Santander, a Gem of Northern Spain, and its Beaches

The place we’re taking you to today presents a scene you’ll find few places elsewhere in the world: an elegant palace flanked by cliffs on one side and a wide expanse of beach on the other. Plus just minutes away you’ll find extensive gardens and a vibrant city, capital of the vibrant Cantabria region of green northern Spain.

In elegant, historic Santander, both mountains and sea loom large. And when it comes to the latter, the most popular beach zone is downtown’s golden-sand Playa del Sardinero, running from the Avenida Reina Victoria along a pleasant promenade to the even longer Playa del Sardinero II, with stops along the way including the gracious, 105-year-old Gran Casino Sardinero and the Piquío Gardens with their promontory overlook.

Another must-visit in town is the Palacio de la Magdalena, inaugurated for the Spanish royal family in 1911 and notable as much for its setting alongside sheer sea cliffs as the elegance of its architecture. Across from the palace a couple of other worthwhile spots for a visit are the Playa de los Bikinis with its fine golden sand and the Palacete del Embarcadero, a quirky little building of the 1930s now used as an exhibitions venue.

Santander Bay, for its part, is one of the prettiest in Europe, and home to landmarks from the aforementioned Magdalena Palace to the Grúa de Piedra, an industrial shipping crane installed 121 years ago, long retired, and four years ago renovated as a historic landmark. And while strolling along here, be sure to stop on Calle Castelar, a street filled with nice outdoor cafés to enjoy a cold one and a tapa with fantastic views.

After sundown, meanwhile, the area of Plaza de Cañadío and nearby streets like Calle Daoiz, Calle Velarde, and Calle Santa Lucía heat up for a fun night out.

Cantabria’s capital, in short, is a pretty cool package, and one you can easily access by checking out cheap Iberia flights – so c’mon up for a summer getaway to remember!

Photo: El Coleccionista de instantes