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Santander
Travel Guide

Santander showing rugged coastline, a sandy beach and general coastal views

Stroll down sweeping sandy beaches and waterfront promenades in this magnificent seaside city that has lured vacationers since the 19th century.

Santander is Cantabria’s major hub and an exciting seaside city in northern Spain. The city has broad appeal for its wide beaches, boutique shopping and vivid dining scene. Check the surf or explore the busy city harbors. The city’s historic district is a charming neighborhood with belle époque grandeur and elegant civic landmarks.

Wide beaches and a series of harbors border Santander’s northeastern area, alongside the mouth of the gorgeous Bahía de Santander. This bay area is where you’ll find the popular seaside resorts for which the city is now known. Visit the handsome beachside neighborhood of El Sardinero to see some of the city’s most exquisite heritage architecture. The waterfront has a wide promenade with a collection of beautiful buildings, including hotels, restaurants, cafés and the impressive Gran Casino del Sardinero. Stroll along the broad promenade or check out 0.8 miles (1.3 kilometers) of golden sands on Sardinero’s popular beach. Swim in the gentle waves or relax on the sand. Other popular beaches in the Santander municipality include Los Peligros and San Marcos.

The southern part of Santander is where you’ll find the city’s preserved historic district, where a selection of buildings survived the fire that raged through the city in 1941. Among the downtown treasures are the Cathedral of Santander and the Palacio de la Magdalena. Walk out toward the bay’s headlands to see the Cabo Mayor Lighthouse and explore the grassy coastal park. Walk along the Paseo de Pereda to find cafés with bayside views. Try delicious local seafood dishes that include the region’s specialties: clams, squid, sardines and seabream.

Learn about the region’s history at the Cantabrian Regional Museum of Prehistory and Archaeology or check out the Cantabrian Maritime Museum.

Santander is the capital of the Cantabria region. Reach the city via its airport or make use of the network of trains, buses and ferries that connect the city to other major Spanish hubs. Choose from Santander’s wide range of accommodations, from luxury resorts to charming seaside villas in the wider municipality. The city is a popular vacation spot for Spaniards, so visit outside of peak periods to avoid the crowds.

Where to stay in Santander

Hotel Bahia
Hotel Bahia
4 out of 5
C/ Cádiz, 22, Santander, Cantabria
The price is ¥8,178 per night from Apr 23 to Apr 24
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! (765 reviews)
"Excellent location, nice hotel"

Reviewed on Dec 25, 2020

Hotel Bahia
Hotel Silken Rio Santander
Hotel Silken Rio Santander
4 out of 5
Avenida Reina Victoria, 153, Santander, Cantabria
The price is ¥6,293 per night from Apr 25 to Apr 26
Located in Santander, this beachfront hotel is on the boardwalk and within 1 mi (2 km) of Gran Casino del Sardinero and Palacio de la Magdalena. Santander Ferry ...
4/5Very Good! (281 reviews)
"Recien renovado, habitaciones cpn vistas al mar. Muy bien"

Reviewed on Jun 29, 2020

Hotel Silken Rio Santander
Hotel Silken Coliseum
Hotel Silken Coliseum
4 out of 5
Plaza de los Remedios, 1, Santander, Cantabria
The price is ¥6,613 per night from Apr 25 to Apr 26
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! (589 reviews)
Good experience
"Excellent location in the heart of the city."

Reviewed on Nov 6, 2020

Hotel Silken Coliseum
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.
Estudios Aranzazu
Estudios Aranzazu
2 out of 5
Mies del Valle, 4, Santander, Cantabria
The price is ¥4,621 per night from Apr 20 to Apr 21
Located in the heart of Santander, this aparthotel is within a 10-minute walk of Plaza Méjico and Marqués de Valdecilla University Hospital. Santander Cathedral ...
3.4/5Good! (147 reviews)
"👍 Great place, freindly staff, perfect location. Good stay for good price 👍"

Reviewed on Feb 14, 2020

Estudios Aranzazu
Apartamentos River Santander
Apartamentos River Santander
3 out of 5
Ojaiz 166, Santander, Cantabria
Situated in the suburbs, this guesthouse is 2.6 mi (4.2 km) from Ethnographic Museum of Cantabria and 2.9 mi (4.7 km) from Playa de San Juan de la Canal. Bay ...
4.3/5Excellent! (44 reviews)
MS
"Very clean, tidy and great comfort beds"

Reviewed on Dec 31, 2019

Apartamentos River Santander
Art Suites Santander
Art Suites Santander
2 out of 5
Calle Hernán Cortés 25 1, Plaza Pombo, Santander, Cantabria
The price is ¥5,629 per night from Apr 21 to Apr 22
Situated near the beach, this apartment building is 0.3 mi (0.4 km) from Monumento a La Sardinera and within 3 mi (5 km) of Palacio de la Magdalena and Santander ...
4.6/5Wonderful! (40 reviews)
"Decor. Equipment. Location. Secure apartment with nearby parking"

Reviewed on Oct 10, 2019

Art Suites 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

Top things to do in Santander

Reviews of Santander

4.5

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
27
5 - Excellent 58.69565217391305%
4 - Good
16
4 - Good 34.78260869565217%
3 - Okay
2
3 - Okay 4.3478260869565215%
2 - Disappointing
1
2 - Disappointing 2.1739130434782608%
1 - Terrible
0
1 - Terrible 0%

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Nov 2, 2019

Wonderful port city with beautiful views over the water.

5/5 - Excellent

PatrickCQ

Oct 2, 2019

Beautiful city with great beaches, and walkable areas. Fantastic food and great people. Highly recommended.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Sep 17, 2019

Great place to base from to visit the nearby caves with prehistoric art! We truly enjoyed our guided visits to 5 different of these caves over two days. Don’t stop with Altamira.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Sep 15, 2019

Beautiful place.

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveler

Aug 20, 2019

good location and kind staff.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Jul 21, 2019

We loved the Playa Los Peligros beach near the hotel. Also the boat ride around the bay is a must and the hop on hop off bus helped us get a lay of the land.

Cities near Santander