Sixteen kilometres west of Santillana through verdant countryside, Comillas is set across hilltops crowned by some of the most original and beautiful buildings in Cantabria. For these, the town is indebted to the first Marqués de Comillas (1817–83), who was born here as plain Antonio López, made a fortune in Cuba as a tobacco planter, shipowner, banker and slave trader, and then returned to commission leading Catalan Modernista architects to jazz up his hometown in the late 19th century. This, in turn, prompted the construction of other quirky mansions in Comillas. Adding to the town's charms are a lovely golden beach, a tiny fishing port and a pleasant, cobbled old centre.


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