Santander Monumental and Commercial

Travelling around the city

This walk is ideal for getting lost in the streets of the city and experiencing the rhythm of the Cantabrian capital.


You can start by walking along this monumental path in Puertochico, an old fishing port that concentrated seafaring activity during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Nowadays, it is a place of great tourist attraction thanks to its views and its range of hotels and restaurants.

Nearby is one of the most typical and busiest streets of Santander, Hernán Cortés, surrounded by small shops where we are sure you will find something to buy.

Plaza de Cañadío

A few metres from there, we arrive at the Plaza de Cañadíojust behind the Plaza Pombo. It is one of the most popular squares in Santander, as it is one of the meeting points to enjoy the nightlife.

Next to it is the Church of Santa Lucía in eclectic style, designed by Antonio Zabaleta. It was built between 1854 and 1868 and has a spectacular portico with large Ionic columns. In 1987 it was declared an Asset of Cultural Interest.

Plaza de Pombo

If we continue walking, we will arrive at the Plaza Pombo, one of the most endearing in the city because of the many childhood memories associated with it. Even today, the tradition of going there on Sunday mornings to exchange stickers is still maintained and it is a meeting place every afternoon for families with children who find it an ideal place to play.

In this same square you will find the oldest recreational society in the city: the Club de Regatas, also known as Casa Pombo.

We continue our walk towards the iconic area of the Río de la Pila where we find its Funicular, a means of transport that connects with the Paseo del General Dávila, which has become a real tourist attraction offering unbeatable views of the city with the bay in the background.


After enjoying the views, we return to the Río de la Pila to continue our tour in which we propose you to visit one of the most important museums of the region, the Museo de Prehistoria y Arqueología de Cantabria (MUPAC)a 2000m2 space with pieces from periods ranging from the Upper Palaeolithic to the Middle Ages.

Between the squares Porticada and Pombo we can see the Mercado del Este, behind its walls there is a wide range of restaurants where you can try the most typical "pinchos" that the people of Santander enjoy, specialised shops and even an exhibition hall.

Parallel to the Mercado del Este are two of the oldest streets in the city, El Arrabal and Calle Del Medio. They used to belong to the Barrio del Mar, where fishermen and rowers used to live. Nowadays, many people from Santander go here to have their favourite pinchos and a few wines. 

Sagrado Corazón

At the end of these streets, on the right, we can see the Church of Sagrado Corazón, neo-Gothic style. The interior features colourful paintings by Heinrich Immenkamp and twelve pillars representing the twelve apostles.

If we go down the hill, we arrive at the Plaza del Príncipe, under their floors there is a a Air-raid Shelter. It will make you relive one of the darkest periods of our history that few know about: the experience of the inhabitants of Santander under the air raids they suffered during the Civil War.


Straight ahead we come to a large square, the Plaza Velarde, better known as Plaza Porticada. In 1952, it hosted the Santander International Music and Dance Festival for the first time, promoted by Ataúlfo Argenta and José Manuel Riancho, the first director of the festival. In this square, events of great importance are held, from concerts to exhibitions.

In the subsoil of the same, there is the Archaeological Centre of the Medieval Wall, which contains the remains of the ancient walls which, in the 13th century, separated the area from the sea and served as a protective wall for the town.

Moving towards the street in front of us we arrive at the Plaza Alfonso XIII, known as the Plaza de las Farolas, it is home to two of the capital's most emblematic buildings: the Post Office and the Bank of Spain.


The Post Office building is one of the best examples of Cantabria's own regionalist architectural style. Despite its wooden eaves, it was one of the few buildings to survive the fire of 1941.

Previously, the Banco de España, was a castle from the time of King Alfonso VIII that survived until the 20th century with numerous changes. In the same century the building known as the Banco de España was built, which is currently undergoing a thorough refurbishment to become a centre associated with the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía - Archivo Lafuente.


If you go in the direction of the Town Hall, on the left hand side you will come to the Plaza de las Atarazanas, located at the foot of the The Cathedral, originariamente construida como la Abadía de San Emeter. Fue declarada Interés de Bien Cultural en 1931. In the lower part is the Iglesia del Santísimo Cristo, inside the church are the remains of the patron saints of Santander, the martyr saints San Emeterio and San Celedonio.

