Posts Tagged ‘#inGreenSpain’

Green Spain is the name which identifies the area that includes the regions of Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria and the Basque Country. The Basque region and Galicia, with amazing cities as Bilbao, San Sebastian and Santiago de Compostela, are widely known internationally so, this week, we would like to introduce the region of Cantabria, a really popular destination amongst Spanish tourists and companies looking for fresh locations for their events, but still far from being a hotspot for international travel.

Cantabria, an unforgettable trail through wild beaches, charming villages and large nature parks; a place in the north of Spain where the intense green of the landscapes reaches the deep blue of the Cantabrian sea.


Bordering the Basque Country in the west, Cantabria is a region of high summits and green valleys that reach the fine sand beaches and the cliffs over the Cantabrian sea.  

Besides its natural beauty, Cantabria offers a rich architectural legacy covering all eras, from the Romanesque to the Gothic of the coast and further to the Modernism and the avant-garde masterworks. It is also the perfect destination for geology and caving lovers, thanks to the 9.000 underground cavities, among which the 10 prehistory caves declared World Heritage by UNESCO. Hikers and cyclists can enjoy the Natural Parks, such as Cabarceno and Picos de Europa summits. The wide sand windy beaches are perfect for surfers but also other sea activities.

Santander, the Cantabrian capital

Situated 100km west from Bilbao, Santander is a city whose life revolves around one of the prettiest bays in the world. It is a combination of green mountain landscapes and white sand beaches, a contrast of avant-garde buildings and elegant mansions and palaces that made it the preferred destination for royalty at the end of 19th C and early 20th.

Why should Santander be your upcoming MICE spot?

  • Good connection by road with Bilbao BIO airport
  • Broad range of first class accommodations
  • Charming medium size city ideal for a short breaks
  • Attractive corporate events: its situation, nested between the sea and the mountains, makes of Santander an ideal place for outdoor corporate events as hiking, canoeing, surfing, cycling …
  • Outstanding local gastronomy with special mention to the delicious Cantabrian sea fish and seafood
  • Unique heritage in the surroundings, with a complex of 10 prehistoric caves, including Altamira (the Sistine Chapel of the caves)

A stroll through the old quarters, with its majestic buildings, transport visitors to a distinguished past whose greatest witness is the Magdalena Palace. This iconic building, located in the highest part of the peninsula of the same name, is one of the essential sights of Santander, from where an impressive panoramic view of the city can be enjoyed.

Framed by the beach and mountains, Santander is a combination of palatial buildings and fishing tradition, which today can be enjoyed especially in the area known as the city’s fishing district: the perfect place to try to delicious local cuisine, so closely linked to the sea, with dishes as rabas (fried squids), maganos (squid with onion) or fisherman-style clams. The new Santander is an area that contrasts with the fisherman and palatial neighbourhoods, an area that stands out for the latest cultural and artistic trends, with places such as the Botín Centre.


Where to stay

Santander city offers a wide range of accommodations and meeting hotels, all from 3* to 5* luxury venues that can fulfil the needs of every client. Most valued hotels are the ones situated in the seafront and beachfront areas, with stunning views and housed in palatial majestic buildings from 1800s-early 1900s.

Eurostars Real 5* GL – style, tradition, luxury and location have made of it the place to stay. Facing the Los Peligros beach, overlooks the bay of Santander from atop the hill, surrounded by own gardens and resting in the heart of the city’s most peaceful and emblematic area, between the historic centre and Sardinero beach.


The Gran Hotel Sardinero 4* is an iconic building in a privileged location, by the famous Sardinero beach, ready to meet the needs of the most demanding.

Vincci Puertochico 4* is a very unique hotel downtown Santander, a boutique hotel overlooking the Cantabrian sea and a place where to rest and relax while enjoying the views of the maritime area Puerto Chico.

Other 4* and 3* properties are also ready to welcome incentive groups, with their meeting facilities that can suit groups of different sizes.

But, what about clients that are looking for quiet locations outside of the city but still within easy reach from the same?

One of the assets Cantabria counts with is the important offer of spa hotels, thanks to the richness of the underground waters and the surrounding landscapes of green valleys and crystal-water rivers. Cantabria counts with 7 traditional spa & thermal centres, most located in a natural environment or very close to the sea, which makes it a perfect choice for guests to enjoy the wide range of possibilities in the nearest surroundings.


Just 17km from Santander centre, Balneario de Solares is a classic north Spain spa hotel, completely renovated and inaugurated in 2006 as a modern thermal complex. The romantic style architecture of the original building is preserved and now houses modern hydrothermal facilities. The underground thermal waters are used for medical cures but also for beauty treatments and a recreational area with large pools are at guest’s disposal.


What to do & see in Santander

In Cantabria, visitors’ sensations are multiplied among rural, urban, active and spa tourism, and the enjoyment of its golf courses.


