10 things to do in Santander, Cantabria


Santander is a port city and a capital of Cantabria region situated in the north coast of Spain. Located east of Gijon and west of Bilbao, Santander is popular among Spanish visitors, but also with foreigners due to the sandy beaches, mountains and green spaces. Overall, Santander is not as crowded and popular among international visitors. Hence, it is a good time to visit the quiet authentic hidden gem of Spain. Did you also know that Santander is a pilot city for being smart city? Embedded with over 20,000 sensors around the city, Santander is working through a strategic city program developed by a government and funded by EU.

10 things to do in Santander, Cantabria

Things to do and see in Santander

1. Shop locally at Mercado de la Esperanza
Located behind the city hall, Mercado de la Esperanza is a 19th century iron building important for locals. In this bustling market which is open everyday apart from Sunday and Monday, you will find many authentic products, from seafood, meat, cheese, fruits and vegetables or local specialities. 
2. Visit the neoclassical square - Plaza Porticada
The Plaza Porticada or known as well as the Plaza de Pedro Velarde, is a square in Satander's city center, built in neoclassical style with beautiful statues. The plaza is now used for social and cultural entertainment.
10 things to do in Santander, Cantabria

10 things to do in Santander, Cantabria

10 things to do in Santander, Cantabria

3. Admire the grand historic catholic complex of Santander cathedral
This Roman Gothic complex of Santander cathedral was built back in 12th-14th century. Visiting this cathedral is unlike other cathedrals that we are used to. Santander cathedral has some nice ancient statues and majestic courtyard. Just in front of the cathedral is a cute coffee shop where you can sit outside and admire the views on the cathedral.

4. Get inspired by modern art at Centro Botin 
Centro Botin is an arts centre located on the waterfront of Santander. This modern building designed by Renzo Piano is a museum displaying modern art as well as gorgeous views from its rooftop. The place serves as well as an education center for arts, culture and science. The entrance fee for an adult to a museum is just 4 euros. 
10 things to do in Santander, Cantabria
10 things to do in Santander, Cantabria

10 things to do in Santander, Cantabria
5. Have a walk or hire a bike around the Paseo de Pereda promenade
Pase de Pereda promenae is a long main street at the waterfront of Santander. Connecting the art museum, old city center all the way to the port. Don't forget to stop by the Los Raqueros statues, designed by Jose Cobo. These statues of children indicated orphans or designates marginal children who are jumping to the sea whenever someone threw a coin into the sea, and this is how they are making their living.

6. Make a circle around the Magdalena Peninsula
The Magdalena Peninsula is located near the entrance to the bay of Santander. The historical Palacio de la Magdalena is located in the peninsula surrounded by gardens, mini zoo, two beaches and a lighthouse. All is designed as a cultural heritage site. 
The Palacio de la Magdalena is a palace built in 1909 and 1911, serving as a Spanish Royal Family summer palace, now used as a place for cultural and entertainment events.

7. Stroll around 2km long sandy Sardinero beach
Despite of many other beaches that Santander has, Sardinero is one of the popular and longest beach in the city. Spinning across 2km, it is divided by the gardens of Piquio along the way. The beach features sandy beaches and moderate waves, popular my locals due to many hotels, restaurants and casino running on the entire length of the beach promenade. 
                       10 things to do in Santander, Cantabria
                        10 things to do in Santander, Cantabria
10 things to do in Santander, Cantabria

8. Hike up to Faro de Cabo Mayor lighthouse
The Cabo Mayor lighthouse is located far west from the Sardinero beaches. Hike up for beautiful scenery and atmosphere, located with public parks, golf, cliffs and beaches.

9. Visit Santander's beautiful parks
Santander is such a green city. Not only it is located near the sea, but it has so many public gardens and parks that are taken care of. Such as Matalenas park, Mesones park or a park behind Camello beach. 

10. Eat Cantabrian cuisine
Santander is a capital of Cantabria, hence you should try some of its typical dishes, like fried squids, marmita or cantabrian anchovies.
10 things to do in Santander, Cantabria
10 things to do in Santander, Cantabria

                            10 things to do in Santander, Cantabria

10 things to do in Santander, Cantabria

How to get around?

Central of Santander is easy to explore on the foot. However, the city is well connected by buses, which you can take to El Sardinero for 1.30 euros one way. Buy your us ticket directly in the bus. Hence, get your cash ready for travelling.

In order to get to or from the airport to the city, there is an airport bus running every half an hour. From about 6:30 to 11pm. If you will arrive later or earlier, you will have to get a taxi. 

The airport is running every full or half o'clock or every 15'' or 45'' from the main bus station in the city, near the train station. The cost of the journey is 2.90 euros for one way. There is no two ways tickets available.

10 things to do in Santander, Cantabria

Where to stay?

During our stay, we stated in a hotel just on the main street of Santander - Calle Burgos. Airbnb or hotel choices are a bit limited in Santander. However, check Booking.com or Hotels.com for places to stay. 
10 things to do in Santander, Cantabria

Where to eat and drink?

Cantabrian cuisine includes a lot of seafood from the sea or typical Spanish tapas. Listed are few suggestions where to have your lunch or dinner:
  • Bodega Fuente De - a local Spanish restaurant
  • Bodega Del Riojano - a wine and tapas bar
  • Bar Abel - Mediterranean restaurant
  • Tabernna El Machi - a seafood restaurant
  • Restaurante La Cania - a restaurant located nearby the beach promenade
  • Regma - Ice-cream chain
  • Monerris - independent ice cream place
  • La Gallofa & Co - Great spot for bakery, coffee spot or brunches
10 things to do in Santander, Cantabria

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