Juan Sebastián Elcano
Favorite thing: From time to time we have the visit of the Spanish training ship Juan Sebastian el Cano, that goes in and out of the bay with all its sails deploying in its four masts
It's a show to accompany it in a small boat during the arrival and departure to Santander . You can take a boat in the Pedreña boat station and accompany the ship on its way out and at the same time you can have a splendid view of the landscape of Santander
The boat tour you can do even if you are not coincident on your visit with The Juan Sebastian Elcano or some other boat and enjoy spectacular scenery
De vez en cuando nos visita el Buque Escuela Español Juan Sebastián el Cano , que entra y sale de la bahía desplegando todas las velas de sus cuatro mástiles
Es un espectáculo acompañarle en un barco pequeño a la llegada y salida . Para ello puedes coger una lancha de Pedreña que te lleva a acompañar el barco en su salida y al mismo tiempo puedes tener unas vistas espléndidas del paisaje de Santander
La visita en barco la puedes hacer aunque no coincidas en tu visita con El Juan Sebastián Elcano o con algún otro barco espectacular y disfrutar de los paisajes
Favorite thing: Tourist Offices:
*Oficina de Turismo de Santander
Hernán Cortés, 4 (Mercado del Este)
39003 Santander (Cantabria)
- Tel.: (+34) 942 31 07 08
- Fax: (+34) 942 31 32 48
- E. mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
* Oficina Municipal de Turismo de Santander (pic)
C/ Jardines de Pereda, s/n
39001 Santander (Cantabria)
- Tel.: (+34) 942 20 30 00 / 001
- Fax: (+34) 942 20 30 05
- E. mail:email@example.com
* Some websites:
- www.turismodecantabria.com (Cantabria region)
The Weather in Santander
Favorite thing: It's always important to check the Weather before the visit.
On this occasion, I give you three links:
- In English
- In English
- In Spanish
La Bahía - The Bay
Favorite thing: Santander está en la parte norte de una de las bahías más bonitas del mundo .
Cuando te orientas en Santander , ya puedes distinguir el mar abierto de la bahía , cuesta poco , pero es muy fácil
La bahía tiene su entrada flanqueda por el palacio de la Magdalena , la Isla de Mouro y las Quebrantas , al fondo de la misma se encuentran los muelles y la zona industrial .
La bahía es el sitio ideal para hacer un montón de actividades :
- Pasear por los paseos junto al mar con unas vistas impresionantes
- Ir a la playa , tanto a las que están en Santander : Los Peligros , La Magdalena , Bikini ...,como a las que están al otro lado de la Bahía : El Puntal , Somo , Loredo
- En Pedreña , donde nació Seve Ballesteros ,se puede jugar al golf
- Puedes coger una Pedreñera para pasear por la bahía y también puedes hacer vela o navegar descubriendo sitios maravillosos
- No hay demasiada pesca , pero si la suficiente para pescar desde muelle o desde un pequeño bote y pasar un buen rato
- Puedes ver como entran y salen los barcos
Santander is in the northern part of one of the most beautiful bays in the world.
When you are in Santander you must distinguish the open sea of the bay to get orientated , it takes some time , but it is very easy
The bay is flanked at the entrance by the palace of La Magdalena, Isla de Mouro and the Quebrantas and in the bottom of it are the docks , the airport and the industrial area.
The bay is the perfect place for a lot of activities:
- A walk on the promenades along the sea with stunning views
- Going to the beach, to those in Santander: los peligros , La Magdalena, Bikini ...,or to those on the other side of the Bay: The Puntal, Somo, Loredo...
- In Pedreña , where Seve Ballesteros was born, you can play golf
- You can take a Pedreñera ( Boat ) to get around the bay and you can also go sailing or sailing to discover wonderful places
- There is not too much fishing, but enough to fish from the pier or from a small boat and have a good fun
- You can watch the boats entering and leaving
- Surfing and skate surfing
Favorite thing: With its mild climate, Santander is a year-round destination; but it shows its most exciting side during the Summer months, when the city gets filled with sea-avid tourists from central Spain and locals are desperate to leave their daily occupations and join the crowds on the beach.
Today we tend to associate Spanish beach culture with the well-known resorts on the Mediterranean or the islands. However, the North coast pioneered in the Spanish sea tourism. When Benidorm or Marbella were still sleepy fishing villages, Santander was already a well-established and fashionable Summer retreat for the Spanish upper classes.
