Santander, the capital of Cantabria, is one of the most beautiful cities in Spain. The main gateway for Spanish trade during the 16th and 17th centuries, today it is a thoroughly modern, a peaceful, welcoming city, which offers a wide range of tourist activities to suit all tastes. Here are just some ideas of the things you can do while you’re in Santander, a tourist destination brimming with choices.
Cantabrian Regional Museum of Ancient history and Archaeology
Cantabria is rich in history, and particularly in ancient history. With Altamira as the most famous example, there are many cave-paintings and traces of ancient inhabitants around the area. And in addition to exploring some of the caves themselves, you can also visit the Cantabrian Regional Museum of Ancient history and Archaeology where you can learn a little more about our ancestors.
* Cantabrian Regional Museum of Ancient history and Archaeology, Santander. / Picture:turismodecantabria.com
Santander Forestal Park
In a completely different environment, we’d also recommend having an adventure in the Santander Forestal Park. Climb the trees, get lost in the magic of the forest and enjoy, with your friends or family, everything nature has to offer. Zip wires, vines, rope bridges… you won’t know if you’re Tarzan or a gorilla!
It’s one of the parks closest to the Santander city centre, yet it’s completely immersed in nature, with amazing views over the sea.
So come and be a kid for the day!
* Forestal Park, Santander. / Picture: Forestal Park.
Magdalena Peninsula and Royal Palace
One of the must-see places if you go to Santander is the Magdalena Peninsula, on which is built this fabulous palace. It’s one of the most striking features of Santander Bay, the largest estuary in Cantabria. There are several walking routes, with no access for cars unless they have a permit.
Magdalena Palace, built between 1908 and 1912, is one of the most majestic buildings in the north of Spain. It’s had a number of uses since its construction, including as the summer residence of Alfonso XIII and Victoria Eugenia (a gift from the local council), a hospital, a summer school, as well as a residence for those left homeless after the fire of 1941. Today it’s a conference centre, as well as receiving 60,000 tourists a year.
Tapas in Santander
There are three main zones if you’re heading out to sample the local tapas in Santander: the centre of the city, the Sardinero neighbourhood, or the area around calle Vargas and San Fernando. We’d recommend you first explore the centre, meaning you can see many of the landmarks at the same time. Grab a map and draw a rectangle with the borders being Calle Rio de la Pila and Marcelino Sanza de Santuola (on the left), calle Santa Cecilia (at the top), Paseo de Pereda (at the bottom) y Puertochico (on the right), and start exploring.
Cantabrian cuisine will offer you treats such as clams marinière, local mussels and squid, but also tasty meat dishes, such as wild boar or the beef dishes typical of the region.
Sardinero Beach and Puertochico
Good things come to those that wait. And with this heat, what could be better than finally getting to swim in the refreshing Atlantic waters at Sardinero Beach. Between the Magdalena Peninsula and Mataleñas is a beach divided in two that joins up at low tide. It’s a place to relax and unwind on the long summer days. Come and enjoy the sun in Santander and get working on your tan!
One other spot you won’t want to miss is Puertochico, Santander’s marina, and the fishing quarter.
Hotels in Santander
Our hotel Vincci Puertochico 4* Santander is in a privileged spot, with wonderful sea views from many of the rooms. It’s a cosy hotel, with the ultimate in attention to detail, located just yards from the Cantabrian Festival Palace, the Cantabrian Maritime Museum and the ‘Prince Philip’ High Performance Yachting centre.
Manuel, a Tripadvisor user, said our hotel is “in the centre, close to everything, with magnificent views over the bay and the marina”. Manuellacoru also highlighted the views and said the breakfast was “very good”. Another Tripadvisor user, Neotrix, was most impressed by the location and the friendliness of our staff.
After a day of tourism, trying out our recommendations, relaxation awaits you in our bar lounge, or out on the summer terrace. Sip on one of our cocktails and try our delicious snacks, in the heart of Santander.
As you can see it’s a city you’ll never get bored of.
And if you’re staying in the Vincci Puertochico 4* Santander, looking out over the Atlantic from your room, it’s just that little bit more delightful.