Cantabria is located in the center of the northern Spanish coast, bordered to the east by the Basque Country, on the south by Castile and León, on the west by the Principality of Asturias and the north by the Cantabric ocean. It enjoys a mild and humid climate. In the region you can meet picturesque towns, natural beaches and coves, and valleys of great beauty hidden in the mountains.
The Cantabrian capital, Santander, is located in a large bay and it is an important tourist and cultural center of northern Spain. Near it there is a beautiful place, Santillana del Mar that, with Barcena Mayor, is one of the oldest places of Cantabria, as well as a Historic-Artistic site since 1889.
On the origin of the name of Cantabria, experts say it comes from a Celtic word, or Ligurian which means “rock” or “stone”, whose meaning would be “people who live on the rocks or mountains.

costa cantabria

The region has interesting and important historical monuments in the form of caves, buildings and churches, and museums.


  • Caves of Altamira, declared World Heritage of Humanity UNESCO
  • Cave of Covalanas
  • Cave of Cullalvera
  • Cave El Soplao
  • Cave El Pendo
  • Cave Las Monedas
  • Cave El Castillo

Historical buildings:

  • Castle of Argueso
  • Real Palace of Magdalena
  • Sobrellano’s Palace
  • Pontifical University
  • Capricho de Gaudí
  • Pisa de Ledantes


  • Church of Santillana del Mar
  • Church of Santa Cruz de Castañeda
  • Temple Santa María de Lebeña
  • Church Santa María del Puerto de Santoña
  • Cathedral of Santander
  • Church San Andrés.


  • Cantabric Maritime Museum
  • Ethnographical Museum of Cantabria
  • Fine Arts Museum of Santander
  • National Museum and centre of investigation of Altamira
  • Prehistorical and archaeological Regional Museum of Cantabria
cabarceno cantabria

There are several parks and protected areas in Cantabria:

  • Natural Park las Dunas de Liendres
  • Natural Park Oyambre
  • Natural Park Los Collados del Asón
  • Natural Park las Marismas de Santoña, Victoria y Joyel
  • Natural Park Saja-Besaya
  • National Park los Picos de Europa
  • Natural Monument las Secuoyas del Monte Cabezón

Protected areas for bird watching:

  • Marismas de Santoña
  • Victoria y Joyel y Ría de Ajo
  • Liébana
  • Desfiladero de La Hermida
  • Sierra de Peña Sagra
  • Sierra de Híjar
  • Sierra del Cordel y cabeceras del Nansa y Saja
  • Embalse del Ebro y Hoces del Ebro.
playa cantabria

As for the beaches, many of them have the blue flag of the European Union for environmental purity and high quality standards. Among the best beaches:

  • San Vicente de la Barquera
  • El Sardinero
  • Beach Comillas
  • Beach Berria
  • Beach Canallave
  • Beach Oriñón
  • Beach Concha
  • Beach Magdalena
  • Beach Los Bikinis
  • Beach Merón
  • Beach Oyambre
  • Beach Salvé
  • Beach Somo
potes cantabria

Traditional feasts of the region, craftsmanship and rich gastronomy offer a unique attraction to visitors. Among the feasts of national tourist interest there are:

  • The Living Passion in Castro Urdiales on Friday holy
  • “Folia” in San Vicente de la Barquera on the Sunday after Easter Tuesday.
  • The “Coso Blanco” in Castro Urdiales the first Friday in July
  • Battle of Flowers in Laredo last Friday of August
  • “Fiesta del orujo” (marc) in Potes on the second weekend of November.

Among the typical dishes of the region there is cocido montañés, the Cantabrian version of a dish known throughout Spain with many variations; and dishes based on fish and the Baltic Sea. Among the typical products there are cheeses with designation of origin and cured meats. Among the desserts there are the quesadas pasiegas, the sobaos, the frisuelos, rice with milk.