Santillana del Mar is a picturesque town in Cantabria, Spain, renowned for its medieval architecture. The area around Santillana del Mar has been populated for thousands of years and there are traces of some of the earliest inhabitants at the Altamira Caves about two kilometres from the town. Unfortunately, the village has become a bit of a tourist trap, and is so swamped with new developments around the outskirts, that on arrival you might be forgiven for wondering what all the fuss is about.
However, the original kernel of the medieval village still survives in the centre, although the beauty of the winding streets and yellow sandstone buildings is rather marred by the abundance of shops selling tourist nick-nacks that have proliferated into almost every doorway. The highlight of the town is the Colegiata de Santa Juliana - a lovely medieval church with a walled cloister that can be found in the heart of the town. The entrance fee is €3.
For the more adventurous, there are some lovely walks in the small hills around the town that afford stunning views of the Picos de Europa and ??? mountain ranges, as well as the coast of the Bay of Biscay..
There is a very modern and helpful tourist office in the town that provides lots of useful information
The next airport is Santander Airport (Santander - Parayas, Aeropuerto Internacional de Santander)  Aptdo de Correos 097, E-39600 Maliaño/Cantabria, tel. 942 202100, fax 942 202152, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
There are buses to Santillana del Mar from Santander, with the journey taking about half an hour. There are up to seven buses a day in July and August, although fewer outside of these months.
La Cantabrica, Nav 5, El Campon, Penacastillo, tel 42342701, 942720822 fax 942346988 operates bus services from Santander Bus Station (estación de Autobuses de Santander)  to Santillana del Mar from Sep 1 until Jun 30 at 10.30 and 11.30 am, 1.05, 5, 6.15, 7.15 and 8.30 pm. Journey time: 40 minutes, price: € 2.25 single (December 2009).
The bus from Santander drops you just outside of the town. When leaving beware that, although there is a bus shelter just outside the town where you will be dropped off on your way in, the bus back actually departs from the steps in front of the town hall?, about 50 metres closer to town.
The bus station is at Av, Cantabric s/n, tel 942891954.
Autobuses Garcia operate services to and from Altamira and Torrevelaga.
from Santander: take the highway to Torrelavega - exit “Requejada”, go ahead to Barreda, turn right on road CA-131 to Santillana del Mar, or exit “Puente San Miguel” and take the CA-133 road to Santillana del Mar.
from Asturias: take the “Autovía del Cantábrico” (Cantabrian Highway) or N-634 to Puente San Miguel, then the CA-133 road to Santillana del Mar.
from Madrid, Bilbao, Burgos, Palencia or Valladolid: take the highway to Torrelavega, then as above
Queveda, (Torre de Don Beltrán de la Cueva, 18th cent, Virgen de las Quintas Hermitage). edit
La Barca de Calderón, Carretera de Santillana del Mar a Viveda. house of the Calderón de la Barca family, 15th centedit
Santa María de Viaceli (Cisterciensian Abbey), Cóbreces, on the road from Santillana del Mar to Comillas. edit
Complejo del Monte Castillo (rock paintings from the Upper Paleolithic), Cuevas del Castillo. from May 1 until Sep 30 10am to 2pm and 4pm to 8.30 pm, maximum 380 persons per day in groups of 20, duration of the visit 45 min. edit
Cueva de Covalanas, Ramales de la Victoria, ☎ 942645504. from May 1 until Sep 30 10am to 1pm and 4pm to 7 pm. Mon and Tue closed, maximum 60 persons per day. rock paintings, more than 15000 years oldedit
Cueva de Chufin, Riclones (Rionansa), ☎ 942727457. 10 am and 4 pm. edit
Ecomuseo Saja-Nansa, Puente Pumar (Señorial Valle de las Poblaciones) (more than 1000 square km, up to altitudes of 2000 meters). edit
Museo Diocesiano de Regina Coeli, El Cruce, ☎ 942818004, 639830520, . 10 am to 1.30 pm, 4 to 6.30 pm, in summer to 7.30 pm, in winter closed on Mon. 2,50. edit
Museo Jesús Otero, Plaza de Francisco Abad, ☎ 942818806. winter: 9.30 am to 1.30 pm, 4 to 7 pm, summer: 10 am to 1 pm, 4 to 7.30 pm. museum of the Cantabrian scultpor Jesús Oterofree. edit
Museo y Centro de Investigación de Altamira, ☎ 942818005 (email@example.com), . from Jul until Sep: Tue to Sat 9.30 am to 7.30 pm, Sun 9.30 am to 5pm, rest of the year: Tue to Sun 9.30 am to 7 pm, duration of the visit: one hour. ´€ 2,50. edit
Museo de la Inquisición el Solar, Escultor Jesús Otero, ☎ 942840273. winter 10.30 am to 8 pm, summer 10 am to 10 pm. museum displaying torture tools and "instruments for public humiliation"€ 3,50. editEl Museo de la Tortura or Torture Museum contains an impressive collection of instruments of torture from around Europe, including those used in the Spanish Inquisition. The museum is interesting and rich in history, but be warned that it is not for the faint of heart!
