Flight and hotel Santander
Situated on Spain's northern coastline, between Bilbao and Gijón, Santander is the historic capital of Cantabria and a great base for exploring the stunning scenery in this part of Spain. The city was a favourite holiday destination for Spanish royals, and you'll feel very much like royalty on city breaks in Santander.
What to know before you visit Santander
Santander-Seve Ballesteros Airport (SDR), named after the famous golfer born in nearby Pedreña, is situated just south of the city, on the banks of the Bay of Santander. Flights to Santander depart from several UK airports, including Manchester and London's Stansted and Luton. Upon arrival, a local bus takes you on the short 15-minute journey into the city, and your weekend in Santander can begin.
Spanish is the main language in Santander, and the currency throughout Spain is the euro. Santander is one hour ahead of the UK.
When is the best time to visit Santander?
Santander enjoys warm, sunny summers, with temperatures around 25°C. Even the winter months are surprisingly mild; more than pleasant enough for a stroll along the promenade.
Book your flight to and hotel in Santander in August, and enjoy the Festival Internacional de Santander, one of Spain's oldest music festivals. It features performances by classical and contemporary artists, as well as traditional Spanish musicians. The festival began in 1948, and its main shows now take place at the Palacio de Festivales, built in 1991, especially for the event.
What to do in Santander
Take an evening stroll along the Paseo de Perada, a seafront promenade close to the Old Town and the perfect place to build up an appetite. The Plaza de Cañadío is the place to be if you want to experience the city's bustling nightlife on package holidays in Santander. Hit the designer shops and boutiques on Avenida de Calvo Sotelo if you want to take home some Spanish style.
Santander and the surrounding area are blessed with beautiful beaches, many of which have managed to remain unspoilt by overdevelopment. Don't be put off by the name of Playa de los Peligros (Beach of Hazards), as this shallow and sheltered beach is actually ideal for families, regularly winning a Blue Flag for its clean water. Playa de Mataleñas is much more remote, accessible only by steep paths and steps cut into the cliff face. However, its location is stunning. and because of its remoteness, the beach is often quiet even in the height of the summer.
Places to visit in Santander
Tear yourself away from the beach and spend some time exploring the city's history and culture on your weekend on Santander. Some places to include in your itinerary:
- The Palacio de la Magdalena, a summer home for the Spanish royal family. Built in the early 20th century, it is now open to the public for guided tours of the opulent apartments.
- The vast, Gothic Cathedral of Santander, built between the 12th and 14th centuries. It actually consists of two churches, one above the other.
- Santander's Museo Marítimo del Cantábrico, which covers anything and everything to do with maritime history, from shipwrecks to whale skeletons.
- The Gran Casino del Sardinero, another reminder of Santander's opulent royal past. If you're over 18, you can head inside to look around without having to place a bet.
- The refugio antiaéreo, a network of tunnels built underneath the centre of Santander. They acted as shelters during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s.
What to eat in Santander
Fish is always a big part of cuisine in Santander, included in small tapas at bars or main meals at restaurants. Bonito, caught in the Bay of Biscay, are used to make a typical Cantabrian stew called sorropotún or sometimes marmita, while hake in green sauce – a dish influenced by the neighbouring Basque region – is also hugely popular.
City breaks in Santander wouldn't be complete without a morning cup of coffee and piece of sobao pasiego, a delicious, light sponge cake. Also, make sure to join the locals in having a glass of orujo, a locally distilled apéritif made with herbs or honey, and reportedly used as a cure for indigestion.
What souvenirs can you find in Santander?
A bottle of orujo makes a great gift or souvenir of package holidays in Santander. Alternatively, visit charming souvenir shop Santander es Mundial, where you can buy T-shirts and mugs branded with Santander-themed designs.