Santander is situated in northern Spain in the Cantabria region. In the 19th century the city was an exclusive tourist resort frequented by the Spanish upper classes. The city still retains some of this old world charm with its long promenades skirting the bay, complete with white buildings, old cafés and its famous casino.
The Cathedral of Santander was built in the 14th century and is one of the many examples of Spanish Gothic architecture found in the city. It has many relics and architectural features that are worthy of note and tours with a knowledgeable guide are offered. Another famous building worth a visit is the Royal Palace, an example of the extravagance of the rulers of the region at the time of its building. Santander is also an important centre of commerce and is where the Parlamento Regional de Cantabria, the parliament building, is situated.
As well as the numerous sandy beaches, Santander has a busy fishing harbour, the Barrio Pesquero, where there is a selection of seafood restaurants and visitors can watch the comings and goings of the fishing boats. As well as watching the boats, tourists can take a cruise along the Santander coastline. There are also boat tours of the bay itself which are a good way to view the city and these last for about an hour. Also on offer are luxury yacht trips, self-hire motor boats and full-day cruises.
The many safe, sandy beaches of Santander are where most people with children will head for. Five of the beaches in the area have been awarded the European Blue Flag for cleanliness and facilities. Activities available are swimming, surfing and windsurfing.
For those who want to have a change from the more cosmopolitan tourist regions in the south of Spain, Santander offers something a little different.