Santander is the capital of the autonomous region of Cantabria. Around 170000 people live in the port city on the Atlantic in northern Spain (2019 census).
Santander was already a Roman port city in the 1st century AD. Various peoples and tribes followed. Santander received city rights in 1755 under Castilian rule. Evidence of the early settlement and the occupiers no longer exist. In 1941 a major fire destroyed almost the entire historic old town. 37 streets and more than 1700 houses burned down, two people died, thousands were left homeless. The Gothic cathedral was also destroyed, but was reconstructed in the years that followed.
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption
Santander is part of the European Union's Smart City pilot project. Sensors have been integrated in the city since 2012, which digitally control local public transport and parking spaces, street lighting and waste disposal, among other things. More than 12.000 sensors were installed in the first seven years. The functions are constantly being expanded. At the public Universidad de Cantabria Santander, citizens can submit suggestions on what issue the city should tackle next.
Economy and Transport
Important employers in Santander are the University of Cantabria, the University Hospital and the Banco Santander. The bank, one of the largest in the world, was founded in Santander and has its headquarters in the city.
Town Hall Square
Santander has an international airport. The railway and road network is well developed. There are also ferry services to Plymouth and Portsmouth in the UK and Cork in Ireland.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the then Spanish royal couple discovered the place as a summer resort. Santander subsequently became a popular travel destination for the aristocracy and the moneyed nobility and experienced a construction boom. First-class hotels, the casino and the racetrack were built primarily in the El Sardínero district.
Santander - El Sardinero district
Santander is still a popular seaside resort. The wide bay of Santander is one of the most beautiful in the world. It is lined with long sandy beaches. The water quality is perfect. Sailors and surfers will find ideal conditions for their sport.
Santander for cruise passengers
Cruise ships - like the ferries from England - dock in the center of Santander at the Muelle del Almirante.
The Estación Marítima is on the promenade opposite the Jardines de Pereda. The tourist information is also located there. The city center of Santander, the cathedral or the town hall are only a few minutes' walk away. There are good bus connections for visiting the Magdalena peninsula or the beaches at El Sardínero.
We report on this in detail in our article Santander attractions.