Things to do in Santander
Santander, the capital of Cantabria on the Atlantic Ocean in northern Spain, is a seaside city that still thrives on fishing, but also has an incredible fin de siècle grace and a natural landscape.
The beaches are also top-notch and are right on your side if you find Spain’s the Mediterranean Sea too hot in summer. King Alfons XIII chose Santander and his more moderate climate for his summer residence.
Santander has a reputation for beaches and iconic royal palaces. It became the perfect example that combines history with modernity after an inferno in 1941 ravaged the city’s historic center.
There are also a couple of nice vintage homes in Puertochico that were once a fishing pier and is now a modern marina. El Sardinero — the best-known beach — is the gateway to Cabarceno Nature Reserve.
Santander offers a wide variety of things to do. Foodwise seafood dominates Barrio Peguero, the new fishing village, but you can also enjoy traditional Spanish cuisine such as wine or sarsa at all the restaurants.
If you are looking for things to do in Santander, Spain, then you have come to the right place. You can find a wide variety of interesting attractions here.
Two main coastal walks take about one to two hours each and will take you past the city’s many yacht clubs and several beautiful beaches. These are perfect for a leisurely walk on a sunny day. If you’re looking for something more active to do, try visiting the zoo.
El Sardinero beach
You can relax on El Sardinero beach in Santander, Spain. This beach is developed with lounge rentals and snack bars. Strong breezes are responsible for surf breaks.
The beach has great waves, but you should expect a bit of a price tag. But once you get to know the beach, you’ll love it. Read on to discover more about this great Santander beach. And when you visit, don’t forget to enjoy its enticing views.
The city’s best beaches are located just a short distance from each other, so you don’t have to worry about driving to the nearest one.
If you’re traveling with a family, you can enjoy the sun on the primary Playa del Sardinero, a 1,39km sandy beach with a beautiful view of the city and the sea.
El Sardinero beach has good facilities for sunbathing, as well as restaurants, ice-cream shops, and public baths. You can even take surfing lessons if you’re brave enough.
The city has a variety of beaches, so you’ll never have trouble finding a place to relax. The beaches are also close to Santander’s main attractions.
The Cathedral of Santander, built after a fire in 1941, is the most famous attraction in the city. Its 13th-century design is striking, and its crypt houses a museum dedicated to Spanish lighthouses.
For those who love art and modern history, you might want to visit the Museo de Arte Moderno y Contemporaneo de Santander y Cantabria or MAS.
This museum features works of art by Spanish, Flemish, and Italian artists, as well as about 150 works from abroad. Highlights include a 60-ton whale skeleton and the Vollard suite of etchings by Pablo Picasso.
There are also numerous museums in the city, including the Maritime Museum, located near the seafront and close to the Gamazo promontory. Its exhibits include an aquarium and intricate models of ships.
There’s also a skeleton of a blue whale, 40 meters long, on display and in jars. A visit here will make your holiday in Santander all the more special. Once you’ve finished exploring the museum, you can sit down and enjoy a book or two.
The Botin museum is the city’s most prominent museum. It’s named for the family of the city’s first banker and is symbolically built opposite the Banco de Santander headquarters. Its collection of modern art is extensive, and admission is EUR4 for adults.
The museum also features exhibitions and an interactive virtual reality museum. If you’re traveling to Santander for business, the Botin Museum may be worth visiting.
There are plenty of beaches in Santander, and you’ll find a wide variety of them in the region. The beach in Santander was a favorite of fashionable locals in the 19th and 20th centuries. The beach is framed by the Casino, Belle Époque buildings, and Piquio Gardens.
There are dozens of bars and ice-cream kiosks on the beach, including the popular Regma. If you’re traveling by car, you can park in Santander at the Alfonso XIII carpark and walk the two kilometers to the beach.
Playa del Camello, which is located near Menendez Pelayo University, is a popular destination. Despite its small size, it is ideal for families with young children and has all the facilities that any beach town would have. However, it can get quite crowded during the summer months. However, it has a promenade above the beach and lifeguards to ensure that all its visitors are safe.
The city’s beaches have long been the city’s main attraction. The city’s pristine coastline draws thousands of sun worshippers each summer. Whether you’re looking to enjoy a romantic sunset on a secluded beach or have a family picnic on a crowded beach, Santander has something for everyone.
Families will enjoy a trip to the city’s many beaches and take part in a wide range of water sports. Windsurfing and surfing are popular activities at Playa de Valdearenas and Playa de la Magdalena.
Quiet beaches in Puerto Chico
The Little Harbor District of Puerto Chico is approximately a kilometer away from the town center with many beautiful beaches.
Playa de El Bocc is a quiet little unexplored beach that offers a peaceful escape into nature. The beach is characterized by fine gold-colored sand with moderate waves. Signaling signals warn about danger.
