Situated on the highest point of the Península de La Magdalena, this building, which was designed by Gonzalo Bringas and Javier González de Riancho, is of great historical value as it was the summer residence of King Alfonso XIII and Queen Victoria Eugenia for seventeen years. It has also been the major venue for the summer courses of the Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo since 1933. There is no doubt that the Palacio de La Magdalena is one of the tourist reference points of the city.
The Centro Botín has been opened but recently and is a space devoted to art and creative development. It was designed by Renzo Piano, the winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1998, and is divided into two areas: the West devoted to art and the East to cultural and training activities. It has two large exhibition halls, an auditorium with a capacity of 300 people, training classrooms, a work area, a shop, and a cafeteria-restaurant run by the two-star Michelin chef Jesús Sánchez. Its privileged situation gives you the best views over the bay.
Situated opposite the Bay of Santander, since 1991 the Palacio de Festivales theatre and concert hall has hosted a great variety of shows of both Spanish and international importance. The building is avant-garde in style and was designed by the architect Sáenz de Oiza and features three halls: Argenta, in honour of the Cantabrian musician; the Pereda hall; and the Greek hall which recalls a classical theatre.
The Cantabrian writer donated all of his bibliographical legacy and the building in which it is kept to the city with the condition that it should always be kept together. This space contains many classical and baroque elements and was declared a National Artistic Monument in 1982. It holds a total of 45,000 volumes of great historical and heritage value, such as manuscripts of Quevedo, Lope de Vega, and Menéndez Pelayo himself.
The House-Museum of Marcelino Menéndez Pelayo was built in 1876 and has been inhabited since then by the family of Don Marcelino. Years after the death of the scholar in 1912 it was opened to the public with some furniture and fittings preserved in the same place. Together with the Menéndez Pelayo library it was a declared a historical-artistic site.
It is currently closed.
(Contemporary Art Museum of Santander Santander)
Since its foundation in 1908 it has been constantly evolving to become what it is today: a meeting point where ideas can be exchanged. This museum promotes knowledge of modern, contemporary, and current art. The artistic collection of the MAS covers a wide chronological range from 16th-century works to the most recent creations.
Museo Marítimo del Cantábrico (Cantábrico Maritime Museum)
In its exhibition area of over 3,000 m² the museum depicts marine life and the relationship between man and the sea throughout history. Its collection began to be put together in the 18th century and subsequently grew thanks to the collaboration of various significant associations. The size of the collection and its diversity allow the marine exhibition to be divided into four sections: ‘Life in the sea’ (Nature-Marine Biology), ‘Fishermen and fisheries’ (Fishing Ethnography), ‘The Cantabrian coast and the sea in history’ (Maritime history), and ‘The technological avant-garde against the sea’ (Maritime technology).
Museo de Prehistoria y Arqueología de Cantabria (MUPAC) (Prehistory and Archeology Museum)
Located on the Del Este Market right in the centre of the city, the MUPAC provides 2,000 m2 of space for exhibitions where you can discover more than 1,200 exhibits ranging from the Higher Palaeolithic to the Middle Ages, many of which are from important archaeological sites such as Altamira or Puente Viesgo.
Centro de Interpretación ‘Historia de la ciudad de Santander’ Interpretation Centre
Located in the Cathedral of Santander, this centre aims to make the historical heritage of the city accessible to the general public in an original and exciting way.
For further information visit its website
Medieval Walls Archaeological Centre
Below the Plaza Velarde, which is better known as the Plaza Porticada, can be found the remains of the old walls that in the 13th century separated the area from the sea and served to protect the town.
These underground installations beneath the Plaza del Príncipe will allow you to experience one of the darkest periods of our history and one of the least known: the experience of the inhabitants of Santander of the aerial attacks that they suffered during the Civil War.
Centro de Documentación de la Imagen de Santander (CDIS) (Santander Photographic Archive Centre)
You will find this centre in Calle Magallanes; its objective is historical recovery by means of the photographic heritage that it restores and disseminates in its exhibition hall which is open to the public. Although its origin lies in the old Municipal Historical Photographic Archive, in recent years its heritage has grown thanks to donations by private individuals.
This exhibition hall is the main headquarters of the Fundación Botín, which is located in the family house of Don Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola, the discoverer of the Prehistoric Caves of Altamira. Its interior houses an assembly room, a seminar room, a library, and an attic that is generally where the workshops are held.
