Santander, Spain, is not as widely known as other Spanish regional capitals, but it should be. It’s right in the middle of the northern coast of Spain, and it’s simply a stunning city. Not only do you get all the benefits of being in a coastal city, but there are tons of cultural experiences to be had and beautiful sites to be seen.
What to Do
You cannot go to Santander without visiting the beach! There are many beaches within a 30-minute walk from the center, but Playa del Sardinero is probably the best one to check out. It’s a blue flag beach so you know it’s top-notch, but really any beach you find will provide a fantastic experience since the water is just so beautiful.
The Palacio de La Magdalena is one of the most iconic sites in Santander. It was built over 100 years ago for the Royal family and is now open to everyone.
You’ll see that the architecture is very traditional for the region, and it’s truly gorgeous. It’s located on the Magdalena Peninsula just a little bit outside the center, but is very accessible!
While you’re at the peninsula, stick around and check out all that is has to offer! It’s a great place to take a walk next to the shoreline, and it’s covered in trees so it really makes you feel like you’re in nature. There are also tons of parks and even a zoo there, so go explore outside of the center!
Not only is the Faro de Cabo Mayor an important spot to visit in Santander, but it also gives you some of the best views of the city!
The faro is a lighthouse that was built in 1839, and it’s just about 300 feet above sea level. Climb to the top and witness this incredible city from a bird’s eye view.
A really cool place in Santander is called the Centro Botin, which is a contemporary art museum that was only created in 2014! The building is a crazy, fantastical and futuristic and inside you can see tons of international art that are just as incredible as the building they’re housed in.
What to Eat
Spanish cuisine is so robust and delicious. Depending on what you’re style is, there are many options to choose from in Santander.
One of the most famous places to go to get food is the Mercado de la Esperanza. There you will find tons of different stalls selling local produce, cheeses, meats, fresh seafood and fish, and more.
Not only is it a beautiful building that was built all the way back in 1904, but if you happen to love to cook, load up there and you’ll make yourself a great meal!
Since Santander is on the coast, you really should try the seafood. One of the most famous dishes you will find are baked sardines, which are beautiful and large, not anything like you’ve seen in a can. They’re super fresh and flavorful, so give them a try.