Best Things To Do In Liérganes In Cantabria, Spain

Renowned as one of the most beautiful villages in Spain, Liérganes in northern Spain is definitely worth a visit. This destination captivates visitors with its rich architectural heritage featuring historic mansions, an iconic bridge, a fascinating legend, picturesque streetscapes, and the natural beauty of its mountainous surroundings. Nestled between lush green hills and sliced through by the tranquil Miera River, this village exemplifies traditional Spanish life. Dive deeper into this blog to discover more about this hidden gem in Northern Spain and let us inspire you to include this charming village in your travel plans.


Practical Information

Where is Liérganes located in Spain?

Liérganes is nestled in the verdant hills of Cantabria, a region in northern Spain renowned for its varied landscape, ancient caves, and quaint villages. This enchanting village is conveniently located just a short drive from the well-known city of Santander, which is less than half an hour away.

Parking in Liérganes

Liérganes boasts its own train station, making it easily accessible by public transport. For such a small village, it surprisingly offers a good number of parking spaces, which are also free. There are even accommodations for campers, and right next to the station, just a stone’s throw from Liérganes’ iconic bridge, there is a camper site equipped with some facilities. Camper users are also allowed to stay overnight here.

Where to stay in Liérganes

Staying in Liérganes involves soaking in history and charm. One highly recommended place is Hotel La Giraldilla, which is situated in a striking building dating back to 1890, complete with a colorful tower. Its gardens, restaurant, and the beautiful views from the rooms make it one of the most sought-after accommodations in the village.

Other well-reviewed hotels in Liérganes include Posada Carpe Diem, which features a lovely garden and terrace, and Hotel Miera, which offers a more modern flair. For a truly historical experience, consider staying at La Calleja Real, a hotel set in an authentic mansion right in the heart of the village.


What is Liérganes Known For?

Liérganes is famed as a picturesque village located in the lush green hills of Cantabria and is proudly listed on the official roster of Spain’s most beautiful villages. A walk through its cobbled streets reveals exquisitely preserved architecture that showcases Spanish heritage at every turn.

However, Liérganes is not only known for its impressive buildings and idyllic landscapes; it is also famous for the legend of the ‘Hombre-Pez’ or the Fish-Man. According to local folklore, in the 17th century, a young man vanished in the Miera River, only to reappear years later as a mysterious half-man, half-fish creature in the sea of Cadiz. This story continues to be a crucial part of Liérganes’ cultural identity and is frequently mentioned throughout the village.


The Most Beautiful Villages of Spain

Since 2016, Liérganes has adorned the prestigious list of ‘Los Pueblos más Bonitos de España’. This designation marks the top villages for tourism and heritage preservation. To be included on this list is no small feat; villages must meet stringent criteria, including having a population under 15,000, recognized architectural or natural heritage, and a strong commitment to its preservation.

Liérganes was declared a village of national historical-artistic importance in the 1970s, paving the way for its inclusion on this list. The village was recognized for its well-preserved architecture from the 17th and 18th centuries, a period of economic prosperity.

The village boasts numerous historical facades, a village center that is almost exclusively pedestrian-friendly, and has been beautifully preserved. As such, Liérganes is a quintessential example of the gems found on the list of Los Pueblos más Bonitos de España.


Tourist Map of Liérganes

Lierganes Map

Best Things To Do in Liérganes

#1 Walk Through The Old Village Center

The highlight of Liérganes is its old village center, situated in a valley between mountains, which presents the village in a particularly picturesque setting. The center consists of historic mansions from the 18th and 17th centuries with Neoclassical architecture, built during the prosperous times when the local iron foundry (operating between 1617 and 1830) brought wealth to the village.

Stroll through the cobbled streets and squares, flanked by balconies adorned with hanging succulents. Many of the buildings, town palaces, and houses have long and fascinating histories. Make sure to stop by the Casa de los Caños, located on the Plaza del Marqués de Valdecilla. The building is named after the cannons that decorate the facade, which refer to the village’s old iron foundry.


#2 Walk Across the Iconic Bridge

The Puente Mayor stands as the emblem of Liérganes and features prominently in almost every well-known photograph of the village. Positioned right beside the old village center, it arches gracefully over the Miera River. Walking from (the parking at) the train station into the village, this bridge will form your beautiful gateway.

Often referred to as the Puente Romano, hinting at Roman origins, the bridge was actually constructed around 1600 by Bartolomé de Hermosa. It consists of a single stone arch that spans the river and showcases a romantic appearance with its rough stones, mossy adornments, and even a sprinkling of small flowers.

Adjacent to the bridge is a mill from 1667, which has been restored and now functions as a small museum dedicated to the Fish-Man of Liérganes.


#3 Meet the Fish-Man of Liérganes

Lurking in the shadows of the iconic bridge is the tale of the Fish-Man, a central legend of the village. Throughout Liérganes, you will encounter numerous references to this Fish-Man legend (‘hombre-pez de Liérganes’), a mythical figure that is part man, part fish.

Local folklore tells of a young man named Francisco de la Vega, who in the seventeenth century vanished into the Miera River, only to reappear years later as a mysterious creature—half man, half fish—near the coast of Cadiz.

Underneath the bridge, a bronze statue of the local Fish-Man sits and has become one of the most photographed landmarks in the village. The adjacent old mill, now a museum, further explores this intriguing local legend.


#4 Photograph the Eye-catching Tower of Giraldilla

Posada La Giraldilla isn’t just one of Liérganes’s top hotels; it’s also an architectural gem. The building’s colorful and distinctive tower makes it one of the most picturesque features in the village.

Designed by architect Manuel Cacho in 1890, the tower showcases an architectural style that stands out from the rest of the historic village, echoing the designs often seen in Andalusia. Today, this historic building hosts a restaurant and a boutique hotel with nine rooms.

#5 Enjoy Nature Around Liérganes

Nestled in the natural beauty of northern Spain’s Cantabria region, Liérganes sits between the rocky Marimón (403 meters) and Cotillamón (399 meters) mountains, affectionately known as Las Tetas de Liérganes (The Breasts of Liérganes). This rugged terrain offers superb hiking opportunities, with breathtaking views from the mountaintops.


#6 Go on a Safari in Parque de Naturaleza Cabárceno

Just a short distance from the village, Parque de Naturaleza Cabárceno offers a unique blend of zoo and nature reserve where nearly 120 species of animals live in conditions closely resembling their natural habitats. Visitors can travel by car or take a cable car to move between different sections of the park, enjoying walks past the animal enclosures.

Cabarceno Natural Park

#7 Admire Art at the Elsedo Palace-Museum

A short drive from Liérganes, the Elsedo Palace is a must-visit for art lovers. Built in the eighteenth century, it now serves as an art museum, displaying a private collection of nineteenth and twentieth-century artworks, predominantly by Spanish artists, providing insight into Spain’s modern art scene.

#8 Visit More of Spain’s Most Beautiful Villages

Liérganes is just one of many stunning locales on the list of Spain’s most beautiful villages. Nearby, you can explore other gems such as Santillana del Mar, Bárcena Mayor, and Carmona, each offering unique insights into the rich cultural and architectural heritage of Spain.

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