Potes: The Town at the Heart of the Picos de Europa
You can get lost in the north of Spain’s beauty and sprawling lush green vastness that you forget, if only for an evening, that the region is home to one of the world’s holiest relics.
Deep in the Picos de Europe lies the 6th century Monastery of Santo Toribio de Liebana, home to the largest true piece of the cross Jesus was crucified on.
I’ve traveled to Spain numerous times before committing to the Camino de Santiago and each visit has taught me, again and again, that the most magnetic places are in the mountains. And the north didn’t disappoint.
Perhaps it was due to some magical force emanating from the cross from Santo Toribio. Whatever it was I found the rugged region of Cantabria to be one of the most spiritually charged landscapes I’ve ever encountered.
A BREATH OF FRESH AIR
Surrounding the town of Potes is the scenic backdrop of hills and mountains of the Picos de Europa. Newly renovated public spaces sit comfortably among winding streets, narrow alleys and historical monuments.
Even if you aren’t trekking the Camino de Santiago, a sturdy pair of walking boots will make navigating the steep hills and uneven cobbles much easier.
Expect a 2 -3 day walk from the coastal town of San Vicente de la Barquera (known as the Camino Lebañiego). Buses also depart twice daily from San Vicente and take about an hour.
Once in Potes, the Camino Vadiniense will bring you to Fuente De, through the mountains, and linking you to the Camino Frances in Mansilla de las Mulas.