Cantabria consists of a single province, also called Cantabria, and is sandwiched between Asturias to the west and the Basque country to the east. Geographically, its most important features include its coastline, to the north, and the Cantabrian mountains, which separate it from its western neighbours in Asturias.
One of the greenest areas in Spain, Cantabria often surprises newcomers with its lush vegetation and breath-taking scenery. In common with neighbouring regions, Cantabria enjoys a mild maritime climate, without the excesses of heat and cold which some other regions in Spain suffer. The annual mean temperature is 14º and, even in summer, temperatures never get particularly high, which makes the area an attractive summer destination for fellow Spaniards from other parts of Spain.
One of Cantabria’s attractions is the Altamira cave, where some of the earliest and most complete paintings by Stone Age man were discovered in 1879. This cave, together with several others in the area, has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Although the original caves are now closed to protect the paintings from damage, a replica cave is open to the public and draws thousands of visitors from near and far every year.
Cantabrian gastronomy is rich and varied, bringing together the best that land and sea can offer. Sorropotun (a tuna-and vegetable-based stew), cocido montanes (made from boiled white beans, vegetables, bacon and sausages), grilled sirloin steak with Tresviso sauce, Cantabrian hakefish, and quesada (a kind of pudding) will leave you licking your lips and asking for second helpings. Pinchos are the northern equivalent of tapas (which are more common in southern Spain) and consist of bite-sized snacks served on a piece of fresh bread with your drink. Orujo is the locally-produced liquor and is produced from the distillation of what is left of grapes after pressing. Apple cider is also popular in the region.
Santander, the regional capital, has an international airport, and there is a good rail network, which means Cantabria is highly accessible and ideally-located for exploration beyond its borders.
The association of language schools in Cantabria is called ACCEI.