Picos Europa Mountains Spain
Our spacious 16th Century house is 5km from Potes in a well-watered orchard filled valley, backed by spectacular mountains. On the ground floor there is a kitchen with fridge freezer and dishwasher. Off this is a utility room with washing machine, dryer and a loo. Another door gives on to a patio with table, chairs and BBQ. A delightful garden, bordered by a meadow, affords extensive views of mountain, village and valley. The flagged hall has a big dining table, a wood burning stove and a sofa. On the 2nd floor is a large comfortably furnished room (25 sqm) where one sofa converts to a double bed. Off this is a big, en-suite, double bedded room which has a cot. There are also two, twin bedded rooms that share a bathroom. Bedding and towels are provided. There is a narrow south facing balcony from one end of which is a view. There is central heating.
The very large bodega which is accessed from both lounge and utility rooms is only used as a wood store at present.
in Potes there is an internet cafe which also has a telephone line.
A network of mule tracks and footpaths covers the forests and meadows, ideal for walkers, bikers or horses, (stables in the next village). There are agencies in Potes supporting all outdoor pursuits inc. River canyoning, parapente, mountain biking. There are sports crags in the valley. There is safe swimming and surfing at nearby beaches, lakes and rivers provide refreshing dips, canoes can be hired and there is game fishing. The cable car at Fuente De whisks you up 800m to access the Central Massif and can provide a great start to your walking, climbing or mountain biking day. in winter the area lends itself to ski touring and snow shoeing, Casa Gustavo is also useful source of information. At all times the high areas in the Picos need to be treated with a great deal of respect and in winter are unsuitable for the inexperienced.
Cultural interests: The vernacular architecture with its red pantiled roofs, over hanging balconies and heavy beams make for very attractive villages. There is a very modern and impressive visitor’s centre at Tama. The monastery at San Toribio with its satellite hermitages, the mozarabic church of Santa Maria de Lebena, and the ancient church at Piasca are among the most important sites of their type in Spain. San Toribio was second only to Santiago de Compostella in its importance. On the coast the medieval village of Santillana del Mar is a national monument and the nearby Altamira cave are less than about an hour’s drive from the house, the new cave’s pre-historic paintings are stunning, visits and an English speaking guide to the cave can be booked at Banco Santander in Potes, on the previous day.
The Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and the cities of Leon, Oveido and Burgos with their cathedrals, churches and museums can each be visited in a long day. Madrid is a day away.
Flora and Fauna: The Picos de Europa, Cordillera Cantabrica and valleys of Liebana are home to an amazingly diverse range of species of both flora & fauna. More than 40 species of orchid alone have been recorded in the Picos. Between the lower meadows and high alpine pastures the opportunity for botanising is endless, partly due to the locals’ use of traditional methods of land management. With eagles and vultures soaring the thermals, capercaillie and black woodpeckers lurking in the woods, little egrets on the coast, redstarts, wrynecks and nightjars around the house and wall creepers on the limestone, this is a birders’ paradise. Among the alpine species to be found here are rock thrush, wheatear, alpine accentor and chough, snow finch and that elusive wall creeper:
As to raptors, Griffon & Egyptian vultures are abundant. There are golden eagles, while booted and short-toed are fairly common in summer, Bonellis’ being rather more uncommon. Kestrels, buzzards and honey buzzards are abundant.