Santander Accommodation

Ever since the mid-19th century when "taking the waters" became fashionable, Santander has been geared up to cope with an influx of visitors anxious to rejuvenate themselves in the city's famous spas.

And in the early 20th century King Alfonso XIII's choice of the city as his royal summer retreat guaranteed Santander's future as one of the most popular coastal resorts for well-to-do Spaniards.

Hotels sprang up in the El Sardinero beach resort area near the royal palace and other types of holiday accommodation were developed as tourism flourished.

These days you'll find everything from five-star facilities through to humble pensions, camp sites and modern hotels geared to the demands of 21st century business people.


Undoubtedly the most luxurious hotel in town is the palatial Hotel Real on the Paseo de Perez Galdos seafront promenade at El Sardinero. The hotel, built in 1917 in the style of a French palace, has magnificent views of the bay and the Cantabrian Sea beyond the Magdalena Peninsula.

  • Spain Beach
  • Spain Beach
  • Spain Beach

The hotel's El Puntal Restaurant is regarded as one of the finest in the region. Guests enjoy top class facilities including free admission to the nearby casino. The sumptuous suites are furnished with antiques from the early 20th century.

There's a good selection of three and four star hotels to choose from in El Sardinero and in the commercial centre of the city. Many have good business facilities including meeting and conference rooms and internet access.

It's still possible to "take the waters" in many of the hotels here - only these days the old-fashioned sea-water spas are known as thalassotherapy centres.

A more economic option is to book into one of the many pensions and hostals which are scattered throughout the city centre. Hostals usually offer en-suite facilities and many have good restaurants with wholesome, home-cooked local fare. Pensions are the equivalent of English B&Bs - facilities are basic but you can normally expect clean and comfortable accommodation at an exceptionally good price.

Camping is another affordable alternative but don't forget the weather here is as unpredictable as in the UK. There are two sites to the north east of the city near MataleƱas beach - Bellavista, between the lighthouse and the beach, and Cabo Mayor near the lighthouse. Both are registered sites with good facilities including restaurants, bars, supermarkets, laundries, sports etc.

Another good site is Camping Virgen del Mar at San Roman, six kilometres to the north east of the city centre. The site is near the beach and island of Virgen del Mar which gives wonderful views of the Cantabrian Sea. Bungalows are also available for rent.

In the countryside around the city you'll find some charming "turismo rural" accommodation in country houses which have been sympathetically converted into small hotels and guest houses. These are usually known as "posadas" - not be confused with the state-run chain of expensive posadas in Portugal.

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