© 2018 - EXPLORING CANTABRIA

C./ Castelar, 49 Bajo
39004 Santander

Cantabria - Spain

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Santander is a beautiful city to visit

COCINANDO EN LA CIUDAD DE LAS DELICIAS CULINARIAS

Palace of La Magdalena is the most emblematic building of the city of Santander and one of the most prominent examples of civil architecture in northern Spain. It was constructed in 1912 as a present to Kings Alfonso XIII and Victoria Eugenia from Santander’s Town Council.

The Palace is situated at the highest point of the Peninsula bearing the same name.  This península is just beautiful and it enjoys breathtaking views, so if you go to see the palace, we recommend to go here for about 2-3 hours to enjoy the peninsula and all the beautiful surroundings (there is also a tiny zoo with sea lions, seals and penguins you can visit). 

 

The Palace is nowadays an atypical Convention and Meeting Centre. It hosts meetings of various kinds, including civil weddings. Thanks to an agreement with the Town Council, the UIMP (Menéndez Pelayo International University) uses the Palace from June to September as a summer camp.

 

There are also guided tours in Spanish in the Palace to visit it inside and to learn about its history. The guided visits are not daily, so if you want to visit it you must confirm the schedule in advance. 

1        Magdalena Palace

The Centro Botín is an arts centre designed by Pritzker Prize-winner architect Renzo Piano, in co-authorship with luis vidal + architects. It is located in a privileged part of Santander, in front of the bay and the Pereda Gardens.

The building is made up of two blocks, connected by a structure of squares and the walkways known as – “the pachinko”. The west block is dedicated to art, with two exhibition rooms and the east block is for cultural and educational activities. It also holds an auditorium for 300 people, classrooms, work spaces, and a rooftop terrace to enjoy great views of the city and its Bay.

The missions of the  Bontin Centre are research, training and dissemination of Art through collaborations with leading entities and professionals plays a key role.

2        Botin Centre 

If your are on holidays in Santander, you cannot leave without visting the following places. 

Santander is a coastal city with an extensive wonderful southfacing bay which has granted its membership in the "Most Beautiful Bays in the World Club".  But this city can also presume of having a lot of lovely beaches that provide a full range of services. So, if you are planning to come to Santander for your summer holidays, don't forget to bring you swimwear, you'll needed it!

Please find here more information about our selection of Beaches                                   

 4       Pereda Gardens & Promenade

Pereda Gardens Park are by the Botin Centre and in an extremely privileged location. This small park (11 acres) is the perfect place to enjoy a bit of peace amid the city noise. From this place, you have beautiful views over the bay and of the Botin Centre. If we look at history, you will also be surprised to know that all this area had been a docking area for boats until the land was reclaimed from the sea in the late 1890s.
 

The park is named in honor to 19th-century Cantabrian writer José María de Pereda, whose seminal work, Escenas Montañesas, is sculpted here in bronze and stone.


There is a bayside promenade fronting these gardens that continues east to the Puerto Chico (Little Port) marina. Definitively, this is a beautiful walking along the bay. In fact, half the city strolls or jogs here on summer (and, often, winter) evenings. Both Paseo de Pereda and Calle Castelar, opposite the Puerto Chico, are lined with grand buildings flaunting typical glassed-in balconies.

 5       El Sardinero

"The Sardinero tourist centre
stands on nearly two miles of fine sand (beaches of the Second, First, the Shell and Camel). All these beaches open facing north and had long been a major fishing ground for sardines, hence the area’s name".

El Sardinero is a great entertainment area that has much to offer visitors with the luxurious Gran Casino Sardinero on the waterfront, the huge sports stadium or the Palace of Sports.

 

This area is situated around the wonderful “Playa El Sardinero”, which is an urban beach and one of the symbols of Santander. This beach is sheltered and has lots of facilities as well as a fantastic promenade to walk along and to enjoy the views.

El Sardinero beach is made up of 2 beautiful long stretches of fine golden sand that are separated by the also beautiful Jardines de Piquío (13.000m2 of Gardens).This garden will provide you stunning views out to sea and from beaches.  El Sardinero Beaches are popular among families and a great place for water sports enthusiasts, especially surfers and windsurfers.

