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 NEO-CAVESTo solve this...
Favorite thing: THE NEO-CAVES
To solve this problem, they have built a clone of the caves, called Neo-Cave, which can be visited from 9.30 to 17.30, except mondays. The entrance (400 ptas, kids free) includes a guided tour through the 'new' caves, and a visit to the museum.
As they are recently opened, it is very important to make reservations in advance. Otherwise you could make a loooong line for more than 2 hours and end up without ticket. Reservations can be made at any 'Banco de Santander', at phone 902 24 24 24 / 902 11 22 11, or at the web www.bancosantander.es , www.bsch.es, or at www.bancosantanderbsch.es
SANTILLANA DEL MARThis tiny...
Favorite thing: SANTILLANA DEL MAR
This tiny village (no more than 6 or 7 streets!!) is a real open air museum. Its name could be literally translated as 'Saint-Plain of the Sea', and so they call it the village of the 3 lies, as it is not saint, is in a valley and it is not by the sea. It was founded about 1.200 years ago. Its paved streets are surrounded by magnificient stone palaces.
COLEGIATA (Santillana)A huge...
Favorite thing: COLEGIATA (Santillana)
A huge romanic church and monastery at the end of the main street, in Plaza de las Arenas. The cloister definetly deserves a visit. Entrance 400 ptas. No shorts or swimming suits allowed.
ALTAMIRA CAVESDiscovered in...
Favorite thing: ALTAMIRA CAVES
Discovered in 1879 by chance by Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola, this caves are a masterpiece of paleolitic art (14.000 years ago!). To see the original ones you have to fill a form and wait for more than 3 years!!, as they only admit very small groups with guide.
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
Santander street map
Favorite thing: The following link points to the city street map.
At the bottom of the page, you can search for:
* callejero = street index drop-list
* lugares de interes = points of interest (neighbourhoods, parks and beaches, banks and public places, transport...)
* codigos postales = postcodes
* edificios de interes = interesting buildings (drawings of all these buildings with links to detailed info)
All these links are only in Spanish, but the graphic information is good.
Fondest memory: http://www.ayto-santander.es/concejalias/turismo/Turismo_callejero_Santander.htm
- Museum Visits
- Road Trip
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
Favorite thing: We did not stay in Santander...but what we saw was very beautiful...on our return we had a walk along to the marina...but unfortunately it was siesta time & not many places were open.So we just enjoyed the sights & the sunshine.
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