Located at the junction of four rivers, Potes is a strategically important town in the heart of Liebana. It is clustered with beautifully preserved buildings and serves as a convenient base for hikers exploring the Sierra de Peña Sagra and wildlife-filled Parque Nacional de Los Picos de Europa.
Things to do in Potes
Spend an afternoon strolling the maze of alleys that comprise Potes’ Old Town, which is dominated by the 15th-century Torre del Infantado. Admire the 18th-century altarpieces and artwork that decorate the Church of San Vicente and visit the charming Ermita de San Cayetano overlooking the Rio Quiviesa. Spanning the river are several historic bridges that include the Puente de la Carcel.
If you drive west from Potes, you’ll arrive at the Monastery of Santo Toribio de Liebana, which houses the largest piece of the cross on which Jesus is said to have been crucified. It centres around a Gothic church whose facade was inspired by the Abbey of the Holy Bodies in Santander. With its tranquil cloisters, the monastery is an important destination for pilgrims walking the Camino de Santiago.
On the other side of Potes is the Ermita Vírgen de Valmayor, a 10th-century hermitage housing a revered image of the Virgin. It can be accessed along a short hiking trail that leads through a scenic meadow backed by the rugged peaks of the Sierra de Peña Sagra. In the nearby Parque Nacional de Los Picos de Europa, you may encounter Cantabrian brown bears and Iberian wolves.
Getting around Potes
Potes is around 1.5 hours’ drive from Santander and Seve Ballesteros–Santander Airport, which has flights to destinations across Europe. Regular buses connect to Potes and the town is small enough to explore on foot. Renting a car is the most convenient way of getting around the region.