 6       Cabo Mayor Lighthouse

The Cabo Mayor lighthouse is one of the most important and emblematic buildings for citizens and visitors alike. It presides over the entrance to the Bay of Santander and it is lookout point on a cliff with wonderful views of the sea and nature.

 

Located in the most north-easterly point of the city, on the outskirts, the area surrounding the lighthouse forms part of a large area featuring the Cabo Mayor and Cabo Menor headlands. This area has served various functions over the time: maritime signal, defence point, race track, campsite, public park, golf course, tourist attraction, etc.. due to its geographical features (beaches, cliffs and a very indented coastline).

 

 

 

Prior to the construction of the lighthouse, signals were sent to ships, using flags during the day and fires at night to orientate them at sea.

The lighthouse was built in 1839, back when Santander Port saw important commercial activity. Not many people know that numerous beachcombers (the name given to young swindlers of the area) would come from the surrounding beaches and deceive the vessels with light tricks, attract them over and rob them. The lighthouse is therefore located in this area and it emits an inimitable interplay of lights. The Lighthouse currently houses an Art Centre with three exhibit rooms, distributed between the base of the lighthouse tower and the adjoining buildings.

 

Next to this building, you will also find the monuments to the fallen during the Republic. The Republicans are said to have thrown Falangists from these cliffs, a story that still leaves the city ashamed and divided. Whatever the case may be, it is now a wonderful lookout point that offers stunning views of the entire city coastline.

Cathedral of Santander

It is a monument constructed between the 12th and 14th centuries. It is comprised of two Gothic churches, one built over another. Make sure you al also visit the lower church,  Iglesia del Santísimo Cristo, as it has a very special atmosphere. The Cathedral is built on aa small hill next to the Jardines de Pereda.

Bank of Santander

Next to the Jardines de Pereda and the Porticada Square, we find this great building that houses the headquarters of multinational bank "Banco Santander",

Porticada Square

This square was built in the 50’s, after the Great Fire of Santander in 1941. It is also known as Pedro Velarde Square (it commemorates the most famous Cantabrian liberator during the uprisings in 1808 and contains a monument dedicated to him). Caja Cantabria Bank and Regional Administration offices are located in this square. Since old times, many concerts and free cultural activities are organised here, particularly in the summer months.

Monument to the Great Fire and Reconstruction of Santander, 1989
This monument was done as a remembrance of the great fire of which Santander fell victim in 1941. Fanned by a strong south wind, the fire burned for three days and affected 37 streets and more than 400 buildings. The fire started in Cádiz Street, next to the Cathedral. It destroyed the Old Town and it led to a major change in the architecture of Santander as a large part of the central city had to be rebuilt.

Gran Casino

It was completed in 1916 and it is next to the Gran Hotel Sardinero. It was constructed at the same time of the  Hotel Real and is one of the symbols of the city. It has a terrace balcony which is accessed by a monumental staircase. The two-story central body is framed at the sides with two octagonal towers, covered by domes, whose edges involved, from top to bottom, shafts with capitals for each floor

Monument Los Raqueros

This monument was set in their bay location in 1999. It is a set of beautiful statues dedicated to the kids who used to dive into the bay after the coins thrown by the people from the ferries. Great view, especially in combination with the beautiful bay of Santander.

You will find this original monument on the bay, between Embarcadero Palace and the Santander Marina.

Puerto Chico

This is not only a small marina on the bay but also a great place to stroll around and relax in Santander. You can spend a lovely couple of hours here just watching the yachts and fishing boats potter about.  

Piquio Gardens

This is a nice and pleasant garden located in El Sardinero between Primera and Segunda Playa. The gardens are so called because they are shaped like the beak of a ship that "enters" into the sea.

Santander is one of the most beautiful cities on the Spanish coast. Today it's transformed into a modern and cosmopolitan city and located in one of the most beautiful bays in the world.

 

This amazing city offers the visitor a privileged landscape and also an urban environment, because Santander is a dynamic and commercial city with natural spaces, spacious parks, and beaches, between them the marvelous Magdalena Palace stands out, as well as other places that have got a lot of charm and history, for example, the Sardinero, the Paseo Pereda, the Cathedral or the Puerto Chico.

 

3        Santander's Beaches 

OTHER MUST-SEE PLACES