Biblioteca de Menéndez Pelayo


This vast old library with its beautiful wood-lined reading room was built in 1915 to house the 41,500 books bequeathed to Santander by local teacher, philosopher and poet Marcelino Menéndez Pelayo (1856–1912). Visits begin with a detailed video about the scholar’s life (available in English). Right behind the library stands his family home, the Casa-Museo de Menéndez Pelayo.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Santander attractions

1. Museo de Arte Moderno y Contemporáneo

0.02 MILES

Santander’s art museum offers an extensive eclectic collection spanning the 16th to 21st centuries. Much of it is secondary Spanish art, though you’ll…

2. Casa-Museo de Menéndez Pelayo

0.03 MILES

The family home of celebrated local scholar Marcelino Menéndez Pelayo (1856–1912) stands directly behind the elaborate Biblioteca de Menéndez Pelayo,…

3. Mercado La Esperanza

0.13 MILES

Housed in a 19th-century cast-iron structure, the bustling Esperanza market is a lively slice of Cantabrian life. Shoppers throng two floors of stalls…

4. Catedral de la Asunción

0.28 MILES

Santander’s serene cathedral comprises two Gothic churches, one above the other. The 14th-century upper church, extensively rebuilt after the 1941 fire,…

5. Iglesia del Santísimo Cristo

0.28 MILES

Two superposed Gothic churches make up Santander’s cathedral. In the lower, older, 13th-century Iglesia del Santísimo Cristo, glass floors reveal…

6. Plaza Porticada

0.32 MILES

An elegant ensemble of 64 porticoes frames this handsome plaza, constructed in the aftermath of a 1941 fire that ravaged the city centre.

8. Jardines de Pereda


The pretty, recently refurbished gardens around the Centro Botín are named after 19th-century Cantabrian writer José María de Pereda, whose bronze effigy…