Portray of the Destination
Santander is the capital of the autonomous region of Cantabria. Located on the north of Spain, in a wide bay named after it, on the coast of the Bay of Biscay, between the Cabo Mayor and the northeast area of the bay, with a promontory towards the east shaped by the Península de Magdalena. A quiet town, where the eleven urban beaches and the landscape surrounding them make it a perfect place to enjoy yourself and relax. It underwent a period of great urban development. Several hotels, inns, and cafés were built, also railways and streetcars that reached El Sardinero. Today it is still a fashionable city. The number of visitors increases every year while it is being consolidated as one of the main Spanish cities offering the visitor a wide variety of cultural events. We would like to thank the Santander City Council for the texts and photographs provided. Pictures by Manuel Álvarez.
The city of Santander is a municipality and port city, capital of the autonomous region of Cantabria, located on the northern coast of Spain between Asturias and the Basque Country. It borders on the towns of Santa Cruz de Bezada and Camargo and also closes the bay on the north. The Santander Bay is the most important estuary on the northern coast of Spain. Due to the influence of Santander and its urban development, almost half of the population of the region is concentrated in its surroundings.
The entrance to the bay is preceded by the El Sardinero inlet, where the Mouro Isle is located. The way to the inland is through a narrow sea passage between the Magdalena Peninsula -near which La Torre and Horadada isles are located, and the sandy area of El Puntal -a large longitudinal strip of beaches and dunes protecting the quiet internal waters of the bay. Several rivers flow into the Santander bay. The most important ones are on the south, where we find the Solía sea inlet. The waters of San Salvador river flow into the centre of the bay through the Astillero sea inlet. Into its riverbank the El Carmen (east) and Raos (west) estuaries flow, where the Cubas estuary is located (another name for the Miera river mouth).
The Miera river goes through the autonomous region of Cantabria and flows into the Bay of Biscay which is a branch of the North Atlantic Ocean. It travels around the Miera valley and gives it its name. Its torrential characteristics produces a strong erosion effect on this glacier-originated region, and also steep slopes. The water volume undergoes flooding periods and falls, a consequence of the intense deforestation that took place in past times to get charcoal. The lack of massive forests causes that, in the event of a flood, the vegetation will not keep the water. Therefore, a dragging of sediments suspended on the cloudy waters can be seen. As a result, the Santander bay is undergoing an accelerated filling (the Miera river is the main source of drinking water in the bay).
The Miera valley is located in the province of Cantabria (Spain) and the Miera river runs through it. They constitute a whole area and it is the narrowest of the Cantabrian valleys. The Santander bay was formed by rocky masses of plastic characteristics that breaks the strata upon it and finally spreads over it, generated during the alpine orogeny of the Tertiary period. Its materials are clay and salts (specially gypsum) from the Keuper that went up through existing faults. This movement generated an increasing of the number of faults and a important dragging of rocks from the upper layers.
Santander, like many coastal cities, houses a great number of seagulls, the Yellow-legged Gull being the commonest. The most abundant bird is perhaps the Feral Pigeon. Both species cause trouble to the city residents, so the City Council is taken measures to decrease or limit their flock.
Most of the Cantabrian land is under the influence of oceanic or Atlantic climate, its two main characteristics being the mild temperatures with a limited temperatures fluctuation, and also the abundance of rains distributed all through the year, with its peak in winter. This way, in Santander the average temperature in the coldest month (February) is about 9ºC (48ºF); the average temperature in the hottest month (August) is about 20ºC (68ºF) and total yearly rains are over 1.100 mm.
When to go
The privileged ocanic weather enhances the Santander coasts and makes this vital city an ideal destination to visit in any season. However, the summer becomes the peak season at the bay since it is at that time of the year that you will be able to enjoy its beautiful beaches at their utmost.
