Santander Cathedral

Vacation Travel Guide
Santander Cathedral featuring heritage architecture

This fortress-like building is actually two churches combined and stands on a pile of Roman ruins. Inside, see religious works of art and sacred relics.

Santander Cathedral has been a dominant presence since the 13th century, an austere Gothic structure on the incline of a hill. Explore this grandiose medieval church which occupies a site that once housed Roman baths and later an abbey.

The religious complex is actually two overlapping buildings, the principal basilica and the lower parish church, now a crypt.

Start your visit in the main church building. It suffered serious damage during the devastating fire that almost destroyed Santander in 1941. Consequently, many of the altarpieces are new or come from other churches. Visit the handful of centuries-old side chapels. Study the piece of marble near the sacristy that is inscribed with carvings in Arabic. It is believed to have been taken by Cantabrian sailors during the Siege of Seville in the middle of the 13th century.

Stop by the tomb of the Santander polymath Marcelino Menéndez y Pelayo who died in 1912. Browse the works of art including a copy of The Visitation, an early 16th-century painting by Raphael that depicts Mary the mother of Jesus Christ visiting her cousin Elizabeth who is pregnant with St. John the Baptist.

Access the lower church via the Romanesque doors. See the reliquaries that contain parts of the remains of St. Emeterio and St. Celedonio. Both were Roman legionnaires who were beheaded for professing their Christian faith. According to legend, their severed heads were brought to the city aboard a boat made of stone. Look through a glass section of the crypt's floor to see the remains of Roman thermal baths that were excavated in the early 1980s.

Enjoy a stroll around the colonnaded Gothic cloister which used to surround a secluded orange garden.

The cathedral is open daily although it closes for a few hours each afternoon. Admission is free. Arrive by bus or taxi or drive and park for a fee in nearby garages. If you are already in the center of the city, the Santander Cathedral is a short walk from other attractions such as Plaza Porticada and the Museum of Prehistory and Archaeology of Cantabria.

Top Hotels Close to Santander Cathedral

Hotel Art Santander
Hotel Art Santander
4.5 out of 5
SANTA TERESA DE JESUS,20, Santander, SDR
The price is ¥5,861 per night from Jan 26 to Jan 27
Situated near the beach, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Centro Botín, Santander Cathedral, and Santander Ferry Terminal. Gran Casino del Sardinero ...
4.4/5 Wonderful! (222 reviews)
"We loved this place. It was beautifully decorated, staff were professional, friendly and helpful, we had a terrace room with beautiful views of the ocean. The hotel is up the hill, but there are escalators on the streets one block over from the hotel which made walking back from the city center a ..."

Reviewed on Oct 14, 2021

Hotel Art Santander
Hotel Bahia
Hotel Bahia
4 out of 5
C/ Cádiz, 22, Santander, Cantabria
The price is ¥9,130 per night from Feb 16 to Feb 17
Located in Santander City Centre, this hotel is steps from Parroquia Santisimo Cristo and Santander Ferry Terminal. Palacio de la Magdalena is 2.2 mi (3.6 km) ...
4.6/5 Exceptional! (839 reviews)
"Best locations ever, parking was on site and very convenient. We got an ocean view room and was very spacious and beautiful. Will definitely stay here again."

Reviewed on Nov 13, 2021

Hotel Bahia
Gran Hotel Sardinero
Gran Hotel Sardinero
4 out of 5
Plaza de Italia 1, Santander
The price is ¥8,324 per night from Jan 24 to Jan 25
Nestled on the beach, this Santander hotel is within 3 mi (5 km) of Gran Casino del Sardinero, Palacio de la Magdalena, and Santander Ferry Terminal. Primera ...
4.6/5 Exceptional! (258 reviews)
"Loved this hotel and I would stay there again if I was visiting Santander. Staff were very professional. Reception staff printed out my boarding pass and passenger locator forms. Rooms were cleaned daily, lots of toiletries and provided in rooms including soap, shampoo, shower gel, hairbrush, cotton ..."

Reviewed on Nov 7, 2021

Gran Hotel Sardinero
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in Santander Cathedral

Santander Cathedral


Best Lodging Options Near Santander Cathedral

Hospedaje Magallanes
Hospedaje Magallanes
2 out of 5
Calle Magallanes, 22, Santander, Cantabria
The price is ¥4,689 per night from Jan 24 to Jan 25
Hospedaje Magallanes
Hotel Bahia
Hotel Bahia
4 out of 5
C/ Cádiz, 22, Santander, Cantabria
The price is ¥9,130 per night from Feb 16 to Feb 17
Hotel Bahia
Hotel Art Santander
Hotel Art Santander
4.5 out of 5
SANTA TERESA DE JESUS,20, Santander, SDR
The price is ¥5,861 per night from Jan 26 to Jan 27
Hotel Art Santander
Gran Hotel Sardinero
Gran Hotel Sardinero
4 out of 5
Plaza de Italia 1, Santander
The price is ¥8,324 per night from Jan 24 to Jan 25
Gran Hotel Sardinero
NH Ciudad de Santander
NH Ciudad de Santander
3 out of 5
Paseo Menendez Pelayo, 13-15, Santander, Cantabria
The price is ¥7,855 per night from Feb 6 to Feb 7
NH Ciudad de Santander
Royal Suite Santander
Royal Suite Santander
3 out of 5
Paseo Menéndez Pelayo 63, Santander, Cantabria
The price is ¥5,346 per night from Jan 24 to Jan 25
Royal Suite Santander
Hotel Chiqui
Hotel Chiqui
3 out of 5
Avda. Manuel García Lago 9, Santander, Cantabria
The price is ¥7,301 per night from Feb 4 to Feb 5
Hotel Chiqui
Hostal La Mexicana
Hostal La Mexicana
2 out of 5
Calle de Juan de Herrera, 3, Santander
The price is ¥6,683 per night from Feb 16 to Feb 17
Hostal La Mexicana
Hotel City House Alisas Santander
Hotel City House Alisas Santander
2 out of 5
Calle Nicolas Salmeron, 3, Santander, Cantabria
Hotel City House Alisas Santander
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.