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Santander

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Santander is the capital and largest city of the province of Cantabria in Spain. It's on the north coast, with many beaches, ferries from Britain, and a small historic centre. Britons know the name best for the Santander Bank.

  • 1 Tourist Information (Oficina de Turismo municipal), Jardines de Pereda, ☏ +34 942 203000, +34 942 203001, fax: +34 942 203005, ✉ turismo@ayto-santander.es. April-mid June daily 10:00-19:00, mid-June to mid Sept daily 09:00-21:00, mid-Sept to March M-F 08:30-19:00 & Sa Su 10:00-19:00. They're mostly helpful; difficult to park here.

Get in

By plane

  • 1 Seve Ballesteros–Santander Airport (SDR IATA, formerly Parayas) (Camargo, 5 km east of downtown), ☏ +34 942 202100, fax: +34 942 202152, ✉ infosdr@aena.es. Ryanair fly here from Brussels Charleroi, Budapest, Berlin Schönefeld, Dusseldorf Weeze, Dublin, Bologna, Milan Bergamo, Rome Ciampino, London Stansted, Edinburgh, Marrakesh, Barcelona, Malaga, Valencia, Palma de Mallorca, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Tenerife South. Iberia fly from Madrid, Barcelona and Gran Canaria. Wizz Air fly from Bucharest and Katowice. It's a single small terminal, but adequate for the number of flights. Usual facilities groundside and airside, but for non-Schengen departures don't go through passport control until 45 mins before your flight: Gates 6 & 7 beyond have no toilets or other facilities.

The Alsa bus runs to the bus station every 30 mins (06:30-23:00) from outside Arrivals, taking 10 mins. Buy tickets (€2.90) from the machine in Arrivals (which also sells tickets to other cities) or from the driver.

Taxis from the airport to Santander are about €30. The taxi stand is in front of the terminal. You can also hire taxis with English speaking drivers via +34 692 240616, you can ask for the price of your trip and make reservations. Credit cards are accepted.

Santander Airport has direct access to motorway A8 to Bilbao.

By bus

2 The Stations or Estaciones is the local name for the trio of the bus, Renfe railway and Feve railway stations, all adjacent in city centre. The bus station has the most facilities. Local buses drop off / pick up on the surrounding plaza, including the airport bus south flank of the terminal building. Most is underground, with cafés, ticket offices & machines and left-luggage. Long-distance buses run from the lower basement.

The station timetable is online. The main operator is ALSA, with buses to Santander from Madrid (5 hours), Barcelona via Zaragoza (9 hrs), GijonOviedoBilbao (90 min) and Irun. International buses don't come here nowadays, change in Madrid.

By train

RENFE mainline trains run 5-6 times a day to Santander from Madrid Atocha & Chamartín, taking 4-5 hours via Segovia,  Valladolid and Palencia. A few of these trains start from Alicante.

Feve run the slow, scenic, unreliable narrow-gauge railway east from BilbaoSan Sebastian and Irun / Hendaye (for SNCF trains across France), and west from  Oviedo  (for Gijon), Aviles, Ribadeo and Ferrol.

The Renfe & Feve stations are adjacent, facing the bus station. They both have ticket kiosks & machines (each for their own services only) and a few vending machines. Cross the street for better facilities including left luggage in the bus station.

By boat

Britanny Ferries sail to Santander from Plymouth, Portsmouth and Cork. The routes are:

Plymouth to Santander (20 hours) sails Mar-Oct on Saturday, plus May-Sept on Tuesday, and returns Monday plus Wednesday. Portsmouth to Santander (24 hours), twice a week year round, sailing days vary. Cork to Santander (27 hours) sails Mar-Oct on Weds and Fri, and returns Tues & Suns.

They also sail to Bilbao. All routes cross the Bay of Biscay, notorious for Atlantic swells and upchucking.

3 Santander ferry terminal is very central, off Calle Antonio Lopez near the bus & railway stations.

By car

France: Santander is 150 ml (246 km) from Biarritz, 272 ml (437 km) from Bordeaux, 327 ml (537 km) from Toulouse, 583 ml (937 km) from Marseille and 685 ml (1103 km) from Nice.

