Bárcena Mayor. A town of legends, the oldest in Cantabria

Bárcena Mayor. A town of legends, the oldest in Cantabria

From Bárcena Mayor, we can only say that it is one of those magical and surprising places, since being in one of the most inaccessible valleys of the Cantabrian Mountains, it is considered one of the oldest in Cantabria and even in Spain.

This medieval town, has a lot of legend, aromas and tradition, so that its charm catches us, since it is still lived to the rhythm of crops and seasons. Its very well preserved architecture is integrated into the daily life of its very few inhabitants.

¿Why visit Bárcena Mayor?

This magnificent town is located in the Cabuérniga Valley between the Sajas and Arzonzas rivers, nestled in the Saja Besaya Natural Park, which offers travelers the chance to walk through its narrow alleys and discover its fascinating architecture.

Since time seems to have stopped in this beautiful place, it is important to know that you should leave your car in the parking lots just before entering, so that you can move without any problems and with comfort, motivated that the town is all pedestrian.

Bárcena Mayor, a town of Cantabria.

It is a very dense and concentrated villa, with a rectangular structure that includes only two main streets, called La Calleja and La Calle Larga, as well as several perfectly cobbled perpendicular streets, with their houses crowded with wooden balconies loaded with sherds with many flowers.

In its restaurants you can enjoy the typical dishes of the region, such as mountain stew, highly recommended by those who have tasted it. And also in small shops, you can buy pieces of wood, basketry, ceramics and leather works, made by their artisans.

Monuments and sites of interest

The main attraction of Bárcena Mayor is the Saja Reserve itself, and it is a magnificent example of rural Cantabria.

This natural environment hosts protected species such as deer, wild boar, wolves, various birds of prey, or a brown bear. At the end of September it is possible to enjoy one of nature’s most amazing shows: the deer bellow.

The Parish Church of Santa María

Building with humble aspect of the XVII Century, which preserves in its interior an interesting baroque altarpiece, forming part of the monuments that give Bárcena greater its denomination as Historic Artistic Set since 1979, for the wonderful state of conservation of its constructions.

Within the complex there are several places, and in one of them you will find a laundry room with a fountain, a place that, in addition to serving for the hygiene of the clothes, served as a place to discuss the events that occurred in the place.

While you walk through this beautiful place, you could meet percheron horses, or some cows walking the streets at a rhythm and blowing their cowbell.

Starting from the historic center, continue towards the Stone Bridge, the Argoza River flows there, and you will see remains of the Roman road. Then we will go up to the Plaza de Santiago and find a row of houses that will show us a curious sundial in the Rectoral House, and the House of the Passage.

Other places in Barcena Mayor you should know

Rate the possibility of climbing to the Port of Palombera, or visit the Tajahierro, the waterfall of the Pozo del Amo or enjoy the views of the Mirador de La Cardosa.

Hiking enthusiasts, 1Km from the Stone Bridge can travel the path that travelers once used to Castile, and there they can find the Hermitage of Carmen.

Holidays and gastronomy in Bárcena Mayor

The gastronomic getaway takes us to the typical kitchen of Bárcena Mayor, one of the most beautiful villages in Cantabria, mostly composed of the already famous and forceful mountain stew.

However, you can also enjoy some beans, or a good piece of deer or wild boar, or if you prefer you can ask for baked lamb or goat. You should keep in mind that the portions are really abundant.

Accompany these culinary delights with a good «sidruca». And for dessert do not miss the Cantabria Cream Cheese. In the same town you can buy heather honey.

The most significant holiday.

 It takes place on July 16, when the Romería del Carmen is celebrated, the day in which devotees carry the image of the Virgin from the Parish Church of Santa María to the Hermitage of Carmen.

For your next rural getaway and discover the deepest Cantabrian, let yourself be carried away by the spell of Bárcena Mayor, without a doubt, one of those places that according to the legend, is inhabited by Cantabrian fairies.

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