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 Bahia
Hotel Bahia
4 out of 5
C/ Cádiz, 22, Santander, Cantabria
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is ¥9,515 per night from Nov 1 to Nov 1
Located in Santander City Centre, this hotel is steps from Parroquia Santisimo Cristo, Monumento a Velarde, and Monumento al incendio de Santander. Plaza Porticada ...
4.6/5 Exceptional! (792 reviews)
Great Welcome and location
"Great welcome at reception, great location and very clean hotel - whilst it needs a little updating. The rooms were spacious and comfortable. We did have some dinner at the hotel - service in the cafe was very good but the food was overpriced for ok food. We would certainly go back."

Reviewed on Jul 15, 2021

Hotel Bahia
Gran Hotel Sardinero
Gran Hotel Sardinero
4 out of 5
Plaza de Italia 1, Santander
The price is ¥9,636 per night from Oct 19 to Oct 19
Nestled on the beach, this Santander hotel is just steps from Primera El Sardinero Beach and Jardines de Piquio. El Sardinero Beach and Gran Casino del Sardinero ...
4.6/5 Exceptional! (237 reviews)
"Air conditioning didn't work and needed to switch rooms. Internet was extremely slow and unreliable. Spent hours trying to use instead of enjoying the beach. Great location but the facilities are lacking."

Reviewed on Jul 18, 2021

Gran Hotel Sardinero
Eurostars Hotel Real
Eurostars Hotel Real
5 out of 5
Paseo Perez Galdos 28, Santander, Cantabria
The price is ¥14,453 per night from Oct 24 to Oct 24
Situated near the beach, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Los Peligros Beach and Gran Casino del Sardinero. Primera El Sardinero Beach and Palace ...
4.4/5 Excellent! (334 reviews)
"This is a lovely hotel of a bygone age. Very large public room and the breakfast room is wonderful in the conservatory. Staff are brilliant. Very good standard and it is the second time I have stayed. There is no swimming pool. There is a beach about 5 mins down the road. Hotel is used by large corporate ..."

Reviewed on Oct 6, 2021

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.

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 ¥4,817 per night from Oct 24 to Oct 24
Hospedaje Magallanes
Gran Hotel Sardinero
Gran Hotel Sardinero
4 out of 5
Plaza de Italia 1, Santander
The price is ¥9,636 per night from Oct 19 to Oct 19
Gran Hotel Sardinero
Hotel Bahia
Hotel Bahia
4 out of 5
C/ Cádiz, 22, Santander, Cantabria
The price is ¥9,515 per night from Nov 1 to Nov 1
Hotel Bahia
Eurostars Hotel Real
Eurostars Hotel Real
5 out of 5
Paseo Perez Galdos 28, Santander, Cantabria
The price is ¥14,453 per night from Oct 24 to Oct 24
Eurostars Hotel Real
Hotel Silken Coliseum
Hotel Silken Coliseum
4 out of 5
Plaza de los Remedios, 1, Santander, Cantabria
The price is ¥7,167 per night from Nov 7 to Nov 7
Hotel Silken Coliseum
Hostal La Mexicana
Hostal La Mexicana
2 out of 5
Calle de Juan de Herrera, 3, Santander
The price is ¥5,492 per night from Oct 19 to Oct 19
Hostal La Mexicana
NH Ciudad de Santander
NH Ciudad de Santander
3 out of 5
Paseo Menendez Pelayo, 13-15, Santander, Cantabria
The price is ¥9,154 per night from Nov 1 to Nov 1
NH Ciudad de Santander
Hotel Art Santander
Hotel Art Santander
4.5 out of 5
SANTA TERESA DE JESUS,20, Santander, SDR
The price is ¥8,431 per night from Oct 19 to Oct 19
Hotel Art Santander
Abba Santander Hotel
Abba Santander Hotel
3 out of 5
Calle Calderón de la Barca, 3, Santander, Cantabria
The price is ¥8,432 per night from Nov 1 to Nov 1
Abba Santander Hotel
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.