Los Raqueros monument in the city of Santander (Cantabria)


Santander, the bride of the sea


A city that seems straight out of a storybook and whose life revolves around the bay, recognised as one of the prettiest in the world.

Santander (Cantabria), in the north of Spain, is a combination of green mountain landscapes with white sand beaches, elegant mansions and palatial architecture with avant-garde buildings and the unmistakeable echo of its seafaring past. Many cities within a city, perfect for discovering.

City of monarchs and fishermen

Santander was the destination par excellence for royalty at the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries. A stroll through the old quarters, with its majestic buildings, transports us to this distinguished past, the greatest witness of which is undoubtedly the Magdalena Palace, the jewel in the city’s crown. This iconic building, located in the highest part of the peninsula of the same name, is one of the essential sights of Santander, allowing you to observe (and photograph) an impressive panoramic view of “the bride of the sea”, as the city is affectionately known, framed by the beach and mountains. Santander fuses this palatial magic with a fishing tradition, which today can be enjoyed especially in the area known as the city’s fishing district: the perfect place to try the most traditional local cuisine, so closely linked to the sea, with dishes such as rabas (fried squid), maganos (squid with onion) or fisherman-style clams. This identity of contrasts is completed with the “new” Santander, the part that has embraced the latest cultural and artistic trends, which is evident in places such as the Botín Centre, designed by the architect and Pritzker Architecture prize winner, Renzo Piano.

A family occasion

Santander is a perfect city for a family holiday, as apart from its sights and culinary attractions, it also has activities children will love, such as boat trips around the bay, the La Magdalena mini zoo or the Maritime Museum. Enjoying a day of sunshine on one of Santander’s beaches is another essential plan: don’t miss the ones at El Sardinero, El Camello, Mataleñas, La Concha and Los Peligros.

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What to visit

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What to do

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Practical information

How to get there - transport information

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How to get to aeroplane

  • Santander-Seve Ballesteros Airport is 5 kilometres from the city, about a 15-minute drive on the S-10.

  • There are taxis and a bus service to the city, which runs every 30 minutes from 07:00 to 23:00.

  • Connections to Madrid, Barcelona, Canary Islands, Balearic Islands, Seville, Valencia and Malaga.

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How to get to train

How to get to bus

How to get to boat

  • Its central location means you can walk to the city.

  • There are regular ferries to Plymouth (United Kingdom).

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How to get there by road

  • The main road link to Santander is the A-67 motorway, which connects to the A-1.

  • Another important road link is the A-8 or Autovía del Cantábrico, which crosses the north of Spain.

  • Remember that vehicles can only be parked for a maximum of two hours on city centre streets, and you must pay for parking (except Saturday afternoons and Sundays). There are many commercial car parks.

Practical information

  • Most of the sights and points of interests are in the city centre, so it’s easy to explore on foot.

  • Due to the old town’s characteristic sloping streets, there are several stretches of ramps and escalators, as well as a cable car, to assist you getting around.

  • If driving, remember that vehicles can only be parked for a maximum of two hours on city centre streets, and you must pay for parking (except Saturday afternoons and Sundays). There are many commercial car parks.

How to get around in bus

  • The urban buses run from approximately 6.30 am to 11.30 pm, although it is advisable to consult the timetables of each line.

  • Night buses also operate between approximately 11 pm and 3.30 am.

  • Different types of passes are available including rechargeable cards that can be purchased in kiosks and authorised establishments.

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How to get around in other means of transport

  • Taxis in Santander are white with a sky blue horizontal line across them.

  • There is a sightseeing bus which visits the main points of interest.

  • Another option is to explore the Magdalena Peninsula in the tourist train, popularly known as El Magdaleno.

  • There is also a municipal bike service, Tusbic, with multiple docking stations in the city centre and where you can buy daily passes (as well as monthly and annual one).

  • Several companies offer boat trips around the Bay of Santander.


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