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The city of Penagos: Home of Parque de la Naturaleza de Cabárceno


Nestled in the heart of Cantabria, Spain, lies the delightful city of Penagos. With its rustic charm and serene surroundings, Penagos paints a picture no artist could quite capture. At the city’s heart, you’ll find the extraordinary Parque de la Naturaleza de Cabárceno, a natural haven for wildlife and a testament to nature’s grandeur.

Lush green landscapes, timeless architecture, and warm, welcoming locals make Penagos more than a city—it’s a treasured experience. This hidden Spanish gem invites you to immerse yourself in its elegance and embark on an unforgettable journey. Welcome to Penagos, the gateway to your next adventure.

Attractions in Penagos

Venturing into Penagos, one cannot ignore the allure of its crown jewel, the Parque de la Naturaleza de Cabárceno. Not your typical zoo, this natural park spreads across 750 hectares, offering wild animals a home in semi-freedom.

It’s an earthly paradise where creatures like the African elephant, European bison, and the white rhinoceros wander the vast grasslands, reminiscent of their natural habitats. The park’s unique concept, centred around respect for nature and wildlife conservation, makes it a magnet for nature enthusiasts and family adventurers alike.

Beyond the boundaries of Parque de la Naturaleza de Cabárceno, the city continues to charm with its Spanish allure. Penagos showcases a tapestry of rolling hills, rustic farmhouses, and historic churches, each narrating tales of the city’s rich past.

The city’s local cuisine deserves a mention too, offering a gastronomic journey that satisfies even the most discerning palate. Traditional dishes, made with locally-sourced ingredients, promise an authentic taste of Cantabria. From the tranquil rural life to the buzzing local markets, the city of Penagos is a symphony of picturesque sights, heartwarming experiences and delightful surprises.

The Penagos Zoo (Parque de la Naturaleza de Cabárceno )

In the heart of Penagos lies the Parque de la Naturaleza de Cabárceno, a zoo that redefines the human-animal interaction experience. Known locally as the Penagos Zoo, the park sprawls over an impressive 750 hectares of reclaimed mining land. But this isn’t your traditional zoo. The animals here roam semi-free in large enclosures, replicating their natural habitats as closely as possible.

From towering African elephants and sturdy European bisons to the dainty white rhinoceros, the Penagos Zoo is home to a diverse range of species. Visitors can observe these magnificent creatures in a unique setting that emphasizes respect and conservation above all. The park also boasts of a botanical garden that houses a myriad of plant species, adding to its biodiversity.

The park’s gondola rides provide you with a bird’s eye view of this impressive layout, making you feel as if you’re on a safari adventure. Individual feeding sessions are also organized, allowing visitors to witness the natural behaviours of the animals up close. The Parque de la Naturaleza de Cabárceno isn’t just a zoo, it’s a living, breathing testament to the beauty of the wild, comfortably nestled in the city of Penagos.

History of the city of Penagos

The city of Penagos, brimming with charm and character, has a rich history that contributes to its unique identity. Nestled in the lush landscapes of the Cantabria region, the city’s story begins in the early Middle Ages. Penagos was then a small farming community, with its hardworking inhabitants tilling the fertile Cantabrian soil and rearing livestock, shaping the rural image of the city that is still evident today.

Over the centuries, Penagos began to expand, its increasing population leading to the development of more structured communities. During the 20th century, the city underwent significant change when mineral-rich deposits were discovered in the area.

This led to extensive mining activities, transforming the quiet rural setting of Penagos into a bustling hub of industry. It was this mining history that laid the groundwork for what would later become the Parque de la Naturaleza de Cabárceno, a reclaimed piece of land turned into a unique natural park.

Today’s Penagos is a harmonious blend of its agricultural roots and industrial past. Despite the changes over the centuries, the city has managed to maintain its quaint, rustic charm while embracing progress. Its history is a testament to its resilience and adaptability, making Penagos a truly unique destination for history buffs and nature lovers alike.

The vivid culture of Penagos

The culture of Penagos mirrors the vibrant hues of its surroundings, offering a captivating blend of tradition and progression. This quaint city is deeply rooted in its customs, with heritage living on through its festivals, architecture, and local cuisine.

Its lively festivals, such as the annual Fiesta De La Virgen De Las Nieves, offer a profound insight into the city’s culture. This event brings the city to life with traditional music, dance performances, and local delicacies, drawing both locals and tourists to partake in the merriment.

The architecture in Penagos is another testament to its rich cultural heritage. From rustic farmhouses to historic churches, the cityscape is a sensational mix of old and new, whispering tales of the city’s past while embracing the progression of the present.

