Its distinctly seaworthy character seduces the visitor. Located in the center of an extensive and beautiful bay, in Santander the urban environment meets the essence of Cantabria: sandy areas, cliffs and landscapes; nature, gastronomy and culture.
In this city, with just 200,000 inhabitants, tranquility is breathed. It is bustling but cozy, and its bay, facing south, one of its symbols of identity, is considered one of the most beautiful in the world.
The Cantabrian capital sits on hills and valleys, with steep streets, steep descents, wide avenues, coastal walks … The city revolves around its great natural harbor, used since antiquity.
It was one of the main points of departure of Castilian exports during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and retains stately homes, reminiscent of the splendor of that time, although it is a modern city due, in large part, to the great fire that in 1941 ravaged the capital Cantabrian leaving it practically reduced to ash.
Santander is experiencing a moment of cultural effervescence thanks to projects such as the Botín Center or the Cultural Ring that runs through the historic center. The Botín Center, perhaps in line with the Guggenheim effect, reflects the innovative attitude of the city.
It was inaugurated on the promenade in mid-2017 as an open space dedicated to art and creative development. Its privileged location allows you to enjoy the best views of the bay. It is a work of the prestigious Italian architect Renzo Piano, Pritzker prize of architecture.
In a short time, this space has become one of the most visited places in Santander. Not only is it a symbol of modernity, it also wants to become a benchmark in the world of culture. It is a multifunction space where not only works of art are exhibited, but also concerts and films are offered on a cinema screen located outside.
The Cultural Ring is a proposal conceived as a walk along a route that includes seven exhibition centers, within a radius of only 500 meters. The objective is to bring the culture and history of Santander closer to both neighbors and visitors.
The Archaeological Center of the Medieval Wall, under the square of Velarde, is part of this novel journey through the history of the metropolis, to know the evolution of the city since the Middle Ages; the anti-aircraft shelter, which recalls the experiences of the people of Santander during the air attacks they suffered during the Civil War; the Interpretation Center of the Old Docks, or the associated center of the Reina Sofia, in the former headquarters of the Bank of Spain.
The city has, in addition, a series of obligatory visits, like the cathedral, of long history, today formed by two superimposed churches of Gothic style; the palace of La Magdalena, the former summer residence of the kings of Spain, now the Menéndez Pelayo International University; the Porticada square, built after the fire of 1941, a meeting place for the Santander people and a stage for cultural shows, or the Gran Casino de El Sardinero. Without forgetting the Museum of Fine Arts, the Maritime Museum of the Cantabrian Sea or the Museum of Prehistory.
Santander is a city populated by green areas, such as the gardens of Pereda, La Magdalena, Mataleñas or Cabo Mayor. The latter is a route that runs from the end of El Sardinero beach to the lighthouse. Along the way, we will find small beaches, beautiful cliffs and parks.
The capital of Cantabria has managed to develop respecting its privileged natural environment, which is also recreational and sports space: sailing, rowing, surfing and scuba diving, golf, hiking or even climbing are sports that are practiced without leaving of the urban helmet.
A short distance from the city are the southern shore of the bay and the coastal strip that reaches the mouth of the river Pas, with some of the best beaches in the region. The northern coast, converted into a natural park, is steep and the ideal place for bird watchers.
A few kilometers away, in the municipality of Piélagos, is the Natural Park of the Dunes of Liencres, the most extensive dune system of the Cantabrian coast. To the south of the bay is Peña Cabarga, whose summit offers an impressive panoramic view.
Santander bet almost a decade ago for technology as a vehicle for growth and development. The Cantabrian capital is today a large urban laboratory in the field of IoT (Internet of Things), establishing itself as the first great smart city Spanish and one of the smartest cities in Europe.
The gastronomy It is one of the great attractions of Santander. In the downtown area, but also in the fishing district, the streets of Tetuán, Vargas and San Fernando, are concentrated some of the best restaurants and bars in the city.