Endless beaches surrounded by rugged cliffs and verdant nature are a common sight of Spain’s northern coast, and there’s no better place to experience it than Cantabria. Nestled between Asturias and Basque Country, Cantabria is a charming destination. Fall in love with Santander, the vibrant capital surrounded by the sea on one side and the Picos de Europa on the other. The city is a hub of arts and culture with no shortage of historic landmarks.
Pay a visit to Santanilla de Mar, a quaint Medieval town home to the famous Altamira cave. Fancy a beach holiday without the hustle and bustle? Sun-drenched Liencres is just the place. Families will especially love its peaceful, safe beaches and old fishing village feel.
With its natural parks, wild beaches and vibrant atmosphere, Cantabria welcomes holidaymakers from all walks of life. Visit in August, when the International Festival takes Santander by storm. One of the oldest music festivals in Spain, it makes the city come alive like no other time of the year. You can enjoy the opera, the ballet and even catch an amateur theatre production in the middle of the street.
Self-confessed urbanites, nature lovers and families will fall in love with this stunning region. It’s also great for couples looking for a romantic escape.
Cantabria’s capital city will satisfy every holidaymaker’s needs. Santander grows around a small peninsula which is worth a visit in itself – it’s home to the impressive Magdalena Palace. Its rugged coastline is lined with thirteen stunning beaches, and its cobbled streets will walk you through the region’s history. The El Sardinero neighbourhood is ideal for couples looking for a romantic spot to relax. You can spend the day soaking up the sun at the beach of the same name before enjoying a cocktail in one of the promenade’s bars.
Situated just nine kilometres away from Santander, Liencres is a charming coastal town popular with families. Many beaches lap at its feet and some are even part of the stunning Liencres Dunes Natural Park. Though perfect for families, the resort is also popular with couples. Its historic landmarks include the Pedraja Castle, which was declared Site of Cultural Importance by the Cantabrian Council. Nightlife is low-key, but Santander is only a short drive away.
Santillana del Mar
Despite its name including the Spanish word for sea, this quaint Medieval town is not situated by the coast. It is surrounded by beautiful lush green hills, though, and the Cantabrian sea is a short drive away. The town attracts mostly Spanish tourists but is perfect for holidaymakers looking to experience Cantabria like a local. Culture vultures will especially enjoy Santillana de Mar. It’s home to the famous Altamira Cave and you could spend an entire day dedicated to its many museums.
Relax at the beach
Cantabria has no shortage of beaches to soak up the sun. Perhaps the most popular is El Sardinero in Santander. It stretches from the Magdalena peninsula to Montalenas and a promenade runs along it the whole way. Just a little out of the city is Berria, a surfer’s paradise of gold brazen sand and powerful waves. Water sports enthusiasts won’t want to miss Comillas beach and families will definitely fall in love with Matalenas.
Explore the Cave of Altamira
The Cave of Altamira is a must visit if you’re in Cantabria. Just a stone’s throw from Santillana de Mar, it is considered the Sistine Chapel of Prehistoric art. Dating back to the Palaeolithic period, its vivid charcoal paintings are a style unique to the area, making it a must-see for history buffs. The hunting renditions are some of the most realistic of the time, and the stunning surroundings will make for some great shots to bring back home.
Climb the Picos de Europa
The Picos de Europa mountain range is perfect for nature lovers. Popular for trekking, skiing and snowboarding, they’re a great way to experience the rugged Cantabrian landscape. They are also home to one of the most important National Parks in Spain. Hiking routes for all levels will take you through the limestone mountains, where you can camp for a true outdoors experience.
Visit Magdalena peninsula
The Magdalena peninsula beckons from Santander Bay, connected to the coast by a thin bridge and boast some of the most stunning views in the whole of Cantabria. Spend a day discovering its many treasures, including the Magdalena Palace, two golden beaches, a small zoo and a pretty lighthouse.
Cantabria, like all of Spain, is passionate about its food. Simple ingredients are used to create delicious dishes, including Spanish classics like tapas and paella. Native to the region are the hearty cocido montanes, which translates to mountain stew, and a Quesada pasiega dessert. If you’re in one of the many coastal towns, you’ll want to try something with fish or seafood in it – it will no doubt have been brought in fresh that day.
Cantabria has a great selection of restaurants to choose from, whether you’re in the capital or in one of the sheltered fishing villages. If you’re in Santander, take a pinchos tour, which takes you on a journey of discovery across the city’s best tapas bars.
Tired of loud beach resorts with little charm? Head to Cantabria and fall in love with Spain’s striking Green Coast. Golden beaches, clear waters, green hills and limestone mountains are just some of the natural wonders it is home to.
Booking your holiday to Cantabria with easyJet holidays is the best way to get to this top destination hassle-free. You’ll also get great deals when you book your flight and hotel with easyJet holidays.
Cantabria not doing it for you? Check out more of the stunning Spanish destinations on offer.