Santander is capital city of the autonomous region of Cantabria. It is a modern coastal city, caused mainly by a big fire in 1941 when the historic district was destroyed and the government rebuilt and modernized the city. Now, it is home of Parliament of Cantabria, University of Cantabria and various government and public institutions.
Coming from San Juan De Gaztelugatxe, we drove about 2 hours to get to the city. Following the way to the center and to the port, we found a possible parking area near the Museo Maritimo, by Playa de Los Peligros. We stayed in Santander from November 8-10, 2015)
Campsite : Calle Luis Carrero Blanco 39004 Santander
Coordinates : N: 43.46362 W: 3.78160
We stayed here for undisturbed for 2 nights. It is a nice location where we had the views of both sunrise and sunset. Beach is a few meters futher, with beach shower and toilet facilities. However, it was always busy with men doing fishing (if they caught something, that is well the big question) all day long. But on our third day, the local police informed us that RVs are not allowed to park here; and told us the only possible parking for RVs is about 7 kilometers away by a commercial center. It was for that reason that our stay in the city was cut short.
A VISIT TO PALACIO DELA MAGDALENA
One building that is worth a visit in the city is the Palacio dela Magdalena. Located on the Peninsula with the same name, Magdalena Palace was constructed in 1908 and was the summer residence of King Alfonso XIII and Queen Victoria Eugenia. Today, the palace hosts different events and conferences.
We went to this building using our bike. From the parking, we followed the biking lane which runs along the shore (the path is made of wood which was a bit uncomfortable for biking), passing thru Magdalena Beach. Turning right, we came to the Magdalena Peninsula. This is a big area with access to the Playa de Bikini. It was nice biking in this area; we just followed the road which the mini tourist train took. After a steep climb, we reached the palace. We had to wait a while as the visiting time is by the hour.
We attended the 17.00 tour; charge was 3 euro per person and the tour took about an hour. The palace was beautiful in the inside; the grand hall was impressive with its spacious area and wooden stairs. We were able to see the family room, the bedroom, grand dining room, small chapel, library and audience room. Some rooms are more elegant that the others. It was a nice tour, it was only unfortunate that it was in Spanish. We couldn’t understand a thing; and the tour guide did not speak English too.
There are three churches which we have visited in Santander.
- Catedral de Santa Maria de La Asuncion
- Iglesia del Sagrado Corazon
- Iglesia de Santa Lucia
During our two-day city visit, we have visited two big markets of the city. The first was the more famous Mercado de La Esperanza, which is constructed in 1904. It is found just at the back of the Casa Consistorial. It has two stories : the first is for fish and the second is for meat and vegetables. Outside the market building is also an open market where they sell clothes and also fresh vegetables, depending on the day. The second market which we visited was Mercado Mexicoin Plaza Mexico. This is located a bit far from the city center, near the Plaza Toros. Just like La Esperanza, this market offers fresh fresh, meat and vegetables. Every Tuesday is an open market outside the building where clothes, shoes, bags and other items are being sold.
BIKING IN THE CITY
Biking in Santander is safe and easy. There is a safe biking lane that runs through the whole city, and found in the perimeter of the city. From our parking, we biked as far as the Barrio Pesquero where the fishing port is situated, and then up to Plaza Toros. We biked along the Paseo Maritimo, a long nuice promenade along the coast which runs from Museo Mariimo up to Estacio Maritimo. And from the parking, we also biked up to Magdalena Palace. Our plan however to bike all the way to the lighthouse, passing the area of El Sardinero did not push through, as we had to leave our parking; thus, leaving the city too!
Santander, just like any other big Spanish cities, has also a lot of shops. But we are in the stage that shopping is not in our priority already, so we just contented ourselves with window shopping, admiring the facades of the buildings, and looking at some items on sale.
Our stay in Santander, even though it was interrupted, was also a good one. Santander is a young modern city, with many new buildings and still is constructing new ones. It is refreshing to be here, to smell the sea, see the sun, and experience a bit of modern city life. If we are coming back here for another visit, that we do not know yet…