To the northeast, Spain is tremendously mountainous, bordering the Pyrenees to the north and the Terres de Lleida to the west. In the former high peaks there are lakeland areas of outstanding beauty and much of this landscape is a natural park preserving the unique landscape and ecosystem.
Cantabria is situated on the Atlantic coast between the Bay of Biscay and the Cantabrian mountain range towards the Basque region. It is a popular destination for many of the Spanish escaping the intense summer heat of central Spain. The region has many diverse landscapes with valleys created by strong flowing rivers and supporting a wide variety of fauna. Its outstanding beaches and marshes are a haven for wildlife, especially birds.
Probably the most famous Christian pilgrimage route of all is the medieval route to Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain, alleged burial place of St. James, brother of John the Evangelist and one of Christ's twelve apostles. Pilgrimages began in the 10th AD and by the 15th century tens of thousands of pilgrims were making the journey from all over Europe. There were four principal routes across France leading into Spain. Even today thousand of walkers follow this route each year, some only walk smaller parts of the route and return next year to walk some more parts, others walk for several weeks.
Extramadura shares its borders with Portugal and Andalusia, and the inland regions of Castille la Mancha and Castille y Leon. The national parks of Monfrague and Cornalvo play a vital role in preserving this Mediterranean areas wildlife and flora, and are easy to walk and explore. The area is also rich in culture traditions and the old Roman road, Via de la Plata, is the north-south divide of the region and travels through many of the provinces key cities like Plasencia, historic Cáceres and Merida.