Spain: Santander is 517 ml (832 km) from Alicante, 443 ml (709 km) from Barcelona, 173 ml (279 km) from León, 243 ml (399 km) from Madrid, 630 ml (1014 km) from Marbella, 226 ml (364 km) from Salamanca, 474 ml (763 km) from Santiago de Compostela, 155 ml (250 km) from Valladolid, 314 ml (505 km) from Vigo and 249 ml (401 km) from Zaragoza.

Portugal: Santander is 848 km (527 mi) from Lisbon and 405 ml (648 km) from Porto.

Get around

By foot

Santander is reasonably small. The distance from one end of town to the other are some 6km (4 miles) and can be walked in 2 hours along the coast road. Within the city center everything is within walking distance (15min walking).

By bus

Public buses are available at reasonable prices. Each journey costs € 1.10 (more for journeys out of the city proper, or you can save 40% by buying a 10-journey 'Bonobus' at a 'Tabaco' shop). A 10 journey Bonobus ticket costs € 6 (December 2009). Specifically, buses can take you to the main beaches some 2-4km (2m) from the city center. Timetables and map for download: [1]

  • Hop On Hop Off Bus, tel 800-750-2859 departs from the Cathdral daily at 10.45 and 11:25AM, 12.00 noon, 1.15, 1.55, 4.45, 5.20, 6.00 and 6:35PM, with stops at Pasea Pereda, Museo Maritimo, Palacio de Festivales y Planetario, Palacio de la Magdalena, Casiono/Playa de Sardinero, Faro de Cabo Mayor, Matalenas/Campo de Golf. Estadio, Universidad, Avenida Valdecilla, Cuatro Caminos and Barrio Pesquero, the entire journey taking about 75 min. Internet rates: for 24 hours $21,95 per adult, $10.95 per child (5 to 15), for 48 hours $24,95 per adult, $11.95 per child (5 to 15) plus $3.95 "processing fee" per order. No refunds! Children under 5: free of charge. Explanations given in Spanish, English, French, German, Italian, Dutch and Japanese plus a commentary for kids.

By taxi

Taxis are widely available throughout the city.

  • Radiotaxi : tel. 942333333. Tariffs: Mon to Fri 6AM to 10PM, Sat 8AM to 3PM minimum € 3,15 plus € 0,78 per km, luggage € 1,17, waiting time € 15,52 per hour. Mon to Fri 10PM to 6AM, Sat midnight to 8AM, 3AM to midnight, Sun and public holidays: minimum € 4,00 plus € 1,02 per km, luggage € 1,50, waiting time € 20,23 per hour (2010)

By bicycle

The city offers bicycle rental, for a very low price, at a number of locations around Santander (Jardines de Pereda, El Sardinero, La Magdalena). Bikes are loaned for the day, so get in early to avoid missing out.

See

  • 1 La Magdalena, ☏ +34 942203084, fax: +34 942282689, ✉ palaciomagdalena@ayto-santander.es. This headland 3 km east of the centre has a wooded parkland with beaches, a small zoo, a lighthouse and some kitsch replica ships. Its focus is the Palacio, summer residence of the Spanish King 1913-1930 and now an upmarket hotel and convention centre.

