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Charming beaches

Portray of the Destination
Cantabria is a Spanish autonomous region consisting of just one province. Its boundaries are the Basque Country to the east, Castile and Leon to the south, Asturias to the west and the Bay of Biscay to the north. The main Cantabrian cities are on the coast, the most important being its capital Santander. Also on the coast we must mention the towns of Comillas, Laredo and Santillana del Mar.

Comillas is one of the most visited summer resorts in Cantabria. From Comillas it is possible to go to the vast Oyambre beach and to the “ria de la Rabia”, where hundreds of water birds live and make their nests. Comillas is famous for its modernist buildings. The best known monument is “ El Capricho” by Antoni Gaudi. The house, built between 1883 and 1889, for a relative of Antonio Lopez, is a yellow and green tile construction, with a tower resembling a minaret. Another interesting modernist building is the Universidad Pontificia, on a hill facing the sea, designed by the architects Joan Martorell and Lluis Domenech. The parish church and other stately mansions are some of the Comillas’ great attraction. In the surrounding area, Novales is a village of rural houses with a microclimate that makes it possible to grow orange and lemon trees.

Slightly inland, Santillana del Mar is a very beautiful town with an outstanding collegiate church. Suances has a great beach, good for surfers, and near Santander we find the natural park of Liencres Dunes.

Laredo, on the eastern coast, is no doubt one of the most important and beautiful tourist resorts in Cantabria. It is at a distance or 31.69 mi from Santander. Among its great attractions we can mention its wide beach, Salve, its night-life, a great hotel offer, cultural programs, the fest of San Roque or Port Day (August 16th) and the Battle of the Flowers (last Friday of August).

The Cantabrian Mountains (Cordillera Cantábrica in Spanish) to the south, joining the Picos de Europa to the southwest, and the Bay of Biscay to the north, make up the boundaries of Cantabria as well as its most remarkable geographical features. The mountain range plunges abruptly into the sea, broken perpendicularly by the river valleys. This forms a landscape of mountains and hills that lose height gradually from south to north, with short torrential rivers that flow into the Bay of Biscay in estuaries and bays.

These rivers and tributaries form, at the place where they meet the sea, beaches that give the final touch to this peculiar coastal geography, matchless in beauty and variety. Imposing cliffs line most of the Cantabrian coastline, interspersed with no less than 58 beaches which greatly vary in size, from the 5 kilometres of the Salve beach of Laredo to some small hidden coves, always of fine golden sand, like Prellezo, near San Vicente de la Barquera. This geography has an exception towards the west, in Picos de Europa, where the peaks are higher and lie closer to the coastline.

Just as impressive are the subterranean formations, with many of the biggest caves and chasms of Europe. Although any amateur mountain climber can try this mountain routes (depending on the weather conditions and the season), the subterranean ones are only accessible to highly prepared specialists. This remarkable region, with such a definite personality, has a special microclimate which makes possible to grow typical Mediterranean crops.

Thanks to the Gulf of Cantabria Stream, as well as the rest of the Cantabrian Region, it enjoys temperatures that are much milder than would correspond considering its latitude. The region has a humid oceanic climate, with mild summers and cool winters. Average annual rainfall is around 1200 mm along the coast, increasing towards the mountain areas.

The mean temperature is around 14 ºC (57.2 ºF). It often snows in the higher areas of Cantabria between the months of October and March. In some areas of the Picos de Europe mountains, above the 2500 m (8202 feet), there is a perennial snowfield. The driest months are July and August, although this does not mean dry weather, since there is always a small amount of rainfall and temperatures are never very high.

When to go
Due to the privileged climate conditions of the Cantabrian Coast, this beautiful region can be visited all year round.

The earliest archaeological remains discovered in the area are 100,000 years old. They are in El Castillo Castle in Puente Viesgo. The first registered reference to the name of Cantabria goes back to the year 200 b.C.. Most of the later references are from the beginning of the Cantabrian Wars against Rome in the year 29 b.C.. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Cantabria regained its independence from the Visigothic rule. During the last century of the Hispanic-Gothic history, Cantabria ceased to be a dangerous enemy.

During the 16th century the name “La Montaña” (The Mountain) referring to the old Cantabria, started to be used instead of Castile, both in popular and literary use. On July 28th, 1778, the Province of Cantabria was officially constituted. Then it was necessary to obtain the approval of King Charles III for the union of all in one province. This was achieved on November 22nd , 1779. The authorities of the City of Santander, which had accepted the name “Cantabria” for the newly created province, reacted to Laredo’s competence enforcing the use of the name “Santander” so that there would be no doubt as to which was the capital.

