Hello and welcome back to each one of you, how are you? We hope you are well and we hope you are ready to land in Santander, a city… um… no, we can not reveal anything yet if we don’t first introduce the place we are going to explore.
Santander is the capital of the autonomous community of Cantabria and is a university location with its Universidad de Cantabria. It is a modern and industrial city with an important port but it is also an important tourist center, thanks to the beautiful beaches and the excellent climate thanks to the city that is sheltered from the mountains by the Cantabrian chain. To attract tourists there is also the famous and beloved music festival, the Festival Internacional de Santander with concerts, opera performances and dance that takes place in the summer season. However there are many festivals held in Santander as: Los Baños de Ola, Feria del Norte, Semana grande… You should take part at least one of these wonderful events to fully experience the city.
To know more (what to eat, where to eat, where to have fun, things to visit…) continue to read.
It is true that there is so much to admire and have fun but history can’t miss, every city has a special story to tell and today Santander is ready to tell it through its monuments.
PLACES TO VISIT (MUSEUMS/THEATERS…)
Palacio de la Magdalena
- Catedral de la Asunción de Nuestra Señora: it is the cathedral of Santander with a Gothic style (and you will see it!); over time it has undergone several changes including its enlargement. The church includes three porticoes, two floors and an annexed cloister. The windows are the strong point as they are decorated with colored windows. The church is surrounded by a small and cute square.
- Palacio de la Magdalena: it is a palace located in the peninsula of La Magdalena, in the city of Santander. The main façade is so characteristic and welcoming because it recalls a mix of various styles: from the French to the English style. Its external and internal beauty is so great and evocative that it was the location of the Spanish television series Gran Hotel. In addition, the building has been declared a monument of historical and artistic interest.
- Palacio de Festivales de Cantabria: symbol of the city it is a building to host the different festivals held in this city. It is one of the most modern and recently constructed buildings. Inside there are really exemplary rooms such as that Argenta where you can admire the view of the bay and the Sala Griega that is inspired by a classical theater.
- Museo Regional de Prehistoria y Arqueologia de Cantabria: is the regional museum of archeology and prehistory which is located near the port and it is considered one of the best in Europe. It owns very interesting exhibits and fully interactive rooms full of documentaries videos. The prehistoric settings are reproduced live with great care. Most of the pieces showed in the exhibition belong to the period from the Paleolithic to the Iron Age. Impossible to get out without having learned something new!
- Centro de Arte Faro de Cabo Mayor: the museum has three exhibition rooms and houses an art gallery and various collections. The undisputed protagonist of the museum is the artist Eduardo Sanz who formed around the lighthouse its iconography and symbolism. In particular, there is a room that is the heart of the museum: the Cabo Mayor hall. What a charming place!
- Museo de Arte Moderno y Contemporáneo: is the main museum of fine arts in the region and contains paintings and sculptures from the fifteenth to the twentieth century of Italian, Spanish and Flemish artists. Among the most prestigious works we remember the Portrait of Fernando VII painted by the artist Goya and many important collections. It is a place where there is the right mix between past, present and future.
- Museo Marítimo del Cantábrico: is the maritime museum of the city in which we can also find an aquarium. The various rooms show animal remains, naval finds, ship models and all the historical maritime events that took place in Santander; this is well described in particular on the upper floors where is told all the history of the seafaring life and the venture happened in the various centuries. Well, the view of the structure can only be on the beautiful ocean.
- Palazzetto dell’Imbarcadero: it hosts permanent art exhibitions but not only, it is a place situated in an iconic pictorial position. Along the pier, near the structure, we find two symbolic points of Santander: the Stone Crane, once working and nowadays a monument and the sculpture of Los Raqueros, which represents the children who plunged into the water to collect the coins of tourists. How much culture and beauty!
- Centro Botín: it is a beautiful modern structure that seems to be suspended in the air. It is a building of the architect Renzo Piano that gives directly on the bay and in particular on the third floor, on its terraces, you can admire a crazy panorama (very impressive especially in the evening). Its location is in its favor too, as it is located in the city center. In any case, the building is not only beautiful but also full of culture, in fact there are presentations of temporary and permanent exhibitions… Nothing better than that!!