Museums

  • 2 Prehistoric and Archaeological Museum of Cantabria (Museo de Prehistoria y Arqueología de Cantabria), Casimiro Sainz 4, ☏ +34 942207109. from Sep 16 until Jun 15 Tue to Sat 9AM to 1PM and 4 to 7PM, from Jun 16 until Sep 15 Tue to Sat 10AM to 1PM and 4 to 7PM, Sundays all the year round from 11AM to 2PM. An impressively well curated and presented museum focused on the ancient history of the local Cantabria region. All items are presented in Spanish, French and English, and there are a significant amount of video and interactive displays. More than 1000 objects are displayed with a Neolithic focus, though the collection ranges at least the Paleolithic through Roman and medieval periods. €5.
  • Maritime Museum of Cantabria (Museo Marítimo del Cantábrico), San Martín de Bajamar s/n., ☏ +34 942274962, fax: +34 942281068, ✉ admi@mmc.e.telefonica.net. Oct 1 until Apr 30 Tue to Sun 10AM until 6PM, May 2 until Sept 30 Tue to Sun 10AM until 7:30PM, closed Mon, Jan 1, Good Friday, May 1 and Dec 25. adults: €6, children from 4 to 12: €4, senior citizens over 65: €4, tourist groups: €5 per person.
  • Bullfighting Museum (Museo Taurino), Calle de Jerónimo Sainz de la Maza, ☏ +34 942341204. Jun 15 to Sep 15: Tue to Fri 6 to 9PM, Sat 11AM to 2PM. In the lower floor of the bullring, in the western part of the city, near the Plaza de México, with bullfighting memorabilia, posters, photos and paintings, and colourful suits of bullfighters from all over Spain admission free.
  • Municipal Museum of Arts (Museo Municipal de Bellas Artes), C/Rubio, 6, ☏ +34 942203120, +34 942203121, fax: +34 942203125, ✉ museo@ayto-santander.es. from 16 Sep until 14 Jun: Mon to Fri 10AM to 1PM, 5.30 to 9PM, Sat: 10AM to 1PM, closed Sat afternoon, Sun, from 15 Jun until 15 Sep: Mon to Fri 11:15AM to 1PM, 5.30 to 9PM, Sat: 10AM to 1PM, closed Sat afternoon, Sun,. Principal art museum of the region with s remarkable collection of paintings and sculpture from the 15th to 20th centuries, from Italian, Flemish and Spanish schools and a painting of King Fernando VII by Goya admission: free.
  • Biblioteca Menéndez Pelayo, C/ Rubio 6, ☏ +34 942234534. Mon to Fri 9 to 11:30AM. guided visits every 30 min.
  • Museo del Faro de Cabo Mayor (exhibition of the painter Eduardo Sanz), ☏ +34 942391994. Jul and Aug Tue to Sun 11AM to 1:30PM, 5 to 9PM, rest of the year:11AM to 1:30PM, 5 to 8PM. There's an art gallery and a strange collection of lighthouse images from popular culture--on everything from matchboxes to liquor bottles. admission free.
  • Colección del Ateneo de Santander, C/ Gómez Oreña, 5-1º, ☏ +34 9421212820, fax: +34 942360520. Salón Social and Cafetería: 9AM to 1PM, 4 to 9:30PM. admission free.
  • Colección del Parlamento de Cantabria, C/ Alta 31/33, ☏ +34 942241960.
  • Colecciones y Patrimonio de Caja Cantabria, C/ Rubio 6, ☏ +34 942234 534. Mon to Sat 9AM to 1:30PM, Tue and Thu 4.30 to 9PM except Jul, Aug, closed Sat afternoon and Sun.
  • 3 Ethnography Museum (Museo Etnografico de Cantabria Casa Velarde), Calle de los Heroes dos de Mayo, Muriedas, Camargo (8 km south of city), ☏ +34 942 251347. July-Sept Tu-Sa 10:00-13:00, 16:00-19:00, Su 11:00-14:00, Oct-June Tu-Sa 10:00-13:00, 16:00-18:00, Su 11:00-14:00. Historical 17th-century building, birthplace of artillery captain Pedro Velarde y Santillan, with antiquities and period furnishings, kitchen utensils, paintings. Visit by guided tour which starts on the hour. Free.

Old Town

Churches

  • 4 Cathedral (Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción de Santander), Plaza del Obispo José Eguino y Trecu s/n, ☏ +34 942226024. M-Sa 10:00-13:00, 16:00-19:30, Su 10:00-13:00, 17:00-21:00. Two-storey Gothic cathedral, the lower level (Iglesia del Cristo) built from 12th C, the upper Basilica mostly 13th C, then the cloister was added. Don't visit during Mass, usually M-F 11:00 & 18:30, Sa 11:00, 17:00 & 20:00 and Su 12:00, 13:30, 17:00 & 20:00. Free.
  • Iglesia de la Anunciación, C/ Juan de Herrera 17. open during services only. good example of Renaissance architecture
  • Iglesia de la Consolación, C/Alta 19. open during services only. church in classical Baroque style
  • Iglesia de Santa Lucía, C/ Daoiz y Velarde 11. open during services only. building of the eclectic style dating from the 19th century
  • Iglesia del Sagrado Corazón, C/ San Jose. open during services only. one of the best examples of Neogothic style in town

