Santander has some 180,000 inhabitants and is on the ocean. It features a small historic center and a handful of beaches. Its most famous tourist attraction is the Magdalena Palace which was used as a summer getaway of Spanish royalty.
Tourist Information (Oficina de Turismo municipal), Jardines de Pereda, s/n., ☎ 942203000, 942203001 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: 942203005). from Sep 16 until Jun 14 Mon to Fri 8.30am to 7pm, from Sep 16 until Passion Week Sat and Sun 10 am to 7pm, from Passion week until Sep 14 10am to 7pm every day, from Jun15 until Sep 14 from 9am to 9pm every day.
You can arrive in Santander via plane (mostly domestic and charter flights; international flights from London, Dublin, Rome, Milan, Frankfurt(?), Paris and Amsterdam; public bus, or car.
Ryanair  flies from London Stansted, Rome Ciampino and Dublin directly to Santander Airport. Ryanair also now flies from Liverpool airport.
Santander - Parayas, Aeropuerto Internacional de Santander  Aptdo de Correos 097, E-39600 Maliaño/Cantabria, tel. 942 202100, fax 942 202152, email: email@example.com is located in the municipality of Camargo, 5 kilometres East of Santander.
Taxis from the Airport into Santander are about € 20. The taxi stand is in front of the terminal building. Radiotaxi has tel 942333333.
The Alsa  city bus (tel 942211995) to Santander Bus Station (Estación de autobuses) departs daily at 6.30 and 6.50 am and then every 30 minutes from 7.15 am until 10.45 pm from directly outside the arrivals terminal (€ 2, March 2009). Duration of the journey: 15 minutes.
You may also wish to take a ferry from Plymouth, England. The journey time is approximately 24 hours each way, and is an interesting journey, although you may wish to resist having a large meal too soon after departure from Plymouth if you are unused to sea travel as the Cantabrian Sea can be extremely rough.
Britanny Ferries  operates two sailings a week from the UK to Santander from mid-March to October, on Wednesdays from Portsmouth and on Sundays from Plymouth, average sailing time hours. operated by the modern MV Pont Aven . From November until around December 20th and from Mid-February until March only the Plymouth - Santander service is operated with MS Bretagne , journey time 24 hrs. There is no service from around December 20th until Mid Februray.
Santiago is 517 ml (848 km) from Lisboa and 405 ml (648 km) from Porto.
Foot Santander is reasonably small. The distance from one end of town to the other are some 6km (4m) and can be walked in 2 hours along the coast road. Within the city center everything is within walking distance (15min walking).
Bus Public buses are available at reasonable prices. Each journey costs € 1.10 (more for journeys out of the city proper, or you can save 40% by buying a 10-journey 'Bonobus' at a 'Tabaco' shop). A 10 journey Bonobus ticket costs € 6 (December 2009). Specifically, buses can take you to the main beaches some 2-4km (2m) from the city center. Timetables and map for download: 
Hop On Hop Off Bus, tel 800-750-2859 departs from the Cathdral daily at 10.45 and 11.25 am, 12.00 noon, 1.15, 1.55, 4.45, 5.20, 6.00 and 6.35 pm, with stops at Pasea Pereda, Museo Maritimo, Palacio de Festivales y Planetario, Palacio de la Magdalena, Casiono/Playa de Sardinero, Faro de Cabo Mayor, Matalenas/Campo de Golf. Estadio, Universidad, Avenida Valdecilla, Cuatro Caminos and Barrio Pesquero, the entire journey taking about 75 min. Internet rates: for 24 hours $ 21,95 per adult, $ 10.95 per child (5 to 15), for 48 hours $ 24,95 per adult, $ 11.95 per child (5 to 15) plus $ 3.95 "processing fee" per order. No refunds! Children under 5: free of charge. Explanations given in Spanish, English, French, German, Italian, Dutch and Japanese plus a commentary for kids.
Taxi Taxis are widely available throughout the city.
