Top things to do

Top Choice Museum in Altamira

Museo de Altamira

The museum’s highlight is the Neocueva, a dazzling, full-sized re-creation of the real Cueva de Altamira’s most interesting chamber, the Sala de Polícromos (Polychrome Hall), which is covered in exquisite, 15,000-ye…
Top Choice Arts Centre in Santander

Centro Botín

Santander's newest and splashiest landmark, this ambitious waterfront arts and cultural centre opened to great fanfare in June 2017. Designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, the distinctly modernist building encom…
Top Choice Church in Southern Cantabria

Iglesia Rupestre de Santa María de Valverde

Dating back to the 10th century or earlier, Santa María de Valverde is the Ebro Valley's largest iglesia rupestre (rock-cut church). Written accounts from 978 AD describe it as a simple one-nave affair; a late 12th-…
Top Choice Historic Building in Comillas

Palacio de Sobrellano

In hillside parkland stands the Marqués de Comillas’ fabulous neo-Gothic palace. With this 1888 building, Modernista architect Joan Martorell truly managed to out-Gothic real Gothic. On the 25-minute guided tour (in…
Top Choice Cave in Eastern Cantabria

Cueva de Covalanas

Discovered in 1903 (second only to Altamira among Cantabrian caves with prehistoric artwork), the Unesco World Heritage–listed cave of Covalanas is home to several breathtakingly beautiful red-hued paintings of deer…
Top Choice Tapas in Santander

Casa Lita

Pack into ‘the house of pinchos’ amid crowds of stylish santanderinos and brick walls plastered with early-20th-century Santander posters. You’ll be lucky to score a table. Classic Iberian ham and local cheese racio…
Top Choice Fusion in Santander

Agua Salada

A labour of love for owners Carlos García and Pilar Montiel, this intimate corner bistro serves superb, reasonably priced market-fresh cuisine that walks the line between traditional and innovative. Indulge in a sup…
Top Choice Tapas in Castro Urdiales

Bar Javi

¡Advertencia! The warning on the napkins at this sweet local tapas bar says it all: 'We take no responsibility for addiction to our pintxos'. Indeed, with daily specials ranging from delicately fried baby-squid croq…
Top Choice Cave in Santander

Cuevas de Monte Castillo

Of these four Unesco World Heritage–listed caves 27km southwest of Santander, two – El Castillo and Las Monedas – are open for 45-minute guided visits (in Spanish). Booking ahead is highly recommended, especially fo…
Top Choice Architecture in Comillas

Capricho de Gaudí

Antoni Gaudí left few reminders of his genius beyond Catalonia, but of them the 1885 Capricho de Gaudí is easily the most flamboyant. This brick building, one of Gaudí’s earliest works and originally a summer playpa…