Hello Belen. I wanted to write you to tell you we had an amazing trip. Everything was perfect from the moment we landed in Madrid- when the driver so graciously waited for our late arrival and while we dealt with our lost bags. We were so impr...
NANCY VALENCIA, Houston, TX, USA
It’s not so hard to describe why UNESCO listed Santillana del Mar is so special. Dating back to the 8th century Santillana is one of the prime places you must visit if travelling through Cantabria in Northern Spain. Like an open museum, Sartre described it as “the loveliest town in Spain” and it is not surprising.
Whatever the time of day or night – Santillana’s narrow long streets ooze atmosphere. The ochre coloured walls of the towns numeropus palacios and shimmer in daylight and after nightfall those same walls seem to be infused with character and mystery. Thankfully for visitors, this is a place where pedestrians rule – and many of the walkers here are on a mission. You see, the Northern Camino de Santiago passes through the town centre and Santillana comes alive in the late afternoon with pilgrims.
There’s a lot to see and do here. Make sure that you take a turn around the Colegiata. The original structure pre-dates the town. What you see now is from 12th century Romanesque brilliance and has been on the must-see list of every travel writer to Spain. You’ll see why when you get there. It’s a real gem – just like its surroundings!
If you wish to base yourself in Santillana, there are numerous charming historical hotels including the 18th century Parador de Santillana de Gil Blas. Not only is the location idyllic – in the very centre of this beautifully preserved cobbled-street town – but it’s own history as a private residence and hotel is very interesting too.
Closeby are the Altamira Cave Museum and the Cabarceno Wildlife Park. Also one of the few works by Antoni Gaudi outside of his native Catalonia, El Capricho, can be visited in nearby Comillas. See our blog for more on this wonderful building and Gaudi in Cantabria.
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