In Roman times the city was known as Portus Victoriae Iuliobrigensium. Its current name comes from St Emeterio who, according to the legend, was a martyr whose head was carried to the city in the 3rd century. In 1187, King Alfonso VIII appointed St Emeterio abbot as lord of the town and gave the village a jurisdiction of its own. In 1248, Santander took part (along with other Cantabrian villages) in the battle for the conquest of Seville, receiving as a reward a coat of arms having the images of Torre del Oro and the River Guadalquivir.
Santander was an important port to Castile at the end of the Middle Ages, also for the commerce with the New World. In 1755, Ferdinand VI gave Santander the title of City. In 1893, the cargo steamer Cabo Machichaco from Biscay was set on fire. It was illegally loaded with dynamite. It exploded at the port and as a result some 500 people died while they watched the extinction activities unaware of the danger. The terrible explosion destroyed most of the port area.
Later on, in 1940 a fire broke out and was rekindled by a strong Southern wind, it devastated the historical quarters of the city in two days. This time only one person died -a firefighter doing extinction work, though thousands of families lost their homes leaving the city in chaos. The fire destroyed most of the medieval quarter and its reconstruction was preceded by a process of urban renewal that changed part of the layout of the city. The need of housing an important number of homeless families motivated an urban expansion and an integral reshaping of Santander.
From the 1950s and 70s the urban growth became disorganized and speculative. The building of numerous cheap, fast-construction structures with no urbanization to house the working population started. In the last decades, the growth of Santander overflowed the city borders with small buildings dedicated to main and secondary housing (the latter being of greater importance).
El Sardinero area stands out as it changed its garden-city morphology to Santander residential and leisure area. The Nueva Montaña area, with industrial lands were recovered for residential and commercial activities, the Alisal hill, the Avenida Los Castros and the urban expansion along the northern slope of Vaguada de las Llamas.
In the 1980s, the port of Santander moved from downtown and during the last years Santander is trying to recover its southern riverbank facing the Santander Bay. Slowly, the port activities were relocated into the Puerto de Raos, except for the maritime passenger traffic that is centered at the maritime station opposite the Paseo de Pereda.
Until 1990, Santander development went together with the growing commerce with the Spanish colonies. It was the way out of most part of Castilian products. This economic boom caused a mercantile bourgeoisie to come up. It influenced the city’s urban development with the Ensanche de Santander (the Santander expansion area) and the creation of the resort-city of El Sardinero as a tourist resort for the high Spanish society at the beginning of the 20th century. During the reign of Alfonso XIII, Santander became the favourite tourist resort for the Spanish Court. Presently, the city is still an attractive tourist enclave on the North of Spain with beaches such as El Sardinero (2 km -1.24 miles- long) or Peninsula de la Magdalena.
The capital city of Cantabria celebrates its most important festival on July 25, the Santiago (St. James) festivity, though the fests and their noisy world of merry-go-rounds and carrousels last for 15 days, until the second week of August. During this month, the International Festivals of Music, Dance, and Theatre stands out as worthy of mention. It is held at a very modern building that today substitutes the traditional Plaza Porticada as a host for cultural events.
At the same time, other popular festivities are held at the San Roque park Auditorium, in the heart of El Sardinero. Santiago's bullfighting fair, with eight bullfights per season, is becoming more and more popular every year. The fame of Santander's international festivals is spreading throughout the world, from where many faithful visitors come to Santander every year in order to watch the first-class performances.
St Emeterio and St Celedonio patron saint’s day festivals take place on August 30th. The Virgen del Mar festivities are held in May, dating back to 600 years of history and tradition. Every year, the Virgen del Mar celebration takes place on the first Sunday after Whitsun and gathers thousands of people. Tradition holds that the Virgen del Mar showed up floating over the rocky coast. It is believed that it could be the statue of a virgin belonging to a ship. The first historical reference of the image is from 1315. In 1979 it was officially acclaimed as Santander's patron saint. The statue of the Virgin is a Gothic carving dating from the 13th or 14th century and keeps the iconographic tradition of the Romanic period.
