Venturing further afield: A long weekend in Santander

We love to travel not only locally, but throughout Spain, so I will also include information, from time to time, about where we have visited.  Usually these places can either be driven to within a few hours of our home, east of Málaga, or we will have flown there from Málaga (AGP) airport.

Banco de Santander

It´s pretty easy to pick up some cheap flights from Mágaga to Santander, the elegant capital city of the province of Cantabria, which is located on the northern coast of Spain, between Asturias and the Basque Country, overlooking the Bay of Biscay.

The port city of Santander has many clean, golden beaches and is home to the magnificent coastal resort of El Sardinero, which became popular with the Spanish upper classes during the late 19th century.  The wonderful beaches together with the promenade and the Magdalena Peninsula are some of the main attractions for tourists.

El Sardinero Beach, Santander, Spain

El Sardinero Beach views, Santander, Spain

Santander fell victim to a great fire in 1941.   Fanned by a strong southerly wind, the fire burned for two days, destroying the greater part of the medieval town centre and gutting the city’s Romanesque cathedral.  The historic quarter includes a number of majestic buildings which are situated against an incredible natural backdrop of sea and mountains.

In the early part of the 20th century King Alfonso XIII chose this part of the Cantabrian coast as his summer retreat and many fine buildings sprung up to accommodate the needs of the aristocracy and court officials who followed the King and Queen.

Elegant buildings in Santander, Spain

Santa Iglesia Cathedral, Santander, Spain

Town Hall, Santander, Spain

Of course, one of the more pleasant things to do in Santander is to bustle along with the locals towards the many superb tapas bars in the old part of the city.  It´s amazing what a good glass of Rioja Crianza and a mouthful of seafood can do for you!

We spent our evenings strolling along the streets seeking out the busiest tapas bars – with their customers spilling out onto the pavements outside –  and diving straight in there, to try out our next round of  scrummy pintxos.

Rioja and scrummy tapas at a bar in Santander, Spain

Santander also provides a great base for touring many well-known cities and sights in northern Spain, which are located right on it´s doorstep.   There´s the  Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the Picos de Europa – wheresome of the highest mountains in Europe are to be found, as well as the gastronomic delights of the picturesque city of San Sebastian in the heart of Basque country – but you´ll have to wait for me to tell you about those another time!

You might also enjoy:

The heart of Cómpeta: El Paseo de las Tradiciones

A Weekend Away: Santiago de Compostela


37 thoughts on “Venturing further afield: A long weekend in Santander

  1. Pingback: Venturing further afield: A long weekend in Zaragoza | East of Málaga .... and more!

  2. Pingback: Venturing further afield: San Sebastián in the heart of Basque country | East of Málaga

  3. A feast for the eyes and the imagination. Despite the fire, the buildings you’ve shown look so wonderfully old, and the beach could easily become my fantasy getaway location. That you can stroll and sip and dine well, on tapas especially makes even more attractive to dream, and without dreams…

    • Exactly – without dreams, where would we be?

      Thanks EllaDee for your kind comments. I´m sure you would enjoy visiting Spain as much as I love living here 🙂

  4. This sounds like a fabulous place to travel to. I loved the beaches but I also enjoyed your description of the tapas and Rioja. I enjoy tapas a lot more than a big meal. AND … the fact that you can go from one to another would be outstanding. I don’t know if I will ever get to Spain but it would be great to go here. My husbands name is Alfonso II. He was named after his father. He was from Corsica. He moved to the U.S. as a small boy. Sometimes our friends tease us and called us King Alfonso and Queen Isadora. hahaha ..
    GREAT post – the pictures are magnificent. Love it.

    • Hehehe you have some great friends, Isadora 🙂 I like their style!

      I hope you get the chance to visit Spain one day. Maybe you could combine it with a trip to your husband´s homeland? I´m sure you would love Spain – it is such a beautiful country.

      I agree with you, a tapas meal is much better than one big meal – and it´s a very sociable thing to do going on a TAPEO – which is a bit like a PASEO (evening walk) but including tapas along the way!! 😉

  5. Such a beautiful place to visit. Once can only imagine what was lost in that horrible fire. Luckily, no fires will ever harm those spectacular beaches. Thanks for taking us on a little trip today.

  6. I am really glad you posted this as when I’m in the UK, we have a ferry that sails across to Santander and I regret to say I’ve never been but your pictures have made it a lot more appealing so may give it a go now

    • That´s right, Dallas, there is a ferry from Portsmouth to Santander. The best of it is, you could also have a look at San Sebastian and Bilbao whilst you are in the area. We toured around all three, but I´m only adding the posts one at a time 🙂

  7. We love Santander – deliberately set off a day early so that we can spend a day in the City before we get the ferry to Portsmouth on the annual pilgrimage to the UK.

    • Oh yes, of course, I had forgotten that the ferry goes from Santander. Thanks for reminding me, Sue. We´ve never driven back to the UK – we always fly, so it´s not something I tend to think about. There´s a ferry from Bilbao too, come to think of it, isn´t there?

    • The tapas in the north of Spain are known as pintxos and are usually piled on top of crusty bread. You normally have to pay extra for each of the pintxos on top of the price of your drink, whereas near to where I live, they are often included.

      They were absolutely delicious though 🙂

  8. Marianne, your photos of Santander remind me how much I love old world cities – the buildings, the cafes, the bustle. Before I started following your blog, I wasn’t all that interested in returning to Spain. But I’m more and more drawn to the country as I see it through your eyes.

    • Thanks Sally and I hope you do return to Spain – especially the south coast, east of Málaga! 🙂

      Did you notice I mentioned your blog as one of my two “featured blogs” for this month´s CBBH Photo challenge on windows? I hope you have had some new visitors who will enjoy your blog as much as I do.

      • Oh no! Marianne, I must have missed that post, but thank you so much for mentioning me. I will have to backtrack. I try to visit you every time you post – it’s my little virtual escape to the sun 🙂

I´d love to hear from you, and much appreciate your comments. Thank you.

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