The city’s culinary scene is a gastronomic delight, with traditional Spanish dishes taking centre stage. From hearty stews to sweet pastries, the food reflects the warmth and hospitality of Penagos, rooted in age-old family recipes passed down through generations.

In Penagos, cultural exploration goes beyond tangible aspects. The city’s culture is also evident in the warmth of its people, their love for the land, and their respect for nature and wildlife. This respect transcends into the city’s crown jewel, the Parque de la Naturaleza de Cabárceno, where appreciation for wildlife conservation is deeply ingrained.

The city’s culture is a heartfelt representation of its past, a celebration of the present, and an open invitation to the future. In Penagos, tradition and modernity coexist harmoniously, creating a cultural tapestry that is as inviting as it is intriguing.

Food and drink in the city of Penagos

The gastronomic scene of Penagos promises a culinary journey that is as diverse as it is delicious. In this quaint city, food is not merely a means to satiate hunger – it’s an integral part of the cultural fabric, showcased through traditional recipes handed down through generations. Penagos is particularly famed for its hearty stews, like the “Cocido Montañés”, a rich, slow-cooked stew made with beans, meats, and hearty vegetables, a testament to the city’s agricultural roots.

Local fare also includes a variety of seafood dishes, thanks to the city’s proximity to the Cantabrian Sea. Fresh catch of the day often finds its way into the city’s kitchens, being turned into delectable dishes such as the traditional “Marmita”, a fisherman’s stew with potatoes and peppers. Complementing these savoury delights, are the mouthwatering Spanish pastries, like the “Quesada Pasiega”, a traditional cheesecake that adds a sweet finish to any meal.

Of course, no culinary exploration in Penagos would be complete without sampling the local beverages. The city’s lush vineyards produce some of Spain’s finest wines, making wine tasting a must-do for any visitor. For the beer lovers, the city’s growing craft beer scene offers a range of unique brews to try. From traditional fare to innovative cuisine, the food and drink in Penagos serve as a delightful reflection of the city’s vibrant culture and rich history. 

Getting around in Penagos

Travelling around Penagos offers its own unique charm and convenience. The city is well-connected with a network of local buses, the most economical and environmentally friendly way to explore. From the historic city centre to the distant corners of the Parque de la Naturaleza de Cabárceno, these buses cover notable attractions, making them an excellent choice for tourists seeking to immerse themselves in the city’s cultural and natural beauty.

For those who prefer a more leisurely pace, renting a bicycle is a fantastic option. Penagos boasts an extensive network of cycling paths that weave their way through the city and its surrounding countryside, making for a delightful, healthy, and eco-friendly way to get around.

This mode of transport allows for a closer encounter with the city’s rustic charm, and the opportunity to discover hidden gems tucked away from the main tourist routes.Lastly, for a more personal and flexible experience, car hire services are readily available in Penagos. These can be an ideal choice for families or groups, or for those planning to venture further afield.

However, it’s worth remembering that many of the city’s streets are narrow and winding, reflecting its historical origins, so do heed local driving customs and regulations. Whether by bus, bike, or car, you’re sure to find travelling around Penagos a memorable part of your Spanish adventure.

 Practical information about the city of Penagos

The city of Penagos, situated in the heart of Cantabria, Spain, is relatively easy to reach. The nearest airport, Santander Airport, is just a short drive away, providing convenient access for international visitors. The city is also well-connected by rail, with regular train services from Bilbao and Santander. If travelling by road, the city is directly accessible via the A-8 motorway.

Accommodation in Penagos spans a varied range, catering to diverse budgets and preferences. From luxury resorts and hotels to budget-friendly hostels and bed-and-breakfasts, there’s something for everyone. Visitors are advised to book in advance, particularly during summer when the city sees an influx of tourists. As for language, Spanish is the official language of Penagos, however, English is widely spoken in hotels, restaurants, and tourist attractions.

Penagos enjoys a temperate climate, experiencing mild, wet winters and warm summers. The best time to visit is late spring to early autumn when the weather is pleasant, and the city’s natural beauty is at its peak. However, always pack a raincoat or umbrella, as Cantabria is known for its occasional rain showers. Lastly, the city operates on Central European Time (CET) and uses the Euro (€) as its currency. ATMs and currency exchange services are readily available throughout the city.


In essence, Penagos unfolds as a captivating tapestry of rich history, engaging culture, and stunning natural beauty. Home to the remarkable Parque de la Naturaleza de Cabárceno, it’s a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts. A feast of traditional culinary delights awaits food lovers, while the city’s efficient transport systems ensure a seamless exploration of its many charms.

With a welcoming climate, a range of accommodation options, and easy accessibility, Penagos is the idyllic Spanish getaway one shouldn’t miss. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a returning traveller, Penagos promises an unforgettable journey of discovery.