On February 20th, 1982, the first provisional Regional Assembly (now Parliament) was constituted. Since then, the name of “Province of Santander” was replaced by “Cantabria”, thus regaining its historic name. The first regional elections took place in the month of May, 1983.

Las Marzas”: festivity in the month of March, more precisely the last day of February or the first of March. This tradition started hundreds of years ago, maybe before the arrival of the Romans. It consisted in a group of young boys carrying sticks, baskets and bags who, in the evening, marched from house to house asking for a contribution in exchange for the songs they sang, which varied according to the season.

San Pedruco, in Comillas; San Roque, in Laredo; Battle of the Flowers, august, in Laredo. The festivity consists in a spectacular parade of floats decorated with flowers, which are the result of many months of work and many years of experience. A jury decides which one wins the price to the best float, based on artistic criteria. At night, the Beach of la Salve in Laredo sparkles with fireworks. Festival of regional tourist interest: The Parade of the Magi, January 5th, in Santillana del Mar.

Cantabrian coastline is some 150 km (93.2 mi) long, with a privileged natural scenery dotted with beaches, mountains and valleys. An authentic paradise, with seaside villages where you should stop to try the exquisite seafood and fresh fish from the Bay of Biscay. In locations such as Noja, Ajo, Laredo, Somo, Mogro, Suances and Comillas, it is possible to enjoy outdoors, during the summer, grilled local fish such as tuna, anchovies and sardines.

The cattle raising reputation of this region and the favorable conditions of its climate and mountains for cow pasturing, led the European Union to approve the denomination “Cantabrian Meats” as a Protected Geographical Region for certain local breeds.

Fish and seafood: Santona, Laredo and Castro Urdiales anchovies, hake, sole, mackerel, sardine, anchovy, “bonito del norte” (tuna), gilthead, sea-bream, scorpion fish, red mullet, besides river fish like trout and salmon. Rabas (squid rings fritters) and cachón (cuttlefish) in its own ink.

As to seafood, we can mention: clams, mussels, cockle fish, “muergos” (razor shells), velvet swimming crabs, spider crabs, barnacles, scampi, lobster, winkles or European lobsters.

Desserts: “Sobaos pasiegos” (rich butter cupcakes), “quesadas pasiegas”, “frisuelos” (crepes) in the Liebana region, “corbatas” in Unquera, “polkas” in Torrelavega (both basically puff pastry) and “pantorrillas” in Reinosa (lemon flavoured filled cakes). Cheeses: “picon” cheese from Bejes-Tresviso, “quesuscos” (soft cheese) from Liebana, “queso de nata” (hard cheese), etc. (many of them with denomination of origin).

Drinks: Apple cider and “orujo” (alcoholic beverage distilled from grapes) from Liebana, with its different varieties: cream of orujo, orujo with honey, herb orujo, etc. A varied cuisine to please every gourmet.

Basic Dictionary
YES: si. NO: no. HELLO: hola. GOOD BYE: adios. GOOD MORNING: buenos días. GOOD AFTERNOON: buenas tardes. GOOD NIGHT: buenas noches. PLEASE: por favor. SORRY: lo siento. THANK YOU: gracias. DOCTOR: médico. PHARMACY: farmacia. NUMBERS: 1: un. 2: dos. 3: tres. 4: cuatro. 5: cinco. 6: seis. 7: siete. 8: ocho. 9: nueve. 10: diez. 11: once. 12: doce. 13: trece. 14: catorce. 15: quince. 16: dieciséis. 17: diecisiete. 18: dieciocho. 19: diecinueve. 20: veinte. 21: veintiuno. 22: veintidós. 30: treinta. 40: cuarenta. 50: cincuenta. 60: sesenta. 70: setenta. 80: ochenta. 90: noventa. 100: cien. 1000: mil. DAYS OF THE WEEK: MONDAY: lunes. TUESDAY: martes. WEDNESDAY: miércoles. THURSDAY: jueves. FRIDAY: viernes. SATURDAY: sábado. SUNDAY: domingo. COMMON WORDS: BIG/SMALL: grande/pequeño. HOT/COLD: caliente/frío. OPEN/CLOSED: abierto/cerrado. GOOD/BAD: bueno/malo. NEW/OLD: nuevo/viejo. PUSH/PULL: empujar/tirar. ENTRANCE/EXIT: entrada/salida. LADIES/GENTLEMEN: señoras/señores. FAR/NEAR: lejos/cerca. LEFT/RIGHT: izquierda/derecha. TAXI: taxi. BUS: autobús. MEALS: BREAKFAST: desayuno. LUNCH: comida. DINNER: cena. MENU: menú. WINES: vinos. DESSERT: postre. THE BILL: la cuenta. COMMON SENTENCES: DO YOU SPEAK ENGLISH?: ¿Habla inglés?. I DON'T UNDERSTAND: no entiendo. WHERE IS IT?: ¿donde está? HOW MUCH IS IT: ¿Cuánto es? WHAT TIME IS IT: ¿Qué hora es? COULD YOU HELP ME: ¿Puede ayudarme?

