Spain Getaways: A colorful Lighthouse in Cantabria


Faro del Ajo. Photo: Jose Alejandro Adamuz

Cantabria, A Lush Region In Northern Spain

This northern region of Spain is home to various prehistoric caves, towns and villages with a wealth of beautiful monuments and incredible scenery, which makes it a special getaway from the most typical tourist destinations. Even though Cantabria is famous for its beaches and awesome cities like Santander, to really fall in love with Cantabria you should get out your adventurous side and find the green roads which lie inland from the coast.

Faro de Ajo

About 40 km from Santander, we find this curious light house in the Cabo de Ajo (Cape Ajo) area. It was inaugurated in 1930 and later renovated in the 80’s. The lighthouse was a typical all-white building like many others in the area but the local government in the town of Bareyo, where the lighthouse belongs, decided to boost tourism by undertaking a very controversial renovation.

Faro de Ajo before the renovation.

In May 2020 Bareyo’s Town Council presented a project to paint Faro de Ajo for 75,000 €. However, not everybody was happy with the proposal and it encountered a lot of opposition from some ecologists and political parties. They claimed that it was a “heritage outrage” and a “cultural atrocity”. Several cultural organizations and associations were also against the project but, in the end, the project became a reality under the creative work of local artist Okuda. He is a renowned street artist, whose art has been exhibited all over the world from India to USA, Japan, South America, and Europe, among others.

Faro de Ajo as it looks today.

Okuda started painting on August 24, 2020 and took only three days to finish it. He used 72 colors and the work’s final cost was 40,000 €. The colorful art is initially scheduled to stay for a maximum of eight years, after which the lighthouse could be painted white again.

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