The city: Santander
Santander is a city on the Cantabrian coast which forms one of the world's most beautiful bays, and which, along its splendid promenade, will take you to beaches of fine sand at El Sardinero and the magnificent Jardines de Piquío. There is plenty to see in Santander, as it has very interesting architecture which gets a particular mention in the city's highly prized cultural centres: the Museum of Prehistory, the Cantabrian Maritime Museum, and the Museo de Bellas Artes.
It is especially worth mentioning the Península de la Magdalena, where a royal palace was erected at the beginning of the 20th century, and where a forest and a beach can also be enjoyed by visitors. Still marked by the terrifying fire which destroyed almost the entire old part of the city, Santander is today a famous centre for exhibitions and a prime location for hosting and participating in trade fairs.
This attractive city, lapped by Cantabrian waters, enjoys mild temperatures, truly gourmet cuisine, festivals and traditions which remain as lively as ever, and a plethora of cultural and leisure activities.
Palacio de la Magdalena
The RoyalPalace, inaugurated in 1912, was built in an eclectic style highlighting British influence. It was the place for Royal summer holidays from 1913 to 1930 and was a gift from the town of Santander to its monarchs. Restored just a few years ago, it has recovered all of its splendour and now hosts summer courses run by the Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo.
Cantabrian Maritime Museum
This is a great 21st-century museum where you learn in a friendly atmosphere about marine culture. Visitors can observe sea life in a large aquarium. Whale skeletons, remains of galleons, models and fishing tackle put the finishing touches to a trip of great interest.
Located on the ground floor of the Palacio de la Diputación Regional, in a now larger setting, the museum displays invaluable exhibits due to the wealth of prehistoric relics that have been found in the region.
25th July (Semana Grande)
Santiago Apóstol de Santander. The capital's festival, which includes a complete Semana Grande of festivities. One of its main attractions is the Taurina show, in which the best bull-fighters of the time participate. Festival of Regional Touristic Interest.
19th May - Virgin of Sea
La Virgen del Mar. Patron saint of Santander, she is moved in a procession from the Parroquia de San Román de la Llanilla to her hermitage, located on a small island near the beach, where the traditional procession “romería“ also takes place. This celebration, of a religious nature, attracts many an inhabitant of Santander, who, along with its mayor and the cathedral chapter, commemorate year after year the tradition of renewing their vows to the Virgin
According to tradition, an image of the Virgin appeared in the port of San Vincente de la Barquera on an Easter Tuesday in a boat with no oars, crew members or rudder. To commemorate this fact, the inhabitants, in particular seafarers, take part in a peculiar procession in which they escort their Virgin, dressed in her blue robe, through the streets of the town and then place her in a boat. A large number of boats go with the Virgin, all of them decorated with flowers and flags.