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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 Silken Coliseum
Hotel Silken Coliseum
4 out of 5
Plaza de los Remedios, 1, Santander, Cantabria
The price is ¥9,141 per night from Jun 27 to Jun 27
Located in Santander City Centre, this hotel is 0.1 mi (0.2 km) from Mercado La Esperanza and within 3 mi (5 km) of Palacio de la Magdalena and Santander Ferry ...
4.4/5Excellent! (593 reviews)
Good experience
"Excellent location in the heart of the city."

Reviewed on Nov 6, 2020

Hotel Silken Coliseum
Hotel Bahia
Hotel Bahia
4 out of 5
C/ Cádiz, 22, Santander, Cantabria
The price is ¥10,634 per night from Jun 27 to Jun 27
Located in Santander City Centre, this hotel is steps from Parroquia Santisimo Cristo and Santander Ferry Terminal. Palacio de la Magdalena and Bay of Biscay ...
4.6/5Exceptional! (768 reviews)
"Excellent location, nice hotel"

Reviewed on Dec 25, 2020

Hotel Bahia
Hotel City House Alisas Santander
Hotel City House Alisas Santander
2 out of 5
Calle Nicolas Salmeron, 3, Santander, Cantabria
Located in Castilla-Hermida, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Bahía de Santander and Santander Ferry Terminal. Palacio de la Magdalena is 2.7 mi (4.4 ...
3.5/5Good! (82 reviews)
"You get what you pay for so set your expectations accordingly. Budget friendly. Very nice front desk staff. Breakfast is good. They have Bathtubs which is great. It is clean. But the carpet is truly disgusting and there is a smell in the halls. It’s good for a stop over. It’s affordable. But ..."

Reviewed on Oct 10, 2019

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.

Popular places to visit in Santander Cathedral

Santander Cathedral


Best Lodging Options Near Santander Cathedral

Hostal La Mexicana
Hostal La Mexicana
2 out of 5
Calle de Juan de Herrera, 3, Santander
The price is ¥5,111 per night from Jun 23 to Jun 23
Hostal La Mexicana
Hotel Bahia
Hotel Bahia
4 out of 5
C/ Cádiz, 22, Santander, Cantabria
The price is ¥10,634 per night from Jun 27 to Jun 27
Hotel Bahia
Hotel Silken Coliseum
Hotel Silken Coliseum
4 out of 5
Plaza de los Remedios, 1, Santander, Cantabria
The price is ¥9,141 per night from Jun 27 to Jun 27
Hotel Silken Coliseum
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
Hotel San Glorio
Hotel San Glorio
2 out of 5
Federico Vial 3, Santander, Cantabria
The price is ¥7,726 per night from Jun 23 to Jun 23
Hotel San Glorio
Alojamientos Cantíber
Alojamientos Cantíber
2 out of 5
Calle Burgos 4 1° izd, Santander, Cantabria
The price is ¥6,181 per night from Jun 25 to Jun 25
Alojamientos Cantíber
NH Ciudad de Santander
NH Ciudad de Santander
3 out of 5
Paseo Menendez Pelayo, 13-15, Santander, Cantabria
The price is ¥11,292 per night from Jun 23 to Jun 23
NH Ciudad de Santander
Abba Santander Hotel
Abba Santander Hotel
3 out of 5
Calle Calderón de la Barca, 3, Santander, Cantabria
The price is ¥10,698 per night from Jun 27 to Jun 27
Abba Santander Hotel
Eurostars Hotel Real
Eurostars Hotel Real
5 out of 5
Paseo Perez Galdos 28, Santander, Cantabria
The price is ¥18,999 per night from Jun 27 to Jun 27
Eurostars Hotel Real
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.