What On In Santander Spain?

What On In Santander Spain
Santander, Spain | ©Year of the dragon / wikimedia commons Santander is the capital of Spain’s Cantabria region and offers a whole host of attractions for visitors, from history museums to art centres and beaches. Spend your time shopping in the Mercado de la Esperanza, visiting the Palacio de la Magdalena or browsing the works in the new Centro Botín. Here are 10 of our favourite things to do in Santander.

Is Santander Spain worth visiting?

By Sally Pederson On Spain’s north coast you will find one of its most beautiful cities, Santander. It boasts natural wonders, graceful mansions, and iconic palatial architecture. This capital of the Cantabria province used to be called “Portus Victoriae Iuliobrigensium” during the Roman colony of Portus Victoriae. The Romans established a famous harbor in the city which made it the port city it is today.

  • Santander was officially declared a city of Spain in 1775 and opened its doors to tourism in the mid-19th century;
  • Even though the city was destroyed by fire spread by a windstorm in 1941, it recovered completely;

There are still notable buildings that stand to this day. Santander’s economy thrives through tourism, heavy industry, fishing, and other port-related activities. Santander is an ideal holiday destination. The city is rich in cultural and historical heritage that await tourists to discover.

The palaces in this city were among the favorites of the Spanish royalty back in the late 19th century. Today, they remain one of the most-visited attractions in Santander. Aside from the palaces, the seaside elegance of Santander is hard to miss.

One of the most popular is the El Sardinero beach. It used to be a rugged section of the coastline but was transformed and even became famous among Spanish royalty. Los Peligros beach is close to the city center and has a safe swimming area. Inside the grounds of Magdalena Palace, you will find Los Bikinis beach, where you will be in awe of the beautiful bay and mountain views.

Families will also enjoy exploring rock pools at El Camello beach. The climate in Santander is considered temperate oceanic as the city is located on the coast of the Cantabrian Sea. Because of this, the city’s overall temperature is decidedly cooler and more humid compared to the rest of the country.

Winters can be mild and rainy, while summers can be cool and cloudy. The coldest months are usually January and February, with an average temperature of 51 F. Meanwhile, the warmest month is August, with an average temperature of 69 F. The best time to have a vacation in Santander is from June to mid-September since these months have the mildest and driest periods.

The culinary offerings of Santander are one of the city’s pride. One of the main ingredients in the local cuisines of Santander is fish. Fish soups are popular here, as well as the cocido montañés and marmita de bonito.

Tapas are popular throughout Spain, so you will have your chance to try them here. Rabas or fried squid is a favorite seafood tapa on the Cantabrian coast. Tudanca cow, a local breed from the Cantabrian mountains, is a good source of meat in Santander. Cheese is also popular in Cantabria.

What is Santander best known for?

What is Santander Most Famous For? Santander is famous for its beaches, parks, and iconic royal palace. After a fire ravaged the historical district of this city of northern Spain in 1941, it has become a fine example of combining heritage with modernity.

What is in Santander Spain?

10 INCREDIBLE Things You Must Do in SANTANDER Spain 😍 2022 Cantabria Travel Guide

Travel Safe Advice for travelling safely Latest news Santander, the bride of the sea Los Raqueros monument in the city of Santander (Cantabria) Cantabria A city that seems straight out of a storybook and whose life revolves around the bay, recognised as one of the prettiest in the world. Santander (Cantabria) , in the north of Spain, is a combination of green mountain landscapes with white sand beaches, elegant mansions and palatial architecture with avant-garde buildings and the unmistakeable echo of its seafaring past. Many cities within a city, perfect for discovering.

City of monarchs and fishermen Santander was the destination par excellence for royalty at the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries. A stroll through the old quarters, with its majestic buildings, transports us to this distinguished past, the greatest witness of which is undoubtedly the Magdalena Palace , the jewel in the city’s crown.

This iconic building, located in the highest part of the peninsula of the same name, is one of the essential sights of Santander, allowing you to observe (and photograph) an impressive panoramic view of “the bride of the sea” , as the city is affectionately known, framed by the beach and mountains.

Santander fuses this palatial magic with a fishing tradition, which today can be enjoyed especially in the area known as the city’s fishing district : the perfect place to try the most traditional local cuisine , so closely linked to the sea, with dishes such as rabas (fried squid), maganos (squid with onion) or fisherman-style clams.

This identity of contrasts is completed with the “new” Santander , the part that has embraced the latest cultural and artistic trends, which is evident in places such as the Botín Centre , designed by the architect and Pritzker Architecture prize winner, Renzo Piano.

  • A family occasion Santander is a perfect city for a family holiday, as apart from its sights and culinary attractions, it also has activities children will love, such as boat trips around the bay, the La Magdalena mini zoo or the Maritime Museum;

Enjoying a day of sunshine on one of Santander’s beaches is another essential plan: don’t miss the ones at El Sardinero, El Camello, Mataleñas, La Concha and Los Peligros. Don’t miss it.