Radiotaxi : tel. 942333333. Tariffs: Mon to Fri 6am to 10pm, Sat 8am to 3pm minimum € 3,15 plus € 0,78 per km, luggage € 1,17, waiting time € 15,52 per hour. Mon to Fri 10pm to 6am, Sat midnight to 8am, 3 am to midnight, Sun and public holidays: minimum € 4,00 plus € 1,02 per km, luggage € 1,50, waiting time € 20,23 per hour (2010)
Bicycle The City offers free bicycle rental at a number of locations around Santander (Jardines de Pereda, El Sardinero, La Magdalena). Bikes are loaned for the day, so get in early to avoid missing out.
Prehistoric and Archaeological Museum of Cantabria (Museo de Prehistoria y Arqueología de Cantabria), Casimiro Sainz 4 (more than 1000 objects from Paleolithic to Iron Ages, items from Roman settlements Juliobrigo and Flaviobrige, medieval ivory belt buckle), ☎ 942207109. from Sep 16 until Jun 15 Tue to Sat 9am to 1pm and 4 to 7 pm, from Jun 16 until Sep 15 Tue to Sat 10 am to 1pm and 4 to 7 pm, Sundays all the year round from 11am to 2pm. admission free.
Maritime Museum of Cantabria (Museo Marítimo del Cantábrico), San Martín de Bajamar s/n., ☎ 942274962 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: 942281068), . Oct 1 until Apr 30 Tue to Sun 10am until 6pm, May 2 until Sept 30 Tue to Sun 10am until 7.30pm, closed Mon, Jan 1, Good Friday, May 1 and Dec 25. adults: 6 €, children from 4 to 12: 4 €, senior citizens over 65: 4 €, tourist groups: 5 € per person.
Bullfighting Museum (Museo Taurino), Calle de Jerónimo Sainz de la Maza (in the lower floor of the bullring, in the western part of the city, near the Plaza de México, with bullfighting memorabilia, posters, photos and paintings, and colourful suits of bullfighters from all over Spain), ☎ 942341204. Jun 15 to Sep 15: Tue to Fri 6 to 9 pm, Sat 11 am to 2 pm. admission free.
Municipal Museum of Arts (Museo Municipal de Bellas Artes) (principal art museum of the region with s remarkable collection of paintings and sculpture from the 15th to 20th centuries, from Italian, Flemish and Spanish schools and a painting of King Fernando VII by Goya), C/Rubio, 6, ☎ 942203120, 942203121 (email@example.com, fax: 942203125), . from 16 Sep until 14 Jun: Mon to Fri 10 am to 1 pm, 5.30 to 9pm, Sat: 10 am to 1 pm, closed Sat afternoon, Sun, from 15 Jun until 15 Sep: Mon to Fri 11.15 am to 1 pm, 5.30 to 9 pm, Sat: 10 am to 1 pm, closed Sat afternoon, Sun,. admission: free.
Biblioteca Menéndez Pelayo, C/ Rubio 6, ☎ 942234534. Mon to Fri 9 to 11.30 am. guided visits every 30 min.
Museo del Faro de Cabo Mayor (exhibition of the painter Eduardo Sanz), ☎ 942391994. Jul and Aug Tue to Sun 11 am to 1.30 pm, 5 to 9 pm, rest of the year:11 am to 1.30 pm, 5 to 8 pm. admission free.
Colección del Ateneo de Santander, C/ Gómez Oreña, 5-1º, ☎ 9421212820 (fax: 942360520). Salón Social and Cafetería: 9am to 1 pm, 4 to 9.30 pm. admission free.
Colección del Parlamento de Cantabria, C/ Alta 31/33, ☎ 942241960.
Colecciones y Patrimonio de Caja Cantabria, C/ Rubio 6, ☎ 942234 534. Mon to Sat 9 am to 1.30 pm, Tue and Thu 4.30 to 9 pm except Jul, Aug, closed Sat afternoon and Sun.
Cathedral - Catedral de Santa Maria de la Asunción, Plaza del Obispo José Eguino y Trecu s/n, ☎ 942226024. Mon to Fri 10am to 1 pm and 4 to 7.30 pm, Holy service at 11 am and 6.30 pm, Sat 10am to 1 pm and 4 to 8 pm, Holy service at 11 am, 5 and 8 pm, Sun 10am to 1 pm and 5 to 9 pm, Holy service at 12 am, 1.30, 5 and 8 pm. The cathedral cannot be visited during services, guided tours free of charge in July and August.