Cantabria is a region with a rich legacy of history, art, and landscapes —sea, valleys with mild and warm microclimates, and green pastures that produce a great variety.
The Bay of Biscay provides the region with two of the most important characteristic foodstuff: fish and shellfish, remarkable due to their high quality. The sea cold waters offer barnacles, spider crabs, velvet swimming crabs, clams, fleshy lobsters, and exquisite scampi and triple-grooved shrimps. The squids from the Cantabrian shores have sublime scents and tastes. Sea bass, hake, scorpion fish, sardines... the bonito is the main ingredient of the most typical dish of the region: the sorropotún or marmita, similar to of the Basque marmitako but having its own particular touch. Sardines are a typical dish characteristic of fishing towns, roast and served on a simple wooden table. Some of the famous Cantabrian stews are based on fish - hake with green sauce, squids with onions in ink, clams stew. The beautiful Santander bay has an important wealth of sea species that make the local cuisine prestigious –mussels and razorshells among the seafood; sea bream, red mullets, anchovies, sea basses, and sardines among the fish. Santander’s cuisine is mostly marine, and the typical dish almejas a la marinera (clams in a sauce with tomatoes and wine) stands out.
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?
Euro. It is divided into 100 cents. There are 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, and 5 euros notebanks. There are coins of 1 and 2 Euros and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cent coins.
1 EUR (Euro) = 1.20 U$D (United States Dollar), 1 EUR (Euro) = 0.66 GBP (Sterling Pound)
When compared to other countries of the European Union, and maybe due to its long tourist tradition, Spains is one of the cheapest countries. Of course, prices vary according to the season, being more expensive in summer and cheaper in winter, that is, in the low season.
Kingdom of SpainTime Zone
+1 GMTOfficial Language
183,955 inhabitantsPolitical Regime
Constitutional MonarchyPublic holidays
January 1th –New Year; January 6th –Epiphany; March 19th - Sat. Joseph; May 1th – International Labour’s Day; August 15th – Holy Virgin's Assumption; October 12th – Spain’s National Day; November 1th – All Saint’s Day ; December 6th – Spanish Constitution’s Day;
December 8th – Immaculate Conception’s Day ; December 9th - St Leocadia; December 25: Christmas day.
Like the rest of Spain, the city of Santander is mostly Catholic and this is reflected even in the city's festival calendar.Religion
90 % CatholicsArrival / Departure
You can get to Santander by different means of transport. Santander Airport has added new flights to Frankfurt Hahn, London Stansted, and Roma Ciampino (Ryanair airlines); Air Nostrum has also added new lines. Some time ago, the only available flights went to Madrid and Barcelona. Due to high airfares, Cantabrian people usually go to the Bilbao airport, only one hour away from Santander by car. Additionally, a ferry connects Santander with Plymouth (United Kingdom). To get to Santander you can also use the Alsa and Continental-Auto bus lines and RENFE and FEVE railway services.Safety
Tourism is very important industry in Spain, so tourists’ safety is a real priority for this country.
However, the general advice usually given to visitors travelling abroad is still valid.
It is recommended to exchange only the money needed for each outing. Never take with you all the money you have. Be extremely cautious in places where crowds of people may gather in order to avoid your bag or personal property being snatched away.
