There are places where awe-inspiring landscapes mask some deeper meanings.
Costa Quebrada Geologic Park is one of these rare natural jewels. For decades this asset remained overlooked because of the appeal of its golden sand beaches and coves. Located in the green northern coast of Spain, near Santander, it is not only pleasing to the eye, but it also displays a unique assortment of coastal landforms and features that provide the opportunity of both witnessing the geology in action and discovering in a very straightforward and simple way the origin and evolution of our planet. The visitor can understand these otherwise complicated facts thanks to brilliant examples throughout the coastal path. These telling features have the power to inspire the very same ideas and interpretations that the first geologists gave birth to, even for the untrained eye. Geology here is, definitely, for everyone.
The endless confrontation of the tilted layered rocks and the ocean has produced a very diverse group of coastal landforms that lie in a row along a 10-mile shoreline: Cliffs, arches, islets, coves, beaches, tombolos, sand spits, dunes and estuaries show the constant evolution of littoral areas. A more detailed observation of the rocky outcrops reveals the records of ancient tropical reefs, huge beaches and forests and marine whole ecosystems miraculously frozen in time by preserving minerals, and the mass extinctions that ended them. But not only that. The Park holds many traces of the human bonds to the geologic heritage along the human history. This includes some Palaeolithic flint quarries where it is easy to spot some of the materials discarded by the first European humans when giving shape to their tools and weapons. Also, one particular layer of rock in Costa Quebrada was used by ancient humans as an ochre and umber colored canvas in the superb, UNESCO’s World Heritage Site, so-called Sistine Chapel of Cave Painting: The Altamira Cave, which is located a few miles away from the Geologic Park.
A number of activities are available for visitors during the summer, such as a diverse repertoire of thematic itineraries, kayak and stand-up paddle routes or night tidepool safaris amongst others. The area also holds some great surfing and kite-surfing spots, and there is an outstanding gastronomic offer, including fresh seafood. Visiting the area during springtime or fall is also a great option for those who prefer solitude and more quiet experiences. Those are the seasons for the landscape photography lovers. Then, dramatic light and weather, when combined with the expressive scenery, provide endless photographic opportunities for the aesthetic traveler. Some other attractions near the Park include cultural heritage sites, the medieval village of Santillana del Mar or the Art Nouveau village of Comillas being some of them.
There are also some outstanding natural sites nearby, such as the Picos de Europa National Park.