The local currency is the Euro, divided into 100 cents. The bankinotes are: 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5 Euros. The coins are: 1 and 2 Euros and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cent.

Currency Exchange
1 Euro (EUR) = 1.20 Dollar (USD); 1 Euro (EUR) = 0.68 Pounds sterling(GBP).

Compared with other countries of the European Union and maybe due to its strong emphasis on tourism, Spain is one of the less expensive countries when it comes to travelling. Prices obviously vary depending on the time of the year, being higher in the summer and lower in the winter.

Useful Info

Official name
Kingdom of Spain
Time Zone
+1 GMT
Official Language
Surface area
Laredo: 13 km ² (5 sq. mi), Comillas: 19 km² (7.3 sq. mi), Santillana del Mar: 28.2 km2 (10.8 sq. mi)
Laredo: 13,115 inhabitants, Comillas: 2289 inhabitants, Santillana del Mar: 3956 inhabitants.
Political Regime
Constitutional Monarchy
Public holidays
January 1st: New Year; January 6th: Day of the Magi (Epiphany); March 19th: Saint Joseph; March or April: Maundy Thursday and Good Friday; May 1st: Labour Day; May 26th: Corpus Christi; August 15th: Assumption of the Virgin; October 12th: National Day of Spain; November 1st: All Saints Day; December 6th: Day of the Spanish Constitution; December 8th: Day of the Immaculate Conception; December 9th: Santa Leocadia; December 25th: Christmas.
Just as the rest of Spain, the Cantabrian Coast is mainly Catholic, as can be observed in the festivities calendar of the region.
90% Catholic
Arrival / Departure
In the Cantabrian autonomous region, it is necessary to make use of different means of transport in order to adequately enjoy the diverse aspects of its cultural, artistic and entertainment activities. For this purpose, if you do not own a car, it will be necessary to make use of public or hired transport service to take you to the different places you want to visit. Means of transport connecting Cantabria with the rest of Spain do so mainly through the capital city, Santander. From there it is possible to go to Laredo, Santillana del Mar and Comillas by bus or by car.
Taking into account the importance that tourism has in Spain, the security of tourists is a true priority for the country. However, some general recommendations are given to the visitors like carrying the required money when going out and not the total amount taken for the holidays, also precautions need to be taken in busy places to prevent possible thefts.
European Union tourists do not need visa to enter Spain. Neither those citizens of the United States, Argentina, Mexico, Brazil and the rest of the Latin American countries, though a return ticket must be bought. Travelers from Australia, Anguilla, Bermuda, Canada, Cyprus, South Korea, Hong Kong, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Israel, Japan, Macao, Malaysia, Montserrat, New Zealand, Saint Helena, Singapore and Turk & Caicos do not either need visa provided that they do not stay more than 90 days in Spain.
Clothing varies according to the season, place and circumstance. People in Spain do not dress very formally to work or to share leisure time with others; most of the time they wear comfortable, casual clothes, but do not forget that during the month of January you will need warm clothes.
Sockets are, in general, for two round pin plugs.
Radio and Television
National TV channels: TVE1, TVE2, Antena 3, Tele 5 anc Cuatro. Regional channels include among others: ALTAMIRA TELEVISION 30, web page: www.altamiratv.com, Muriedas; Localia Televisión Cantabria 22, web page: www.localiacantabria.tv, Santander; TELE CASTRO, local private television for the Castro-Urdiales area, web page: www.telecastro.es.org, Castro Urdiales.

As to radio stations: RNE, Cadena SER, Cadena 100, Radio Clásica, Cadena COPE, Onda Cero, 40 Principales.

Spain’s code is 34 and the Cantabria code is 942. To make international phone calls you must first dial 00 and then the country code and the telephone number. Calls within Spain do not require the use of a special code.

The main operators are Amena (web page: www.amena.com), Movistar-Telefónica Móviles (web page: www.movistar.tsm.es) and Vodafone (web page: www.vodafone.es). It is easy to find public telephones in the streets, which operate with coins or cards that can be bought. It is also easy to find the so called “locutorios” which are simply little establishments with many telephone booths where you can make phone calls with no need of coins or cards, paying for the call in cash once you have finished talking. In these places, among other things, it is possible to send and receive faxes and you can find computers to connect to the Internet paying as you use them.
942 273 058
Fire Brigade
Tourist health care services
Newspapers and Magazines
All the main newspapers from Spain, like Abc, El Mundo, El País, Estrella Digital, La Razón, La Vanguardia, are available in the area. There are also important regional newspapers such as: EL DIARIO MONTAÑES, web page: www.eldiariomontanes.es and ALERTA, web page: www.eldiarioalerta.com.

