Header Notice

Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

Santander Spain – Why You Should Visit


by Minny Alejo



Welcome to Santander, a fascinating city located on the northern coast of Spain. Known for its rich historical heritage, stunning architecture, vibrant cultural scene, beautiful beaches, delicious cuisine, and lively festivals, Santander offers a wide range of experiences for visitors to enjoy.


Santander is the capital of the Cantabria region and is nestled between the mountains and the sea, providing a picturesque setting for exploration and relaxation. This vibrant coastal destination attracts tourists from all over the world, who come to immerse themselves in its unique blend of history, natural beauty, and modern amenities.


Whether you are a history buff, an art lover, a food enthusiast, or simply seeking a place to unwind and enjoy the sun, Santander has something for everyone. From its ancient Roman origins to its contemporary urban vibe, the city seamlessly combines its past and present to create an unforgettable experience.


In this article, we will delve into the various aspects that make Santander a must-visit destination. We will discover its rich historical heritage, marvel at its stunning architecture, explore its vibrant cultural scene, relax on picturesque beaches, savor its delicious cuisine, join in lively festivals and events, admire its natural beauty, and partake in thrilling outdoor activities. So, put on your walking shoes, grab your camera, and get ready to explore the wonders of Santander.


Rich Historical Heritage

Santander’s history dates back thousands of years, with evidence of human presence as far back as the Paleolithic era. Over time, the city has been influenced by various civilizations, including the Romans, Visigoths, Moors, and Christians, which have all left their mark on its cultural and architectural heritage.


One of the most iconic historical sites in Santander is the Magdalena Peninsula, a beautiful promontory that was once a summer residence for the Spanish royal family. Here, you can visit the Palacio de la Magdalena, an early 20th-century palace surrounded by stunning gardens. Take a leisurely stroll through the gardens and soak up the regal atmosphere while enjoying panoramic views of the bay.


Another must-visit historic landmark is the Santander Cathedral. Also known as the Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción, it is a Gothic-style cathedral with intricate stone carvings and beautiful stained glass windows. Step inside to admire the grandeur of the interior and explore the quiet grandeur of the cloister.


In addition to these landmarks, Santander is filled with charming streets and squares that exude history and charm. Take a walk through the old town, known as the Casco Viejo, and immerse yourself in its narrow streets, picturesque squares, and centuries-old buildings.


No visit to Santander’s historical heritage would be complete without a visit to the Museum of Prehistory and Archaeology of Cantabria. Here, you can view a collection of artifacts and exhibits that showcase the region’s prehistoric past, including the famous Altamira Caves. Follow in the footsteps of our ancient ancestors as you marvel at cave paintings that date back thousands of years.


As you explore Santander’s rich historical heritage, you will find that every corner of the city tells a story. Whether it’s wandering through ancient streets, visiting grand palaces, or delving into prehistoric caves, you will be transported to a time long gone, and gain a deeper appreciation for the city’s storied past.


Stunning Architecture

Santander boasts a diverse range of architectural styles that showcase its rich history and cultural influence. From grand palaces to modern masterpieces, the city’s architecture is a testament to its vibrant past and its commitment to contemporary design.


One of the most striking examples of Santander’s architectural beauty is the Gran Casino del Sardinero. This iconic building, constructed in the early 20th century, blends intricate Belle Époque details with a stunning beachfront location. It has become an emblem of Santander’s charm and elegance.


Another architectural gem is the Mercado del Este. This vibrant marketplace, housed in a sleek modernist building, offers a wide array of fresh produce, gourmet treats, and local delicacies. Stroll through its colorful stalls and indulge in the sights, sounds, and flavors of Santander’s culinary delights.


For lovers of modern architecture, the Centro Botín is a must-visit. Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Renzo Piano, this contemporary art center is a striking masterpiece of glass and white concrete. It houses a diverse collection of modern and contemporary art and offers breathtaking views of the bay from its rooftop terrace.


While exploring the city, you will also come across eclectic architectural styles in Santander’s neighborhoods. From the elegant mansions of El Sardinero to the colorful houses of El Paseo de Pereda, each district offers its own unique charm.


No visit to Santander would be complete without a visit to the Palacio de la Magdalena. This majestic palace, built in a mix of medieval, Renaissance, and English-inspired styles, is a true architectural gem. Enjoy a guided tour of its luxurious rooms and admire the stunning panoramic views of the sea.


Santander’s architecture is a visual feast that will captivate and inspire you. Whether you are an architecture enthusiast or simply appreciate beautiful design, the city’s diverse architectural landscape will leave you in awe.