Collegiata de Santa Juliana. Tue to Sat 10 am to 1.30 pm, 4 to 6.30 pm. in summer to 7.30 pm. abbey dating to the 12th cent, beautiful Romanesque church, in ancient times one of the most powerful monasteries of Spain, attracting many noble families who built their houses in Santillana del Mar€ 3. edit
Claustro de la Colegiata, Plaza del Abad Francisco Navarro, ☎ 639830520. 9.30 am to 1 pm and 4 to 6 pm, in winter closed on Sundays. Romanesque cloisters dating to the 12th and 13th cent with scenes from the Bible and fighting scenes€ 2,50. edit
Convento de las Clarisas (16th cent monastery), Rúa Jesús Tagle. edit
Convento de las Dominicas, Calle Antonio Niceas. edit
Palacio de Peredo - Barrera (also called Palacio de los Benamejís, 18th cent, expositions organized by Caja Calabria), Santo Domingo, ☎ 942818171. from Tue to Sun 11 am to 2 pm and 4 to 8 pm. € 2,50. edit
Casa de los Hombrones (noble house, 17th cent), Calle Cantón. decorated with Baroque coat of arms saying 'Un bon morir es onra de la vida' - A good dying honours lifeedit
Casa del Marqués de Santillana (Gothic house, 15th cent, home of doña Leonor de la Vega, mother of López de Medonza, later Marqués de Santillana), Calle Cantón. edit
Casa de los Bustamante (house from the 18th cent), Calle de la Carrera. edit
Casa de los Villa (house, rebuilit in the 18th cent), Calle Santo Domingo. edit
Plaza Ramón Pelayo o del Mercado (former market place), (Calle Racial con Calle Juan Infante). edit
Casa de los Barreda - Bracho (building from the 18th cent, today Parador de Turismo), Calle Santo Domingo. edit
Torre del Merino (Gothic tower, 15th cent, today exhibition center), Plaza Ramón Pelayo. free. edit
Torre de Don Borja (Gothic tower, 15th cent), Plaza Ramón Pelayo. 10am to 1.30 pm, 4 to 8 pm. edit
Casa de la Infanta Paz (house of the infant Paz de Bourbon, princess of Bavaria), Plaza Ramón Pelayo. edit
Casa de la Archiduquesa (exile of Princess Margaretha of Hapsburg), Calle Río Cantón. edit
A trip to northern Spain must include a sampling of sidra, or hard cider, which is typical of Cantabria as well as Asturias and Basque Country. It is traditional to pour the cider into the glass from a height of about three feet. Your bartender will know how if you are hesitant to try the feat yourself.
Posada Araceli, Calle La Robleda 20, 39330 Santillana del Mar, Cantabria (12 rooms), ☎ 942840194 (fax: 942818083), . edit
Altamira, Calle Canton 1, 39330 Santillana del Mar, Cantabria (32 rooms), ☎ 942818025 (fax: 942840136), . edit
Parador de Santillana - Gil Blas, Plaza Ramon Pelayo 11 (On the main sqare, access via the Travesía Santander-Comillas), ☎ 942028028 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: 942818391), . ancient mansion of the Barreda-Bracho family, with wooden floors, traditional furniture and 28 rooms€70-110. edit
The bus to Santander departs from the steps in front of the town hall?.
La Cantabrica operates bus services from Santillana del Mar to Santander Bus Station (estación de Autobuses de Santander)  from Sep 1 until Jun 30 Mon to Fri at 7.15 am, daily at 10.15 am and 3.45 pm, Mon to Fri at 6 pm, Sat and Sun at 7.30 pnm. Journey time: 40 minutes, price: € 2.25 single (December 2009).
Autobuses Garcia C/H.Alcalde del Rio, 2 Bajo, Torrelavega, tel 942891640 fax 942891104 operate bus services from Santillana del Mar to Torrelavega.
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