Santander, Spain


A royal summer retreat, Spain’s city of Santander is known for its beautiful Magdalena Palace. The city is Cantabria’s capital. With a small historic district, the city sits on the coast. A popular seaside location for visitors today, much of Santander was destroyed in a fire in 1941 so the city has been renovated and rebuilt since that time.

In the north of Spain, Santander has several historic villages that connect to it like Cuelo and San Roman. Because of its port location, the city enjoys an oceanic and humid climate. Summer temperatures average around 23 degrees Celsius and the wintertime temperatures are normally approximately 13 degrees.   Horseshoe beach, north Spain, Cantabria, Santander

The mild summers and beaches attracted King Alfonso XIII during the early 1900s to the city. During those years, swimming in the salt water was thought to be therapeudic. The harbor was a means of trade with the New World after the 1400s, and the ancient Romans settled the town and named it, Portus Victoriae luliobrigensium.

Today, Santander is more than a capital city. The urban center is home to the University of Cantabria. A cultural hub, Santander has many museums and centers for the study of local cultures. Additionally, a branch of the Menendez Pelayo International University is a school for people to come from around the globe to learn about the Spanish culture and language.

The city attracts visitors from all over Cantabria as well as the world for its many festivals and other attractions. As examples, bonfires on the beach in June celebrate summer and Saint John’s Day and Festivals of Saint James happens in July. Many of the historic homes, churches and buildings nearly destroyed in the 1941 fire are now well-kept. Visitors take fascinating tours of the old city and newer architecture.

People can also get out in the city and seaside areas enjoying squares, parks and beaches. Swimming, picnicking, cycling and boat trips are some of the activities young and old residents and visitors do during leisure time. Then, the Palacio de Festivales de Cantabria is a wonderful place for performance arts programs such as dance, music and plays.

When it comes to eating in Santander, seafood and fish fresh from the ocean are common. Near the harbor where the fishermen come in is a tourist area where fabulous restaurants serve the fish of the day. Santander is also known countrywide for its ice cream.

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