As to magazines: “Época”, “Semana”, “Interviú”, “Primera Línea” and “Tiempo de Hoy”.
Postal Service
The Spanish Postal Service is efficient. Letters within Europe usually take between three and five days. Sending a special delivery costs no less than 2.5 euros. Opening hours are from 8.30 AM to 8.30 PM. Saturdays from 8.30 AM to 1 PM.

International postal service such as Fedex or UPS is also available.

The main post offices are located in:

Laredo- PADRE IGNACIO EYACURIA, 14, telephone: 942 606 192.
Santillana del Mar- RAMON PELAYO, 3, telephone: 942 818 040.
Comillas- MARQUES DE COMILLAS, 28, telephone: 942 720 095

Health Care Services
Health care centres, as well as in all Spain, offer a permanent health assistance to all the population in their corresponding zone. These services give a direct and comfortable care to the user. Spain has signed a reciprocal health assistance agreement with the rest of the countries of the European Union in order to provide health care to all the EU tourists just showing an E-111 document. This document must be done before travelling.
Cantabria is served by the Santander International Airport, known as Parayas, located in the Camargo municipality. Nowadays the Santander Airport has direct connections with Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Alicante, Valencia, Malaga, Palma de Mallorca, Las Palmas of Gran Canaria, Rome, London and Frankfurt. The companies operating there are Iberia, L.A.E. and Ryanair. The last mentioned has made it possible to notably increase air traffic in the Cantabrian airport, which is now one of the airports in Spain with the greatest percentage of growth in number of flights and passenger traffic.

Santander Airport, Parayas Ave. n/n, Maliano. Telephone: 942 202 100.
Public Transport
The destinations of the Cantabrian coast are connected by highways, railways and seaways. There is an airport in Santander, the capital, and from there you can reach every village or town on the coast: Laredo, Comillas and Santillana del Mar, by bus or train. The entire region is very well connected, since the tourist routes often include many of the cities, towns or villages. At the same time in each of them there is a good bus and taxi service.
Just as the road transport, the railway in this region is also structured along two lines. A narrow gauche railway along the coastline is operated by FEVE, with a service that is mostly short distance although it also transports local products to the port of Santander. On the other hand, RENFE also transports passengers and cargoes but along the line connecting with Madrid, which is broad gauche.

RENFE suburban service, C1: Santander-Reinosa.
Long distance: Santander-Valladolid, Santander-Madrid.
Address of the nearest railway station: Plaza de Estaciones, s/n. Santander Station, platform 1. City of Santander. Telephone: 942 240 202.

FEVE Suburban services: Santander-Torrelavega-Cabezon de la Sal, Santander-Solares-Lierganes.
Long distance: Santander-Bilbao, Santander-Oviedo.
Address of the nearest railway station: Plaza de Estaciones, s/n. Santander. Telephone: 942 209 522.
The nearest bus stations are the one in Laredo: Reconquista de Sevilla 1, Telephone 942 604 967; bus lines operating: Enatcar Group, Interurbana de Autocares, Rutas del Cantábrico, Viacar; and the one in Santander in Navas de Tolosa s/n, Telephone 942 211 995.
Road connections in Cantabria are structured along two main axis: one parallel to the Bay of Biscay and the other connecting the region to the Meseta (Iberian Plateau).

Car Rentals
The main car rental companies in Cantabria are in Santander:

AUTOTURISMOS TUCAN, Inés Diego de Noval Ave. 31 -39012- SANTANDER (CANTABRIA). Tel. 942 392 771.

AVIS RENT A CAR, Nicolás Salmerón 3 -39009- SANTANDER (CANTABRIA). Tel. 942 227 025.

HERTZ, Parayas Airport Ave. n/n (MALIAÑO) 39600 CAMARGO (CANTABRIA). Tel. 942 254 144.

However, it is possible to make a reservation with the main rental companies through the web, from the place where you are staying.
The municipalities of Comillas and Laredo have fishing ports. The one in Laredo is also a marina. These towns do not have a port that enable the arrival of passengers by this means of transport. Access to the Cantabrian Coast by this means of transport is only possible through the port of Santander.
Taking pictures
There are no restrictions on taking pictures.
See climate
Currency converter
A dinner
Between 15 and 30 Euros.
A coffee
1 euro.
The Bus
1 Euro.
The taxi
Initial fare: 1.10 Euros (standard); 1.44 (night); 1.65 (public holidays).
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Sunrise in the old port, Laredo. Picture by: Caren
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2006 One Planet Travel - 05 Feb 2016
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