Public buildings

  • Santander Ban (Edificio del Banco Santander), Paseo Pereda 9-12 (opposite Pereda Gardens, not open to the public, in the city center, best reached with bus no. 1,3,4.C1,4.C2,9 and 10), ☏ +34 942206100.
  • Banco Español de Crédito, Hernan Cortes 11. building in the eclectic style of 1900
  • Banco de España, Avenida Alfonso XIII. opened 1922
  • Town Hall (Ayuntamiento), Plaza del Ayuntamiento s/n. building in the eclectic style of the 19th century, richly decorated with columns, balconies and coats of arms
  • Mercado del Este, C/General Mola. erected from 1840 onwards, completely reconstructed in 1986
  • Mercado de la Esperanza, Plaza de la Esperanza. inaugurated 1904 in Modernism style
  • Plaza Porticada. constructed as new city center after the fire of 1941
  • Casa Pardo, Paseo de Perez Galdos. House from 1915, also called 'Palacio de los Botin' with spectacular views over the bay, one of the most splendid mansions of the city, at Sardinero, reached with bus no 10
  • Casa Pombo, Plaza de Jose Antonio 3 (mansion of 1875, in the city center, reached with bus no 1).
  • Dique de Gamazo. small fishing port, dating from 1908, 180 m long, 15 m wide, 8 m deep, in the city center, reached with bus no 1
  • Post Office Building (Edificio de Correos), Avenida de Alfonso XII, ☏ +34 942223023. An impressive building, one of the landmarks of Santander, builtin 1915,in the city center, reached with bus no 1 and 8
  • Edificio de Los Arcos de Botin, Hernan Cortes 21. Neoclassic building on the north side of Piaza Pombo, near the harbour, good example of 19th cent. architecture, visitors are not allowed inside, in the city center, reached with bus no 1
  • Edificio de Los Pinares, Duque de Santo Mauro (near Primera Playa, between Calle Duque de Santo Mauro and Calle Joaquín Costa). Impressive private home of ship owner Francisco García, with an outstanding view on the beach as well as Renaissance and Baroque elements of architecture
  • Edificio de Viviendas, Calle Castelar, 15 (in the city center, reached with bus no 1). One of the city's grandest mansions of the early 1900S in the historic district along the Calle Castelar and Paseo de Pereda.

Streets and Squares

  • Paseo de Pereda y Calle Castelar (in the city center, reached with bus no 1). 1550 m long street with nice views on the harbour and the cathedral and many buildings from the 18th to 20th cent., including Puerto Chico, Dique de Gamazo, Cuesta del Gas, and Banco Vitalicio
  • Plaza de José Antonio (Plaza Pombo) (Calle de Hernán Cortés and General Mola are on the north and south, and Pancho Cossío and Las Infantas on the east and west). charming plaza with colorful flowerbeds and musician bandstand

Parks

  • Alameda de Oviedo, San Fernando, s/n. in the western part of the city center, running from Cuatro Caminos Roundabout in the west, to Plaza de Numancia in the east, specifically between Calle de San Fernando and Calle Vargas.
  • Jardines de Pereda, Paseo de Pereda, s/n. Santander's most famous park with a lot of trees, bushes and flowers, a pond, several sculptures, a music pavilion, a monument to the writer José María de Pereda (1833-1906), a fountain dedicated to the Cantabrian author, Concha Espina (1877-1953), the Fuente de los Meones and the city tourist office nearby.
  • Parque de Altamira, Paseo del General Dávila, s/n (in the north of the city near the commercial center between Paseo del General Dávila and Calle Vía Cornelia). botanical garden in city center, covering a total area of 16000m2.
  • Jardines de Piquío, Avenida de Castañeda, s/n. occupying an area of 13000 m2, with fine views on the Ensenada del Sardinero, Cabo Menor to the north and Magdalena Peninsula to the south. On a promontory between Primera and Segunda Playa (First and Second Beaches, originally known as the "Piquillo" or the "Punta del Rostro" (Face Point).
  • Parque del Doctor González Mesones, Avenida del Stadium, s/n (in theeast of the city near El Sardinero and the football stadium). park with an area of 40000m2,with fountains, ornate stone benches with heraldic shields and a statue of the poet José Luis Hidalgo.
  • Parque de La Marga, Jerónimo Sainz de la Maza, s/n. west of the city, near Puerto Pesquero (Fishing Port), Dársena de Maliaño (Maliaño Docks), fish market and restaurants in the Barrio Pesquero (Fishing Quarter).
  • Parque de La Magdalena: see earlier listing.
  • Parque de Cabo Mayor, Avenida del Faro, s/n, (situated near El Sardinero beaches.). Covering an area of more than 100,000m2, the park is extremely spectacular on windy days, when the waves crash onto the cliffs. The Faro de Cabo Mayor is the oldest lighthouse in Cantabria. It was built in 1839, is 30m high and its light can be seen from 29 miles away. The rock formation of the Puente del Diablo (Devil's Bridge) and the Panteón del Inglés (Englishman's Pantheon) is nearby.

