5. From Santander: Pilgrimage Day to Santo Toribio
At 9:00am leave Santander for Potes, the capital of Liébana region. To get there you will cross the impressive gorge of the Hermida, part of a set of narrow gorges along the river Deva. Once in Potes, you will have the opportunity to do a short walking pilgrimage to the Monastery of Santo Toribio, 3 km from the village. This walk is roughly 45 minutes. The Monastery of Santo Toribio is, along with Santiago, Rome and Jerusalem, one of the holiest Christian sites, as it is host to the longest piece of the cross on which Jesus Christ died. The Monastery is also well known for celebrating the Jubileum regularly (the next Jubilee Year will be in 2023).
It was Holy Toribio of Astorga, custodian of the relics of Jesus Christ in Jerusalem, who transferred a piece of the Cross to Astorga, city of which he was Bishop. This relic was transferred then to Liebana by Christians who wanted to keep it safe from the Muslims who had started the invasion of the peninsula. This place was also a place of pilgrimage, with its own identity due to the curative and miraculous powers attributed to the remains of the Saint of Astorga and to the Relic itself.
Once you arrive in Potes, you will have the opportunity to walk the last part of the Lebaniego Way, this is the 3 km route that separates Potes from the Monastery, and attend the Pilgrim's mass at 12:00pm.
After the mass, visit the chapel of San Miguel from where you will enjoy beautiful views of Picos de Europa before going back to Potes for lunch. The menu includes a “Cocido Lebaniego”, a stew of chickpeas and meat. This is the perfect local dish to recharge your energy. However, should you prefer another menu, please advise upon booking this tour.
In the afternoon you will visit San Sebastian de Garabandal, a small village in the mountains where there were appearances of Virgin Mary from 1961 to 1965. You will have the opportunity here to walk up to the "Sanctuary of Los Pinos", the main place where the Virgin appeared.
After the tour, enjoy comfortable transport back to Santander.