Does Santander have an old town?

To Snap a Photo in the Plaza Porticada – Also known as the Plaza de Pedro Velarde, the Plaza Porticada is located in the centre of the city and is close to the town hall. It was built after a devastating fire destroyed most of the city in 1941. It is nicknamed Plaza Porticada because it is surrounded by 64 porticoes.

  • Both grand and elegant, it’s definitely worth stopping here to take a photo;
  • Plaza Porticada, Santander, Spain Also in the Plaza Porticada, you’ll find the Interpretation Centre of the Medieval Wall of Santander;

Built on the site of Puebla Nueva, the old medieval village of Santander, it displays sections of the wall from the 12th century, as well as ceramics, paved streets and ancient towers. Santander, Spain | ©Year of the dragon / wikimedia commons.

How many days do you need in Santander?

Looking for inspiration for a  weekend in Santander ?  Read our tips below on the things to do in Santander, Spain plus a sample weekend itinerary, where to stay, how to get around, and best restaurants to try! What On In Santander Spain Willian Justen de Vasconcellos Santander is the capital city of the Cantabria region on Spain’s north coast. It is known for its peace and quiet surroundings, varied transport and communications infrastructure and its mild climate all year round. In this wonderful place, you’d enjoy a lot of outdoor activities that would definitely make your Santander getaway more memorable. What On In Santander Spain Katia De Juan Staying in Santander for only 3 days is enough for doing the activities that they have for us. In those 3 days, you’d be able to visit Santander’s most popular tourist destination. In this article, we’ll help you organize your 3-day trip.

How much is a taxi from Bilbao to Santander?

Questions & Answers – What is the cheapest way to get from Bilbao to Santander? The cheapest way to get from Bilbao to Santander is to rideshare which costs €5 and takes 1h 29m. More details What is the fastest way to get from Bilbao to Santander? The quickest way to get from Bilbao to Santander is to taxi which costs €140 – €170 and takes 1h 10m.

More details Is there a direct bus between Bilbao and Santander? Yes, there is a direct bus departing from Bilbao and arriving at Santander. Services depart hourly, and operate every day. The journey takes approximately 1h 20m.

More details Is there a direct train between Bilbao and Santander? Yes, there is a direct train departing from Bilbao and arriving at Santander. Services depart three times a day, and operate every day. The journey takes approximately 2h 55m. More details How far is it from Bilbao to Santander? It is 75 km from Bilbao to Santander.

  1. It is approximately 101;
  2. 5 km to drive;
  3. Get driving directions How do I travel from Bilbao to Santander without a car? The best way to get from Bilbao to Santander without a car is to bus which takes 1h 20m and costs €8 – €13;

More details How long does it take to get from Bilbao to Santander? The bus from Bilbao to Santander takes 1h 20m including transfers and departs hourly. More details Where do I catch the Bilbao to Santander bus from? Bilbao to Santander bus services, operated by ALSA, depart from Bilbao station.

More details Where do I catch the Bilbao to Santander train from? Bilbao to Santander train services, operated by Renfe Feve, depart from Bilbao station. More details Train or bus from Bilbao to Santander? The best way to get from Bilbao to Santander is to bus which takes 1h 20m and costs €8 – €13.

Alternatively, you can train, which costs €8 – €11 and takes 2h 55m. Mode details.

What language is spoken in Santander Spain?

Santander, Spain

Santander
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
Summer (DST) UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code 39001-39012
Official language(s) Spanish

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How far is Santander from Bilbao?

Distance between Bilbao and Santander is 75 kilometers ( 46 miles ).

Is Santander nice place to live?

What On In Santander Spain Santander locals eat out regularly, and café prices are affordable. (Getty Images) Santander is a small but bustling city on Spain ‘s northern Atlantic Coast with a magnificent view over the Bay of Santander. Situated on a series of hills overlooking the Bay of Biscay, Santander is also a friendly, livable and authentically Spanish place to call home.

Santander was rebuilt in 1941 after a devastating fire. Almost all of the old town was destroyed in the blaze. What emerged from the disaster is a handsome city along an accessible and beautiful seafront that is surprisingly modern.

Moving sidewalks climb among the residential areas that stretch along Santander’s sharply ascending slopes. In its glory days, this was the haunt of Spanish royalty, and much of the architecture reflects that glamour. With the Royal Palace and courtier homes all along the seafront, a ritzy casino and well-manicured parks and beaches, the overall feel at the heart of the city is royal chic.