Cantabrian beaches are famous among Spanish sea lovers. In Santander city itself, 5 beaches, being El Sardinero the most iconic one. A promenade along the seafront and possible a swim it is a must for all visitors. There are several to choose from, including Playa del Camella, La Concha, the Sardinero (1km long), beaches of fine golden sand and fantastic views, surrounded by sea promenades and parks with gardens with spectacular viewpoints. Along the way, the city’s most beautiful mansions and elegant houses stand on one side, sailboats on the other.

The historic quarter

It is not very large so the best way to explore it is to stroll around, seeing the sights at own pace. The first thing visitors notice are the majestic façades of the banks, historically of great importance to Santander. Plaza Porticada, a neoclassical square, is one of the liveliest places in the city. Next door, El Cristo church and Santander Cathedral are the places to take some photos and discover some of the legends about the origins of the city. Museums as the Fine Arts Museum or the House. Museum and Library of Menéndez Pelayo can also be found in the area, along with one of the places with a more cheerful atmosphere, the Esperanza market, which foodies will for sure enjoy.

La Magdalena Peninsula and La Magdalena Palace

Palacio de la Magdalena is situated in the Peninsula of La Magdalena, in a natural surrounding with spectacular sea landscape and tree richness. La Magdalena beach and Bikini beach, the island of La Torre and the island of La Horadada, are part of the landscape of La Magdalena. The palace was built between 1909 and 1911, by popular subscription, to host the Spanish Royal Family.


Cabo Mayor Lighthouse

30 metres tall, this lighthouse presides over the entrance to the Bay of Santander. It is one of the most emblematic buildings for citizens and visitors alike and holds a privileged position between the sea and the city, set in a headland with beaches, cliffs and a very intendent coastline with points of up to 50 metres above the sea. The lighthouse can be also spotted from Plaza de Italia view point, a perfect place to watch the sunset with La Magdalena Palace in the distance and continue afterwards with dinner in one of the city’s most notable restaurants.

Shopping and local cuisine

The main shopping district is located right in an area with several restaurants where to enjoy Santander’s traditional coastal cuisine, with dishes as rabas (fried squids), maganos (squid with onion) or fisherman-style clams. Beef and veal are also star products of Cantabrian farms, where tasty meat is produced in Spain’s largest cattle market. A wide variety of cheeses and sweets and pastries (such as the famous “sobaos” soft cakes and the cheesecake) complete a great gastronomy offer.

What to do & see around Santander

Charming smaller towns and villages

Santillana del Mar has been referred to as one of the most beautiful villages in Spain. Situated on the coast and surrounded by green mountains, it offers the best of both worlds. It was built around the church of Santa María and it is dotted with old defence towers, Renaissance palaces, medieval stone and timber houses and steep cobbled streets.

Comillas sits in a spectacular location, right on the edge of a long crescent beach and on a peninsula sticking out on to the sea. It features historic architecture, charming cobbled streets and Modernist-style buildings and the magnificent Comillas Pontifical University on a hill above.

Castro Urdiales is a coastal town and Roman in origin, with a picturesque old town with incredible architecture feats, as Santa María church, one of the best pieces of Gothic architecture in the region; the castle-lighthouse; the old medieval bridge; and the Hermitage of Santa Ana.

Sant Vicente de la Barquera is an old fishermen’s village declared to be of Cultural Interest because of its array of historical monuments. Framed by the peaks of Picos de Europa and sitting at the mouth of a wide river estuary, it is surrounded by some amazing beaches.

Potes. Situated in the interior or Cantabria, surrounded by mountains and streams. It has a charming old quarter with stone bridges and monuments. It is the base of those aiming to practice active sports in the mountains nearby.

Active tourism

The entire setting of nature resources in Cantabria is stunning and are perfect for hiking, biking or just drive around. The Picos de Europa National Park extends for almost 70,000 hectares over the regions of Asturias, Cantabria and Castilla y León. One of the most popular areas along this route are the Lakes of Covadonga, next to Cangas de Onís town.

River Deva’s most famous activity is canoeing. Rocky crests, gorges, valleys, great glacial lakes, leafy forests… are main attractions for active tourism. Not to forget the sea, since the Cantabrian is a surfing paradise.


Prehistoric art in Altamira

As earlier indicated, there are 9.000 underground cavities, among which the 10 prehistory caves declared World Heritage by UNESCO. The Altamira Cave is unique and its cave paintings are considered among the most important in the world. Cave can be visited and the tour includes an extremely detailed reconstruction of the original cave in the Altamira National Museum and Visitor Centre to ensure the original cave is preserved. The Neocave and the museum are in Santillana del Mar, around 35 kilometres from Santander.

El Soplao cave

El Soplao cave, discovered in the early 20th, is considered to be one of the greatest wonders of geology, and a true speleology paradise. In addition to its enormous geological value, the Cave and its surroundings contain an exceptional industrial and archaeological heritage, with more than 20 km of tunnels. The mining activity has also left its mark on the outside: derricks, calcining furnaces, washing facilities, workshops, etc. The mining work was dedicated to the extraction of blende and galena, two of the best ores for obtaining zinc and lead, respectively.

Would you like to learn more about the endless possibilities Santander and Cantabria have to offer to a MICE group? Contact us, we will be pleased to tailor-size the most suitable program.



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