Things to do in
Cantabria

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Our most recommended things to do in Cantabria

Santander: 1-Hour City Cruise Around the Bay

1. Santander: 1-Hour City Cruise Around the Bay

Make your visit to the city an unforgettable experience by embarking on this 1-hour cultural highlights tour of Santander Bay, considered to be one of the most beautiful bays in the world. Beginning and ending at the pier in Santander, you'll pass along the coast, towards the interior of the bay, through Puertochico. Observe, among other points of interest, Magdanela Palace, the Sardinero, Loredo, Somo, and El Puntal Beaches, until you reach the Botín Center, an internationally renowned art center and meeting place in Santander. Listen to your live guide, who will provide information about the history and the local culture, in English and/or Spanish. Move between the sheltered part of the boat to the uncovered section where you'll have amazing panoramic views of the bay from the top of the boat.

Santander: Picos, Santo Toribio Monastery and Potes Day Tour

2. Santander: Picos, Santo Toribio Monastery and Potes Day Tour

Depart from Santander towards Fuente Dé at 8:30 AM. Arrive at 10:30 AM where you will be able to take the cable car to the upper station, if you wish, price not included. The ride lasts 4 minutes and will take you to a height of 1,823 m above sea level. Spend about an hour at the top to take in the breathtaking views and explore the station surroundings. If you do not wish to go up, you can walk around. Afterward, visit the Monastery of Santo Toribio, a holy place for Christians which houses the Lignum Crucis, the largest preserved piece of wood from the cross of Jesus. Finally, arrive in Potes, the capital of Liébana and considered one of the most beautiful towns in Spain, with its cobbled streets, bridges and medieval tower, Torre del Infantado. Take a short walking tour of the town and you will have free time to eat and shop if you wish in one of its many souvenir shops.

From Santander : 4.5-Hour Cabarceno Natural Park Tour

3. From Santander : 4.5-Hour Cabarceno Natural Park Tour

Visit Cabarceno Natural Park with a guide to understand and see what makes this park so unique. Once an open-cast iron mining operation, the park was reclaimed and turned into a conservation and also provides environmental education. The park is home to almost 150 species of animals from the five continents that live in a semi-freedom and are distributed in large enclosures. Explore the park by minivan and also have the opportunity to see it from the air as you take a short trip on a cable car. During your visit, see a large variety of animals including, but not limited to gorillas, tigers, bears, and elephants. Depending on the season and weather conditions have the chance to see flight demonstrations of raptors, as well as a demonstration of sea lions.

From Santander: Santillana del Mar & Altamira Museum Tour

4. From Santander: Santillana del Mar & Altamira Museum Tour

Depart from Santander at 9:30 AM and head to Santillana del Mar, a beautiful village of the Middle Ages. This village with is one of the best-known cultural and tourist centers of Cantabria. You will enjoy a walking tour along its cobbled streets until you reach its Plaza Mayor where you will see the Collegiate Church of Santa Juliana. There you will visit the museum of the local sculptor Jesús Otero. Afterward, you will have some free time to visit the Collegiate if you wish and do some shopping around. Afterward, you will head to the Altamira Museum. This museum houses a scale replica of the 'room of paintings', the so-called Neocave. This cave was declared World Heritage by Unesco in 1985. To protect its preservation, it currently allows only 5 people to visit it per week and this is the reason they created this replica from the cave. The cave is a natural cavity in the rock, with paintings dated from 35,600 years ago and it stands as one of the most important pictorial and artistic cycles of prehistoric paintings int he world.

Comillas: Gaudí’s El Capricho Entrance Ticket & Tour Option

5. Comillas: Gaudí’s El Capricho Entrance Ticket & Tour Option

Visit one of only three buildings designed by Gaudí outside of Barcelona, the stunning El Capricho. Choose a ticket-only option to explore on your own, or select a guided tour to dive deeper into Gaudí’s life and work. Discover this colorful mansion surrounded by sunflowers, where every detail has meaning. Enjoy access to all the exterior and interior spaces, as well as audiovisual materials and exhibitions to explain this great work of art. With the guided tour option you’ll learn more about the secrets and history of El Capricho. The tour starts outside and takes you through the mansion’s main floor. Afterwards, you’re free to explore the rest of the site on your own.

Santander: Comillas and Capricho de Gaudí

6. Santander: Comillas and Capricho de Gaudí

Your tour will begin by departing from Santander towards Comillas at 9:30AM. The village of Comillas is a model of Catalonia modernism. With its scant 18.6 square kilometers of western Cantabria Comillas, it encompasses all of the elements necessary to satisfy any tourist and lover of modernist architecture. On your way towards Comillas you will stop to enjoy a 5-minute walk around the small Sequoya Forest of Cabezón de la Sal. Once in Comillas, you will enjoy a guided visit to the Chapel of the Sobrellano Palace, entry tickets included. Afterwards, you will discover the "Capricho de Gaudí" through a guided visit. This is a mansion built by the famous Catalan architect Antonio Gaudí, and is in fact one of the few constructions of Gaudí out of Catalonia. Before leaving, you will enjoy a scenic drive through the city to see the Palace of Sobrellano, the Old Cemetery with its magnificent sculpture in the “Ángel Exterminador”, and the beautiful beach and port of Comillas.