Playa Los Molinucos next to Playa Sardino is another small sandy beach with light waves close to Santander municipality. The beaches of El Bocal and Los Molinucos do not contain any public restrooms.
Paseo y Jardines de Pereda
Source: Flickr. Away from beaches, Santander is a pedestrian-friendly area and offers an extensive walkway.
The Paseo de Pereda is separated into two paths: one beneath rows of tree trunks lit by nighttime iron lanterns; the other at the edges of the lake. Near the path are attractive apartments built during the 19th century with cafes that offer outdoor sitting on the pavement. In the western part is Jardins de Pérera, an open wooded park on reclaimed land where from September through March thousands of starlings make nests. The park and “paseo” celebrate José Maria de Pereda, the celebrated Cantabrian writer of the 1890s.
Boat trip around the Bay of Santander
For a truly spectacular experience, book a Boat trip around the Bay of Santander. The city’s iconic bridge, the Dique Gamazo, is a must-see. Originally built in the 1800s, the bridge is a perfect assessor of engineering of the time.
The harbor’s tranquil atmosphere and beautiful bays also make for a wonderful day out. During your boat trip, stop at one of the many sights along the way to take in the sights.
In Santander, the bay is dotted with beaches, islands, and beautiful natural areas. If you are looking for a relaxing day out with your family, a boat trip around the Bay of Santander is the perfect way to spend your afternoon.
Explore the historical and contemporary buildings on your way to Sardinero Beach, which is an amazing natural wonder in the heart of the Bay of Santander.
Regardless, of your budget, a boat trip is an experience not to be missed. From relaxing day trips to thrilling water adventures, you’ll be sure to find the perfect boat trip. Choose from a wide variety of options, from charters to self-sail boats. There’s a boat tour to suit everyone’s tastes. You can choose a boat with or without a captain and sail the bay by yourself, or you can hire a boat with a skipper to take you around.
If you love food, you’ll love shopping in Santander. From the traditional stalls that sell the best of local cuisine to top-quality beverages, the Mercado de la Esperanza has a little bit of everything. Not only does this market offer mouth-watering food, but it’s also home to a beautiful iron and glass hall from the 1940s. The market is located just behind the city hall.
The city’s most famous boulevard, Alameda de Oviedo, runs from the west-east-bound Plaza de Numancia to the east-west-bound Plaza de Numancia. The boulevard is dotted with shops, and its name evokes the city’s history. Other shopping streets include Calle San Fernando and Calle Vargas.
The boulevard Calle Burgos is lined with characterful street lamps. In addition to these boulevards, the city’s old town features the Teatro Gran Cinema, a landmark that dates back over 100 years.
Outside the city center, Santander’s shopping is concentrated around the airport and suburbs. Aside from the airport, there are many department stores and boutiques to browse. El Corte Ingles, located on the Calle Jeronimo Sainz de la Maza, has an extensive range of products. Several of its stores offer souvenirs, as well as a cinema and a supermarket.
For much of history, the government militarized this green peninsula at the entrance to Santander Bay. In 1812, during the Napoleonic Wars, there was a fierce battle between the British and the French. They were fighting for control of this point and the small island of Mouro.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the city gave the entire peninsula to King Alfonso XIII. Pine groves took place for firearms, creating a beautiful park. The park now holds major public events such as the summer party “Santander Music” in August. And there is even a mini-zoo here with seals and penguins.
The Caves of Altamira
Probably the most remarkable cultural legacy, with the most famous paintings, from the prehistoric (paleolithic era) of seventeen painted caves depicting mammoths, wild boars, deer, and bison. You can see drawn human hands here.
The cave, about 300 meters long, contains 150 prints, in the colors ocher, red and black. These caves were discovered in 1879 by Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola and his daughter Mary.
The paintings are made with natural polychrome pigments and have been preserved since the Quaternary era.
To see the Atlantic Ocean in all its fury, all you have to do is travel to this headland just past the typical suburbs of Santander. The Cape Lighthouse, originally from 1839 was fully automated in 2001, and the lighthouse keeper’s home now is a public art gallery.
After parking at the lighthouse, climb the grassy path to the cliff, with a photogenic landscape in every direction, such as the golden bay at Playa de Mataleñas or over the hills on the east side of Santander Bay.
Santillana del Mar
Santillana del Mar is a medieval village (4,000 inhabitants) and one of the most beautiful villages in Spain. About 30 kilometers from Santander.
It is a living museum, and you can only visit it on foot. In the ninth century, the monastery of Santa Julian arose in the village, which was expanded in the twelfth century with the prestigious church of Santa Juliana, the first and one of the functional exponents of Romanesque art in Cantabria.
This village had times of great economic wealth, and around the church and its beautiful monastery, a village center has developed with large mansions and palaces.