Do

  • Picnic on Magdalena Peninsula
  • Learn how to sail
  • 5 city walks: go to the Santander Tourist Office in the city center (Old Market, near the Old Banco de Santander) and get a free city guide; the free city guide describes these 5 itineraries. [2] These 5 itineraries are enough to keep you busy for 1-2 days.
  • boat round trip: There is a regular boat service through the Santander Bay, boats run from Santander to Pedreña, Somo and back. For a 45-minutes round-trip you have to pay €3,90 and the boats starts at least every hour.
  • Enjoy the beaches. Walk up to the lighthouse at Cabo Mayor, visit the museum and enjoy the view from the top.

Beaches

Santander has a lot of fine beaches.

  • Magdalena Beach (Playa de la Magdalena)
  • Sardinero Beaches (Playa del Sardinero)
  • Camel Beach (Playa del Camello)
  • Mataleñas Beach (Playa de Mataleñas)
  • Magdalena Peninsula (see the penguins in the 'mini-Zoo') & Magdalena Palace (Palacio de Magdalena)
  • Lighthouse at Cabo Mayor (faro de Cabo Mayor), and the devil's bridge (puente del diablo), a bizarre rock formation.
  • Playa de Bikinis, safe and lovely beach on the Peninsula de la Magdalena, protected from big waves, very calm.
  • Playa de Covachos, Cotero (Santa Cruz de Bezana), one of the most attractive beaches,
  • Playa de El Bocal, Corbanera, peaceful and quiet,
  • Playa de El Camello, Avenida de la Reina Victoria, near Magdalena Peninsula,
  • Playa de El Puntal, Somo (Ribamontán al Mar),
  • Playa de La Concha, in the middle of Sardinero,
  • Playa de La Magdalena, Ensenada del Sardinero, with fine views of the bay,
  • Playa de La Maruca, Monte,
  • Playa de la Virgen del Mar, San Román, peaceful and quiet,
  • Playa de Langre, Langre (Ribamontán al Mar), spectacular situation between the cliffs,
  • Playa de Los Molinucos, small beach north of Segunda Playa,
  • Playa de Los Peligros, Avenida de la Reina Victoria, quiet beach in a sheltered bay,
  • Playa de Mataleñas, between Cabo Mayor and Cabo Menor, the 'luxury' beach of Santander,
  • Playa de Somocuevas, Liencres (Piélagos), with fine golde sands,
  • Playa de Valdearenas, Liencres (Piélagos), fine sand dunes,
  • Playa Primera de El Sardinero, Plaza de Italia, the most famous beach of Santander,
  • Playa Segunda de El Sardinero, Playa de Castaneda.
  • Somo Beach is a little bit outside of Santander. It can be reached from downtown Santander by boat. Boats leave every 10 minutes and the boat ride takes about 10 minutes. Somo Beach is about 3 km long and is less crowded than beaches in Santander.