Cantabria: Private Guided Visit to Bodegas Vidular Vineyard

7. Cantabria: Private Guided Visit to Bodegas Vidular Vineyard

Take a private walking tour of a small vineyard at Bodegas Vidular in the Vidular region of Cantabria. Upon arrival, meet one of the family members who will guide you through peaceful surroundings as you learn about the history of the vineyard. Learn about Cantabrian white wines and the varieties of grapes grown. After the walking tour of the vineyard, visit the winery's production facilities. Discover some of the secrets of how their wines, cava, and pomace are made. To finish, enjoy a tasting of their products such as white wines, cava, and marc along with snacks of Cantabrian gastronomy products.

From Santander or Torrelavega: Soplao Cave Excursion

8. From Santander or Torrelavega: Soplao Cave Excursion

Start with pickup in Santander or Torrelavega and travel to El Soplao Cave in the Cantabrian mountains. Admire the scenery of valleys, forests, and mountain peaks throughout the journey. Upon arrival, take a one-hour guided tour of the different chambers, or "galleries", of the cave. First, learn more about its discovery in the early 20th century. Be amazed by a natural geological wonder of spectacular stalactites, stalagmites, washes, columns, cave pearls, and other interesting features. After visiting the cave, continue the trip towards the beautiful viewpoint of Tina Menor located outside the town of Pechón. Enjoy the wonderful views of the Cantabrian Sea and the beaches below.

Santander: Santander on Fire 1941 Historic Walking Tour

9. Santander: Santander on Fire 1941 Historic Walking Tour

There are many ways to get to know Santander, the capital of Cantabria. You can visit El Sardinero, the nobility of the Magdalena, eat a Regma ice cream, or visit one of the most beautiful bays in the world. Now, do you know what is really behind all this?  To understand Santander, you must understand its historic center and the history of the great fire of 1941, the catastrophe that razed much of the city. See how Santander has been rebuilt into the city known today on a tour which highlights the locations most significant to the fire. A story full of intrigue, decay, anonymous heroes, and fire and destruction wherever you look. It's promised that you'll never see the streets of Santander the same way again after a couple hours with your extremely knowledgable guide.

Cantabria: El Castillo Caves & Pasiego Valleys Day Trip

10. Cantabria: El Castillo Caves & Pasiego Valleys Day Trip

Discover the jewels of Cantabria with a visit to the fascinating caves of El Castillo and Las Monedas. Drive through the picturesque villages and rivers of the Pasiegos Valleys. Learn about the region's history at the ethnographic Museum of Vega de Pas. Explore the famous Caves of El Castillo and Las Monedas, both World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 2008 for their cave paintings. Visit an authentic cave with paintings from the Paleolithic era. Marvel at the legacy our ancestors left us thousands of years ago. Next, take a walk through the town of Puente Viesgo, enjoying views over the Pas river. Make the most of your time in the area by eating at a local restaurant. Then, sit back and enjoy a scenic drive around the Pasiego Valleys crossing valleys, rivers, and mountains until you reach the Mountain Pass of Estacas de Trueba. The landscape on the way is spectacular and will leave you enchanted. Conclude the drive at the waterfall that forms the source of the Yera River. Make your way to Vega de Pas, a small town nestled between mountains, known for being one of the authentic Pasiego villages. Visit the Ethnographic Museum of the Tres Villas Pasiegas. Understand how the Pasiegos used to live from your guide. On the back to Santander, make a stop to soak in the magnificent views over the Cantabrian Mountains offered by the Mirador de la Braguía.

Frequently asked questions about Cantabria

What top attractions are a must-see in Cantabria?

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What people are saying about Cantabria

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 185 reviews

It was very enjoyable and informative journey with the lovely knowledgeable driver. If she was not there we would not be able to know certain historical facts though would have enjoyed natural beauty. Thanks to her. I will certainly recommend my friends and will like updates to be sent to me for any such excursions.

We really enjoyed this tour of Santillana del Mar and Altamira museum. Gabriella was a wonderful guide, informative, helpful and kind. We learnt so much about this beautiful part of the world and it’s early inhabitants. Both stops were spectacular and I would highly recommend this tour.

Yes it's wonderful. May be the trip duration could be more and giving more time on the top of Fuente de. But The view and experience at the top is beyond explanation. Gabriella is very knowledgeable and explained in details.

Gabriela ha sido una excelente guia, súper responsable y muy explicativa con cada uno de los puntos que visitamos. La experiencia de todo el tour fue excelente, lo recomendaría y lo volvería a hacer sin dudas.

Highly recommended. The guide we had was Héctor who gave us a different tour without just telling the history of the city as usual. It shows that he really likes his work and that he transmits to people.