On the right hand side, parallel to the Cathedral, we find the following streets Calvo Sotelo, Juan de Herrera y San Francisco, with a varied commercial offer. 

At the end of these streets, we reach the Plaza del Ayuntamiento, the square is very popular with tourists and is a favourite meeting point for the people of Santander.

Mercado de la Esperanza

Behind the Town Hall, you can enter a very typical market in Santander, the Mercado de la Esperanza, a modernist building dedicated to food and one of the largest in Cantabria.

Continuing straight on, in the direction we were coming from to get to the Town Hall, leaving behind these buildings that are so essential on your visit, you will come across the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo (MAS). Since its foundation in 1908, it has constantly evolved to become what it is today: a place for meeting and exchange of ideas. A museum that promotes knowledge of modern, contemporary and contemporary art. It is currently closed for renovation.

Biblioteca Menéndez Pelayo

Adjacent to the Museum is the Biblioteca de Menéndez Pelayo, this building was designed by Leonardo Rucabado to house the personal library that Don Marcelino bequeathed to the city of Santander upon his death, and which contains one of the most important heritage collections in Spain, due to the rarity and uniqueness of its works, with approximately 45,000 printed volumes and manuscripts from the 14th to the beginning of the 20th centuries. Among its works of enormous historical and patrimonial value are incunabula, medieval codices, or manuscripts by Quevedo, Lope de Vega, Calderón de la Barca, as well as the works and letters of Menéndez Pelayo. It is currently closed for renovations.

A few metres away is the Centro de Documentación de la Imagen de Santander (CDIS), its aim is to recover history through photographic heritage, which it restores and disseminates in its exhibition hall, open to the public.

After this stretch of the most cultural and historical promenade, we suggest you go on to Burgos Street, a pedestrian street that was part of the disappeared Alameda Primera, where the first bullring was located. The street leads to the Plaza de Numancia, with its nineteenth-century lampposts with dedications in memory of illustrious figures of the city. The Mies del Valle stream used to run through here, which flowed into the Becedo estuary.

Alameda de Oviedo

As we continue up this short climb, we come to La Alameda de Oviedo. It offers a wide range of shops and restaurants. In this area you can taste small snails, mussels and fried squid that turn the Santander aperitif into a tradition.

To the right of the Alameda de Oviedo we can see San Fernando Street, which is one of the main arteries of the city, marked by its constant flow of people, with a dense residential and commercial population. On the other hand, to the left of the Alameda de Oviedo we find a street that arose next to this promenade and is the Vargas Street, very popular for its varied gastronomic offer.

At the end of the Alameda you will come to Cuatro Caminos, the square is a circular square in the form of a roundabout presided over by the sphere representing the signs of the Zodiac. It currently connects not four but six roads: Valdecilla Avenue, Alta Street, San Fernando, Camilo Alonso Vega and Pedro San Martín Avenue.

Plaza de Toros

If we go down the street on the left, we will see the famous Plaza de Toros, also known as the Coso de Cuatro Caminos, which was inaugurated in 1890 with a capacity of 11,700 people. Built by Alfredo de la Escalera, it is 51 metres in diameter, and has two tiers. On the upper floor there is a neo-Mudejar style arcade decorated with the 'hierros' of the main Spanish cattle ranches.

To its left is the Mercado México, a food market named in homage to the Indians who emigrated to that country.

If we continue along this street, to return to the city centre, we reach the Calle Alta, , one of the most typical streets of Santander, where the Consolación Church is located, a church built in the 18th century. It is one of the oldest buildings preserved in the city. In a classicist Baroque style, the main doorway of its nave stands out, inside which the image of the Santo Cristo de la Salud is kept and venerated.


Nearby, in one of the oldest areas of the city, is the Parliament, formerly the Hospital de San Rafael. In 1987, when the refurbishment work was completed, it became the Regional Parliament.

To finish this walk, continue straight on and leaving the Church of La Consolación behind, on the right hand side, you will find the Rampa de Sotileza, where you will find two works that recall the seafaring character of the Cabildo de Arriba, where the sea used to come in the past. The first is a mural painting and reproduces the first paragraph of a novel by Pereda. The second is a ten-metre high mast with the figure of a woman looking through a spyglass through which she could be looking for the fishermen at sea, but not because she is intentionally turned towards the sea, anticipating her return and, as the very name of this sculpture indicates, "Towards the future".

Hacia El Futuro