Known in Spanish generally as the Cornisa Cantábrica, the literal translation into English should properly be the Cantabrican Coast but is more usually shortened to the Cantabrian Coast or the Green Coast (Costa Verde). Spain being a nation of proud autonomous communities however, the north coast is often split geographically into the various regions' names of, from west to east; the Galician coast (Costa Gallega); the Asturian coast (Costa Asturiana); the Cantabrian coast (Costa Cantábrica) and the Basque coast (Costa Vasca). The Cantabrian coast and Cantabrian Sea (Mar Cantábrico) are bordered in the south by the Cantabrian mountains (Cordillera Cantábrica) and in the north by the Bay of Biscay, infamous for its heavy seas and a now extinct whaling industry.
This whale bone is probably from what was the most commonly fished North Atlantic Right whale, Eubalaena glacialis, of which few now remain. In these more enlightened times whales (and dolphins) are now "watched" and surveyed in the Bay of Biscay. Overfishing of other, smaller species such as anchovies has led to tight controls. Fishing as an industry is giving way to tourism as the financial mainstay of the communities on this coast, although the coastline is not ruined by tower blocks like the Mediterranean costas in part due to the unpredictable weather even in summer and not just the stricter building laws now being enforced.
The climate is mild with frosts extremely rare, allowing farmers to make hay all year round. Cart loads of grass are still drawn by horses incongruously sharing the roads with more modern vehicles. Spain's Green Coast is green because it's wet! The wet sea is popular with surfers year-round.
On these pages you'll find articles on the holiday resorts and fishing ports, beaches and coastal wildlife such as Little egrets, which have recently colonised parts of the Cantabrian coast, apart from the more usual Atlantic sea birds and waders.
See our weather page for surf forecasts.