Santander to Bilbao
N 634 runs south from Santander and then round the Bahía de Santander in a wide curve to Solares, a little spa, beautifully situated on the Río Miera, which is also noted for its table water.
The N 634 continues on a good road through hilly country. 20km/12.5mi beyond Solares C 629 goes off on the left to Santoña (10km/6mi), a small port situated on a peninsula which Napoleon planned to make a northern Gibraltar, as the remains of fortifications still bear witness. The Romanesque collegiate church (12th-13th century) has a 16th century retablo. In the convent of San Sebastián de Anó is the tomb of Barbara Blomberg (d. 1597 at Colindres), the daughter of a German commoner who became the mistress of Charles V and mother of Don John of Austria, the victor of Lepanto. North of the town is the beach of Playa Berria.
N 634 continues through the fertile delta of the Río Asón to Colindres, where a road branches off on the right up the Asón valley to the pilgrimage center of Limpias (7km/4.5mi). In the parish church is the much venerated 17th Century image of Santo Cristo de la Agonía, which is said to have shed tears of blood in 1919.
Beyond Limpias is Laredo, beautifully situated in Santoña Bay, which has become one of the leading resorts on the Cantabrian coast, with a continually expanding modern district adjoining the crowded old town. The 13th century church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción, with a 16th century doorway, contains some fine sculpture and pictures.
Punta de Sonabia
Beyond Laredo the road begins to climb, with beautiful rearward views of the town and the wide sweep of Santoña Bay. Thereafter it follows a winding course to the Punta de Sonabia, after which there is a magnificent stretch along the rocky coast to Castro Urdiales. From there N 634 continues to Bilbao.
Cuevas de las Monedas
This little known cave complex has several examples of prehistoric painting. Unlike Cuevos de Altamira, there are no visitor restrictions.
La Finca Puente San Miguel
La Finca Puente San Miguel is on a miniature scale with Spanish and Islamic styles of gardening. The garden is surrounded by a large and romantic 18th century landscape park in which branches of unpruned trees sweep down to the ground. The collection included one of the largest Magnolia grandiflora in Europe which is over 200 years old that covers 700 sq. m, an exceptionally fine coastal redwood and many other good specimens.
Cueva del Castillo
Location: Province of Cantabria; in the Pico del Castillo, near Puerto Viesgo, 22km/ 14mi southwest of Santander. Features: Several galleries (total length 300m/330yd); paleontological finds (in Prehistoric Museum, Santander); 750 figures of animals.
Cueva de la Pasiega
Location: Province of Cantabria; in the Pico del Castillo, southwest of Santander. Features: A maze of passages, with well preserved monochrome Palaeolithic paintings.
Location: 36km/22mi southeast of Santander. Features: Two long galleries; in the right-hand one (70m/77yd long), paintings in red (stags, bisons).