Bilbao & Santander Explorer

Monday 15 July - Friday 19 July

(4 nights)

From £705

Discover the delights of Northern Spain at this Spice Escapes exclusive destination

​The northern coast isn’t typical Spain as the weather isn’t as predictable as the Mediterranean south but this area has so much more to offer. Cantabria is a place where nature excels in expressing herself. The seasons are no exception - cold winters and warm summers. When the sun shines in Cantabria its hot; when it rains it pours but as we are there in July we certainly hope the former will be in the ascendance giving us some fantastic opportunities to explore further afield including days out visiting Santander and Bilbao.


Your holiday includes

  • Flights including 10kg hand luggage
  • Transfers
  • 4 nights accommodation
  • 4 continental breakfasts, 4 light lunches*, 4 evening meals
  • Local wine, beer and spirits in the hotel just help yourself
  • Tea/coffee available in the house throughout the day
  • Minibus Excursions

*Note-Lunch provided if at the property or a picnic lunch if walking or cycling, unless the guests wish to try local cuisine which will be at their own cost. .

Your holiday extras

  • Personal Travel Insurance
  • Room supplement if required
  • Change luggage allowance to 20kg checked in
  • Optional excursions
  • Lunches if you wish to sample the local restaurants
  • Personal extras

This is a wonderful opportunity to visit a less well trod area of Spain and enjoy a partially All Inclusive break at what we think is a bargain price at a wonderful time of year. The rooms are available as single, twin or double and with just 11 rooms this isn't a big trip!

Cantabria the view from Oyambre to SanVicente

Location & Itinerary

During your stay amongst other visit we will be enjoying day trips to both Santander & Bilbao.


A city in the middle of the Basque country, Bilbao has a long proud history as a powerful centre of industry. Like a lot of mining, steel and coal centres it suffered a decline in the latter half of the 20th century, until the building of the now world famous Guggenheim Museum there. A complete renaissance has followed with all of the docks being redeveloped with new tram lines and open boulevards.

We will visit the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (of course!) as well as the fish market (subject to opening times). We will also walk the old town (“Casco Viejo”) and take in the beautiful Plaza Nueva for some pintxos (tapas). The Basque country is famous for outstanding food and restaurants and Plaza Nueva has a great selection allowing us to wander round the square and take a little slice of refreshment in a number…   

Its 90 minutes drive by minibus


The city is a famous port on the North coast of Spain and home to one of the worlds largest banking corporations (Banco Santander). The city is small, with a municipal population of 180,000 people and is built round a very attractive bay with sandy beaches and lots of sailing and windsurfing activity.

It’s a prosperous town and the shops, markets and restaurants reflect this. On our day out we plan to visit the Cathedral, the markets and the “Centro Botin” art gallery as well as taking in the beach in front of the casino for an optional fishy lunch! If we have time we may also walk round the famous “Magdalena” – a small isthmus with an old royal residence in the middle.

It’s a town full of street life and a café culture, and if we are blessed with good weather you will see full streets and full cafes on every corner and plenty of atmosphere to soak up.

It’s a 50 minute ride by minibus.

Other things to do

The area is a mecca for walking and cycling. The house has a number of bikes (enough that you should be able to find one that suits you) and helmets but you are welcome to bring your own equipment and even your bike but you will definitely need your own transport from the airport then and will need to let us know so we can book space on the flight and there will be extra cost. If you want to walk there will be a number of self guided routes available but you will need boots and all other sensible equipment for a days walking in changeable weather. Depending on demand the Spice host will also arrange some guided walks too.

Further afield, you can head for the coast where there are some stunning beaches (see the gallery). There is the natural park of Oyambre with the villages of Comillas and San Vicente de la Barquera 20 minute drive away. Comillas is famous for its huge university buildings built on the cliff and for its “Capricho de Gaudi” (a building built by the famous architect Antonio Gaudi who built mostly in Barcelona). San Vicente is a great place to sample fish at one of the many restaurants on the quay. There are also street markets to visit in both towns. Further afield Santander is 50 minutes away by car with its many beaches, restaurants and galleries.

Cantabria Forest (4)
Asturias Spain covadonga
Spice Van

Travel & Stay


‘Agara’ translated as Home in Sanskrit – your accommodation is a large house that was formerly used as a restaurant but has recently been renovated. It has completely new electrical and bathroom installations and a new kitchen. Despite the physical improvements to bring the house up to modern standards the owners have tried to retain the character of the house. This is a chance for a relaxing break in a home away from home where you can immerse yourself in the local area and culture – you won’t find a choice of bars and nightclubs on your doorstep so if you want a party you’ll have to do it in the house!

There are twelve bedrooms and eight bathrooms; four rooms have bathrooms en-suite and the rest share the remaining four.

