Cantabriaan autonomous community in Spain full of charm and natural wonders, is home to towns that are true jewels inside. One of these treasures is Cartes, a town that stands out for its beauty, its historical wealth and its welcoming atmosphere. Located in the heart of Cantabria, Cartes is a town that deserves to be explored, as it offers a walk back in time through its cobblestone streets and historic center.

A dream corner near Torrelavega

Cartes is located in the vicinity of Torrelavega, a city that is the epicenter of the Cantabrian region of Besaya. Just 40 meters above sea level, this picturesque town has a natural environment that adds a special touch to its beauty. Cartes is located on the banks of the Besaya Riverwhich provides a quiet and peaceful setting for visitors.


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What to see in the coldest town in Spain: it has a huge castle and is very close to a beautiful natural park

Torreón de Cartes (Tourism of Cantabria).
Torreón de Cartes (Cantabria Tourism).

The Cartes Tower

One of the most prominent landmarks of the municipality is the Torreón de Cartes, an imposing fortified mansion that crosses the main street of the town. This tower is a silent witness of medieval history of the region and a place that will transport you to times past.


A bear perched on a rock in the Cabárceno Natural Park.


Cabárceno Nature Park: a paradise in Cantabria ideal to visit with children

A town with history

Cartes, Cantabria.
Torreón de Cartes, Cantabria.

The urban area of ​​Cartes has been declared Historical Complex since 1985, which means that every corner of this town is full of history. In addition to the Torreón de Cartes, visitors can explore the Church of Yermowhich dates back to the 13th century and is a beautiful example of Romanesque architecture.

Mills vital to the local economy

Cartes is also home to eight mills that were once vital to the local economy. These mills are an example of the importance of agriculture and industry in the history of the region. “This route of eight mills has been included in the General Inventory of Cultural Heritage of Cantabria since 2003,” according to Turismo de Cartes.

The real way

El Camino Real, a 500 meter street, It is an ideal place for lovers of walks. Here, you can enjoy the authentic Cantabrian atmosphere, with mountain style houses, plants and flowers that the neighbors take care of with care.

The history of Cartes is deeply intertwined with its strategic location in the Besaya region. In Roman times, this place was chosen to build a road that connected with Suances and Santander. This road never lost its importance, even when Alfonso I’s repopulation reached the region.


La Hermida Gorge.


The longest gorge in Spain is in Cantabria

Today, Cartes is a testament to its rich heritage, with historic mansions which bear the names of families such as the Bustamente, the Manrique or the Ceballos, as highlighted by the Repsol Guide. Every street, every building and every stone in this town tells a story from centuries past.

Cartes poster (Cantabria)
Cartes poster (Cantabria)

Holidays and traditions

Life in Cartes is also characterized by its festivities. The pilgrimage of San Cipriano It is the most popular festival in the town, celebrated on September 16 in Piglets. The pilgrims travel on foot, carrying hazelnut sticks that, on their return, they bring loaded with tasty donuts, as highlighted from Cantabria Tourism. This tradition is an example of how Cartes keeps its culture and customs alive.

Near the Altamira Museum, Cabárceno, Santander…

Bison in the Altamira cave, cave painting.
Bison in the Altamira cave, cave painting.

Cartes, with its historical wealth and natural beauty, is a place that you should not overlook if you visit Cantabria. This town will give you a unique experience as you stroll through its streets, explore its heritage and immerse yourself in the history of the region.

Impressive landscape of the Cabárceno Nature Park
Impressive landscape of the Cabárceno Nature Park

“With two cataloged historical complexes that will take you back to the Middle Ages, Cartes is the ideal place to visit Cantabria, it is strategically located in the communications axis just 15 minutes from the tourist attraction centers of Cantabria: Altamira MuseumCabárceno, Santandermagnificent beaches, unique nature of the Saja-Besaya Natural Park”, as highlighted by Turismo de Cartes.

Pretty towns near Cartes

Landscape of Santillana del Mar.
Landscape of Santillana del Mar.

Santillana del Mar: It is known as one of the most beautiful towns in Spain. It preserves a very well preserved old town, with cobbled streets and houses with traditional Cantabrian architecture. In addition, it has important monuments such as the Collegiate Church of Santa Juliana.

Quotation marks: This coastal town is famous for its modernist architecture, with buildings designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, such as the Capricho de Gaudí and the Sobrellano Palace. It also has a nice beach and a very pleasant atmosphere.

Bárcena Mayor: It is one of the oldest towns in Cantabria and is located in the heart of the Saja-Besaya Natural Park. It preserves its traditional mountain architecture, with stone houses and slate roofs. It is an ideal place to enjoy nature and go hiking in the surroundings.

How to get to Cartes

The town of Cartes is 34 km away by car from Santander, along the A-67, about 30 minutes. Santander has an airport connected to the main Spanish cities (Madrid, Barcelona, ​​Valencia, Seville, Malaga…) and also with the main European capitals.

By car, the distance from Bilbao to Cartes is 118 km along the A-8, just under an hour and a half. For its part, the distance by vehicle from Madrid to Cartes is 425 km.

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