Why Travel to Cantabria?
Cantabria, a captivating gem in northern Spain, attracts travellers with a wide variety of experiences. At its heart lies the vibrant capital city of Santander, a place where tradition meets modernity, offering a gateway to the treasures that await throughout this enchanting corner of Spain. Cantabria is often referred to as the entry to "Green Spain" since it offers a captivating blend of natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and mouth-watering gastronomy. From ancient prehistoric caves to coastal beaches and charming villages, Cantabria fascinates travellers with its unique charm.
A Journey Through Northern Paradise
But it´s not just history and culture that make Cantabria a must-visit destination. The region´s landscapes are a symphony of natural beauty. With over 60 pristine beaches, including the idyllic shores of Laredo and San Vicente de la Barquera, Cantabria´s coast is a haven for beach lovers. For adventure seekers, the Picos de Europa National Park awaits, offering thrilling opportunities for outdoor sports in a breathtaking mountain setting.
Must visit Places and Attractions in Cantabria
This region boasts rich history and culture, including the renowned Altamira cave, often called the "Sistine Chapel of Prehistoric Art". As a World Heritage site, it offers a mesmerizing glimpse into ancient creativity. Cantabria also lies along the Way of Saint James pilgrimage route, gracing its towns and villages with architectural treasures like the Magdalena Palace in Santander, the tranquil monastery of Santo Toribio de Liébana, and Gaudí´s whimsical Capricho Monument in Comillas. Other places and must-visit attractions in Cantabria are the Cave of El Soplao, an underground wonderland filled with stunning geological formations, including rare helictites and aragonite crystals, Palacio de Sobrellano (Sobrellano Palace) in Comillas designed by Modernista architect Joan Martorell in 1888, Santillana del Mar, a beautifully preserved medieval village with cobbled streets and historic buildings that create a captivating atmosphere.
With a focus on dairy, the region produces high-quality cheeses and milk derivatives, dating back to Roman times. Cantabria´s coastal location provides an array of exceptional seafood, including goose barnacles, crab, lobster, and squid. Locally sourced meats, such as beef, and veal are also prominent, featuring in traditional dishes. Desserts are a sweet finale, featuring cheesecakes, puff pastries, and milk-based treats. While wine production is limited, Cantabria is known for its pomace brandy, Orujo. Cantabria´s appeal extends to its culinary scene, where you can savour traditional delights like the hearty Cocido Montañes (Cantabrian Bean Stew), Sobao Pasiego (Sponge Cake), and the luscious Quesada Pasiega (Spanish Cheesecake)
Our food experts have chosen the best tour operators offering tours with food, wine, and walking holidays in Cantabria. You can check our full list of top food tours to Cantabria and recommended boutique hotels in the sections of this Cantabria travel destination guide.
Capital of Cantabria: Santander
Population: 589,765 (2023) inhabitants