With a surface area of some 25 hectares, this is one of the most visited places in Santander. In its natural environment you can enjoy the magnificent landscape, its beaches, the Man and the sea museum, its children’s playground, its numerous trees, and even a small marine park. All these attractions make this location ideal for strolling and spending the day. You can also visit the former Gatekeepers’ House, an assembly hall that holds a multitude of events, the Royal Stables, the jetty, the La Cerda Lighthouse crowning the Peninsula, and the Palacio de La Magdalena, the former summer residence of the king and queen. You won’t have time to get bored!
Parque de Mesones
This park is between the Segunda Playa de El Sardinero and the grounds of the Racing de Santander and is built on the former stadium of the local football team. It owes its name to Doctor Mesones who was the mayor of Santander for 21 years and has a large lawn area and an artificial pond. A walk here should not be missed as this is one of the most popular parks, especially in summer.
Jardines de Piquío Gardens
These were created in 1925 on the rock known as El Piquillo and separate La Primera y Segunda beaches of El Sardinero. In addition to the gardens and the species which inhabit them, Piquío is a favourite place for those seeking the best views of El Sardinero and the Cantabrian Sea from its viewpoint.
Parque de Mataleñas
Located on the Cabo Menor, this is a favourite place of locals for strolling and enjoying the magnificent views. It was opened to the public in 1983 and has an extensive garden, a large pool for birds surrounded by an extensive wooded area, and a sports circuit in a natural setting.
Parque de La Vaguada de Las Llamas (Watercourse of Las Llamas Park)
Inaugurated in 2007, this large park has become the lung of the city. Established on marshy land, it is at the foot of the campus of the Universidad de Cantabria. Its 11 hectares include recreational areas, green areas, and an extensive network of roads, open spaces, aquatic areas, and a leisure area surrounding a large central part that is chosen by many birds as a nesting site or a migratory stopover.
The park also contains a cafeteria-restaurant, a car park, a cycle lane, and the Escenario Santander concert hall which holds a multitude of events.
Jardines de Pereda Gardens
Inaugurated in 1905 under the name of El Muelle Gardens, their name was changed to the current one in 1911 when the monument to José María de Pereda was raised here.
Many monuments can be found in these gardens as witnesses to the various literary fairs and markets held in them. A visit is a must especially if you are travelling with children.
Parque del Agua
It follows the course of the river from its source to its mouth, hence its name (Water Park). Here you will find extensive green areas, a wide network of paths, plazas, and even a stream and artificial pools.
La Alameda de Oviedo
This urban park is almost 750 metres long and surrounded by business premises and restaurants where you can enjoy the traditional dishes of the capital of Cantabria.
Parque del Doctor Morales
Better known to locals as the Parque de La Vaca owing to its cow sculpture, this park has a surface area of 175,000 m2 and houses a children’s playground, a small pool, and a large variety of tree species.
Parque de La Marga
Located in an area that previously held only industrial warehouses, this park has been renovated with a large variety of trees, a pool, and a traditional bowling alley.
Town Hall Square
The Town Hall of Santander stands in the heart of the city. It was built in 1907 in a distinctive eclectic style on the site of the former Monastery of San Francisco. It was expanded in the 1960s to make it the building we know today. It is currently a meeting point for locals and the venue for numerous activities.
Although its real name is Plaza de Velarde, it is better known as Plaza Porticada. in 1952 it held for the first time the International Music and Dance Festival of Santander which was promoted by Ataúlfo Argenta and José Manuel Riancho, the first director of the festival. Events of great importance are held here ranging from concerts to exhibitions.
Plaza de las Atarazanas
Located at the foot of the Cathedral, the sea used to reach here and it was a shipyard area in the 15th century. It later became an important naval base for Philip II where both warships and fishing boats were repaired.
If you want to get to know one of the most charming plazas of the city, this is a must. Many locals associate their childhood with it. The tradition of meeting on Sunday mornings to exchange picture cards is still maintained. This plaza also contains the Casa Pombo or Club de Regatas, the oldest recreational association in the city.
Plaza de Cañadío
Immediately behind the Plaza Pombo lies one of the most popular plazas of Santander. Formerly occupied by the most important brewery in the city, today it has become one of the meeting points for enjoying the nightlife.
Plaza Alfonso XIII
Also known as the Plaza de las Farolas, it holds two of the most emblematic buildings of the capital of Cantabria: the Post Office and the Bank of Spain. The former was built in 1918 and is a clear example of the regional Santander style. The Bank of Spain was erected in 1924 and is known for its Renaissance style. Both buildings and the Church of El Cristo were the only ones to survive the fire of 1941.
Plaza de Italia
Located on El Sardinero opposite La Primera Playa of El Sardinero and featuring the Casino, this plaza is the favourite of many, especially in summer, for sitting down to enjoy the ice creams from the nearby parlours.
Plaza de México
This plaza is a tribute to the many emigrants from Santander who made good in Mexico and invested part of their money in improvements for the community. This is also reflected in the Aztec calendar with its coloured tiles.