Centro de Acción Social y Cultural (CASYC) (CASYC Cultural Centre)
Located in Calle Tantín, this centre has a theatre, an exhibition hall, and the CASYC UP, a floor devoted to a projection hall, a media library, and a multidisciplinary space where projects are developed and presented to the public. The CASYC is known for its intense cultural activities; no doubt during your stay you will be able to enjoy one of its concerts, talks, or exhibitions.
This building stands very near the CASYC and is a frequent centre for exhibitions, conferences, and book launches. Opposite the Assembly Hall there is a building with a mural representing fourteen Cantabrian writers who are influential in the region.
Doctor Madrazo Cultural Centre
Located in Calle Casimiro Sainz, this former food market is now a cultural centre with a library, Internet access, and a frequent venue for exhibitions and conferences.
Cantabrian Central Library
This building was constructed in 1900 and initially used as a tobacco warehouse. During the Civil War it became a prison for Republican prisoners; when hostilities ended it was again used as a warehouse until 1986. Subsequently it was renovated to become what it is today; a large Library that also puts on many exhibitions with the objective of making culture more accessible to citizens.
Opposite the Palacio de Riva Herrera stands this museum which gives you the opportunity to get to know the history of the city’s water supply from 1874 to date. You will also have the chance to follow the natural water cycle from its capture in the mountains of the interior of the region to its return to the Cantabrian Sea.
Located inside the Sports Centre, this museum explores the history of sport in Cantabria and shows the trophies, the equipment, and the objects donated by great sportsmen of the region.
Telephone number: 942 357 398
Museum of the Cantabrian Association of friends of the Railway
Access to this museum is through the RENFE station car park. It is ideal not only for enthusiasts of this form of transport but also for the whole family thanks to its models, its restored locomotives, and its abundant material on the subject.
It is located in the extreme west of the building of the Higher Technical School of Navigation, which can be identified by its metallic dome. The Planetarium is not an astronomic observatory but rather a specialised projector that reflects precisely the apparent movement of the sun, the moon, the planets and their satellites, and the stars on a screen in the shape of a vault as they would be seen anywhere and at any observation time on Earth.
If you enjoy a museum with a difference, inside the Cabo Mayor Lighthouse you will find this one offering you a permanent exhibition by the artist Eduardo Sanz and another of objects related to the lighthouse. There is no doubt that it is one of the most unusual museums in our region.
Palacio de Riva-Herrera. Smart Santander Demostration Centre
Located in Calle General Dávila opposite the Water Museum, this building has been declared a Site of Cultural Interest. It is a medieval tower that was remodelled in the 16th century by Fernando de la Riva-Herrera (the General Supplier of the Navy of the Seas) to which he attached a palace more in keeping with his condition. It is currently the headquarters of the Fundación Santander Creativa, one of the mainstays of culture in Santander, and also houses the Centro de Demostraciones de Riva-Herrera.
To arrange a visit please visit the following website
Palacete del Embarcadero
This building is the work of the architect Javier González de Riancho and stands on the Paseo Marítimo alongside Los Reginas. The Palacete became a passenger station in 1920, but since 1985 it has been an exhibition and conference hall.
Litoral Interpretation Centre
Located on the old defence battery of San Pedro del Mar at La Maruca, this fortification of 1660 was built to protect Santander from pirate attacks and was operative until after the War of Spanish Succession between the Bourbons and the Habsburgs (1702-1713). Previously a ruin, it was rebuilt in the form of the current Litoral Interpretation Centre. It holds the Cantabria Coastal Heritage permanent exhibition.
Located in the Municipal Fire Station of Santander, this exhibition hall reflects the vision of those who risked their lives to put out the fire that devastated Santander in 1941.
Telephone number: 942 200 828
Located in a small building of 1912, it was a traditional market until recently. Today after full restoration it is a cultural centre, the headquarters of the Espacio Imagen association that organises courses, talks, and exhibitions.
Designed by the architect Casimiro Pérez de la Riva in 1881 and inaugurated in 1893, this cemetery has a cross-shaped ground plan in the centre, thanks to which it turns the space into a framework of streets and alleyways. It is one of the prettiest cemeteries in Spain in which you can contemplate the work of the most important architects and monumental masons of the region.
As this cemetery is full of history and a place of beauty, guided tours are frequently given.