Santander Cathedral

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, 39001
The price is ¥16,174 per night from Sep 4 to Sep 5
Stay at this 4-star business-friendly hotel in Santander. Enjoy free WiFi, breakfast, and room service. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the comfy beds ...
4.4/5 Excellent! (670 reviews)
Hotel Santander
"Good. Hotel was clean and comfortable. Hotel conveniently located in centre of town. Staff were helpful"

Reviewed on Jul 27, 2022

Hotel Silken Coliseum
Hotel Bahia
Hotel Bahia
4 out of 5
C/ Cádiz, 22, Santander, Cantabria, 39002
Fully refundableReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is ¥21,123 per night from Sep 5 to Sep 6
Stay at this 4-star business-friendly hotel in Santander. Enjoy free WiFi, breakfast, and room service. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the clean rooms ...
4.6/5 Exceptional! (926 reviews)
Very good indeed
"Excellent location for old town and port (with lovely little park beside) but a taxi or bus to Sardinero. Room spacious and comfortable.Staff very friendly and helpful. Didn’t use restaurant or bar due to number of walkable options. Would happily stay here again."

Reviewed on Jul 25, 2022

Hotel Bahia
Gran Hotel Sardinero
Gran Hotel Sardinero
4 out of 5
Plaza de Italia 1, Santander, 39005
The price is ¥21,146 per night from Sep 4 to Sep 5
Stay at this 4-star beach hotel in Santander. Enjoy free WiFi, 2 restaurants, and a beach locale. Our guests praise the breakfast and the helpful staff in our ...
4.7/5 Exceptional! (310 reviews)
"Great location and wonderful experience."

Reviewed on Jul 14, 2022

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.

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Best Lodging Options Near Santander Cathedral

Estudios Aranzazu
Estudios Aranzazu
2 out of 5
Mies del Valle, 4, Santander, Cantabria, 39010
The price is ¥9,008 per night from Aug 28 to Aug 29
Estudios Aranzazu
Hotel Bahia
Hotel Bahia
4 out of 5
C/ Cádiz, 22, Santander, Cantabria, 39002
The price is ¥21,123 per night from Sep 5 to Sep 6
Hotel Bahia
Hotel Silken Coliseum
Hotel Silken Coliseum
4 out of 5
Plaza de los Remedios, 1, Santander, Cantabria, 39001
The price is ¥16,174 per night from Sep 4 to Sep 5
Hotel Silken Coliseum
Gran Hotel Sardinero
Gran Hotel Sardinero
4 out of 5
Plaza de Italia 1, Santander, 39005
The price is ¥21,146 per night from Sep 4 to Sep 5
Gran Hotel Sardinero
Vincci Puertochico
Vincci Puertochico
4 out of 5
Calle de Castelar, 25, Santander, Cantabria, 39004
The price is ¥22,297 per night from Aug 28 to Aug 29
Vincci Puertochico
Eurostars Hotel Real
Eurostars Hotel Real
5 out of 5
Paseo Perez Galdos 28, Santander, Cantabria, 39005
The price is ¥22,498 per night from Sep 5 to Sep 6
Eurostars Hotel Real
Hotel Art Santander
Hotel Art Santander
4.5 out of 5
SANTA TERESA DE JESUS,20, Santander, SDR, 39003
The price is ¥17,830 per night from Sep 4 to Sep 5
Hotel Art Santander
Hotel Silken Rio Santander
Hotel Silken Rio Santander
4 out of 5
Avenida Reina Victoria, 153, Santander, Cantabria, 39005
The price is ¥15,592 per night from Sep 4 to Sep 5
Hotel Silken Rio Santander
Abba Santander Hotel
Abba Santander Hotel
3 out of 5
Calle Calderón de la Barca, 3, Santander, Cantabria, 39002
The price is ¥16,265 per night from Sep 4 to Sep 5
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.