Iglesia del Santísimo Cristo, C/ Somorrostro s/n. Jun 1 until Sep 30: 8am to 1 pm and 4 to 8 pm every day, Oct 1 until May 31: 8am to 1.30 pm and 5 to 8 pm every day, Holy services from mon to Fri at 11 am and 8.30 pm, Sat 10am to 1 pm and 4 to 8 pm, Holy service at 8.15, 10 and 11.15 am, 5 and 8 pm, Sat at 10 and 11.15 am, 1.15, 6 and 8.30 pm, Sun at 8.15, 10, 11 and 12 am, 1, 5 and 8.30 pm. The church cannot be visited during services, guided tours free of charge in July and August.
Iglesia de la Anunciación, C/ Juan de Herrera 17 (good example of Renaissance architecture). open during services only.
Iglesia de la Consolación, C/Alta 19 (church in classical Baroque style). open during services only.
Iglesia de Santa Lucía, C/ Daoiz y Velarde 11 (building of the ecclectic style dating from the 19th century). open during services only.
Iglesia del Sagrado Corazón, C/ San Jose (one of the best examples of Neogothic style in town). open during services only.
Santander Bank (Edificio del Banco Santander), Paseo Pereda 9-12 (opposite Pereda Gardens, not open to the public, in the city center, best reached with bus no. 1,3,4.C1,4.C2,9 and 10), ☎ 942206100.
Banco Español de Crédito, Hernan Cortes 11 (building in the eclectic style of 1900).
Banco de España, Avenida Alfonso XIII (opened 1922).
Town Hall (Ayuntamiento), Plaza del Ayuntamiento s/n (building in the ecclectic style of the 19th century, richly decorated with columns, balconies and coats of arms).
Mercado del Este, C/General Mola (erected from 1840 onwards, completely reconstructed in 1986).
Mercado de la Esperanza, Plaza de la Esperanza (inaugurated 1904 in Modernism style).
Plaza Porticada, (constructed as new city center after the fire of 1941).
Casa Pardo, Paseo de Perez Galdos (house of 1915, also called 'Palacio de los Botin' with spectacular views over the bay, one of the most splendid mansions of the city, at Sardinero, reached with bus no 10).
Casa Pombo, Plaza de Jose Antonio 3 (mansion of 1875, in the city center, reached with bus no 1).
Dique de Gamazo, (small fishing port, dating from 1908, 180 m long, 15 m wide, 8 m deep, in the city center, reached with bus no 1).
Post Office Building (Edificio de Correos), Avenida de Alfonso XII (an impressive building, one of the landmarks of Santander, builtin 1915,in the city center, reached with bus no 1 and 8), ☎ 942223023.
Edificio de Los Arcos de Botin, Hernan Cortes 21 (neoclassic building on the north side of Piaza Pombo, near the harbour, good example of 19th cent. architecture, visitors are not allowed inside, in the city center, reached with bus no 1).
Edificio de Los Pinares (impressive private home of ship owner Francisco García, with an outstanding view on the beach as well as Renaissance and Baroque elements of architecture), Duque de Santo Mauro (near Primera Playa, between Calle Duque de Santo Mauro and Calle Joaquín Costa).
Edificio de Viviendas (one of the city's grandest mansions of the early 1900'S in the historic district along the Calle Castelar and Paseo de Pereda), Calle Castelar, 15 (in the city center, reached with bus no 1).
Streets and Squares
Paseo de Pereda y Calle Castelar (1550 m long street with nice views on the harbour and the cathedral and many buildings from the 18th to 20th cent., including Puerto Chico, Dique de Gamazo, Cuesta del Gas, and Banco Vitalicio), (in the city center, reached with bus no 1).
Plaza de José Antonio (Plaza Pombo) (charming plaza with colorful flowerbeds and musician bandstand), (Calle de Hernán Cortés and General Mola are on the north and south, and Pancho Cossío and Las Infantas on the east and west).
The promenade along Santander Bay
Picnic on Magdalena Peninsula
Learn how to sail
Enjoy the beaches
5 city walks: go to the Santander Tourist Office in the city center (Old Market, near the Old Banco de Santander) and get a free city guide; the free city guide describes these 5 itineraries.  These 5 itineraries are enough to keep you busy for 1-2 days.
boat round trip: There is a regular boat service through the Santander Bay, boats run from Santander to Pedrena, Somo and back. For a 45-minutes round-trip you have to pay 3,90 € and the boats starts at least every hour.
