Cantabria is situated on the north coast of Spain. It is bordered by Asturias in the west, Castile-Leon in the south and the Basque Country in the east. To the north, Cantabria looks out onto the Cantabrian Sea (el Mar Cantábrico).
Cantabria encompasses a surface area of some 5,289 sq km and has a population of around 550,000. Its capital city is Santander, which is located in its only province (also called Cantabria).
From the coastline on the Cantabrian Sea, it rises to the Cantabrian Mountains (la Cordillera Cantábrica). The climate is generally rainy and cool.
Part of the Picos de Europa National Park (el Parque Nacional de Picos de Eutopa) falls in the Cantabrian region (the rest of which lies in Asturias and Castile-Leon). It is the largest national park in Spain and offers a wide variety of mountain accomodation for tourists, mountaineers and walkers.
Cantabria also has five nature parks (parques naturales):
- Parque Natural Saja-Besaya
- Parque Natural de Oyambre
- Parque Natural de las Dunas de Liencres
- Parque Natural de los Collados del Asón
- and the Parque Natural de Peña Cabarga.
Cantabria and Spain
Th Cantabria region of Spain is also famous for caves containing prehistoric art. The most important examples of cave painting can be found at Altamira, which is generally considered to house the finest examples in the world. Other caves of note are those found at el Puente Viesgo, el Pendo and la Gama.
Key industries are mining (iron, zinc, and some lead), engineering and food (particularly dairy products). Along the coast, chief occupations are fishing, fish-processing, and ship-building.