Cultural events

  • Centro Cultural Caja Cantabria, Tantín, 25, ☏ +34 942204300. The buildings is also known as "Modesto Tapia". It was designed by the Catalan architect, Domenech i Muntaner, a contemporary of Gaudí, and was inaugurated by Alfonso XIII in 1907. It incorporates many Modernist architectural features and was completely re-modeled in 1994. The Social and Cultural Office of Cantabria Bank offers theater performances, rock, pop and jazz concerts, conferences, art exhibits and workshops in drama, painting and photography.
  • Centro Cultural Doctor Madrazo, Casimiro Sainz, s/n, (near Tetuán Tunnel and Puerto Chico), ☏ +34 942310161. Organized by the Cultural Bureau of Santander’s City Council.
  • Palacio de Festivales de Cantabria, Gamazo, s/n, ☏ +34 942361606. Designed by Javier Sáenz de Oiza, opened in 1991, classical music concerts, ballet and dance performances, home to Cantabria's School of Dramatic Arts

Festivals

  • Fiestas Virgen del Mar (Lady of the Sea festival): May 19
  • Los Baños de Ola: July 16 until 20
  • Fiestas de Santiago (St.James's Festival): July 25
  • Mercado medieval (medieval market): second half of August
  • Romería del Faro (pilgrimage to the lighthouse): August 23

Buy

  • Lupa (big supermarket chain), Avenida de Parayas, s/n, ☏ +34 900200328.
  • Mercado de la Esperanza, El Mercado, s/ (Behind the Mercado de la Esperanza in Plaza de la Esperanza is an open-air market selling clothes, fruits and flowers. Mon to Fri 8AM to 2PM and 5 to 7:30PM, Sat 8AM - 2PM), ☏ +34 942220529. busy market built in 1897 and restored in 1977, oldest surviving market in Santander after the Mercado del Este, built in 1839, was recently demolished
  • Santa María Pescados, San Francisco, 12 (fish market located in the San Francisco complex). Mon to Fri 9AM to 1:30PM and 4:30 to 8:30PM, Sat 9AM - 1:30PM. offering fresh seafood from the Cantabrian Sea, shellfish, hake, sea-bass, sardines, squid, octopus lobsters, percebes (goose barnacles) and crayfish
  • Hilario, General Dávila, ☏ +34 942219854. Mon to Fri 9AM to 2PM and 5 to 8PM, Sat 9AM to 2PM. meat shop located at the Hospital Santa Clotilde

Learn

The Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo offers summer courses for university students, including Spanish language courses for foreigners, that take place both at the Magdalena Palace and at Residencia Las Llamas.

The Universidad de Cantabria offers Spanish language courses of 4 to 10 weeks duration throughout the year through the Centro de Idiomas (CIUC). CIUC also coordinates exchange students at the university.

Eat

  • Lots of cheap cafés in and around the bus station. A coffee and pincho for breakfast won't exceed €3.
  • The best area to eat fish is around the fishing harbour (Barrio Pesquero), although locals usually regard this as a tourist trap.
  • Santander has many Regma ice-creamery outlets, with servings of 8 popular flavours. Other chains such as Capri on Paseo de Pereda have a greater range of choices.
  • Taj Mahal on Calle Santa Lucía is the only Indian restaurant in town and serves a tasty alternative to the Spanish staples.
  • Sakura on Paseo Canalejas near Cuatro Caminos serves Japanese dishes.
  • Casona del Judío, Calle Repuente 20, ☏ +34 942 34 27 36. Tu-Sa 13:00-16:00, 20:00-23:30, Su 13:00-16:00. Upscale dining, relocated from its former site on Resconorio.
  • La Bombi, Casimiro Sainz 15, ☏ +34 942 213028. Daily 13:30-16:00 & 21:00-00:00. Upscale wining and dining, better seating upstairs.
  • La Mulata, Callle Tetuan, ☏ +34 942 363785. Daily 13:00-17:30, 20:00-00:00. Upscale seafood restaurant, gets admiring reviews. 30 €.
  • Cañadio, Gómez Oreña, 15, ☏ +34 942314149. Daily 10:00-03:00. Bar, good for tapas or main meals. 45 €.
  • Posada del Mar, Castelar 19, ☏ +34 942213023. Seafood restaurant, too cool to post opening hours. 45-55 €.
  • El Serbal, Andrés del Rio, 7, ☏ +34 942222515. Tu-Sa 13:30-16:00, 20:30-23:30, Su 13:30-16:00. Fine dining and wining. 55 €.
  • Bar del Puerto, Hernán Cortés 63, ☏ +34 942213001, fax: +34 942219393, ✉ bardelpuerto@bardelpuerto.com. Another good seafood restaurant but too cool to state opening hours. 60 €.
  • Tatami (formerly La Sardina de Plata), Plaza Doctor Fleming, 3. Daily 12:00-16:00, 20:00-00:00. Sushi, sashimi and other Japanese cuisine.
  • El Jardin de Aida (formerly Altamira), Avenida Reina Victoria, 27, ☏ +34 942314960. Tu-Sa 12:00-16:30 & 20:00-23:00, Su 20:00-23:00. Traditional cuisine, try the cheesecake.
  • El Cormorán, Segunda Playa del Sardinero, ☏ +34 942 273005. Su-Th 08:30-01:00, F Sa 08:30-03:00. Breakfast, coffee or dining by the sea.
  • El Figón, Cardenal Cisneros, 7, ☏ +34 942235366. M-Sa 10:00-16:30, 20:00-23:00, Su 10:00-16:00. Looks like a shack, but within is quality home-style cuisine, good value for money.
  • Gelín, Av Nueva Montaña 2, ☏ +34 942332733. M-F 07:30-00:00, Sa 10:30-00:00. Traditional and rustic food.