- Refugio Antiaéreo: it is a very particular place to explore. It is a kind of subterranean cave, a refuge, where the population protected itself from bombing during the civil war. From which you can understand it will be told (through videos and photos) the war that hit the city; anyway the whole thing is suggestively “taught” by reviving the terror of that period through listening to the explosions of the bombs, the sound of the sirens and the lights that go out.. The attention to detail is amazing! In addition original pieces of some objects are shown. It is a place that makes people reflect and learn. The museum is free but since it can be visited in small groups you must book the visit so do it and don’t miss this great opportunity for knowledge.
- Plaza de toros de Santander: it is the typical and traditional arena where bullfights and other events are held. In addition to this there is the Taurine museum dedicated to the traditional Spanish bullfight where there will be exhibits of objects related to this world.
Mentioning the theaters, among those in which you can come across we have: Coffee of the Arts Theater Santander, Centro Cultural Caja Cantabria, Auditorium de El Sardinero (it’s an open theater located in a park).
The fun and the activities here in Santander certainly not lacking, indeed there is so much that choosing among the many things to do will not be easy!
- Unmissable (and obligatory stops) are the beaches: the whole area of El Sardinero, which extends along the Magdalena peninsula, a central place that includes Playa de la Maddalena, Playa de la Concha and Playa del Camello with its distinctive giant cliff that should remember, as the name suggests, a camel; plus (just to not miss anything) in the vicinity there is a very nice park to visit and it is Parque de la Matalenas (not bad the union of sea and “mountain”). Continuing Playa El Sardinero the picturesque and the main beach, very much lived by the inhabitants and tourists (where on June 24 a huge bonfire is lit to celebrate the arrival of summer). Surely those who love surfing here will find fertile ground since you will be able to practice it and the most suitable place is the Playa de Somo.
- Remaining always in the sea theme, a beautiful walk along the promenade Paseo de Pereda for a fantastic moment with an amazing view over the ocean, the Puertochico port and the hotels on the side. The promenade is quite long, especially to reach the lighthouse of Cabo Mayor. In order to get there you need to use specific routes, or going into the park or simply taking a specific road (this depends on how much you are adventurous). We assure you that the landscape that you will find will be amazing. It seems to be catapulted into a Scottish or Irish environment, it will be worth every single effort. You will have some exceptional photos! Another promenade in which to get lost is the Paseo de Reina Victoria, for magnificent and long scenic promenade with the wonderful view of the bay.
- Península de la Magdalena: it is the precious stone of Santander, with lots of sea, green and its elegant Palacio de la Magdalena. The peninsula can be visited on foot or with a tourist train, whatever is the choice it is a place that can’t for any reason be missing on the list.
- Surely one of the best ways to discover the maritime side of Santander (as well as visit the museum that we have mentioned before) is to admire the main beaches of the city but also some attraction and take a boat ride in the bay. A boat will take you on a complete tour: the playa and the peninsula of Magdalena, the Isla de Mauro reaching the lighthouse, the beach of El Sardinero, Cabo Mayor, Mar Cantábrico and then go back passing by the Isla de Santa Marina and the beaches of Loredo, Somo and El Puntal. In addition for those who want can take part at the underwater visit of the seabed under the lighthouse till Isla de Mauro.
- Moving through the inner side of the city we find: the historic center characterized above all by the Cathedral of Nuestra Señora de Asuncion, the beautiful Porticada square with the annexed Muralla de Santander, the Town Hall, Museo de Bellas Artes (one of the most visited museums of the city). Not far away there are the Jardines de Pereda (everything in the center of Santander is near to it and this aspect is so good for those who want to visit anything and with the right times). Near the gardens, the monument in memory of the great fire of Santander, of great importance for the history of the city (in fact it was almost completely destroyed by a terrible fire). They are represented nude statues as a sign that the burning has taken away everything. The lively and perhaps the busiest square of Cañadío (also a protagonist of nightlife). The tour of the Esperanza Market is unmissable, it is definitely a place to be seen as there is so much character. There dozens of stalls mainly with fish of all kinds. A lively market, considered as one of the best in Spain regarding the quality of its products. The market is located in the square of the same name and it is indoor.
- If you will have an irresistible desire for shopping or simply want to stop and admire the shop windows, there is the commercial area of Santander towards the streets Jesús de Monasterio and San Fernando. However if your desire is to go around and admire the beauty of the city by bike, know that you can do it thanks to a cycle path along the maritime landscape.