Magdalena Peninsula (see the penguins in the 'mini-Zoo') & Magdalena Palace (Palacio de Magdalena)
Lighthouse at Cabo Mayor (faro de Cabo Mayor), and the devil's bridge (puente del diablo), a bizarre rock formation.
Playa de Bikinis, safe and lovely beach on the Peninsula de la Magdalena, protected from big waves, very calm.
Playa de Covachos, Cotero (Santa Cruz de Bezana), one of the most attractive beaches,
Playa de El Bocal, Corbanera, peaceful and quiet,
Playa de El Camello, Avenida de la Reina Victoria, near Magdalena Peninsula,
Playa de El Puntal, Somo (Ribamontán al Mar),
Playa de La Concha, in the middle of Sardinero,
Playa de La Magdalena, Ensenada del Sardinero, with fine views of the bay,
Playa de La Maruca, Monte,
Playa de la Virgen del Mar, San Román, peaceful and quiet,
Playa de Langre, Langre (Ribamontán al Mar), spectacular situation between the cliffs,
Playa de Los Molinucos, small beach north of Segunda Playa,
Playa de Los Peligros, Avenida de la Reina Victoria, quiet beach in a sheltered bay,
Playa de Mataleñas, between Cabo Mayor and Cabo Menor, the 'luxury' beach of Santander,
Playa de Somocuevas, Liencres (Piélagos), with fine golde sands,
Playa de Valdearenas, Liencres (Piélagos), fine sand dunes,
Playa Primera de El Sardinero, Plaza de Italia, the most famous beach of Santander,
Playa Segunda de El Sardinero, Playa de Castaneda.
Somo Beach is a little bit outside of Santander. It can be reached from downtown Santander by boat. Boats leave every 10 minutes and the boat ride takes about 10 minutes. Somo Beach is about 3 km long and is less crowded than beaches in Santander.
Lupa (big supermarket chain), Avenida de Parayas, s/n, ☎ 900200328.
Mercado de la Esperanza (busy market built in 1897 and restored in 1977, oldest surviving market in Santander after the Mercado del Este, built in 1839, was recently demolished), El Mercado, s/ (Behind the Mercado de la Esperanza in Plaza de la Esperanza is an open-air market selling clothes, fruits and flowers. Mon to Fri 8 am to 2 pm and 5 to 7:30 pm, Sat 8 am - 2 pm), ☎ 942220529.
Santa María Pescados (offering fresh seafood from the Cantabrian Sea, shellfish, hake, sea-bass, sardines, squid, octopus lobsters, percebes (goose barnacles) and crayfish), San Francisco, 12 (fish market located in the San Francisco complex). Mon to Fri 9 am to 1:30 pm and 4:30 to 8:30 pm, Sat 9 am - 1:30pm.
Hilario, General Dávila (meat shop located at the Hospital Santa Clotilde), ☎ 942219854. Mon to Fri 9 am to 2pm and 5 to 8 pm, Sat 9 am to 2pm.
Alameda de Oviedo, San Fernando, s/n (in the western part of the city center, running from Cuatro Caminos Roundabout in the west, to Plaza de Numancia in the east, specifically between Calle de San Fernando and Calle Vargas).
Jardines de Pereda (Santander's most famous park), Paseo de Pereda, s/n (park with a lot of trees, bushes and flowers, a pond, several sculptures, a music pavilion, a monument to the writer José María de Pereda (1833-1906), a fountain dedicated to the Cantabrian author, Concha Espina (1877-1953), the Fuente de los Meones and the city tourist office nearby).
Parque de Altamira (botanical garden in city center, covering a total area of 16000m2), Paseo del General Dávila, s/n (in the north of the city near the commercial center between Paseo del General Dávila and Calle Vía Cornelia).
Jardines de Piquío (occupying an area of 13000 m2, with fine views on the Ensenada del Sardinero, Cabo Menor to the north and Magdalena Peninsula to the south), Avenida de Castañeda, s/n.