Drink

The main spot is Plaza de Cañadío in the centre of old town. It's a hive for young Santanderinos and exchange students, with many bars and restaurants. A favourite drink is calimocho, a red wine/coca-cola combo.

Sleep

  • Hotel Bahia, Calle Cadiz 22 (opposite cathedral), ☏ +34 942 205 000, ✉ hotelbahia@sardinerohoteles.com. Good business-type hotel, clean and efficient, close to stations. Breakfast is pricey, try adjacent cafés.
  • Hotel Silken Coliseum, Plaza de los Remedios (5 mins walk north of bus station), ☏ +34 942 318 081. Clean friendly business-type downtown hotel.
  • Hotel Las Brisas, Calle La Braña 14, El Sardinero. Small rooms, but clean & cosy and near the beach.
  • Santemar Hotel, Calle Joaquin Costa 28, Tel: +34 942 272 900, a few blocks back from La Magdalena and Sardinero beach.
  • Gran Hotel Sardinero, Plaza de Italia 1, Tel.: +34 942 271 100, 4-star near Sardinero beach.
  • Hospedaje Magallanes, Magallanes 22 Entlo, Tel.: +34 942 371 421, is a 2-star in city centre.
  • Hotel Chiqui, Avenida Manuel Garcia Lago 9, Tel.: +34 902 282 700, is 3 km east of centre by Sardinero Beach.
  • NH Ciudad de Santander, Menéndez Pelayo, 13-15, +34 94 2319900. Good modern place downtown.

Go next

  • Castro-Urdiales: seaside village east of Santander with a nice Gothic church and lighthouse.
  • Laredo (Spain): another seaside village to the East, the old quarter is worth a visit.
  • Potes: this small village is the key to the Picos de Europa mountain range (which is a National Park), and the Liébana region. Good eating place, and the local orujo (a strong spirits drink) is highly recommended.
  • Reinosa: the main town on southern Cantabria, it's a good base to explore the Cantabrian mountain range (Cordillera Cantábrica), with the Alto Campoo sky resort, the Roman city of Julióbriga and several Medieval churches close by.
  • Santillana del Mar: Picturesque stone village 1 hour away by bus; visit the famous cave of Altamira.
  • San Vicente de la Barquera - Sea-side fishing village, about 30 minutes by bus. See the fishing vessels unload what Madrid will be eating tomorrow. Fantastic tides, so stay for at least 6 hours. Nice Roman bridge.
  • Valles Pasiegos: for a taste of rural Cantabria, no better place than the Valley of the Pas river, especially Toranzo, SelayaVillacarriedoVega de PasSan Roque de Riomiera and San Pedro del Romeral. Try the typical sobaos and quesadas, two traditional desserts.

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