And this beach culture is now well settled among the Santander society. Rather than by shrimp-coloured Northern Europeans, beaches are enjoyed particularly by the locals, who will take advantage of any available occasion to escape to one of the many beaches in the city and its surroundings, each one cattering for a different kind of crowd.
The weather is not totally reliable in Santander and, despite global climate change, overcast and wet days may be common even in August. However, as soon as a few rays of sun appear, the Sardinero district thrives with activity: innumerable scooters with immaculately dressed teenagers incessantly buzz around the beach, while municipal buses drop hundreds of beachgoers who hasten in search of their espace under the sun. Then , there is always time to enjoy an ice cream or a coffee al fresco.
During the colder months, it is a completely different story. Even on the sunniest days, most of the population remains in the comfort of the shop-lined streets of the centre, leaving the solitary beaches to iddle romantic couples, dog-walkers and the occasional surfer.
The "Bay" of Santander
Favorite thing: Although they call it a bay, Santancer actually faces a vast estuary. This is indeed the largest estuary in the Northern coast of Spain, although none of the rivers that converge here is significantly long or mighty. To the South, the most important tributaries are the rías of Solía, San Salvador and Astillero, to the East, the rías of El Carmen and Raos and, finally the most important of all, the ría de Cubas, which is how the mouth of the river Miera is known.
It is said that centuries ago the Bay of Santander was double its current size. Different land reclamation projects for residential, industrial and port facilities have modelled its shape, particularly on the side where the city of Santander stands. Currently, the bay is 9 km long and 5 km wide. About half of the population of Cantabria lives around the bay but, there are still a few pockets of swamps and lagoons where you can still enjoy the wildlife.
The estuary is protected by a long sandbar known as El Puntal, which makes for a good spot to spend a beach day. It almost closes the estuary from the open sea and prevents the existence of marine currents or high waves (except when a strong South wind blows) but also difficults the access to the port of Santander.
The Bay can be enjoyed from most of the city's waterfront and, particularly, from the promenade that connects the old port with the beaches and residential areas of El Sardinero offering fantastic views of its beaches and the natural backdrop of snow-capped mountains.
The Legend of the Saint Martyrs
Favorite thing: There is a beautiful rock in the middle of the bay, near the Madeleine beaches, which forms a natural arch and has a small lighthouse on it. It is called Isla Horadada (Island of the Hole). As the legend goes, this hole was shapened when the heads of the two Saint Martyrs, Saint Emeter and Saint Celedon crashed against the rock.
These two martyrs from the period when Spain was a province of the Roman Empire had been decapitated in Calahorra for their refusal to abjure Christianism. Their heads were thrown to the river Ebro, which carried them to the Mediterranean. After circumnavigating the entire Iberian peninsula, they finally landed in Santander, where their relics are still venerated in the cathedral. They are the Patron Saints of the city and their festivity is celebrated on 31 August.
The tragedies in Santander
Favorite thing: Two terrible tragedies have occured in the recent history of Santander, which explain the loss of most of its Medieval heritage.
The first one happened in the late XIX century (1893), when a cargo ship called Machichaco got fire on the docks of the city. A multitude of curious gathered in the port to watch the event, which appeared as something really extraordinary in a routine-dominated provincial town. What the crowd did not know is that the cargo ship had a load of dynamite (safety regulations had been ignored). When the fire reached the explosives, a violent blast blew out most of the maritime façade of the city and claimed hundreds of lifes, including some of the city's dignataries.
Years later, in 1941, a fire started on Cadis Street. The fire was extended by a strong South wind and it eventually burnt down most of the old city for two days. This tragedy only claimed one life (a fireman), but thousands of people were left homeless. The city had to be totally rebuilt in a period of economic penury, as Spain was trying to stand up again from the wounds of the Civil War and facing the international embargo against the fascist dictatorship of General Franco. This reconstruction has marked the current appearance of the downtown area. The street pattern was carefully laid down and fine buildings were erected for the comfort of wealthy Santanderinos. The less affluent families who had lost their homes, however, were forced to move to atrociously designed new developments in the outskirts of the city, like La Albiricia or Cueto.
Both tragedies are remembered in two monuments located near the port (pictured here).
