If you want to experience the wonderful coastline of northern Spain, but you don't want to fly or endure a long drive through France, this is the trip for you. Brittany Ferries' luxurious ferry is like going on a mini-cruise, and you may see whales and dolphin on the crossing - the Bay of Biscay is one of the best places in Europe to spot these magnificent marine animals.
Gateway to the rugged north coast of Spain, Santander is a bustling port city offering a flavour of traditional Cantabrian life. Within easy reach of the city by bus, train, or bike, are the region’s spectacular coastline, lush interior, and the Picos de Europa mountains.
The city of Santander has a charming centre with numerous churches and historic buildings, as well as a lengthy seafront promenade perfect for watching the bustle and activity of the port. One of the delights of the city is to enjoy the freshly caught fish in its many restaurants, before moving on to the lively Plaza de Canadio to enjoy the busy Spanish nightlife. You can also hit the beach without leaving town – numerous stretches of sand line the coast of Santander, including the glorious Playa del Sardinero.
Head out of town, and you’re in the heart of Cantabria and Green Spain: the lush, less-visited north of the country is home to some of Europe’s most dramatic scenery. Travel – by rail or road – offers incredible views over the hills, mountains, forests and beyond to the Bay of Biscay. The coastline around Santander is littered with wide, sandy bays separated by rugged cliffs. Inland, the mountains climb steadily higher and higher towards the Picos de Europa National Park, land of the dramatic peaks that were for centuries the first sight of Europe for those arriving by boat.