The towers of Merino and Don Borja are among the oldest buildings in the village, and on medieval cobblestone streets, take a walk back in time past beautiful houses and buildings from the Middle Ages.
Santillana – Old houses
Cathedral of Santa María de la Asunción
Santander’s Gothic cathedral is much more subdued than the most celebrated Spanish cathedrals, with a sleek, almost austere Gothic design dating from the 1100s to 1400s.
After the civil war and the Cabo Machichago disaster in 1893, when a steamship laden with dynamite exploded in the harbor, reconstruction started in the 20th century.
The monastery is a part that changes little, and that restores its trapezoidal layout from the 1300s. The lower Iglésia del Cristo is also original. It has solemn Gothic vaults and a glass floor. You can see through it and see the remains of the Roman settlement of Portus Victoriae.
Museo de Prehistoria y Arqueologa de Cantabria
Designed for a unique visitor to explore the Prehistoric Worlds during the Paleolithic and Iron Age. Approximately 1,200 objects are displayed in its extensive collection, most of them discovered in prehistoric caves in the Cantabria region. Among the highlights are the “Britons d’ commandment”, a sculpture created with stags’ antlers.
Besides Roman Antiquities, it contains Roman antiquities from the ancient cities of Julióbriga and Castro Radial. Other interesting pieces of art include medieval Celtic funerary. A medieval exhibit includes a rare buckle from ivory found near Santa Mara de Hito archaeological site.
Ermita de la Virgen del Mar
Part of the joy of visiting the Hermitage is traveling through dazzling beaches to reach there. The small church on the coast of Maine is now connected to mainland Maine by a bridge.
The hermitage chapel dates to the 15th century and is currently being restored. Because the chapel is near the ocean, the building has been severely damaged during numerous violent and threatening storms.
The sanctuary has three altars and its largest image depicts the Virgin of the Sea. The old image was venerated by the monastery from 1315 or maybe before.
What is Santander Spain known for?
If you’re visiting this coastal city, you may be wondering what the locals are famous for. Santander’s gastronomy is an interesting mix of mountains and sea.
The traditional fare here includes fried squid, whitebait, and fresh shellfish. You can also sample traditional dishes like cocido de montanes (beans and meat stew). If you’re craving dessert, try a puff pastry cake or a cheesecake.
There are many beaches in Santander. Several of these are within the city center, and others are spread out along the coastline. The cities beachfront includes the popular Playa del Sardinero, where you can go for morning strolls and surf lessons.
You can also visit the famous Cabo Mayor Lighthouse, which is 91 meters above sea level. Completed in 1839, it provided light for incoming ships.
Is Santander worth visiting?
The city of Santander is home to a rich history, and a visit to the city will allow you to experience its history firsthand.
The city was a favorite vacation spot for royalty in the early 20th century, and a stroll through the historic quarter will transport you back to its illustrious past.
One of the city’s most important sights is the Magdalena Palace, which is an enchanting jewel in the crown of this Spanish city.
There is a new cultural center in Santander, Centro Botin. The Botin Foundation has donated a vast collection of works to this museum, and the museum features special exhibitions, film screenings, and live performances. There are also art-related educational programs, and the building resembles a spaceship. You can also grab a coffee and visit the museum’s gift shop and cafe.
Does Santander have an old town?
Santander’s Old Town is a stunning mix of grand architecture and pastel colors. It is neatly laid out in a grid pattern, hugging the lively waterfront. The cathedral and Palacio de la Magdalena are particularly impressive.
The city’s museums are worth visiting. You can learn about the city’s history from a number of exhibits. For those who love art, there’s the Museo de Antropologia Santander.
If you’re thinking about traveling to Santander, you’ll be wondering: “Does Santander have an old town?” The answer is yes. It’s the capital city of Cantabria and is a beautiful seaside town that’s also a working port.
It became rich because of its deep harbor, and aristocratic families from across Spain and Britain soon followed. In recent years, the city has successfully blended old-world charm with modern amenities. In Santander, a once-famous fishermen’s pier has been converted into a modern marina.
What is Santander best known for?
While it’s mostly known for its European banking operations, Santander has recently expanded into North America, South America, and continental Asia.
Its history dates back to 26 B.C. when Emperor Augustus founded Portus Victoriae as a memorial to a victory.
Today, Santander has more than 20,000 connected devices, making it one of the world’s smartest cities. It is home to one of the largest living laboratories for smart urban management.
Those who love the sea will enjoy the wide, white sands of Playa del Sardinero. In addition to the beach, Santander’s coastline is lined with beautiful rock formations. For a day at the beach, try your hand at surfing or body surfing at Playa del Sardinero. You’ll also find plenty of other water sports in the area, like scuba diving, kayaking, and surfing.