The 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
Clothing changes according to the time of the year, the place, and the circumstances. Spaniards tend to wear casual clothing at work or while enjoying leisure time. Casual, comfortable clothes are most frequently used. But don't forget you must wear a warm clothing in January.Electricity
220V, 50 Hz. Usually, the sockets have two rounded-plugs.Radio and Television
The national television channels are TVE1, TVE2, Antena 3, Tele 5 and Cuatro. In Cantabria, the local television channels are ALTAMIRA TELEVISION 30, wwwaltamiratv.com
(MURIEDAS); Localia Televisión Cantabria 22, www.localiacantabria.tv
Regarding radio stations: RNE, Cadena SER, Cadena 100, Radio
Clásica, Cadena COPE, Onda Cero, 40 Principales. Local stations are: Altamira FM Radio Rabel
(Santander); Cadena Cien Santander (Santander); Cadena Dial Santander
(Santander); Cantabria Top FM Radio; COPE Santander (Santander); Kiss
FM (Torrelavega - Santander); M 80 Radio (Santander).Telephone
Spain’s national phone code is 34 and Santander’s phone code is 942. To make international phone calls you should dial firstly 00 and afterwards the country code and the phone number.
For phone calls within Spain no special code is needed. The most important operators are: Amena
); Movistar-Telefónica Móviles (www.movistar.tsm.es
) and Vodafone (www.vodafone.es
It is common to find public phone booths on the streets that work with coins or phone cards. You can buy them at “locutorios” –that is, establishments with several phone booths. There you will be able to make any phone call without using coins or phone cards; you pay in cash once you finish your phone call.
At the locutorios you can also send and receive faxes and find PCs with access to the Internet (this service is charged).
942 320605/Ambulance / Red Cross: +34 942 273058 Fire Brigade
080 942 333888Tourist health care services
112/ Health care emergencies 061 Newspapers and Magazines
You can find all the national papers, such as Abc, El Mundo, El País, Estrella Digital, La Razón, La Vanguardia. The local newspapers are EL DIARIO MONTAÑES (www.eldiariomontanes.es
) y ALERTA (www.eldiarioalerta.co
Among the magazines you can find : “Época”, “Semana”, “Interviú”, “Primera Línea” y “Tiempo de Hoy”.
The postal service is efficient. The mail sent within Europe take between 3 and 5 days to reach to their destination. A special delivery costs 2.50 Euros minimum. The opening hours go from 8.30 am to 8.30 pm. On Saturdays from 8.30 am to 1 pm. (www.correos.es
). It is also possible to access the international courier services such as Fedex or UPS.
These are the main post offices you can find in Santander:
EL EMPALME, S/N (CARREFOUR), phone +34 942 321440
AV. CASTAÑEDA, 17, phone +34 942 277060
ALFONSO XIII, S/N, phone +34 942 365519
CC. BAHIA DE SANTANDER (HIPERCOR), phone +34 942 352523
AV. PEDRO SAN MARTIN, 4, phone +34 942 336170
Health Care Services
The health care system in Spain is good. There are no warnings to be given about it.
The only precaution to be taken is against the harsh sunshine that can cause sunstroke.
In any case, there is an extensive network of health care centres all through the country where primary assistance and specialized treatment can be provided.
You can find the following health care centres in the city of Santander:
Hospital Marqués de Valdecilla, phone +34 942 202520
Hospital Cantabria, phone +34 942 202520
Hospital Santa Clotilde, phone +34 942 217711
Centro Médico Santander, phone +34 942 275222
Rapid Medical, phone +34 942 313000
The Santander airport is 5 km away from the town of Maliaño in the municipality of Camargo, on the west side of the bay. The air traffic is mainly related to scheduled both national and international flights.
Address: Avenida de Parayas, s/n; phone +34 942 202 100. Direct flights to Barcelona and Madrid are available.Public Transport
The city of Santander’s comprehensive bus service is called S.M.T.U. and includes sixteen bus lines that reach the city’s main destinations and its surroundings; the buses are scheduled to depart every fifteen minutes. There is also the City Tour line (only in summer). For more information about bus services: Edificio Ribalayagua, 2nd floor. Phone +34 942 200771 / +34 942 200689 / +34 942 200648.
You can also travel around the city by taking a taxi.
Some of the most important stops are:
Avenida Alfonso XIII, s/n, phone+34 942 211262
Plaza de las Estaciones, s/n, phone +34 942 222046
Tele Taxi Polígono de Raos, parcela E-1, phone +34 942 369191.