When not in use as the 'Spice Hotel' Agara is Rob Thompson's (Spice UK owner) home. As such there are 2 resident pet dogs - Charlie who is small and wanders the house and Ray. who is larger lives outside all year (he's a rescue and that's his choice).

Provisional Flight Information

15/07/2024   London Stansted to Santander Dep: 0615 Arr: 0915

19/07//2024    Santander to London Stansted Dep: 1520 Arr: 1615

15/07/24 Birmingham to Santander Dep: 1305 Arr: 1600

19/07/24 Santander to Birmingham Dep: 0930 Arr: 1025

15/07/24 Edinburgh to Santander Dep: 1340 Arr: 1705

19/07/24 Santander to Edinburgh Dep: 1050 Arr: 1210

10kg baggage included - upgrade to 20kg for £45

Availability & Pricing

Build Your Quote
Own flight without transfers£535.00Sold Out
London Stansted£705.00Available
Twin Room Share with Shared Facilities£0.00Sold Out
Twin Room with Shared Facilities (female only)£0.00Available
Single Room Shared Facilities£50.00Available
Twin Room Share Ensuite Facilities£66.00Sold Out
Twin Room Share Ensuite Facilities (female only)£66.00Available
Single Room En-Suite£132.00Sold Out
change luggage allowance to 20kg checked in£45.00Available

Not enough spaces left for you? Click here to join the waitlist

Passport validity

For UK passport holders your passport must be:

  • Issued less than 10 years before the date you enter the country (check the ‘date of issue’)
  • valid for at least 3 months after the day you plan to leave (check the ‘expiry date’)

You must check your passport meets these requirements before you travel. If your passport was issued before 1 October 2018, extra months may have been added to its expiry date.

Travel Insurance

Please ensure that you have adequate personal travel insurance to suit your requirements in place before you travel. Spice Escapes have arranged a scheme with Staysure who are fully authorised and regulated by the FCA (firm reference number 663617) full details of which can be found on the FCA website For an instant online quotation please click here.

Global Health Insurance Card

A UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) gives you the right to access state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in the European Union (EU).

UK-issued European Health Insurance Cards (EHICs) are still valid and offer the same cover as GHICs in the EU.

Once your EHIC has expired, you’ll be able to replace it with a GHIC.

NB – A GHIC/EHIC is not a replacement for travel insurance!

FCO travel guidance for Spain


Host & Everything Else

Pam Harte

Included in your trip is a continental breakfast, light lunches (available if we are at the property or a picnic lunch if on a a walk or cycle ride) and evening meal everyday. Also, there will be complimentary tea/coffee available for you to help yourself to.

Locally sourced spring water will be available in the house so you won’t need to worry about getting bottled water unless you really want to. Finally local wine, beer and spirits will be available between 6-12pm every day (we will ask your favourite tipple before you travel to make sure we are well stocked!); these drinks will also be available at other times for a small charge and premium brands will also be available at any time for a charge.

Sample Menu (based on a 7 night stay - shorter trips will feature part of the menu)


Alternates between boiled eggs one day and fried eggs and bacon the next supported by yoghurt, muesli, cornflakes, toast, marmalade/marmite/peanut butter, fresh orange juice and endless tea and coffee.


Day 1 – tapas and Cava/Prosecco round the fire followed by roasted salmon with buttery new potatoes.

Day 2 – Homemade courgette soup spiced with Ethiopian Berbere followed by Duck confit with duck fat roasted potatoes and wilted greens.

Day 3 – Fresh asparagus followed by curry choices. Chicken masala, curried chestnuts and spinach curry. All with rice and homemade lime pickle, mango chutney, green tomato chutney and yoghurt accompaniment.

Day 4 – Tomato and mozzarella salad followed by seared tuna and new potatoes with a choice of salads.

Day 5 – Avocado and smoked salmon followed by Cantabrian Mountain stew (Pork and butter beans in a rich gravy)

Day 6 – Melon and Serrano ham followed by Tudanca beef joint (Tudanca being a local breed of cow).

Day 7 – Grilled Sardines followed by slow cooked Pork belly with roasted potatoes and baby leaf spinach.

We work hard to cater for all types of allergies and preferences. Oat milk is always available and gluten free is also possible if we know in advance. If most of the group prefer less fish then we will adjust the menu (and we can do the reverse too!). Roast Salmon or Tuna might be substituted for slow roasted leg of mutton with herbs and garlic, as an example. We also work hard to cater for vegetarians and vegans and to date all the guests have offered really positive feedback on the food we provide. Its hearty and nutritious with an informal presentation – that’s Agara!

11 others

Just to say what a lovely few days holiday I had staying at Agara and visiting the beautiful locations in Cantabria. Thank you and Maria so much for making us feel at home from home and showing us around the stunning area. 'Anne Marie'

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