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Things to do in Santander

Our most recommended things to do in Santander

Santander: 1-Hour City Cruise Around the Bay

1. Santander: 1-Hour City Cruise Around the Bay

Make your visit to the city an unforgettable experience by embarking on this 1-hour cultural highlights tour of Santander Bay, considered to be one of the most beautiful bays in the world. Beginning and ending at the pier in Santander, you'll pass along the coast, towards the interior of the bay, through Puertochico. Observe, among other points of interest, Magdanela Palace, the Sardinero, Loredo, Somo, and El Puntal Beaches, until you reach the Botín Center, an internationally renowned art center and meeting place in Santander. Listen to your live guide, who will provide information about the history and the local culture, in English and/or Spanish. Move between the sheltered part of the boat to the uncovered section where you'll have amazing panoramic views of the bay from the top of the boat.

Santander: Hop-On Hop-Off Tour 24-Hour

2. Santander: Hop-On Hop-Off Tour 24-Hour

Rolling hills, towering cliffs, diverse beaches...Santander has now evolved into one of Spain's most popular resorts for wealthy or noble Madrilenos (people from Madrid). Damaged by a fire in 1941, parts of the city have been re-built retaining the original architectural style. The reconstructed area houses Santander's most popular Gothic Cathedral. To make a visit more complete, guests should walk from the immense Palace grounds and then take a route along the Pla de Camel and the Playa Primera de El Sardinero to end at the Jardines de Piquio. Upgrade your experience to include a guided tour of the Magdalena Palace, the former home of the Spanish Royal Family. The upgraded option also includes a round-trip train ticket to the palace. Your itinerary stops: Stop 1 - Cathedral Stop 2 - Pasea Pereda Stop 3 - Peurto Chico Stop 4 - Museo Maritimo/ Playas Bahia Stop 5 - Palacio Festivales y Planetario Stop 6 - Palacio de la Magdalena Stop 7 - Playa del Sardinero/ Casino Stop 8 - Parque de Mataleñas/ Faro Cabo Mayor Stop 9 - Parque de las Llamas Stop 10 - Estación Marítima

Santander: Picos, Santo Toribio Monastery and Potes Day Tour

3. Santander: Picos, Santo Toribio Monastery and Potes Day Tour

Depart from Santander and head toward Liébana. You will love this region of Cantabria where the landscape is dominated by mountains, forests, and rivers. On the way, prepare to be impressed when crossing the Hermida Gorge, one of the longest gorges in Spain. The first stop will be to visit the Monastery of Santo Toribio de Liébana, a holy place for Christianity that houses the Lignum Crucis, the largest preserved piece of wood from the cross of Jesus. After this very special stop, continue the trip towards Fuente Dé, where there is the cable car station to go up to Picos de Europa. Enjoy at least 1 hour and 30 minutes of free time there to enjoy the place, take the cable car, or embark on a horseback riding experience around the area (optional). If you take the cable car, the trip will only last 4 minutes and will take you to a height of 1,823 m above sea level. The views from there are just breathtaking. Finally, arrive in Potes, the capital of Liébana and considered one of the most beautiful towns in Spain, with its cobbled streets, bridges, and medieval tower, Torre del Infantado. Take a short walking tour of the town and you enjoy free time for lunch and for shopping in one of its many souvenir shops.

From Santander: Lakes of Covadonga Guided Day Trip

4. From Santander: Lakes of Covadonga Guided Day Trip

Asturias is the region that has it all. Find out why they say that paradise is in Asturias on a full-day trip that takes you past its blue lakes, green hillsides, and stunning coastline. Marvel at the mountains of Covadonga and learn the secrets that they hold. The tour starts from Santander and takes you past many Asturian and Cantabrian treasures. Learn about the history of this region as you drive into Covadonga Mountain National Park and up to Mirador de Entrelagos – the viewpoint between 2 lakes – where you'll take in Ercina and the Enol below. After visiting the Lakes of Covadonga, venture down to the Royal Site of Covadonga, home to the Virgen of Covadonga. Popularly known as La Santina, this site has a majestic Basilica built from stones from the surrounding mountains. The next stop is Cangas de Onís. Once the capital of the Kingdom of Asturias, this small town is home to a charming bridge with an incredible history. Learn all about this town from your guide and snap a picture of the famous victory cross.

Santander: Surf Lessons on Playa de Somo

5. Santander: Surf Lessons on Playa de Somo

Learn to surf with experienced instructors from one of Europe's most prestigious surfing schools. Ride the waves off on the shores of Playa de Somo, located just outside the city of Santander. Choose from 3 lesson options: Beginner: Learn to surf in a way that is quick, safe, and fun with experienced and qualified teachers. Within a small group, learn the basics of surfing in a relaxed way. Intermediate: Improve your surfing skills with intermediate lessons. Correct your failures, hone your technique, and develop your own surfing style. Advanced: Expand your range of maneuvers, and improve your style with advanced tutoring. Get prepared for competitive surfing and master the advanced elements of the sport.

