Santander: The holiday destination of your dreams

The beautiful seaside town of Santander, on the shores of the Cantabrian Sea, isn't one of the most-visited Spanish holiday destinations, but it definitely should be.

Santander's touristic and cultural offerings, the overall charm of the city and its top quality gastronomic specialties delight visitors who only have one desire after visiting - to holiday there again!

Bay of Santander, Cantabria (Spain)

Below we are taking you through why you should choose Santander as your next Spanish holiday destination.

A beautiful bay

The Bay of Santander is part of the 'most beautiful bays of the world' club, and for good reason. The views over the bay, with the Asón, Porracolina, El Picón del Fraile and El Castro-Valnera mountains in the background, are worthy of a postcard picture and leave all visitors impressed. Together, the sea and mountains offer a beautiful contrasting landscape.

In 2014, the Bay of Santander hosted the World Sailing Championships, which attracted tourists from around the world during a 15-day competition involving 1400 sailors from 95 countries.

 Sea and mountains in Santander, Cantabria (Spain)

A monumental city

Despite a fire that destroyed much of the old city of Santander in 1941, the capital of Cantabria has magnificent monuments with remarkable architecture.

Some are historical, such as the Gothic style Santander Cathedral, while others date from the nineteenth or twentieth centuries, such as the Magdalena Palace, the Banco Santander Arch, the Casino, the Gran Hotel Sardinero or the Real Club Marítimo. Others with their modern architecture have even become emblems of the city - this is the case of the Palacio de Festivales, the Palacio de Deportes and the future Botín Centre, which is currently under construction.

Santander Monuments, Cantabria (Spain)

Beautiful beaches 

Historically, Santander has always been known for its beautiful seaside location, which has made it an important port since Roman times.

In the late nineteenth century, Santander also became a tourist and leisure destination through the promotion its wave pools (los baños de ola), known for their healing properties. The royal family, followed by the nobility and the bourgeoisie, mainly from Madrid, would come to enjoy the beautiful beaches of Santander.

Today, locals and tourists come to rest on the sandy Sardinero beach, take an invigorating dip in the clear waters and practice surfing, kitesurfing, sailing or play las palas.

Beaches in Santander, Cantabria (Spain)

A cultural and touristic city

The cultural and touristic offerings of Santander are worthy of a regional capital. The city has many museums and exhibition centres. Among the major museums of Santander, there are the Maritime Museum, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, and the Museum of Prehistory and Archaeology of Cantabria.

On the peninsula of the Magdalena, the Magdalena Palace is also worth a visit. As for the children, they will love to see the seals, sea lions and reproductions of caravel sailing ships at the Museum of Man and the Sea, which is at the entrance of the park.

Santander also has several parks with playgrounds for children, a golf course on the Mataleñas peninsula, a Forestal Park, and a lighthouse from which there are impressive views of the Atlantic Ocean and the city.

Tourism in Santander, Cantabria (Spain)

Incredible gastronomy

After a busy day of sightseeing, there's nothing like sitting down for a great meal. Santander has many bars and restaurants with terraces by the sea. Other great spots include the city centre where you can taste the gastronomic specialties of Cantabria, including seafood, anchovies, cheeses, traditional dishes like Cocido Montañés or desserts such as Sobao.

Although there are many places to have a drink or tapas in Santander, Calle Peña Herbosa is known to be one of the most lively streets.

During Semana Grande de Santander, which takes place every year around the 25th of July, a contest for the best tapas is organized. An excellent reason to visit the city and discover its gastronomy!

Tapas & bars in Santander, Cantabria (Spain)

Touristic spots nearby

Besides the city of Santander, which we have just discovered, neighbouring towns and villages have a lot to offer holidaymakers too. Santander is a strategic starting point to visit many other great places in Cantabria.

One of the most famous touristic attractions is definitely the Altamira Cave, internationally known for its rock art. This is one of the 10 Cantabria caves classified as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Another visit that will appeal to both children and adults is the Cabarceno Natural Park, located 17 kilometres from Santander.

Among the towns and villages to discover around Santander, there's Castro Urdiales and its beautiful little port, San Vicente de la Barquera, its old town and a Michelin-starred restaurant, or even the extraordinarily beautiful natural surroundings of Potes and Picos de Europa.

Day trips from Santander, Cantabria (Spain)

If you've been convinced, then it's time to book your next holiday in Cantabria and discover the charms of Santander for yourself!