Parque del Doctor González Mesones (park with an area of 40000m2,with fountains, ornate stone benches with heraldic shields and a statue of the poet José Luis Hidalgo), Avenida del Stadium, s/n (in theeast of the city near El Sardinero and the football stadium).
Parque de La Marga, Jerónimo Sainz de la Maza, s/n (west of the city, near Puerto Pesquero (Fishing Port), Dársena de Maliaño (Maliaño Docks), fish market and restaurants in the Barrio Pesquero (Fishing Quarter)).
Parque de La Magdalena (with 25000 m2 the biggest park in the city, surrounding the Palacio Real (Royal Palace). It was deserted until the end of the 19th century and houses a hermitage dedicated to Saint Magdalena and a defensive castle overlooking the bay. It has a zoo on the rocky cliffs on the northern end, with lions, seals, penguins and polar bears and a galleon nearby that belonged to the sailor and adventurer Vital Alsar.), Avenida de La Magdalena, s/n, ☎ 942272504. 8 am to 10 pm daily.
Parque de Cabo Mayor (covering an area of more than 100000m2, the park is extremely spectacular on windy days, when the waves crash onto the cliffs.), Avenida del Faro, s/n, (situated near El Sardinero beaches. The Faro de Cabo Mayor is the oldest lighthouse in Cantabria. It was built in 1839, is 30m high and its light can be seen from 29 miles away. The rock formation of the Puente del Diablo (Devil's Bridge) and the Panteón del Inglés (Englishman's Pantheon) is nearby.).
Fiestas Virgen del Mar (Lady of the Sea festival): May 19
Los Baños de Ola: July 16 until 20
Fiestas de Santiago (St.James's Festival): July 25
Mercado medieval (medieval market): second half of August
Romería del Faro (pilgrimage to the lighthouse): August 23
Castro-Urdiales: seaside village east of Santanderwith a nice Gothic church and lighthouse.
Laredo(Spain): another seaside village to the East, the old quarter is worth a visit.
Potes: this small village is the key to the Picos de Europa mountain range (which is a National Park), and the Liébana region. Good eating place, and the local orujo (a strong spirits drink) is highly recommended.
Reinosa: the main town on southern Cantabria, it's a good base to explore the Cantabrian mountain range (Cordillera Cantábrica), with the Alto Campoo sky resort, the Roman city of Julióbriga and several Medieval churches close by.
Santillana del Mar: Picturesque stone village 1 hour away by bus; visit the famous cave of Altamira.
San Vicente de la Barquera - Sea-side fishing village, about 30 minutes by bus. See the fishing vessels unload what Madrid will be eating tomorrow. Fantastic tides, so stay for at least 6 hours. Nice Roman bridge.
Valles Pasiegos: for a taste of rural Cantabria, no better place than the Valley of the Pas river, especially Toranzo, Selaya, Villacarriedo, Vega de Pas, San Roque de Riomiera and San Pedro del Romeral. Try the typical sobaos and quesadas, two traditional desserts.
Ethnography Museum (Museo Etnografico de Cantabria Casa Velarde) (historical 17th-century building, birthplace of Spanish artillery captain Pedro Velarde y Santillan, antiquities and period furnishings, kitchen utensils, paintings), Calle de los Heroes dos de Mayo, Muriedas, Camargo, Spain (5 ml/8 km from Santander), ☎ 942251347. from Jul until Sep Tue to Sat 10 am to 1 pm, 4 to 7 pm, Sun 11 am to 2 pm, from October to June Tue to Sat 10 am to 1 pm, 4 to 6 pm, Sun 11 am to 2 pm.
The best area to eat fish is the district close to fishing harbour (Barrio Pesquero), although locals usually regard this as a tourist trap.
Señores Patatas on Calle Santa Lucía offers student-priced meals of fries and hamburgers. Try the 'Five Sauces' (Cinco Salsas) plates with five types of fry cut and five types of sauce.
Taj Mahal on Calle Santa Lucía is the only Indian restaurant in town and serves a tasty alternative to the Spanish staples.
Sakura near Cuatro Caminos serves Japanese dishes.