  1. Thanks to its mild, damp climate, this is Spain’s green coast;
  2. Even in February, temperatures can be mild , meaning you can enjoy the city year-round, finishing each day by joining the locals for relaxed, convivial chatter over a glass of beer or wine;
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This is a welcoming city that you can afford to get to know well. It’s normal for locals to eat and drink out regularly, and the prices reflect that, unlike in tourist towns and cities elsewhere in Spain where restaurant and café prices can be inflated for the tourist trade.

  1. Though it’s a port city, Santander is surprisingly clean, elegant and well cared for;
  2. The city is punctuated by formal gardens and parks of every description, including sunbathing parks, sculpture parks and dog play parks;

There are many monuments and museums, from the Museum of Fine Arts and the Cantabrian Maritime Museum to the Prehistory Museum and the Old Quays of Santander Interpretation Centre. There are also exhibitions at the Palacio de Festivales cultural center and the Exhibition and Sports Center at Llamas Park.

This city of history and culture also boasts a series of beautiful beaches. Santander’s beaches are a bit wild, with inlets, rock pools and inland greenery reaching all the way down to the golden sand. While Santander is definitely a city to see, retirees also need to decide if they would be happy living here.

If you’re shopping for an old world lifestyle that delivers the beach life in the bargain and wouldn’t mind the rain required to keep the landscapes around you so brilliantly green, Santander could be ideal. The city is divided into a number of residential areas.

The high-end residential neighborhoods lie along Paseo Pareda and Avenida Reina Victoria. Imagine standing with your back to the Bay of Santander, looking north at the tall buildings across a two-way road running along the seafront.

Reina Victoria (Queen Victoria) was Queen of Spain from 1906 to 1969. The eponymous street overlooks playa Magdalena, with beautiful properties rising up from the avenue to include those owned by the Botín family. Traveling along Avenida Reina Victoria – walking is the best way – you come to the El Sardinero district, perhaps the most famous and expensive area in Santander.

  1. While the King of Spain, Alonso XIII, and his queen, Victoria, stayed at the Palacio de la Magdalena on the spur of land projecting out into the Bay of Santander, his court built mini palaces in El Sardinero, most of which are in a good state of repair today;

Typical rents in the area start at about 700 euros per month for an 85-square-meter, three-bedroom apartment, two rows back from the beach. If you want to be overlooking the El Sardinero beaches, budget at least 1,600 euros per month for rent. Slightly north of El Sardinero is the Valdenoja district, a popular residential area that has developed over the last 20 years along the Las Llamas valley, stretching back from the Sardinero Beach.

Here you find neat and tidy red-brick apartment blocks. It’s not as posh as El Sardinero, but it’s a comfortable and safe area. Paths lead down to the Llamas Park and the sea. Apartment blocks here are built in mini communities, sharing facilities like pools and tennis courts.

The main downside is that there aren’t any stores and services in the immediate area, so you have to rely on public transportation for big shopping trips (which is reliable and cheap) or invest in keeping a car. Typical rents in the Valdenoja area are 800 euros per month.

  • The Los Castros district, on the opposite side of the Las Llamas valley to Valdejoja, is popular with university students;
  • Housing here is even more affordable, but the apartments are very small;
  • Between Los Castros and El Sardinero is the La Gandara area;

Properties are cheaper here than in most other areas. La Gandara is not as architecturally attractive as other parts of the city, but there are services, bars, local restaurants, gyms and shops, so you don’t need to get in your car for everything, yet it’s still an easy walk to the beach and paseo.

  1. Outside of town, to the north and west of the center, are satellite residential areas that benefit from being part of Santander city;
  2. Two of the most popular of these are La Albericia and El Alisal;
  3. La Albericia has single-family homes and small gated communities with their own pools and communal areas;

El Alisal is a new residential area with shops, schools and some of the bigger stores, such as Decathlon and Carrefour. Typical rents in both areas are about 600 euros per month. There are also opportunities to buy a place of your own rather than renting.

The Spanish property boom of the early 2000s came to a dramatic halt in 2007. In the wake of the bust, property prices across the country fell. Cantabria, where Santander is located, was not part of the great building boom that took place on Spain’s southern costas.

However, the national recession that followed the 2007 property bust did hit households in Santander, resulting in a good number of distressed property opportunities. Because Cantabria is not a major tourist hot spot, the recovery that has been playing out on some of the country’s southern coasts hasn’t been seen here.

How far is it from Santander to Malaga?

Questions & Answers – What is the cheapest way to get from Santander to Málaga? The cheapest way to get from Santander to Málaga is to bus and fly which costs €30 – €170 and takes 5h 21m. More details What is the fastest way to get from Santander to Málaga? The fastest way to get from Santander to Málaga is to bus and fly which takes 5h 21m and costs €30 – €170.

More details Is there a direct bus between Santander and Málaga? No, there is no direct bus from Santander to Málaga. However, there are services departing from Santander and arriving at Malaga via Granada.

