If you’re visiting Spain for the first time, be warned: this is a country that fast becomes an addiction. It is a magnet for travelers all over the world. The Spanish way of life is irresistible! It’s impossible not to warm to a culture where food, wine, family and friends take priority over almost everything else. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself hooked by something quite different… the wild celebration of some local fiesta, perhaps, or the otherworldly architecture of Barcelona. Even in the best-known places to visit, from Madrid to the coasts, from the high Pyrenees to the Moorish cities of the south. There are genuinely surprising attractions at every turn, whether it’s hip restaurants in the Basque country, the wild landscapes of the central plains, or cutting-edge galleries in the industrial north. Soon, you’ll notice that there is not just one Spain but many.
  • Santander is an elegant city which extends over a wide bay with views of the Cantabrian Sea. Its historic quarter includes a group of majestic buildings which are situated against an incredible natural backdrop of sea and mountains. Its marine and commercial tradition is linked to a century old history of tourism, which has its main attractions in the famous El Sardinero beach, the promenade and the La Magdalena peninsula. The cultural wealth of the Cantabrian capital is enriched with the passage of the Pilgrim’s Road to Santiago de Compostela and the neighbouring Altamira Caves, both of which have been declared World Heritage.

    Santander is a city in which the mixture of its various vocations, seafaring, commercial and tourism traditions, remains patent. The city’s origin is related to the Portus Victoriae founded by the Romans. However, the capital’s urban development was not to come about until the XI c. when the town began to grow around the San Emeterio abbey. From its Latin name, Sancti Emeterii, comes the current name of Santander. During the XVIII and XIX centuries, the city became a key trading port for the maritime routes between Castile and the American colonies. From around the middle of the XIX century, Santander became one of the most exclusive summer tourist destinations on the northern coast of the Iberian peninsula.The Paseo de Pereda, with its typical houses with miradors, and its gardens constitutes a lively boulevard which separates the coastal strip from the historic quarter of Santander. The nearby Cathedral is one of the oldest buildings in the capital, its earliest construction dating from the XIII c.

    Situated halfway between the sea and the mountains, Santander has a particular mixture of ingredients in its gastronomy. From the sea come the characteristic rabas (fried squid), bocartes rebozados (breaded whitebait), and fresh shellfish. The interior provides excellent beef and a dish which is emblematic of the entire region, cocido montañés (a stew made of beans, meat and cabbage). Desserts includes quesada (cheesecake) and sobaos pasiegos (sponge cakes made with butter, flour and eggs).

    The traditional northern route of the Pilgrim’s Route to Santiago de Compostela runs along the Cantabrian coast, crossing picturesque towns such as Castro Urdiales, Santoña, Suances, Comillas, San Vicente de la Barquera or Santillana del Mar. A few kilometres from this town are the Altamira Caves, which have been declared World Heritage. Considered the “Sistine Chapel of Paleolithic Art”, they contain some of the most important cave paintings of Quaternary art.