Find some seclusion and get away from the hubbub of Santander’s main beaches at this peaceful spot near a former royal residence.
A summer in Santander can sometimes consist mostly of jostling for space on beaches, but Bikini Beach is an exception. Sheltered on the far side of the Magdalena Peninsula, the beach is mostly frequented by the students of Menendez Pelayo International University, who take classes in the impressive former royal residence, the Palacio de la Magdalena, that gives the area a regal ambience. Wear the swimsuit that gives the beach its name or visit in the winter for a pleasant walk amid the picturesque surrounds.
Change into your swimsuit in the cabins before running out onto the sand. Look out over the sparkling sea, but don’t forget to look behind, where the magnificent architecture of the Palacio de la Magdalena sits splendidly overlooking the beach.
On the other side of the bay, spot the mountain ranges standing proudly. Visit in winter to enjoy the contrast between their snow-capped peaks and the warmth of the beach itself. Build sand castles in the fine sand.
Tan on the sand or swim out in the shallow water, protected year round by the breakwater that leads towards the offshore island of La Horadada. Watch your children having fun at the on-site playground, which includes a slide. Grab a drink from the café inside the Menendez Pelayo International University. Chat with students in the area for the summer.
Go exploring at the end of the beach, where trails lead to the jetty once used by King Alfonso XIII when he spent his summers in Santander. Sit on the edge of the pier and watch the boats come in as evening falls.
You can get to Bikini Beach on the bus from the main train station. By car, it takes about 20 minutes. Parking is available near the Palacio de la Magdalena, though due to it being an active summer university, it can be hard to get access. Lifeguards are on duty at Bikini Beach during regular business hours.