The journey, including transfers, takes approximately 13h 35m. More details Is there a direct train between Santander and Málaga? No, there is no direct train from Santander to Málaga. However, there are services departing from Santander and arriving at Malaga Maria Zambrano via Chamartin and Madrid-Puerta De Atocha.

The journey, including transfers, takes approximately 8h 12m. More details How far is it from Santander to Málaga? The distance between Santander and Málaga is 752 km. The road distance is 983. 7 km. Get driving directions How do I travel from Santander to Málaga without a car? The best way to get from Santander to Málaga without a car is to train which takes 8h 12m and costs €80 – €150.

More details How long does it take to get from Santander to Málaga? It takes approximately 5h 21m to get from Santander to Málaga, including transfers. More details Where do I catch the Santander to Málaga bus from? Santander to Málaga bus services, operated by ALSA, depart from Santander station.

  • More details Where do I catch the Santander to Málaga train from? Santander to Málaga train services, operated by Renfe Viajeros, depart from Santander station;
  • More details Train or bus from Santander to Málaga? The best way to get from Santander to Málaga is to train which takes 8h 12m and costs €80 – €150;

Alternatively, you can bus via Granada, which costs €75 – €110 and takes 13h 35m. Mode details.

How safe is Santander Spain?

Crime rates in Santander, Spain

Level of crime 15. 70 Very Low
Crime increasing in the past 3 years 56. 10 Moderate
Worries home broken and things stolen 17. 49 Very Low
Worries being mugged or robbed 19. 27 Very Low
Worries car stolen 16. 59 Very Low

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Is Santander a big city?

Santander is a small city with a population of about 180,000 and is capital of the comunidad autónoma of Cantabria. It is known throughout Spain for the beauty of its bay and the beaches of El Sardinero, but also for its conservatism. The cost of living is cheaper than in big cities like Madrid or Barcelona, whilst the location and size of the city can mean a good standard of living.

The city centre is largely modern as a fire destroyed much of the medieval city in 1941, however, there are some very charming areas and the council is currently engaged in an extensive programme of regeneration of some of the more run-down areas.

At one end of the central area you can find the majority of shops, especially the big chains, whilst at the other end there are more restaurant, bars and small boutiques. The city’s nightlife is concentrated in this area. El Sardinero is a more residential, seaside area which faces the open sea.

In the summer it really comes alive and the beaches become extremely busy. It is a beautiful area and the place to go on a Sunday morning to see and be seen. Santander is a fairly quiet city, although in summer it really comes alive.

However, it has the advantage of being by the sea, but also very close to the mountains. If you love the great outdoors then Santander could be just right for you. Just twenty minutes drive from the city centre you can find lovely, unspoilt beaches and it’s little more than an hour’s drive to the mountains.

  1. It’s also only about an hour’s drive (or an hour and a half by bus) to Bilbao, where you can find all the attractions of a big city;
  2. If you’re looking for rental accommodation in the city then the best place to look is near the universities;

A lot of people have flats here that they only use in summer as it is within walking distance of El Sardinero, they then rent them out from September to June. You can find accommodation through the Universidad de Cantabria, either by going to look at the adverts there, or by going to the accommodation pages of their website.

How far is San Sebastian from Santander?

Santander to San Sebastián-Donostia by train

Journey time From 8h 40m
Distance 93 miles (149 km)
Frequency 6 trains per day
First train 07:05
Last train 19:00

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How far is Asturias from Santander?

Questions & Answers – What is the cheapest way to get from Santander to Asturias? The cheapest way to get from Santander to Asturias is to rideshare which costs €8 – €15 and takes 2h 11m. More details What is the fastest way to get from Santander to Asturias? The quickest way to get from Santander to Asturias is to drive which costs €30 – €50 and takes 1h 46m.

More details Is there a direct bus between Santander and Asturias? Yes, there is a direct bus departing from Santander and arriving at Gijon / Xixon. Services depart hourly, and operate every day. The journey takes approximately 2h 40m.

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More details Is there a direct train between Santander and Asturias? No, there is no direct train from Santander to Asturias. However, there are services departing from Santander and arriving at Gijón via El Berrón. The journey, including transfers, takes approximately 5h 2m.

  1. More details How far is it from Santander to Asturias? The distance between Santander and Asturias is 174 km;
  2. The road distance is 175;
  3. 8 km;
  4. Get driving directions How do I travel from Santander to Asturias without a car? The best way to get from Santander to Asturias without a car is to bus which takes 2h 40m and costs €18 – €25;

More details How long does it take to get from Santander to Asturias? The bus from Santander to Gijon / Xixon takes 2h 40m including transfers and departs hourly. More details Where do I catch the Santander to Asturias bus from? Santander to Asturias bus services, operated by ALSA, depart from Santander station.

