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The port city of Santander (UK: /ˌsæntənˈdɛər, -tæn-/, US: /ˌsɑːntɑːnˈdɛər/,[2][3] Spanish: [santanˈdeɾ]; Cantabrian: (Sanander)[needs Cantabrian IPA] is the capital of the autonomous community and historical region of Cantabria situated on the north coast of Spain. Located east of Gijón and west of Bilbao, the city has a population of 172,000 (2017). Santander houses the headquarters of multinational bank Banco Santander, and is the location of the founding of the namesake company.


Palacio de La Magdalena
Hotel Real
Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción
Edificio del Banco Santander
Galeones de Vital Alsar, en la península de La Magdalena
Bahía de Santander, vista desde la península de la Magdalena
Carrusel de los Jardines de Pereda
Playa de El Sardinero
Flag of Santander
Coat of arms of Santander
Coat of arms
Santander is located in Cantabria
Location of Santander within Cantabria
Coordinates: 43°27′46″N 3°48′18″W / 43.46278°N 3.80500°W / 43.46278; -3.80500Coordinates: 43°27′46″N 3°48′18″W / 43.46278°N 3.80500°W / 43.46278; -3.80500
Country Spain
Autonomous community Cantabria
ComarcaBay of Santander
Judicial districtSantander
Founded26 BC, as Portus Victoriae Iuliobrigensium 9 January 1755, granting the title of city
 • AlcaldeGema Igual (2016) (PP)
 • Total35 km2 (14 sq mi)
15 m (49 ft)
Highest elevation
108 m (354 ft)
Lowest elevation
0 m (0 ft)
 • Total172,044
 • Density4,900/km2 (13,000/sq mi)
Demonym(s)Santanderino/a, santanderense, pejino/a, chani
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
Official language(s)Spanish
WebsiteOfficial website


Origins, Roman period and Middle AgesEdit

The origin of the earliest human settlements in the current Santander is not easy to establish because there is little written and archaeological data. However, there would appear to be good practical reasons for ancient settlers to have chosen the north side of the bay, sheltered from it and safer from the storms of the Bay of Biscay, on the north side of the promontory of Somorrostro and along the ancient Becedo estuary. Moreover, the hillside provided good visibility for spotting potential attackers, making this the ideal place for the foundation of a stable settlement, which was to evolve throughout the Middle Ages.[4]

Although it is mentioned for the first time in 1068, in a draft document made by King Sancho II, in the 9th century Alfonso II the Chaste founded the Abbey of the Holy Bodies in the existing chapel on the hill of Somorrostro, housing as holy relics the heads of Saint Emeterius and Saint Celedonius and the graves of other unknown martyrs, giving the abbey its name.[5]

Santander, c. 1590 – by Joris Hoefnagel

During the 12th and 13th centuries the population was contained within the walls of two different pueblas. La Puebla, the older, on the hill overlooking the city facing the bay, included the old castle, the Abbey of the Holy Bodies and the cloister. It had three rows of houses, separated by Rua Carnicerias and Rua Mayor, where the homes of prominent people of the town were, as well as those of the Abbot's canons. Meanwhile, the Puebla Nueva contained the convent of Santa Clara and San Francisco, which gave its name to one of the main streets; other important streets were the Rua de la Sal, The cavalcade Palace, Ribera, Don Gutierre, Puerta de la Sierra, Gallows and the Arcillero Rua. The two pueblas were joined by a bridge over the river that divided Becedo and flowed down to the shipyards, which were ordered by the king to take timber from the Cantabrian forests for shipbuilding. The villa was required to give the monarchy a ship per year.[citation needed]

The city owes its existence to the excellent harbour of the Bay of Santander. Santander was an important port for Castile in the later Middle Ages, and also for trade with the New World. It officially became a city in 1755.[6]

Great fire of 1941Edit

See also (Spanish): Incendio de Santander

Santander fell victim to a great fire[7] in 1941. Fanned by a strong south wind, the fire burned for two days. The fire started in Cádiz Street, next to the harbour, the Cathedral and the medieval quarter.[8] The fire destroyed the Old Town Hall, Jesús de Monasterio and Vargas streets and Atarazanas square buildings. It led to a major change in the architecture of Santander, away from the older small stone and wood buildings with balconies to the enormous blocks of flats built during the reconstruction.[citation needed]