From Santander: Potes and Santillana del Mar Day Tour

6. From Santander: Potes and Santillana del Mar Day Tour

We pick you up in Santander with our latest low-emission bus, show you the most picturesque corners of Cantabria and then take you back to the start. On the bus, don't fall asleep, the guide's explanations start as soon as you set foot in the vehicle. Can there be a more comfortable journey? Santillana del Mar We don't want to tell you too much, just a hint! The town of the three lies has something to do with the fact that it has no cathedral, it is not exactly flat and it has no sea. We'll open a debate and we'll clear it up for you during the tour! The walk along Juan Infante street will start to put you in the right mood. Get ready for a journey back several centuries - welcome to the Middle Ages! The stone houses with wrought iron and wooden balconies full of flowers and family coats of arms and shields carved on their facades will make you feel like you are in a gladiator movie. Potes Back in 1983, Potes was declared an Asset of Cultural Interest and until relatively recently, in 2020, it was chosen as the most beautiful inland town in Spain by Lonely Planet magazine. Let's discover together why! Let yourself be captivated by its scenic beauty as it is located in the centre of the Liébana region, at the confluence of four valleys and the mouth of the river Deva and its tributary, the river Quiviesa. With so much river, it is only natural that its bridges are so characteristic. In fact, did you know that...? Potes means "Bridge" in Roman. Its old buildings with traditional architecture, wooden balconies, steep streets and the mountains that surround it will make you fall in love at first sight with its medieval air. And be careful with its cobbled streets! Wear comfortable shoes because we are going to get lost in its streets. A comfortable, complete excursion, with history and culture and with free time to enjoy whatever suits you best at that moment. Don't think about it, book now!

From Santander: Cabarceno Natural Park Half-Day Trip

7. From Santander: Cabarceno Natural Park Half-Day Trip

Visit Cabarceno Natural Park with a guide to understand and see what makes this park so unique. Once an open-cast iron mining operation, the park was reclaimed and turned into a conservation and also provides environmental education. The park is home to almost 150 species of animals from the five continents that live in a semi-freedom and are distributed in large enclosures. Explore the park by minivan and also have the opportunity to see it from the air as you take a short trip on a cable car. During your visit, see a large variety of animals including, but not limited to gorillas, tigers, bears, and elephants. Depending on the season and weather conditions have the chance to see flight demonstrations of raptors, as well as a demonstration of sea lions.

From Santander or Torrelavega: Soplao Cave Excursion

8. From Santander or Torrelavega: Soplao Cave Excursion

Start with pickup in Santander or Torrelavega and travel to El Soplao Cave in the Cantabrian mountains. Admire the scenery of valleys, forests, and mountain peaks throughout the journey. Upon arrival, take a one-hour guided tour of the different chambers, or "galleries", of the cave. First, learn more about its discovery in the early 20th century. Be amazed by a natural geological wonder of spectacular stalactites, stalagmites, washes, columns, cave pearls, and other interesting features. After visiting the cave, continue the trip towards the beautiful viewpoint of Tina Menor located outside the town of Pechón. Enjoy the wonderful views of the Cantabrian Sea and the beaches below.

From Santander: Gastronomic Tour

9. From Santander: Gastronomic Tour

Depart Santander for Santoña at 9:15 AM. This is a small fishing village famous for its anchovy manufacturing industry. Visit the anchovy factory of "Conservas Lavin" and discover how their anchovies are prepared. Enjoy the charming port of this village and the views over its beautiful bay. Next stop at the vineyard of "Bodegas Vidular". Enjoy a relaxing walk along their vineyard while you learn how they produce their white wine. After the tour, taste some of their wines with a small snack of local products. Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant in the Pasiego Valleys. Continue towards the viewpoint known as "Mirador de la Braguia" for fantastic views over the valleys and mountains. Finally, stop at the largest sobao-pastry factory in the area, "Sobaos Joselín". Visit their museum of “the sobao and the quesada", followed by a guided tasting of their products.

Santoña: Anchovy Factory Tour and Boat Trip

10. Santoña: Anchovy Factory Tour and Boat Trip

You will leave Santander towards Santoña by van. It will take us 40 minutes to arrive at this small fishing village famous for its anchovy manufacturing industry. On your way to Santoña, you will drive along the marshes of Santoña, Vitoria and Joel. This natural bay is one of the best places in Cantabria for birdwatching and is listed as a protected natural park. Our first stop will be to visit the anchovy factory "Conservas Lavin", where you will learn about the process of anchovy production and savor this popular product. Next, you will enjoy a one-hour boat trip along the bay up to the famous lighthouse of "El Caballo". You will love the views over the bay, the cliffs, and the Cantabrian sea. Before leaving we will take a short scenic drive to see the port, the fort of Saint Martin, and the sea promenade. This is a quiet excursion for all ages, and especially for lovers of seafaring cities.

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What are the best day trips and excursions from Santander?

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What people are saying about Santander

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 190 reviews

Amazing tour of Comillas blessed with lovely weather and a wonderful guide (Gabriella.) Saw all the sights I wanted to see with the highlight being Caprico de Gaudi Would totally recommend this tour - 10 out of 10 !

Everything was perfect to see so many species in a space adapted almost to their natural space, the landscapes were perfect, since the enclosures are so large with some animals it is difficult to see them

Today was a wonderful day trip. Our guide was enthusiastic, informative and enjoyable. We also had sufficient time to explore on our own. I wouldn’t change a thing. Thank you.

It has been great! They pick you up at the door of your hotel and take you back, our guide Carlos, the best of all, a great expert and a great experience thanks to him !!

A great boat trip around the bay, a lovely way to see the sights of Santander