playas de santander

Santander Tourism: Essential things to see, do and eat

Santander, is the city that every afternoon, summer or winter, forces you to consider the need for a sweater.

For many it is the most beautiful city in Spain, for us it is the most beloved, summer city for Madrilenians and the one that keeps the most memories.

Santander offers activities and leisure for all tastes, for all ages and all months of the year, not only in summer. More and more young couples or groups of friends choose Santander to spend a nice weekend at any time of the year. Here every season has its charm and it is a luxury, in the middle of winter, to see the snow-capped mountains as a backdrop to the bay or to eat a good hot stew in any of its many restaurants.

Where to eat amazing

Going from bar to bar for tapas is a must in this city, as is having an aperitif:

  • El Diluvio. The oldest in Santander, highly elaborate pinchos. Imagination and creativity overflow in mini-sized dishes. If you don’t know which one to choose, the best option is to let the waiter choose for you. They always get it right!

  • Mesón Rampalay. Calle Daoiz y Valverde, 9, 39003 Santander, Cantabria. A legendary restaurant, you will find a bar full of pinchos, including “solomillo al vino”, “tortilla”, “Hamburguesita”. Delicious.

  • Bodega Fuente De. Calle de la Peña Herbosa, 5, 39003 Santander, Cantabria. From the outside it goes unnoticed, but the delights of this bar are worth a visit. It is known for its cocidos, both the cocido montañés and the cocido lebaniego. Its portions are plentiful, of good quality and very economical. It is an informal bar but with excellent service. We recommend the pincho de queso picón.

  • Casa Lita Paseo de la Pereda, 37, 39004 Santander, Cantabria. It is a bar with gourmet pinchos made at the moment and with a great variety. It is a mixture of tradition and modern cuisine at a good price. Pleasant atmosphere ideal for a few wines with friends or as a couple.

The standard of omelettes in the whole city is really high, the “omelette culture” of the north is impressive, but the TOP 1 is in the Cafeteria of the Botín Centre, where you can eat a tear-jerking omelette for 2.50€, as well as a great view.

Centro Botín Santander
Imagen: Illán Riestra Nava. Centro Botín Santander

For lunch or dinner, the range of good places to eat is so wide that here it is difficult to “eat badly”. The raw materials used in their preparations, products taken directly from the garden and fish from the Cantabrian Sea, are key:

  • El Marucho is the perfect example of how appearances can be deceiving. Located behind the Santander market, half hidden from prying eyes, this small tavern is more than 70 years old and is the emblem of Santander’s fishing tradition. Calle Tetuán, 21, 39004 Santander.

  • La Bodega del Riojano Calle Río de la Pila 5, 39003 Santander, Cantabria. One of the oldest and most traditional restaurants in Santander, founded in 1940. A cosy atmosphere and good quality products. Cuisine: Typical Cantabrian cuisine.

  • Bodegas La Conveniente Calle de Gómez Oreña, 9, 39003 Santander, Cantabria. It is located near the Plaza del Cañadío. It is a wide bodega with high ceilings, long tables and a live pianist. It is highly recommended to order the varied fried food and cheese platter.

If you decide to go out for a day out, take a look at these places:

  • El Tronky Bo. el Muelle, 39130 Pedreña. You can go by boat across the bay or by car. I recommend the boat, it takes only 10 minutes to get there and the ride across Santander is magnificent. This place was one of my favourites for years “lost, unknown, grilled fish and really nice. But since a famous instagramer recommended it on her social network and with this gift that she has that everything she touches turns it into gold (I won’t name names but she has just released a documentary on Netflix and she is a Santanderina). It has become the place of pilgrimage for a large part of Spain. Unless you book 7 months in advance you won’t find a table. Well, if you do get a reservation, you’ll enjoy it. Very much so. And if you have chosen the option of coming by boat you can drink as much as you want because you don’t have to drive, so be careful not to fall overboard.

  • La Cabañuca Granja Degustación: Barrio Llamias 26, 39150, Suesa (Cantabria). A great plan for the little ones. A different place and a great atmosphere. They have a lot of different breeds of hens, the children can feed them and choose the eggs that you prefer for eat.

Crazy about shopping!

The people of Santander are elegant and you can see that in their shops. The best place to go shopping is to start in Lealtad street, then Calvo Sotelo and finish in Paseo Pereda, here don’t forget to give yourself a little treat in the ice cream par excellence “Regma“, their ice creams are completely natural and it shows.

Also on this promenade you will find the confectionery “Máximo Gómez“, where you will find the best “Sobado Pasiego”, you will not find another one like it, so exquisite that you will want to eat it, buy it or give it as a present.

Walks with breathtaking views

Palacio de la Magdalena, splendid in its gardens, has a small free zoo, ideal for the little ones.

The beach of “El Puntal”, impossible to miss, is located in the middle of the bay of Santander and can be reached by the boats called “Predeñeras” that connect the north and south of the bay. It is of considerable length and undoubtedly has the best views of the city.

The other route takes you to the Santander Lighthouse where you will see exquisite views of the entire coastline of Santander.

Bahía de Santander
Bahía de Santander

Cultural events

Organised by the Escuela de Música Reina Sofía, the Encuentro de Música y Academia de Santander and the 17th Santander International Piano Competition, which celebrates its 43rd anniversary this year, is considered one of the most important in its speciality at international level. In barely a month and a half, a hundred concerts will take place (50 concerts in the Encounter plus another 50 in the Competition) in the most significant venues in Santander, such as the Palacio de Festivales or the Palacio dela Magdalena, and 22 towns in the Region. In addition to these two events, there is the Santander International Festival, with 61 concerts. They make the Cantabrian capital one of the essential European cultural events of the summer of 2024.

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