Vibrant Cultural Scene

Santander is a city that embraces its cultural heritage and offers a vibrant and diverse cultural scene. From art galleries to music festivals, there is always something happening to captivate and engage visitors.


One of the cultural highlights of Santander is the Centro Botín. Besides its stunning architecture, the center hosts a wide range of exhibitions, performances, and workshops that showcase contemporary art and culture. Explore the galleries and immerse yourself in the world of modern and contemporary art.


The Palacio de Festivales de Cantabria is another cultural hotspot in Santander. This modern venue hosts a variety of performances, including theater, dance, music concerts, and opera. Be sure to check the schedule and catch a live performance during your visit.


Santander also offers a thriving music scene, with numerous venues showcasing local and international talent. From intimate jazz clubs to hip music bars, there is something for every music lover. Experience the lively atmosphere and enjoy the sounds of Santander’s vibrant music scene.


The city’s museums are also worth exploring for a deeper dive into its cultural heritage. The Museum of Fine Arts boasts a collection of Spanish and European art, while the Museo Marítimo del Cantábrico delves into the maritime history of the region. Both museums offer a fascinating insight into the artistic and historical aspects of Santander.


Furthermore, Santander hosts several annual cultural events and festivals that bring the city to life. The Festival Internacional de Santander is a renowned classical music and dance festival that attracts world-class performers. The Semana Grande is a week-long celebration filled with concerts, fireworks, and other cultural activities, offering a glimpse into the vibrant local culture.


Immerse yourself in the vibrant cultural scene of Santander by exploring its museums, attending performances, and experiencing the energy and creativity that permeate the city. You will be left with memories of cultural experiences that will last a lifetime.


Beautiful Beaches

Santander is blessed with an array of beautiful beaches, making it a perfect destination for sun-seeking travelers and beach lovers. Whether you want to soak up the sun, take a leisurely stroll along the shore, or try your hand at water sports, Santander’s beaches have it all.


El Sardinero is perhaps the most famous beach in Santander. Divided into two main sections, Primera Playa and Segunda Playa, it offers golden sands, clear blue waters, and a vibrant beachside promenade. Relax on a sun lounger, take a refreshing dip in the sea, or enjoy a leisurely walk along the promenade, with stunning views of the bay.


For those seeking a more tranquil beach experience, Playa de la Magdalena is the perfect choice. Located near the Palacio de la Magdalena, this secluded beach offers a peaceful retreat away from the crowds. Spend the day sunbathing, enjoying a picnic on the sandy shores, or taking a refreshing swim in the calm waters.


If you’re a fan of surfing, head to Playa de los Bikinis. Located near the historic center of Santander, this beach is known for its consistent waves, making it a popular spot for surfers of all levels. Grab a board and catch some waves, or simply relax on the beach and watch the surfers ride the waves.


For a truly pristine and untouched beach experience, Playa de Valdearenas is perfect. Located in the nearby town of Liencres, this stunning sandy beach is surrounded by rolling dunes and offers breathtaking views of the coastline. Explore the natural beauty of the area, take a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear waters, or simply unwind and enjoy the tranquility.


With its picturesque beaches, Santander provides ample opportunities to relax, unwind, and enjoy the beauty of the coast. Whether you’re a sunbather, a water sports enthusiast, or simply enjoy a leisurely beach stroll, Santander’s beaches will not disappoint.


Delicious Cuisine

Santander is a paradise for food lovers, offering a delectable array of culinary delights that reflect the flavors of the Cantabria region. From fresh seafood to traditional dishes, the city’s cuisine is a gastronomic experience that should not be missed.


Seafood plays a prominent role in Santander’s culinary scene, thanks to its coastal location. Indulge in a variety of dishes such as marmita de bonito (tuna stew), chipirones en su tinta (baby squid in ink sauce), or rabas (fried calamari). Each bite is a taste of the fresh flavors of the sea.


Cantabria is also known for its high-quality meats, particularly beef and lamb. Try the traditional cocido montañés, a hearty stew made with white beans, pork, chorizo, and cabbage. For meat lovers, a perfectly cooked chuletón, a large rib-eye steak, is a must-try dish.


Vegetarians and vegans will also find plenty of options to indulge in. Patatas bravas (fried potatoes with spicy sauce), pimientos de Padrón (Padrón peppers), and tortilla de patatas (Spanish omelette) are popular choices that showcase the simplicity and deliciousness of traditional Spanish cuisine.


No meal is complete without sampling some of Cantabria’s famous cheeses. From the creamy queso de nata to the intensely flavored queso de cabrales, cheese lovers will be in heaven. Pair it with a glass of local wine for the ultimate culinary experience.


