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Route along the coast of Cantabria

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  • Santillana del Mar © Turespaña

    Santillana del Mar © Turespaña


The nobility of the sea and stone

The Cantabrian coast is full of pleasant surprises. Along this route, the traveller will enjoy beautiful beaches and spectacular landscapes, and later discover caves in which our ancestors drew and painted their dreams.

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We suggest an itinerary for this route that can be completed in a single day. First, we will spend the morning crossing the 12-kilometre strip separating the town Suances from the inlet at Calderón Port, following the coastline of the Cantabrian Sea, where fine sandy beaches alternate with modestly steep cliffs known as the “rasa litoral”. In the afternoon, we will head up to Santillana del Mar.

Our course begins in Suances, fishing town situated along the inlet of San Martín de la Arena. Its marina and beaches have converted Suances into one of the most important tourist and summer destinations in Cantabria.

Afterwards, we will head through the beaches of the Ribera and la Concha, to Dichoso point. There we will see the Suances lighthouse, the old defending walls of El Torco (17th century) and beaches such as Locos, la Riberuca and la Tablía.

The route then runs towards Ballota point; and we will cross the beaches Sable and San Telmo until the inlet and beach of Santa Justa, and much later in Ubiarco until the inlet at Calderón Port, small marina that once was a refuge for German submarines during World War II.

In the afternoon, we will head up to Santillana del Mar. This town is located approximately 7 kilometres away, thus this route can be made either by car or on foot. There are two monuments in this town that we cannot miss: the Colegiata de Santa Juliana, example of the height of Spanish Romanesque, and the Caves of Altamira, home to one of the best collection of cave paintings in the world, and declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The paintings are often regarded as the Sistine Chapel of prehistoric art. Prominent among the figures is the famous bison, main from red and black paint on the walls of the rock. Further, the cave is a part of the Prehistoric Rock Art Trails, a Cultural Itinerary designated by the Council of Europe. While the cave itself cannot be visited for the sake of conservation, an exact replica of its impressive paintings has been erected at the Altamira Museum, located next to the monument.
On its own merits, Santillana del Mar is an important historic-artistic site because it has conserved the medieval urban structure and a good part of its original buildings. Palaces like the Peredo-Barreda building, convents and ancestral renaissance and baroque mansions, built on a base of rock, surrounding the Colegiata de Santa Juliana. The church and cloisters are essentially Romanesque (12th and 13th century), though the facilities possess other additions from the gothic and renaissance periods.


What to see on the route

What to do

Routes by boat

Routes by boat

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Religious Play and Three Kings Parade in Santillana del Mar © Archivo Fotográfico del Ayuntamiento de Santillana del Mar (Cantabria)

Jan 5, 2024

Festivity of National Tourist Interest

Santillana del Mar
Religious Play and Three Kings Parade in Santillana del Mar

Discover the surroundings

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