epic road trip northern spain
Northern (Green) Spain Road Trip 2019
Text and Photos: Andreas Staab San Sebastian - Bilbao - Laredo - San Vincente de las Barquera - Felechosa - Luarca - Ferrol - Pravia - Santa Maria del Mar - Cudillero - Oviedo - Santillana del Mar - Picos de Europa
2,200 km/1,400 miles
2 - 3 weeks
Horrendous downpour as I made my way down south towards the French-Spanish border. Driving through the mountainous and impressive landscape of the Basque region for a brief stopover in San Sebastian; the rain mercifully now down to just a light drizzle. Stunning place: more a resort than a city, with impressive architecture, and lively streets packed with bars and restaurants and – the pièce de résistance - a beautiful, crescent-shaped beach. I had to press on, but made a mental note, that this town seems to be the prefect destination for a short break. Great food, lively atmosphere, beach vibes …
At one evening, we ventured into the nearby town of Luarca and followed the by now well-established and pleasant script: walk around the harbour, which is picturesque in places but also has plenty of run-down buildings, and a stroll through narrow lanes with a mish-mash of architectural styles. Agreeable, but certainly no touristic highlight, although I developed a fondness for these fantastic wooden balconies, which are elaborately decorated and often fitted with windows to keep out the elements. Charming. During our days spent in the area, we also came across two fantastic beaches called Frejulfe and Barajo. The sun came out (for some of the time), the sea was calm, the views were spectacular: perfect days.
Back into the mountains with a brief stopover at Santillana del Mar. Not close to the ‘mar’ at all and a tourist hotspot, heaving with cars. Yes, the town is very pretty, but given over to tourist commerce. What’s the point? You might as well re-create the whole thing in a Disney theme park. The experience would be the same (although with more ample parking facilities). Completely lacking in authenticity and designed for the FOMO brigade who are doing it for the ‘Gram’. It is a plastic, disassociated engagement; the antidote of what we have been experiencing so far during this trip. We’re off.