To truly immerse yourself in Santander’s culinary scene, explore the Mercado de la Esperanza, a lively market where you can find fresh local produce, artisanal products, and traditional delicacies. Treat yourself to a mouth-watering pintxos experience, where you can sample a variety of small bites and dishes packed with flavor.


End your culinary journey with a sweet treat. Sobao pasiego, a buttery sponge cake, and quesada pasiega, a creamy cheesecake-like dessert, are local favorites that will satisfy any sweet tooth.


Santander’s cuisine is a testament to the region’s local produce and culinary traditions. With its range of flavors and culinary experiences, Santander offers a gastronomic journey that will leave you craving for more.


Festivals and Events

Santander is a city that knows how to celebrate, with a vibrant calendar of festivals and events that showcase its rich cultural heritage and provide endless entertainment for visitors.


One of the major highlights of Santander’s festival calendar is the Semana Grande. Held in late July or early August, this week-long celebration is filled with concerts, fireworks, street parades, and cultural activities. Locals and visitors alike come together to enjoy the festive atmosphere and revel in the vibrant spirit of the city.


The Festival Internacional de Santander is another significant event that draws in music and dance enthusiasts from around the world. Taking place during the summer months, this prestigious festival features renowned artists and performers in classical music, ballet, and opera. Prepare to be captivated by the world-class performances held in various venues across the city.


If you’re a lover of art, don’t miss the Noche Blanca. This annual event transforms the streets of Santander into an open-air art gallery, with exhibitions, installations, performances, and cultural activities taking place throughout the night. It’s a unique opportunity to experience the city’s artistic side in a truly immersive and captivating way.


Santander also celebrates its religious traditions with fervor and enthusiasm. The Fiesta de la Virgen del Mar, held in September, is a religious pilgrimage where locals pay homage to the patron saint of the city. The procession to the hermitage of the Virgen del Mar is a beautiful and solemn event that allows visitors to witness the deep-rooted faith and devotion of the people of Santander.


Throughout the year, Santander hosts a variety of events and festivals, catering to different interests and passions. From food and wine festivals to cultural and sporting events, there is always something happening in the city. Check the local event calendar to see what’s on during your visit and join in the festivities.


Immerse yourself in the vibrancy and excitement of Santander’s festivals and events. It’s an opportunity to connect with the local culture, experience traditions, and create unforgettable memories.


Santander’s Natural Beauty

Santander is blessed with breathtaking natural beauty, thanks to its unique location between the mountains and the sea. From rugged cliffs and pristine beaches to verdant forests and picturesque landscapes, the city offers a diverse range of natural wonders to explore.


The Bay of Santander is one of the most stunning features of the city’s natural landscape. With its crystal-clear waters and panoramic views, it provides a picturesque setting for relaxation and exploration. Take a leisurely stroll along the promenade and soak up the beauty of the bay, or hop on a boat and venture out to the nearby islands for a closer encounter with nature.


For those seeking a closer connection with nature, the Parque de Las Llamas is the perfect oasis. This expansive park offers lush green spaces, tranquil lakes, and walking trails that wind through beautiful gardens. It’s an ideal place for a picnic, a bike ride, or simply to enjoy a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.


Just a short drive from the city center, you’ll find the Cabárceno Natural Park. This unique wildlife park is home to a diverse range of animal species, including elephants, lions, giraffes, and many more. Explore the park on foot or take a safari tour to get up close and personal with these magnificent creatures in a natural and spacious environment.


For hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, the nearby Picos de Europa National Park offers breathtaking mountain scenery and challenging trails. Lace up your hiking boots and embark on an adventure through rugged landscapes, cascading waterfalls, and stunning viewpoints. The park is a true paradise for nature lovers and offers endless opportunities for exploration.


While Santander’s natural beauty is evident throughout the city, it is particularly mesmerizing along its coastline. The cliffs of Cabo Mayor and Cabo Menor offer panoramic views of the sea, while the beautiful beaches, such as El Sardinero and Playa de la Magdalena, provide opportunities for relaxation, sunbathing, and water activities.


Experience the awe-inspiring natural beauty of Santander and its surroundings. Whether you’re wandering along the coast, hiking through the mountains, or exploring the parks and gardens, the city’s natural landscapes will leave you breathless and longing for more. 

Outdoor Activities

Santander is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a plethora of activities that allow visitors to immerse themselves in the region’s natural beauty. Whether you prefer adrenaline-pumping adventures or leisurely explorations, there are plenty of options to suit every interest and skill level.


