Birds of Cantabria
Santoña, Cantabria, Spain
- All Inclusive
Indulge your passion for birdwatching in sunny Spain
On your first excursion head to the rocky cliffs of Monte Cardina to see the largest marine colony of griffon vultures in Europe and the following day transfer to the stunning oak forest of Ucieda and Liencres Dunes Natural Park where the combination of sea cliffs, dunes and pine forest attracts a host of small birds.
You will spend a day exploring the marshes of Santoña Natural Park, a renowned nature reserve close to your hotel which is home to some 18,000 birds over the winter, while one of the highlights of your holiday is sure to be your visit to the Picos de Europa National Park where a cable car ride puts you in position to search the skies for eagles. Your final excursion is to Collados del Asón Natural Park where in addition to birds you might spot some native amphibians.
Combine all this with a stay at the small and friendly Hotel Juan de la Cosa, which is run by the Santillana-Astuy family and is located mere moments from Santoña’s renowned Playa de Berria beach. You’ll quickly feel right at home at this 4-star hotel.
All breakfasts (B), lunches (L) and dinners (D)
Local expert guide
Free bar 12 hours a day
- Cancellation rights
- Expert host talks
- Hosted welcome drinks reception
- Free Wi-Fi
- Return flights and transfers
- 20kg checked-in luggage
- Hotel porterage
Included excursions and visits
- Vultures of Monte Cardina (half day)
- Ucieda Oak Forest (full day)
- Marshes of Santoña Natural Park (full day)
- Picos de Europa National Park (full day)
- Collados del Asón Natural Park (full day)
Juan de la Cosa, Playa de Berria, 14 - 39740 Santoña, Cantabria, España
You can look forward to a warm welcome and personal service from owners Felipe and Margot at their comfortable 4-star hotel. They take special pride in the hotel's restaurant, which has splendid views of the beach and sea as well as delicious dishes.
The hotel has 55 contemporary-furnished rooms.
You can upgrade to a sea-view room for a supplement, subject to availability.
Tea coffee making facilities
Food and Drink
Enjoy delicious home cooked dishes typical of the region: savour buffet-style breakfasts, tasty tapas or snack lunches at the bar or on its terrace and waiter-served dinners in their locally acclaimed à la carte restaurant. Complimentary tea and cake is also available at 4pm daily in the bar.
A delicious demonstration
The hotel prides itself on its food, and during your stay you’ll be able to enjoy an included cookery demonstration – a great way to take a taste of Spain back to your own kitchen. As the chef cooks up a storm, you’ll be able to taste a selection of wine from the area, each carefully selected by the hotel’s owner, Felipe.
During your stay, you can enjoy the following programme of activities and entertainment. Some activities are at an additional charge. Activities may change from time to time.
- A cookery demonstration with a selection of wines
- Live music/flamenco dancing
- A talk on interesting facts and differences between the British and Spanish cultures
- Mystery tours
- Table tennis
- Table football
- Golf - Available nearby – please ask the resort staff for details
Other Hotel Information
The hotel has a lift to all floors and air-conditioning and central heating.
Heated indoor pool
You’re well placed for exploring this region. Scenic walking trails lead right from this beachfront hotel’s doorstep and there are birdwatching opportunities at a nearby reserve. The hotel is one and a half miles from the centre of Santoña which can be reached by local bus (guests receive free bus tickets). Here you will find shops, cafes and restaurants. There’s plenty to do in the area, from enjoying the splendid beach and delicious food, to exploring the mountains and discovering age-old villages.
Bilbao airport is an hour’s drive away and Santander port is a 45-minute drive away.
Experience the essence of true Spain and immerse yourself in the culture, gastronomy, language and landscapes with a stay in the idyllic small fishing town of Santoña, which backs onto the mighty Picos de Europa. Set on Spain’s northern Cantabrian coast, it fronts a superb three-kilometre-long beach of fine white sand, the Playa de Berria. This spectacular beach and surrounding hillsides are popular with walkers, while the nearby marshes are rich in bird life and the mountains offer plenty of options for outings.
Day 1 UK to Santoña
Fly to Spain and transfer to your hotel where you can look forward to a welcome reception.
Day 2 Vulture colony of Monte Candina
On your first excursion head to the rocky cliffs of Monte Cardina to see the largest marine colony of griffon vultures in Europe – around 100 pairs – and from the beach below look out for Egyptian vultures, chough and peregrine falcon as well as gulls and shag. Continue inland to seek out country birds living in the scrubland.
Day 3 Ucieda oak forest
Transfer to the stunning oak forest of Ucieda, near Saja-Besaya Natural Park, in search of passerines like crested and marsh tits, short-toed treecreeper, nuthatch and even black woodpecker.
After lunch continue to Liencres Dunes Natural Park where the combination of sea cliffs, dunes and pine forest attracts small birds like northern wheatear, melodious warbler, linnet, goldfinch, white and yellow wagtails and occasionally peregrine falcon and kestrels.
Day 4 Marshes of Santoña Natural Park
You will spend the day exploring the marshes of Santoña Natural Park, a renowned nature reserve close to your hotel.
The salt marshes form the most important wetland in the northern Spain with up to 18,000 birds making it their home over the winter. Keep an eye out for waders such as curlew, whimbrel, black-tailed and bar-tailed godwits, redshanks and oystercatchers. It is also home to wildfowl and herons, plus osprey, shag and, depending on the season, divers.
Day 5 Picos de Europa National Park
One of the highlights of your holiday is sure to be your visit to the Picos de Europa National Park.
The journey to the summit is a long but rewarding one via coach and then cable car (at extra cost). Take a walk in search of snowfinch, alpine accentor, both red and yellow-billed choughs, water pipits and the elusive wallcreeper. You might even spot birds of prey including golden and short-toed eagles and even lammergeier.
Day 6 Collados del Asón Natural Park
The river Asón, the one that forms the estuary in Santoña, rises inland in a beautiful place in eastern Cantabria where we find very well preserved beeches, oak forest, rocky walls and mountain meadows.
Here keep an eye out for griffon and Egyptian vultures, short-toed treecreeper, firecrest and goldcrest, redstart, bullfinch, dipper and you might even have a chance to see black woodpecker and golden eagle. There is more to see in the park than simply birds, however, it is home to amphibians including palmate, marbled and alpine newts, common and Iberian frogs.
Day 7 Santoña
Enjoy a day at leisure.
Day 8 Santoña-UK
Check out after breakfast and transfer to the airport for your return journey to the UK.