Santander is known amongst Spaniards for its many Regma ice-creamery outlets. At times it can seem that they have an outlet on every corner. Their very generous serving sizes of 8 popular flavours of ice cream have been melting down the hands of locals for years, even throughout the winter months. Other chains such as Capri on Paseo de Pereda provide a greater range of choices.
Fausto, Fernández de Isla 15 (See map http://www.rutasporcantabria.com/restaurantes/fausto.php), ☎ 942236690, . 39 €.
La Casona del Judío, Resconorio 35 (See map http://www.rutasporcantabria.com/restaurantes/la_casona_del_judio.php), ☎ 942323013, . 40 €.
La Bombi, Casimiro Sainz 15 (See map http://www.rutasporcantabria.com/restaurantes/la_bombi.php), ☎ 942213028, . 42 €.
La Mulata, Andrés del Rio 7 (See map http://www.rutasporcantabria.com/restaurantes/la_mulata.php), ☎ 942363785, . 42 €.
La Posada del Mar, Castelar 19 (See map http://www.rutasporcantabria.com/restaurantes/laposadadelmar.php), ☎ 942213023, . 45-55 €.
Sixtina, Del Sol 47 (See map http://www.rutasporcantabria.com/restaurantes/sixtina.php), ☎ 942219595, . 45 €.
Zacarias, Hernán Cortés 38 (See map http://www.rutasporcantabria.com/restaurantes/zacarias.php), ☎ 942212333, . one of the best restaurants in Santander, owned by the best known chef de cuisine in Santander, Cantabrian and seafood dishes, 45 €.
El Serbal, Andrés del Rio, 7 (See map http://www.rutasporcantabria.com/restaurantes/el_serbal.php), ☎ 942222515. 1.30 until 4 p.m., 8.30 until 11.30 p.m., closed Sun evening and Mon. 55 €.
Bar del Puerto, Hernán Cortés 63 (See map http://www.rutasporcantabria.com/restaurantes/bar_del_puerto.php), ☎ 942213001 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: 942219393), . 60 €.
La Sardina de Plata, Plaza Doctor Fleming, 3. resturant in nautic design, serving regional cuisine, chesse mousse, beef fillet with truffles and cognac, fish salad, € 20 to 40.
Bodega Cigalena, Daoíz y Velarde, 19 (Zona: Puerto Chico), ☎ 942213062. 1 to 3 pm, 8 pm to midnight. Castilian bodega, popular with younger people, serving fish soup (sopa de pescado) and shellfish paella, great selection of wines from Castilia€ 30.
Altamira, Avenida Reina Victoria, 27, ☎ 942314960. Serves traditional cuisine
Copa Cabana, Reina Victoria, 46, ☎ 942282157. spectacular views
El Cormorán, Segunda Playa del Sardinero, ☎ 942273005. dining by the sea
Everybody starts their night at Plaza de Cañadío, in the centre of the old town. It is a hive for young Santanderinos and exchange students. It is surrounded on three sides by various bars and restaurants. This is where most drinking of 'calimocho' - the red wine/coca cola combo favoured by young Spaniards - takes place.
Later in the night (from about 2AM) the drinking action moves to bars and clubs in the area, including La Embajada, Retros, Cafe del Sol, La Rana Verde, Opium and many others. Three major dance clubs are located nearby - El Divino, Malaespina and Rocaverde.
Santemar Hotel, Calle Joaquin Costa 28, Tel: +34 942 272 900, in the City Centre. 
Hotel Sardinero, Plaza de Italia 1, Tel.: +34 942 271 100, near El Sardinero Beach. 
Hospedaje Magallanes, Magallanes 22 Entlo, Tel.: +34 942 371 421, in the City Centre. 
Hotel Chiqui, Avenida Manuel Garcia Lago 9, Tel.: +34 902 282 700, near El Sardinero Beach. 
NH Ciudad de Santander, Menéndez Pelayo, 13-15, +34.94.2319900 . There is one other NH Hotel in Santander.
The Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo offers summer courses for university students, including Spanish language courses for foreigners, that take place both at the Magdalena Palace and at Residencia Las Llamas.
The Universidad de Cantabria offers Spanish language courses of 4 to 10 weeks' duration throughout the year through the Centro de Idiomas (CIUC). CIUC also coordinates exchange students at the university.