Cantabria is a region in the north bordered by Basque Country and the Bay of Biscay. It hosts an abundance of mountain ranges, over 60 fine white sand beaches, and multiple historical sights. Though thoroughly enjoyed by nature lovers, Cantabria can be appreciated by every kind of traveler as it offers a variety of sights and adventures. Some might consider it the “road less traveled,” but with so much to offer, you will want to keep coming back! Smart Insiders is here to help you navigate Cantabria’s stunning coastal sights with our top 3 Must-See sites listed below.
Santander is the capital city of the Cantabria region — an elegant city with astonishing beaches and marvelous sights that will surely tickle your fancy. Check out our top three sites in Santander!
The Palace of La Magdalena is one of the most frequently visited places in Santander. The emblematic palace was gifted to King Alfonso by the Santander City Council when he married Victoria Eugenia in 1906. The royals used this impressive monument as their summer residence from 1913 to 1930; today, visitors can visit Santander’s most iconic building and learn about its history.
Centro Botín is another main attraction in the region. It is an arts and culture center situated on the water’s edge that regularly hosts various art exhibitions. Appreciate contemporary masterpieces with glorious views of the coast in this unique museum.
Playa de Sardinero is the most frequently visited beach in Santander. With a relaxed atmosphere and golden sands to match, sit back, relax and enjoy the good life!
Comillas is a charming little town with luscious hilltops and a long crescent beach, making it a must-see in Cantabria. Here you will find historic architecture, ancestral mansions, and plenty of scenic spots.
El Capricho, designed by the renowned Antonio Gaudí, is a perfect example of the town’s rich architectural value. El Capricho is a quirky modernist masterpiece by the world-renowned architect, and it was constructed for his good friend, Maximo Diaz de Quijano, the brother-in-law of the Marquis of Comillas. Today, it is considered to be one of the jewels of European modernism.
On top of the same hill, you will find the majestic Sobrellano Palace – the Marquis of Comillas’ extravagant neo-gothic residence. With a striking design and royal features, the palace is another excellent example of the town’s architectural heritage.
Want some beach action? The Playa de Comillas is a famous beach spot for tourists and locals – it is a wide, fine-sand beach with many restaurants and cafes, perfect for relaxing and recreational activities!
SANTILLANA DEL MAR
Jean-Paul Sartre once described Santillana del Mar as “the prettiest village in Spain”, and for good reason! With cobbled streets, traditional brick houses with flower-filled balconies, and quaint squares, Santillana del Mar mimics a European film set. Santillana del Mar is a historic town full of medieval jewels and has historical-artistic value as it hosts multiple ancient masterpieces. The preservation of these artworks exemplifies how much locals value this rich heritage.
The Cave of Altamira is known as the “Sistine Chapel” of cave art; it contains the most famous prehistoric paintings in the world. Legendary among historians, the prehistoric paintings were first discovered by an amateur archaeologist, Marcelo Sautuola, who was criticized for being a fraud. Although later, scientists proved his theory correct; these paintings were created by a prehistoric man roughly 14,000 years ago.
Named after Saint Juliana, whose relics rest in this location, the Colegiata de Santa Juliana is a beautiful Romanesque church that was declared a national monument. The church is not the grandest you will find, though it makes up for its size in the incredible details.