  • More details Where do I catch the Santander to Asturias train from? Santander to Asturias train services, operated by Renfe Feve, depart from Santander station;
  • More details Train or bus from Santander to Asturias? The best way to get from Santander to Asturias is to bus which takes 2h 40m and costs €18 – €25;

Alternatively, you can train, which costs €14 – €19 and takes 5h 2m. Mode details.

Is Santander Spain a Basque?

Spain is a popular tourist destination throughout the year and while the South may generally be more popular there is plenty that Northern Spain has to offer. From cosmopolitan Barcelona to industrial Bilbao, and the wild coast of Galicia in the North-West it all belongs in the ideal Spain tour.

However, there is another northern destination in the gorgeous Basque country that is worth your time – Santander. Travellers fall in love with the delicious pintxos and tapas bars, beaches, nature, museums, cathedrals and all the things to do in Santander, Spain.

Situated on the North coast of the Cantabria region, Santander is a relatively small city but with a lot to offer. Having lived there for a year and a half I can say I know it well. More so in fact than my own hometown. Good food, beautiful scenery, incredible beaches and lots of opportunity to explore nature.

Is Bilbao worth visiting?

Bilbao is home to the Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim museum | © EmmePi Travel / Alamy Stock Photo Bilbao , in the northern Basque region of Spain , is home to golden beaches, delicious pintxos – the local version of tapas – and the Guggenheim museum. It’s also a great base to hit the culinary world capital of San Sebastián, an hour down the coast. Before you visit, read our top recommendations for experiencing the best of Bilbao. The Guggenheim contemporary art museum may be Bilbao’s most famous attraction, but there’s a lot more to see and do here than just that. Don’t ask for tapas in Bilbao – here they’re known as pintxos | © Karl Allgaeuer / Alamy Stock Photo In the Basque Country, particularly in big cities such as Bilbao, it’s not all about tapas, instead it’s about pintxos – small pieces of bread, topped with a multitude of different ingredients that are lined up along the bar so you can help yourself. Take a look at our round-up of the best pintxos bars in Bilbao , so you know exactly where to go when you arrive. Bilbao is a great destination for architecture lovers , whether you’re a fan of intricate baroque style or cutting-edge contemporary design.

  1. The city is home a wealth of contemporary architecture and many other museums, including the Fine Arts Museum, the Archaeological Museum, the Maritime Museum and the Bullfighting Museum;
  2. Our list of the top 20 must-visit attractions in the city will help you plan your itinerary;

While Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim certainly stands out, the Azkuna Zentroa – redesigned by Philippe Starck – and the Bilbao Santiago Cathedral, built in the 15th century, are also worth a closer look. Each district of Bilbao has its own personality | © Juanma Aparicio / Alamy Stock Photo Like many big cities, each district of Bilbao has its own personality. Think carefully about where you want to stay when you visit, whether in trendy Bilbao la Vieja, the Casco Viejo (old town) or centrally located Abando and Indautxu, dotted with contemporary architecture and museums. Check out this guide to the coolest neighbourhoods in Bilbao to help you decide.

  • This is northern Spain and the Basque Country, so don’t expect typical hot weather and sunshine every day, even in summer;
  • It can often be cloudy and rainy here;
  • Despite this, the city has many attractions to keep you entertained in wet weather , including an abundance of museums;

Besides, all that rain ensures that the surrounding countryside and mountainous landscapes stay beautifully lush and green. Bilbao sits on an estuary that leads to the Atlantic Ocean | © agefotostock / Alamy Stock Photo Bilbao is surrounded by the Basque Mountains and sits on an estuary that leads to the Atlantic Ocean. You can go hiking around Artxanda hill in the morning, followed by a surf session at Sopelana Beach in the afternoon. Here, you have the best of the city, the countryside and the coast. Amazingly, Bilbao is also under a four-hour drive to the Pyrenees, which boast world-class ski resorts during the winter months.

  • Bilbao is a good place to visit as a couple, but it can also be a fantastic city to visit with friends, given its variety of bars and lively nightlife , or as a family, with plenty of kid-friendly attractions;

There’s something for everyone here, including beaches and hiking just a 30-minute train ride away. Basque, as well as Castilian, is an official language here | © Basque Country – Mark Baynes / Alamy Stock Photo Basque, as well as Castilian, is an official language here, so don’t be surprised if you hear it on the streets or see road signs in a totally unfamiliar language. Basque is the oldest European language and is completely unrelated to any other language on the planet currently spoken today. Earn yourself some bonus points with the locals by learning some of these Basque phrases before you go, or read our article on everything you need to know about the Basque language.

