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HOLIDAY INFORMATION ON Santander

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Belen created a wonderful itinerary for us which included hotels transportation and a bevy of well-informed guides in each city that we visited. I heartily recommend her agency for a complete package that will not disappoint. Reproduced from our G...

M. Hamburg, Brooklyn, NY, USA
2023-01-06

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The first thing you notice when you arrive in Santander, the capital of Cantabria, is the sea. The city is located on a peninsula and boasts a magnificent bay around which are some of the best urban soft sandy beaches in Spain. Add in the backdrop of a few fantastic mountain ranges and you have a wonderfully dramatic landscape. Now you know why the Spanish Royal Family built their summer palace in Santander over one hundred years ago. Today, the city is home to 175,000 proud residents and quite a few Spanish holidaymakers in the peak months of July and August. We’ve never been able to quite understand how it’s stayed off the international radar.

We love the Mercado de la Esperanza – the municipal food market directly behind the Town Hall. You’ll be amazed at the colour, character and variety of local produce on offer. Enjoy the architecture and the wonderful cheeses, hams.  Visit the gothic Cathedral of Santander and the crypt below. Popular with Camino de Santiago pilgrims seeking passport stamps plus fans of the writer Marcelino Menendez Pelayo who’s buried here.  Explore the Pereda Gardens and check out the brand-new Botín Centre which was commissioned by the cultural foundation behind the Banco Santander. The Italian architect responsible – Renzo Piano – is known for his work on The Shard in London and the George Pompidou Centre in Paris.  Enjoy a coffee from El Muelle cafe underneath the Centre while soaking up gorgeous views of the bay where sailing is still a popular pastime for many.  Stroll the waterside known as the Paseo Maritimo and look out for the beautifully sculpted Raqueros figures by Jose Cobo Calderon – honouring the children who once dived into the bay to collect coins tossed by tourists.  Do check out the Museum of Prehistory and Archaeology which stands as a testament to Santander's commitment to preserving and celebrating its heritage. On display are archaeological wonders including intricately carved cave art and meticulously crafted tools, inviting contemplation and curiosity.  Cantabria`s remarkable caves, Altamira being one of the most famous, have UNESCO World heritage status.

Discover the Magdalena Palace and the ‘Playa de los Bikinis’ or Bikinis Beach. Breath-taking views from here.  Be sure to say hello to the sea-lions on your right, at the mini-zoo. It’s free. Admire the magnificent Sardinero beach – known as La Primera and the magnificent Gran Casino across the road. There is so much to discover and enjoy in Santander, a beautiful relaxed northern Spanish city.

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