Water sports enthusiasts will find Santander to be a paradise. With its pristine coastline and calm waters, it’s the perfect place to try your hand at activities such as surfing, paddleboarding, kayaking, or sailing. The city is dotted with surf schools and rental shops that cater to beginners and experienced water enthusiasts alike.


If you prefer a more relaxed experience on the water, take a leisurely boat trip around the Bay of Santander. Enjoy the fresh sea breeze, soak up the stunning views, and perhaps even catch a glimpse of dolphins swimming alongside the boat.


Hiking enthusiasts will be thrilled with the numerous trails and paths that wind through the region’s stunning natural landscapes. Lace up your hiking boots and explore the breathtaking Picos de Europa National Park or venture along the coastal paths that offer panoramic views of the sea.


Cycling is also a popular activity in Santander, with bike-friendly routes and scenic paths that allow you to discover the city and its surroundings on two wheels. Rent a bike and pedal your way through picturesque landscapes, charming villages, and along the waterfront promenades.


Santander’s parks and gardens offer a serene and tranquil backdrop for outdoor activities. Enjoy a leisurely stroll through the Parque de Las Llamas, have a picnic in the Jardines de Pereda, or simply relax and soak up the beauty of nature in one of the city’s many green spaces.


For those seeking a bit of adventure, the Cabárceno Natural Park provides a unique wildlife experience. Take a guided safari tour or drive through the park to observe a wide range of animal species roam freely in their natural habitat.


Santander’s outdoor activities offer something for everyone, whether you’re a thrill-seeker, a nature lover, or simply looking to enjoy the great outdoors. So, get out and explore all that this beautiful city has to offer!


Accommodation Options

Santander offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit every budget and preference. Whether you’re looking for luxury hotels, cozy guesthouses, or budget-friendly hostels, the city has something to offer for every traveler.


If you’re seeking a luxurious and sophisticated stay, Santander boasts a selection of upscale hotels that provide top-notch amenities and unparalleled service. Many of these hotels are located in the El Sardinero area, offering stunning views of the beaches and the Bay of Santander. From elegant suites to lavish spa facilities, these hotels ensure a memorable and indulgent experience.


For those on a mid-range budget, Santander offers a variety of comfortable and well-appointed hotels. You can expect cozy rooms, friendly service, and convenient locations in the heart of the city or close to the waterfront. These hotels provide a comfortable base for exploring Santander’s attractions and are often within walking distance of restaurants, shops, and cultural sites.


Travelers on a tighter budget can find plenty of affordable accommodation options in Santander. Budget-friendly hostels and guesthouses provide comfortable beds, shared facilities, and a welcoming atmosphere. These accommodations are perfect for solo travelers, backpackers, or those who want to save money without compromising on quality.


Another option for a unique and immersive experience is to stay in a traditional Cantabrian farmhouse or rural retreat. These rustic accommodations offer a glimpse into the area’s rural culture and heritage while providing a peaceful and tranquil setting. Wake up to the sound of birds chirping, enjoy homemade breakfasts, and immerse yourself in the peaceful countryside.


Regardless of the type of accommodation you choose, staying in Santander will ensure that you are never far from the city’s attractions, dining options, and cultural experiences. Whether you prefer luxury or simplicity, Santander has a range of accommodation options to make your stay comfortable and memorable.



Santander is a captivating city that offers a delightful blend of rich historical heritage, stunning architecture, vibrant cultural scene, beautiful beaches, delicious cuisine, and exciting festivals. From exploring its ancient palaces and cathedrals to immersing yourself in its thriving arts and music scene, there is something for everyone to enjoy.


The city’s natural beauty is incomparable, with its picturesque coastline, rolling mountains, and lush green parks. Whether you prefer sunbathing on sandy beaches, hiking through rugged landscapes, or discovering wildlife in nature reserves, Santander provides endless opportunities for outdoor adventures.


No visit to Santander would be complete without savoring its delicious cuisine. From fresh seafood to traditional dishes, the city’s gastronomy will tantalize your taste buds and leave you craving for more.


Throughout the year, Santander comes alive with festivals and events that celebrate its culture, art, and traditions. From music festivals and art exhibitions to religious processions and lively street parties, there is always something happening in the city.


When it comes to accommodation, Santander offers a wide range of options to suit every budget and preference. Whether you prefer luxurious hotels, cozy guesthouses, or budget-friendly hostels, you will find a comfortable place to stay during your visit.


In conclusion, Santander is a destination that captivates visitors with its unique blend of history, culture, natural beauty, and culinary delights. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an art lover, a beachgoer, or an outdoor adventurer, Santander has something to offer for everyone. So, pack your bags, immerse yourself in the wonders of Santander, and create memories that will last a lifetime.