  1. On that note, you should inform yourself about Basque culture , too, and find out why this area is unique;
  2. Not only does it have its own language, but also its own folk music and dances, sports , traditional costumes and festivals;

Visit the Museo Vasco in Bilbao to learn all about the area’s history and culture. Besides pintxos, it’s all about seafood here, particularly cod. So, if you’re not a fan of fish or seafood, you’ll be missing out on most of the local dishes. These include things such as squid cooked in its own ink, hake cheeks and bacalao pil-pil (cod fried in garlic and olive oil) among other traditional dishes.

Is Santander good for a city break?

In this month’s featured destination trip report, we will travel to Santander on Spain’s wild northern coast and review why it should be high on your list for a city break. Weekend break With Spanish hotspots like Barcelona being overrun by tourists and secondary cities like Valencia and Seville also gaining in popularity, many travellers are looking for an alternative destination in Spain where they can get their fill of culture and tapas.

Although Santander might not be the first city that would jump to your mind, it is actually a lovely little city with great transportation links, a lively local restaurant and pub scene as well as plenty of sights to keep even the most jaded of travellers entertained.

In this little Santander guide, we show you what the best sights, bars, restaurants and other places of interests are. Northern coast Situated on Spain’s northern coast, Santander and the wider province of Cantabria is unlike anything else in the country.

On arrival you will instantly notice some architectural differences as well as a different climate than the arid landscapes which are typical for so many other areas of the Iberian peninsula. Historically, Celtic tribes inhabited these lands – and looking at the green coastline, pints of cider and even bagpipes you might well think you landed in Ireland.

Make no mistake however, despite the strong Celtic influences Santander remains quintessential Spanish in daily life. Even though I arrived late in the evening I had no problems at all finding a good tapas bar in the old town for a first meal on my weekend break, having some crispy calamari and spicy patatas bravas washed away with an excellent white from neighbouring Galicia. What On In Santander Spain Calamari, patatas bravas and a glass of white Albariño wine at tapas bar ‘La Gloria de Carriedo’. ©Paliparan Exploring the town Having woken up early the next morning I stopped at the hotel restaurant for a quick coffee and sandwich before heading out into town to explore the sights of Santander. There is no better place to start your Santander city trip than taking the funicular (Ascensor Río de la Pila) to the top of a hill for sweeping views over the town and the Bay of Santander. What On In Santander Spain It’s a steep way up through some city centre streets to reach the bottom of the funicular. ©Paliparan What On In Santander Spain As the funicular was temporarily out of order due to the high winds, there was no other choice than to climb the stairs. ©Paliparan What On In Santander Spain The view from the top of the funicular was well worth the climb up! ©Paliparan Old town Walking down again into the old town I couldn’t help but feel how Santander felt like a smaller, seaside version of Madrid. The Plaza Porticada square resembled a bit of the historic Plaza Mayor of Madrid, while some of Santander’s main arteries such as the Calle Calvo Sotelo and Paseo de Pereda reminded me of the grandeur of some of the boulevards of the Spanish capital being flanked with some iconic buildings. What On In Santander Spain Santander’s Plaza Porticada. ©Paliparan What On In Santander Spain A tower of the 13th Century Cathedral of Santander rises above some other buildings. ©Paliparan What On In Santander Spain The Santander post office with the cathedral being visible in the back. ©Paliparan What On In Santander Spain Arco del Banco Santander (Santander Bank Arch). The city is the original home of the world-famous bank. ©Paliparan What On In Santander Spain Plaza Pombo in the city centre of Santander. ©Paliparan What On In Santander Spain Santander is historically an important seafaring city, with plenty of evidence in the city pointing at it. ©Paliparan Seafront As a maritime city, there is a lot of life going on at the seafront of Santander. Start at the lovely Jardines de Pereda park and walk towards the seaside, where the modernist Centro Botin, which almost resembles a beached spacecraft, dominates the view.

Unfortunately the funicular was temporarily out of use due to high winds when I visited, although you can still easily reach the viewing platform by a series of escalators and stairs. Unlike Madrid, it all felt delightfully calm, with hardly any tourist visible and the handful of locals all minding their own business.

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Inaugurated in 2017, the relatively new museum designed by famous architect Renzo Piano is home to an arts center and symbol of modern-day Santander. What On In Santander Spain Jardines de Pereda (Pereda Garden). ©Paliparan What On In Santander Spain The Centro Botin on the Santander seafront. ©Paliparan What On In Santander Spain A view over the Bay of Santander. ©Paliparan Seaside walk From the Centro Botin it is a lovely walk along the seaside promenade to Playa Los Peligros, the first of Santander’s city beaches, passing by a small seaside palace (Palacete del Embarcadero) which was used for exhibitions as well as a number of unusual statues. What On In Santander Spain A walk along the seaside promenade. ©Paliparan What On In Santander Spain An old harbour crane. ©Paliparan What On In Santander Spain The small Embarcadero palace. ©Paliparan What On In Santander Spain The Santander yacht harbour. ©Paliparan What On In Santander Spain A street in the city centre of Santander. ©Paliparan What On In Santander Spain Los Raqueros – a statue of four orphaned ‘raqueros’ – children diving for coins. ©Paliparan What On In Santander Spain The ‘Palacio de Festivales de Cantabria’ – a bizarrely designed concert stage. ©Paliparan City beaches To many, a Spanish city trip is not complete without a stop at the beach. Santander has many great beaches – although they are probably not what you might expect from beach in Spain. Santander’s climate is relatively cold and wet – the city sees about as much sunshine as London – and the beaches therefore almost feel like the ones you can see in Ireland or Scotland.