- Family Travel
Favorite thing: A traditional architectural feature of constructions in North Spain are glassed balconies that typically occupy almost the entire Southern façades of residential buildings. They allow plenty of light into the building while protecting from rain and bad weather. In Santander, most of the older buildings have this kind of balconies, which make for interesting perspectives.
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Favorite thing: Santander is intimely linked to the sea and the port has been since the very beginning the main reason for its existence. The port still plays a very important role in the life of the city and, although it is not very big, it is picturesque and scenic, because of the beautiful mountains in the background.
Today, most of the port activities have moved outside of the city, to the Port of Raos, but the old Docks of Maliaño still are visited by colourful ships. The older Docks of Molnedo and Puerto Chico have no longer a commercial use and they are occupied by a marina and a waterfront promenade.
Boat Rides on the Bay
Favorite thing: In order to admire the beautiful skyline of Santander and the peaks across the Bay, the best option is to take a boat ride. The small boats depart from the Palacete del Embarcadero, on the Molnedo Docks. Although special round trips are organised regularly for tourists, these boats are mostly used by commuters to the towns of Somo and Pedreña and, in Summer, by the people escaping the crowds of the urban beaches and heading to El Puntal or Somo Beach.
The roundtrips for tourists also take you out of the Bay to the Sardinero area, but if you are content with a small ride on the Bay, a return ticket to Somo or El Puntal will be fine. The ride is about 20 min. each way.
- Family Travel
The Natural Backdrop
Favorite thing: The beautiful natural backdrop is what makes the Bay of Santander so special. A range of imposing mountains offer a great panorama which is more likely to be linked to an Alpine landscape than with a marine environment and yet, the presence of the sea is so evident and overwhelming. The closest of all the mountains is called Peña Cabarga, with two tv antennas on top. It is possible to drive or walk to the summit and enjoy a spectacular view of the bay, the city and the surrounding mountains.
For its esthetic qualities, the Bay of Santander has joined the Club of the Most Beautiful Bays in the World, a private organisation which probably only has an anecdotic value, but includes among its members such beautiful places as San Francisco Bay in California, the Mont-Saint-Michel Bay in France or HaLong Bay in Vietnam.
Orientation in Santander
Favorite thing: Santander is built on a hilly peninsula, which means that the sea is always present, be it the calm waters of the Bay of Santander, or the fierce open sea of the Bay of Biscay.
The city is long and narrow and most of the streets are very steep. Luckily, the majority of the sights of interest for the tourist are at sea level. The historical core of the city was entirely rebuilt after the 1941 fire and does not have many attractions. The Western part of the city is basically occupied by residential developments with little or none artistic value, so you will spend most of your time to the East of the City Hall.
Lining the port, the Paseo de Pereda and Paseo de Castelar are two elegant avenues where Santanderinos and tourists love to stroll. From the Festival Hall, a long and scenic road connects the centre of the city with el Sardinero neighbourhood, which has some of the best beaches in the city. This area is usually very crowded in Summer, but much quieter in the colder months.
Check the "Must do tips" for ideas on itineraries in Santander.
History of Santander
Favorite thing: The foundation of Santander is attributed to the Romans, although there existed a previous settlement of the aboriginal Cantabrians. The Roman city was named Portvs Victoriae Ivliobrigensis.
In the Middle Ages, Santander and other towns of the Northern coast of Spain achieved prosperity and notoriety thanks to fishing, shipbuilding and trade with French, Flemish and English ports. It is in this period that the city got its current name, which is actually a corruption of Santi Emeterii, after one of its Saint Patrons.
The greatest development of Santander came in the XVIII century, when it achieved the status of city and was allowed to trade with America.
On the turn between the XIX and XX centuries, Santander became a fashionable holiday resort with well-heeled Spaniards. This period that left the most interesting architectural print in the city. The oldest area, unfortunately, was lost after an explosion in the port in 1893 and a devastating fire that burnt part of the city to ashes for various days in 1941 and left thousands homeless.
Santander is currently an administrative city of about 200.000 inhabitants, capital of the Autonomous Community of Cantabria.
- Family Travel
UIMP summer courses
Favorite thing: The UIMP university (Universidad Internacional Menendez Pelayo) organizes during the summer several courses.
One of the most popular are the Spanish Courses for foreigners, which, as well as the courses, they also offer accommodation and other social activities : excursions, the language exchange program "que tal?" together with the Oficial School of Languages,...
Infos at: www.uimp.es
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