Birdwatching in Cantabria

Saja natural park, Ucieda, Spain. SPIN: Birdwatching in Cantabria

Saga Hosted Hotels


Head to the stunning Cantabria region – an area so lush it is known as ‘Green Spain’ – for spectacular scenery and incredible birdlife. Visit the rocky cliffs of Monte Cardina to see the largest marine colony of griffon vultures in Europe. Explore the stunning oak forest of Ucieda and Liencres Dunes Natural Park plus the marshes of Santoña Natural Park – a nature reserve close to your hotel that’s home to around 18,000 birds during the winter. One of the highlights is a visit to the Picos de Europa National Park, where we'll search the skies for eagles from a cable car.

Five included excursions and visits
- Vultures of Monte Cardina (half day)
- Ucieda Oak Forest (full day)
- Marshes of Santoña Natural Park (full day)
- Picos de Europa National Park (full day)
- Collados del Asón Natural Park (full day)

Expect a warm welcome from the Santillana-Astuy family at this family-run hotel on the rugged Cantabrian coast. Food is a huge focus here: enjoy lunches of tapas at the bar; fresh fish for dinner at the sea-view restaurant; and sip regional wines hand-selected by Felipe as you watch the hotel’s chef demonstrate how to prepare a few Cantabrian specialities. Scenic walking trails lead practically from the hotel’s front door, while the centre of town is an easy five-minute bus ride away. Finish the day relaxing in the Jacuzzi or in the heated indoor swimming pool.

Included with every Hosted Holiday

  • Dedicated welcoming host
  • Resort airport transfers
  • Travel insurance and meals


Saga host

Local expert guide

Expert host talks

Welcome drink reception

Five included excursions and visits

Free local bus tickets to Santoña

All inclusive: All meals. Tapas/snack lunches and waiter served table d’hôte dinners

Wine list at meal times including Rioja and Ribera del Duero wines

Afternoon tea

Free bar open 12 hours a day serving a wide range of spirits

Weekly shuttle to Santander

International flights. Prices are based on return flights with easyJet from London Gatwick. Supplements may apply from other airports

Return transfers direct to your hotel


  • 7 nights

  • Santoña, Costa de Cantabria, Spain

  • Multiple

  • All Inclusive

From £1,465 per person

Including optional travel insurance or a price reduction if not required

Saja natural park, Ucieda, Spain. SPIN: Birdwatching in Cantabria
Dunes of Liencres Natural Park, Spain. SPIN: Birdwatching in Cantabria

Holiday details

Food and drink

Enjoy delicious home cooked dishes typical of the region: savour buffet-style breakfasts, tasty tapas or snack lunches at the bar or on its terrace and waiter-served dinners in their locally acclaimed à la carte restaurant where seafood is a speciality. Dinners are pre-ordered the day before and are eaten at set times, ensuring your food is freshly cooked. Complimentary tea and cake is also available at 4pm daily in the bar. A delicious demonstration The hotel prides itself on its food, and during your stay you’ll be able to enjoy an included cookery demonstration – a great way to take a taste of Spain back to your own kitchen. As the chef cooks up a storm, you’ll be able to taste a selection of wine from the area, each carefully selected by the hotel’s owner, Felipe.


A cookery demonstration with a selection of wines • Live music/flamenco dancing • A talk on interesting facts and differences between the British and Spanish cultures • Local walks • Table football • Orientation tour of Santoña • Golf is in Noja (8km from the hotel) – please ask the resort staff for details


The hotel has 55 contemporary-furnished rooms. You can upgrade to a sea-view room for a supplement, subject to availability.


  • Restaurant
  • Bar
  • Heated indoor pool
  • Lounge
  • Wi-Fi
  • Jacuzzi
  • Sauna
  • Live entertainment
  • Table tennis
  • Darts

Holiday location

Juan de la Cosa map

Local Area

Santoña is a traditional fishing town that’s famous for its delicious anchovies – you’ll find them on the menu in almost every tapas bar. A three-kilometre ribbon of white sand runs along the front of the hotel, while inland there are wildlife-rich marshes and lush hills criss-crossed with hiking trails. The hotel borders a beach and a nature reserve – it’s an ideal location for birdwatchers and walkers, as well as those looking for a laid-back beach break with plenty of good food and wine.

“Saga is amidst a renewed drive to provide our guests with great quality, excellent value for money holidays, that offer something truly unique. We’ve chosen to partner with the family-run Juan de la Cosa, as they share our vision for welcoming guests as though they’re our friends and family. Both the hotel owners and the Saga host, Belén, take great pride in embracing the needs of Saga guests and providing the highest levels of service.

It may be clichéd to talk about looking for ‘authenticity’ in a holiday package to Spain, but we believe this is the real deal. Imagine finding a Spanish all-inclusive hotel, where you have the option of relaxing at the bar to eat tapas and ‘pintxos’ for lunch, as if eating at a street cafe in Bilbao’s old town. This authenticity, coupled with a warm welcome from the latest generation of a Spanish family, with over one hundred years’ hospitality experience, makes for a wonderful holiday.

Juan de la Cosa’s unique location is both on the beach and bordering a nature reserve, perfect for birdwatchers and walkers. If you’re in the mood for adventure, spend a day exploring the majestic Picos de Europa mountains; Basque capital of Bilbao; gastronomic San Sebastian; or the city of Santander, where the social scene gravitates around El Sardinero beach.

I’ve been lucky to live in this part of Spain, and the zest for life and friendliness of the locals is contagious. This, coupled with a strong social calendar of fiestas and saint’s days, provide a great excuse for celebrating.”

Richard Newsome,

Included excursions

Vultures of Monte Cardina


This sanctuary provides a safe haven for various species of vultures, including Griffon vultures and Egyptian vultures, offering a unique opportunity for birdwatching enthusiasts to observe these magnificent birds in their natural habitat. The site's conservation efforts aim to protect these endangered species while promoting ecotourism and raising awareness about the importance of preserving biodiversity in the region.



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