Santander, seaside city

Travelling around the city

This walk has the Bay as its protagonist. To her is due not only the lifestyle but also the physiognomy of the city. Recognized as one of the most beautiful bays in the world, it is also the only one in northern Spain facing south.

We couldn't not start this walk except in the Fishing Quarter (Barrio Pesquero), the neighborhood with the longest seafaring tradition in Santander.

Barrio Pesquero

It began to be established in 1943, when the fishermen who lived and worked in Puertochico moved here. You will know that you have arrived when you see the mural on one of the buildings near a small square. Here you can taste the best fish and shellfish in its restaurants and taverns.

In the Fishing Quarter is the Church of Nuestra Señora del Carmen, patron saint of fishermen. This parish was organized by the parish priest Alberto Pico, who died in 2014, much loved throughout the city for his work with the most disadvantaged.

Nearby, you can visit the Archivo Histórico Provincial y Biblioteca Central de Cantabria. This building, built in 1900, was a warehouse until 1986. After its reform, it was the place chosen to locate the Central Library and the Historical Archive. Exhibitions and cultural activities are common.

Jardín Vertical Tabacalera

Continuing along the promenade that surrounds the bay, you will arrive at the Tabacalera Civic Center, here is one of the largest indoor vertical gardens in Europe visible on all floors of the building, as well as having a terrace with incredible views of the bay of Santander.

The centre houses various rooms for different uses: social work, playroom, workshops, training and artistic experimentation, etc.

In front of this unique space is the Maritime Station. Santander is a city with a long tradition of passenger transport. Built in 1971, it is characterized by its roof with curved lines emulating the waves of the sea. Today, about 150,000 people a year pass through this station. Inside is the Machichaco Museum, which reproduces one of the city's major catastrophes.

Estación Marítima

In the square we find the Monument to the Great Fire. The statue is made up of seven life-size figures and a large symbolic marble group. This work recalls the great catastrophe that Santander had to experience in 1941, it symbolizes a tribute to a tragic event, but also an appeal to the man of today who is capable of rising from misfortune.

Next to it, a few meters away, we can also see the Cabo Machichaco Monument, a tribute to the victims of the explosion of the Cabo Machichaco ship in 1893. A fire on the ship caused the tragedy that, despite the efforts of the firefighters, it ended up killing more than 500 people and injuring 2,000. Inside is the Machichaco Museum, which reproduces one of the city's major catastrophes.

Jardines de Pereda

Leaving these two monuments behind, we enter the Jardines de Pereda, inaugurated in 1905 under the name of Jardines del Muelle, they were renamed Jardines de Pereda in 1911, when the monument of the Cantabrian writer José María de Pereda was placed.

In these gardens is one of the most emblematic buildings of the city, the Centro Botín, where you can enjoy not only a wide cultural offer, but also privileged views of the bay of Santander.

Advancing along the promenade, we will see the Grúa de Piedra built between 1896 and 1900 on the right. It was used to load and unload goods from the ships that docked at the dock. Recently restored, it has become one of the icons of the city.

Palacete del embarcadero

Next to it, you will see a small palace, the Palacete del Embarcadero, designed in 1932. It was the city's customs office. Today it is used as an exhibition hall.

And we arrive at the Muelle Calderón, a promenade that goes from La Grúa De Piedra to the headquarters of the Real Club Marítimo. It stands out for having the best views of the Bay.

At the end of the pier you will see the sculptures of some children, it is called Los Raqueros, a tribute to lower-class children who jumped into the water doing pirouettes from the pier to collect the coins that the wealthiest threw at them.

Next to them, on the sea, you will see the Real Club Marítimo, one of the most prestigious clubs in Spain, its design is inspired by the naval architecture of the 20s.

Club Marítimo

Continuing the walk, we will arrive at Puertochico, this old fishing port concentrated the marine activity during the s. XIX and beginning of the XX. Today it is a place of great tourist attraction thanks to its views and its restaurants offer.

At the end of Puertochico you will see a very curious building, the Planetarium, located in the Nautical School, you will be able to observe the apparent movement of the Sun, the Moon, the planets and their satellites and the stars.

Next to it, there is a huge building, the Palacio de Festivales, located in front of the bay of Santander, since 1991 it has hosted a great variety of shows of national and international relevance.

In front of it, you will be able to see the CEAR de Vela, a Special Center for High Performance Sailing, headquarters of the Spanish Olympic Team.

Naves de Gamazo

Next to the Palacio de Festivales car park, you can see the Naves de Gamazo, they receive this name thanks to Germán Gamazo, Minister of Public Works with Sagasta and they have an area of ​​almost 1000 square meters between the two.

They were built in the 20th century, the oldest is from 1908 and the other smaller one dates from 1950.

Since July 2021 they have been the Santander headquarters of the ENAIRE collection of Contemporary Art.

In front of them, is the Duna de Zaera and Dique de Gamazo. For eighty years the dock was used for the construction, repair and inspection of ships. Restored in 2014, it is one of Santander's favorite places to walk.


Next to it, you will see a rest area, the Explanada de Gamazo, a corner where you can lie down, breathe fresh air and listen to the sound of the sea.

Next to the Dique de Gamazo, there is a small building, the Caseta de Bombas, a historic building built in 1908. Boats were repaired there when there was a high tide and thus gain access to the moat.

At the end of this seaside promenade is the Museo Marítimo del Cantábrico, where you can learn everything related to marine life and the relationship between man and the sea throughout history.

Right next to it is Los Peligros Beach and path, a family beach with gentle waves thanks to the protection of the bay. You can walk along its wooden path located in the highest part of the sandbank.

Playa de Los Peligros