Faro de Cabo Mayor
Santander is also a university city, so you can not miss the nightlife. The areas involved are: Plaza de Cañadío e Calle Río de la Pila, Peña herbosa, Cañadio, Santa lucia, Rio de la Pila, Calle del Sol, Calle San Luis, Perines, Grupo Amaro, Calle Vargas, Sardinero… Have you seen how many they are? All these streets offer you so many spaces to spend for nice moments.
Among the most popular places we can find:
- Stardust Night Santander: nightclub.
- Sala Niágara: nightclub.
- Baobab Bar: bar.
- Little Bobby: pub.
- BNS Buenas Noches Santander: disco.
The cuisine of Santander is mainly characterized, we are sure you will have understood and we don’t even need to specify, from seafood and fish including calamari, mullet, sardines, sea bass and so on. To be tried in Santander are the cheeses produced in the area (Picón deTresviso-Bejes, Quesucos di Liébana and Queso de Cantabria). As concerned the typical products we are going to know them.
- These include the fried calamari (called rabas); patatas bravas are potatoes cut in an irregular shape that then they are fried in oil and accompanied by a spicy sauce or other types of sauces (eh no, they are not “normal” potatoes they taste special and super good!).
- Pinchos: these are mini portions of food that are served as an aperitif. It consists of a piece of bread with at the center has a toothpick from which derives the verb “pinchare” or pierce. The condiments on it can go from the classic to the most creative (which will obviously change from local to local); so the types of pinchos are many and all delicious!
- Cocido montañés: it is a rich stew of beans prepared with cabbage and other vegetables and meat. The dish is eaten mainly in winter and it is born with the purpose of fighting the cold and humid climate that winter brings to the region.
- Sobao: this dessert is a real delight, it is so much good that it received the certification of geographical indication. It is a simple bread dough where is added sugar, butter, eggs, lemon peel and liqueur. Yummy!
- Leche frita: it is a dessert with a rectangular shaped, its the dough is fried and then served with icing sugar and cinnamon powder. So tasty!
WHERE TO EAT (RESTAURANTS/CAFE’…)
There are lots of places and restaurants where you can enjoy good food. As for the places, some of them and among the most popular there are Barrio Pesquero, Puertochico, El Sardinero and Corbán. As for the restaurants we will list some of these:
- CADELO: Mediterranean, European, Spanish, vegetarian cuisine, vegan options, gluten-free menu options.
- Marisqueria Casa Jose: Mediterranean, European, Spanish cuisine, gluten-free menu options.
- La Tucho: Mediterranean, Spanish and vegetarian cuisine.
- La Ventana Restaurante: Mediterranean, Spanish, vegetarian cuisine, vegan options, gluten-free menu options.
- La Chulilla: Mediterranean, Spanish cuisine.
- Bar Abel: Mediterranean, Spanish cuisine.
- Magnolia Bar: Spanish, vegetarian cuisine, vegan options, gluten-free menu options.
- Restaurante Vino y Marea: Mediterranean, European, vegetarian cuisine, vegan options.
- La Leyenda de La Mancha: Spanish cuisine.
- Bodega Fuente De: Spanish cuisine.
- Frida Street Food: Spanish, Mexican, vegetarian cuisine, vegan options.
- La Repanocha Tapas Bar: Spanish cuisine.
With this we ended our tour in Santander while for the tour in our Spain we have to wait a little longer (but ugh it is almost over) so stay tuned to take part with us for a new adventure.
Let us know your opinions about this place. If you liked it or not, if you’ve been there or you’re going to go there? What you liked the most or least? We’re curious to read your opinions.
A big kiss to everyone.
Below we will list the accommodations that you can find in Santander.
https://www.booking.com/searchresults.html?iata=SDR&aid=960457&no_rooms=1&group_adults=1 – accommodation in Santander port.
https://www.booking.com/searchresults.html?city=-401949&aid=960457&no_rooms=1&group_adults=1 – accommodation in the city.
https://www.booking.com/searchresults.html?landmark=900073766&aid=960457&no_rooms=1&group_adults=1 – accommodation next Santander port.
https://www.booking.com/searchresults.html?landmark=2216&aid=960457&no_rooms=1&group_adults=1 – accommodation next to the central station.