There is an important airport in the city of Santander. During the last years, many recycling and extension works have been undertaken in order to improve its facilities and services. Regarding the railway service, it is one of the best means of transport
One of the best ways to get de Santander is by using the railway service. National and regional services by RENFE and FEVE reach the city. At RENFE - Plaza de las Estaciones, phone +34 942 280202, services depart and arrive to the following destinations:
Regional: Bárcena de Pie de Concha, Las Caldas del Besaya, Las Fraguas, Los Corrales de Buelna, Reinosa, Renedo de Piélagos, Torrelavega.
National: Alicante, Ávila, Córdoba, Madrid, Málaga, Palencia, Valladolid.
At FEVE - Plaza de las Estaciones, phone +34 942 211687, services depart and arrive to the following destinations:
Regional: El Astillero, Cabezón de la Sal, La cavada, Liérganes, Maliaño, Torrelavega, Unquera.
National: Bilbao, Oviedo. Bus
You can also reach the city by bus. The bus station is located at Navas de Tolosa, s/n, phone +34 942 211995. These are national services:
Cantábrico, phone +34 942 361614;
Continental Auto (Logroño), phone +34 942 225318;
Enatcar (Alsa): Burgos, Madrid, phone +34 942 221685;
Fernández (Alsa), phone +34 942 221685.
Asturias, Llanes, Ribadesella, Arriondas, Infiesto, Oviedo, Gijón.
Basque Country: Santurce, Baracaldo, Bilbao, Eibar, Deva, Zarauz, San Sebastián, Irún, Vitoria, among others.
Astibús (Alsa): El Astillero, Nueva Montaña, Parayas, Primero de Mayo.
Licerbús (Alsa): La Albericia, Bezana, Ciriego, Corbán, Liencres, Mortera, Prezanes, San Cibrián, Soto de la Marina.
Arroyo: Monte. Both a regional and also an international service operate to and from Brussels, Geneva, London, Lyon, Paris, Zurich, and Praga.
The main Cantabrian highway is the A-8. You can get to Santander from Bilbao and Oviedo through the N-634 highway, from Palencia and Burgos through the N-611 highway or also through the N-623 Burgos-Madrid highway. Distances to the main cities:
Bilbao: 108 km
Oviedo: 207 km
Palencia: 201 km
León: 293 km
Madrid: 393 kmCar Rentals
You can find these car rental offices in Santander:
A. Rental Ciudad del Transportista, phone +34 942 324010
Alcar Atilano Rodríguez, phone +34 942 214706
Atesa Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola, phone +34 942 222958
Aeropuerto de Parayas, phone +34 942 251144
Avis Nicolás Salmerón, phone: +34 942 227025
Avis Aeropuerto, phone +34 942 251014
Europcar Plaza de Las Estaciones, phone 942 217817
Hertz Estación Marítima, phone +34 942 362821
Ital San Luis, phone +34 942 238485
The Britany Ferries España company, located at the Maritime Station, phone +34 942 360611 offers two weekly services: Santander—Plymouth, from mid March to mid September; one weekly service from mid September to mid November, and one weekly service Santander--Portsmouth from mid November to mid March.
There is also the Reginas’ motorboat service at the pier, phone +34 942 216753 offering regular services among Santander, Pedreña, and Somo all the year round. They also offer regular services to Playas del Puntal (summer) from Santander, tours along the bay making stops at Pedreña and Somo (summer); trips to the Cubas river (summer).
You can get more information and buy tickets at the Pedreña and Somo pier ticket offices..
Destination Tourism Office in Spain Spanish embassy in the destination Taking pictures See climate
www.worldweather.orgCurrency converterwww.xe.com/uccA coffee
€ 1The taxi
Initial fare = € 1.10 (standard); € 1.44 (at night); € 1.65 (public holidays)