Must-see attractions in Cantabria

  • 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,…

  • Casa-Museo de Menéndez Pelayo


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

  • Cueva de Cullalvera


    The main draw at the Cueva de Cullalvera is the jaw-dropping vastness of the cave itself (enhanced with some rather overdone light and water displays)…

  • Museo Marítimo del Cantábrico


    Find out all about Cantabria’s long seafaring history at Santander’s maritime museum, 800m east of the Puerto Chico marina. The four floors cover all…

  • Playa de Mataleñas


    Tucked deep between two rocky headlands just north of El Sardinero, this tiny golden cove gets packed during the summer months. From the northern end of…

  • 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…

  • Santuario de Montesclaros


    Signposted from Arroyo, 12km southeast of Reinosa, this tranquil monastery has a fine site overlooking the Ebro valley and a history going back to at…

  • Fuerte de San Martín


    Santoña is dominated by two fortresses, the most accessible of which is the imposing, horseshoe-shaped Fuerte de San Martín, built in the early 17th…

  • Fuerte del Rastrillar


    The dwindling remains of this 16th-century fortress crown La Atalaya hill above the Puebla Vieja, accessed by a steep but quick 500m track. From the…

  • Castillo del Rey

    San Vicente de la Barquera

    San Vicente’s 13th-century castle, one of Cantabria’s best preserved, rises near the top of the old part of town. Sights inside are limited, and exhibits…

  • Banco Santander


    You can’t miss the splendid 1875 Banco Santander building – notable for its giant arch in the middle – across the street from the Jardines de Pereda. The…

  • Iglesia de San Cristóbal


    Comillas’ main church was constructed in the 17th century – the townspeople, offended, paid for it from their own pockets after the Duque de Infantado’s…

  • Túnel de Laredo


    Built in 1885, this cavernous 220m tunnel at the eastern end of town leads under La Atalaya hill to a rugged seafront lookout point. It was originally…

  • Plaza de Pombo


    Lined with trees, ringed with cafes and sporting a gazebo in its centre, this long, rectangular plaza is one of Santander's most popular public spaces…

  • Iglesia de Santa María


    A Spanish national monument since 1931, the impressive 13th-century Iglesia de Santa María sits at the top of the Puebla Vieja, housing a beautiful 15th…

  • Museo de la Tortura

    Santillana del Mar

    This grisly exhibition displays more than 70 grim instruments of torture and capital punishment used by the Inquisition and elsewhere in Europe. You may…

  • Puente de la Maza

    San Vicente de la Barquera

    The eastern inlet bordering San Vicente, the estuary of the Río Escudo, is spanned by the long, low-slung, 15th-century Puente de la Maza.

  • Plaza de Cañadío


    The epicentre of Santander's nightlife scene, Plaza de Cañadío is packed with bars and restaurants that keep buzzing into the wee hours.

  • Plaza Porticada


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

  • Playa de Ostende


    Of Castro’s two beaches, the northern Playa de Ostende is the more attractive: a soft golden arc sprinkled with a few outcrops.

  • Playa de Brazomar


    At the southern end of town, this wide sandy stretch of urban beach gets a bit of surf.

More destinations you need to see