  • Another unusual landmark is the Palacio de Festivales de Cantabria, a stage venue which in bad weather looks like a scene straight out of a horror movie akin to Sauron’s Barad-dûr tower in the Lord of the Rings;

Even though swimming in the cold waters in spring doesn’t seem like a great idea (summer should be fine though!) the beaches are excellent for a long beach walk admiring the sweeping views over the bay. This is especially true for the beaches facing south over the bay such as Playa de los Peligros, Playa de la Magdalena and Playa de los Bikinis. What On In Santander Spain Even when it’s clouded and windy, it is great fun to have a beach walk in Santander. ©Paliparan What On In Santander Spain Santander’s Playa de la Magdalena. ©Paliparan What On In Santander Spain Santander’s Playa de la Magdalena. ©Paliparan What On In Santander Spain Playa de los Bikinis. ©Paliparan Magdalena Palace The far end of the peninsula on which Santander is located is arguably home to Santander’s most famous sight: the Magdalena Palace (Palacio de la Magdalena) which is a former royal summer residence from the early 20th century. Look out for tiny Mouro island and its lighthouse in the distance! What On In Santander Spain Walking to the Magdalena peninsula. ©Paliparan What On In Santander Spain The Magdalena peninsula is home to a nice park to wander around. ©Paliparan What On In Santander Spain Magdalena Palace. ©Paliparan What On In Santander Spain Magdalena Palace. ©Paliparan What On In Santander Spain The cliffs of the Magdalena peninsula. ©Paliparan What On In Santander Spain Mouro Island and its lighthouse. ©Paliparan Sardinero beach Perhaps the best known beach of Santander is the Playa del Sardinero, which faces the open sea. This area is home to some historical seaside hotels as well as some fancy apartment buildings. The area is also home to many restaurants and bars, making it a great place for a lunch break. Looking at the architecture of some of the buildings and the beach I couldn’t help but think that I could have as well stood somewhere on the British isles! What On In Santander Spain Santander’s Sardinero Beach. ©Paliparan What On In Santander Spain Some of Santander’s flats look more British than typical Spanish. ©Paliparan What On In Santander Spain Sardinero Beach. ©Paliparan What On In Santander Spain Sardinero Beach. ©Paliparan What On In Santander Spain The Gran Casino Sardinero. ©Paliparan What On In Santander Spain Looking out over the coastline from the Sardinero promenade. ©Paliparan Tapas crawl A Spanish city trip is of course not complete without a proper tapas crawl – and Santander does not disappoint when it comes to this. Calle Arrabal is a great starting point for a tapas crawl. Although the old town is fairly small (Santander proper only has around 170,000 inhabitants) there are enough tapas bars to keep you occupied. What On In Santander Spain My first tapas stop at La Esquina del Arrabal. ©Paliparan What On In Santander Spain A schnitzel tapa at the same address. ©Paliparan What On In Santander Spain Arrabal 11 is famous for its calamari sandwiches – and rightly so. ©Paliparan What On In Santander Spain Another great tapa at La Catedra. ©Paliparan What On In Santander Spain Some Polbo á Feira (Pulpo a la Gallega – Galician-style octopus) at La Tuta to finish the tapas crawl. ©Paliparan In short With the end of the tapas crawl also came an end to my short city trip to Santander – as I would head onward to Bilbao the next day. Even though staying one day in town (like I did) is enough to see the main sights, you can easily spend two days or more as well if you want to take some downtime at the beach or visit some of the museums.

Around the palace is a beautiful park land full of flowers, forests and steep cliffs, making for some more great walks. Service is friendly, prices are good and the atmosphere is jolly. I certainly had a fun night eating and drinking around town, stopping by multiple places and sampling their specialties.

What I liked most of Santander was the vibe in the town. Not only did Santander had some unique Celtic touch which you will not find in Spain’s more touristy corners, it also has a lively drinking and eating scene. It does really make for a fun city trip no matter if you stay only a single day or a whole weekend.

