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Gastronomy of Santander
Santander is located between the sea and the mountains and has a mixture of both in its gastronomy. Typical dishes from the sea are "rabas" (fried squid), "bocartes rebozados" (whitebait), and fresh shellfish. There are also excellent meat dishes such as cocido montañés (a stew made of beans, meat and cabbage) and traditional desserts like "quesada" (cheesecake), "sobaos pasiegos" (sponge cakes) and "corbatas" (puff pastry cakes).
After exploring the city of Santander, you may want to travel a bit more in the region of Cantabria. Here is our guide for where to go. Breathtaking landscapes, unspoiled beaches and picturesque villages await to be discovered in the surroundings of Santander. Below is our list of places not to be missed in the surroundings of Santander.
Santillana del Mar, a beautiful village 30 kilometres west from the city of Santander. Walking along its cobbled streets, among 14th century buildings with beautifully carved facades and balconies full of flowers, you will feel transported to another time. In Santillana you will find several small and curious museums and traditional shops where you can buy some of the specialties produced in the region, such as the typical sponge cakes (sobaos), "corbatas" (puff pastry cakes) and delicious cheese cakes. Santillana is world famous for the caves of Altamira located outside the town. The caves have outstanding prehistoric paintings and have been declared a world heritage site by UNESCO, don't miss a visit to the Altamira museum and "neo-cave".
Comillas is another town that you can't miss, 20 kilometres from Santillana del Mar and 50 from Santander. In Comillas you will find beautiful buildings proof of the importance the town had in the past; home to archbishops, aristocracy and a holiday residence for kings and queens. In the streets of Comillas you will come across samples of civil architecture, watch out for family coats of arms in the houses and villas. Walk to the square where you can see the city hall and the church of San Cristobal, built on the 17th century. Have a break in any of the cafes and restaurants that you will find in the square "Corro de Campios". Not far from here is the square of "Tres Caños" with a tower, a fountain and typical houses. One of the most popular sights in Comillas is the Palace of Sobrellano (Palacio de Sobrellano), an amazing building in Neo-Gothic style, where you can see some pieces of furniture designed by Gaudi. The Palace can be visited in July from 10.30 to 13.30 and from 16.00 to 19.30, admission is 3 - 6 Euro and it is closed on Monday and Tuesday.
Another building that you can't miss is the Gaudi's "Caprice" (el Capricho de Gaudi), a beautiful building declared national monument in 1969. Also, don't forget to visit the impressive building of the University of Comillas. Also interesting is the Gothic cemetery, with an impressive sculpture of an angel.
Cantabria has a wide offer for nature lovers with large parks and nature reserves like the Picos de Europa National Park, the Park of Saya-Besaya, or the Park of Cabárceno, where various animals live in the wild.
The famous "Camino de Santiago", the path followed by Pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela, crosses Cantabria crossing picturesque villages like Castro Urdiales, Suances, Comillas, , and many others.
Some other villages worth visiting in Cantabria are Suances, San Vicente de la Barquera or Laredo, with nice beaches they are popular destinations for summer holiday.
Santander to Rioja:
Drive southeast through green plains and vineyards. Highlights on this trip include mansions, wine tours, medieval towns and museums. Camper sites are available in Rioja.
Santander to Santiller del Mar:
The distance to this village is only 24kms so it is a good route for a daytrip. In the village, you can walk along the cobblestone streets which wind past shops and sandstone houses. Visitors can follow the walking trails through the mountains or spend time on the beach.
Santander to Castro Urdiales:
This route is good for a daytrip and highlights include a Gothic church and a lighthouse. Camper sites in Castro Urdiales offer motorhome drivers a place to rest and make use of a range of amenities.