  • The fresh sea air and calm atmosphere makes for some relaxed sightseeing and walking through town, taking in all the sights while making several breaks for some good food and drinks;
  • With not many other tourists around and cheaper than average prices compared to most other Spanish cities, it is an excellent destination – and I would love to return;

Where to stay in Santander Most of the cities hotels are clustered around the area of the old town, port and railway station – and this is by far the most central part of Santander to stay. There are also some hotels, as well as many rental apartments, in the Sardinero area – which might be a good option in summer if the beach is your main goal.

  1. I stayed at the Hotel Bahía , paying 70 EUR/night for a single room without breakfast;
  2. It is a solid 4* star mid-range hotel located right at the main port where ferries depart to England, which makes it a beloved place to stay among the British;

Even if you did not add breakfast to your booking, you can easily grab a cheap coffee and sandwich in the hotel bar, which is a popular place among British and Spanish alike for a coffee or an evening drink. Even though I stayed in one of the older rooms (most of the rooms have been recently refurbished and now look a lot brighter and more modern!) I still had a good stay, having a solid night sleep and receiving friendly, helpful service by hotel employees at the reception and bar. What On In Santander Spain Hotel Bahia in Santander. ©Paliparan What On In Santander Spain A single room at the Hotel Bahia in Santander. ©Paliparan What On In Santander Spain A single room at the Hotel Bahia in Santander. ©Paliparan What On In Santander Spain Bathroom at the Hotel Bahia. ©Paliparan What On In Santander Spain My room at the Hotel Bahia had an excellent view over the port. ©Paliparan How to reach Santander Santander Airport (SDR) sees quite some service on low-cost airlines to several cities throughout Europe. Ryanair currently connects the airport to Bergamo, Bologna, Brussels-Charleroi, Dublin, Edinborough, London (Stansted) and Rome (Ciampino).

  1. Wizz Air flies from Santander to Bucharest, Budapest, Katowice and Warsaw, while Lauda flies to Vienna;
  2. Ryanair, Volotea, Binter Canarias, Vueling and Iberia operate domestic flights within Spain to several destinations across the country, including the Balearic and Canary Islands;

If you don’t have a direct flight available to Santander your best bet is to search for a one-stop itinerary on Vueling (with a change of planes in Barcelona) or Iberia (through Madrid). Of course, you can also reach Santander by train. RENFE operates fast trains towards Valladolid and Madrid, while narrow gauge railway operator FEVE runs rickety, slow trains along the coast towards Oviedo and Bilbao.

  1. Both railway stations are located next to each other in the centre of town;
  2. Buy high-speed RENFE train tickets to Madrid in advance for the cheapest prices;
  3. Fixed-price tickets on FEVE can only be bought at the station;

The invaluable railway website Seat61 has more details on how to travel from Santander to the most popular Spanish destinations. Even though I hugely prefer trains (more fun and scenic!), buses are often the way to travel in Spain between cities. Santander to Bilbao only takes one-and-a-half hour by bus, while the FEVE train takes double the amount of time.

  1. For bus timetables and ticket prices, go to the website of bus operator ALSA;
  2. Lastly, British and Irish travellers will love the opportunity to hop on a ferry directly into Santander, which surely must be the most spectacular way to arrive slowly sailing into Santander Bay;

Currently, Brittany Ferries operates sailings to Plymouth and Portsmouth in the UK, as well as to Cork in the Republic of Ireland, although the latter will be replaced by a new Rosslare to Bilbao route somewher in 2020. For more details on the actual experience on board a ferry to Spain, check out the first-hand review of the Man in Seat 61 travelling on the flagship ‘Pont Aven’ from Santander to Portsmouth. What On In Santander Spain The mainline RENFE railway station of Santander. The narrow gauge FEVE station is located in the building next door on the left. ©Paliparan What On In Santander Spain Narrow gauge FEVE trains are a slow but cheap and fun way to explore the Spanish northern coast. ©Paliparan What On In Santander Spain Brittany Ferries connects Santander with Portsmouth and Plymouth in the UK. ©Paliparan Getting around Santander Santander is a small enough town to walk to pretty much all the sights in town. The city does however have an excellent bus network, which is a good option to cover the longer distances such as from the old town to the Sardinero beaches.

  1. Tickets can be bought in the bus;
  2. Read about other destinations! In our trip report section , we have written multiple diary accounts of holidays across the world which can serve as an inspiration for your next trip;

These trip reports are full of destination guides such as this article, as well as reviews of hotels, airlines and other modes of transport. We also regularly publish amazing flight deals and special ticket sales, so make sure to regularly check the flight deals  section on our  website.

Is Santander city safe?

Crime rates in Santander, Spain

Level of crime 15. 70 Very Low
Crime increasing in the past 3 years 56. 10 Moderate
Worries home broken and things stolen 17. 49 Very Low
Worries being mugged or robbed 19. 27 Very Low
Worries car stolen 16. 59 Very Low

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How far is Santander from Bilbao?

Distance between Bilbao and Santander is 75 kilometers ( 46 miles ).