There was only one casualty of the fire, a firefighter from Madrid killed in the line of duty, but thousands of families were left homeless and the city was plunged into chaos. The fire destroyed the greater part of the medieval town centre and gutted the city's Romanesque cathedral.[9]


The city is located on the northern side of the Bahia de Santander.[10]


Beach of El Sardinero

The city of Santander has an oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification Cfb), the annual thermal oscillation of the average monthly temperatures reaching around 10 °C (18 °F).[citation needed]

The maximum temperature reached in Santander Airport was 37.8 °C (100 °F) on 27 June 2009, and the minimum temperature −5.4 °C (22 °F) on 21 January 1957. The warmest maximum daytime average for a month was in August 2003, with 27.1 °C (80.8 °F).[11] Warm months (mean above 22 °C (72 °F)) are however rare.

Sunshine hours are very low by comparison with the rest of mainland and southern Spain. Even compared with other areas of northern Spain, such as Galicia, which have much more sunshine hours in coastal cities such as Vigo or Pontevedra. With just around 1650 hours of sunshine, Santander is about as sunny as London and Paris, and quite a bit less sunny than most of England's south coastal regions.

Climate data for Santander Airport (1981–2010) Record Temperatures (1954–2016)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 25.1
Average high °C (°F) 13.6
Daily mean °C (°F) 9.7
Average low °C (°F) 5.8
Record low °C (°F) −5.4
Average precipitation mm (inches) 106
Average precipitation days (≥ 1 mm) 12 11 10 12 10 8 7 8 9 11 13 12 124
Average relative humidity (%) 72 72 71 72 74 75 75 76 76 75 75 73 74
Mean monthly sunshine hours 85 104 135 149 172 178 187 180 160 129 93 74 1,649
Source: Agencia Estatal de Meteorología[12]

Tourism and sightsEdit

The bars and restaurants of the old town are popular with tourists, as well as the El Sardinero beach a couple of kilometres away.[13]

Building of Bank of Santander, where it originated and where it has its registered office.
Mouro Island

The Cathedral of Santander: The lower temple, called "cripta del Cristo" was built around 1200 on other earlier Roman buildings. It is 31 meters long and 18 wide, organised into three naves. Its style is a transition from romanesque to gothic.[14]

The Lighthouse of Cabo Mayor presides over the entrance to the Bay of Santander.[15]

Las Llamas Atlantic Park

Parque de la Vaguada de las Llamas is one of the largest parks in northern Spain, covering 11 hectares of the city.[16]

Santander is pilot for a Smart city. It is embedded with 12,000 sensors.[17][18]

Politics and governmentEdit

City Council

The PP were the leading party in the municipal elections of 1999, 2003 and 2007.[19]


As a service centre at the regional level, Santander contains important public institutions and private organisations with a large number of employees, including Marqués de Valdecilla University Hospital, the University of Cantabria and Grupo Santander. Activities related to culture, leisure and tourism are an important part of the city's economy, and the regional and municipal authorities look to augment the summer tourist trade with additional offerings, including conventions, conferences, cultural festivals and cruises. Banco Santander, Spain's largest bank and corporation, is headquartered here.[citation needed]


There are ferry services to and from Portsmouth and Plymouth in the United Kingdom and Cork in Ireland, all operated by Brittany Ferries.[20][21] Santander railway station serves three million annual passengers.


Palacio de Festivales


Santander has a great tradition and cultural activity, with events that play an important role in cultural and social life of the city. UIMP is a major international summer university and organizes large festivals of music and dance. The Festival Internacional de Santander (FIS), Festival Internacional de Música de Órgano (FiMÓC), Encuentro de Música y Academia and the Paloma O'Shea International Piano Competition are main cultural events.


Santander's cuisine is characteristic of Cantabria in that it is based mainly on seafood. Popular shellfish include almejas (clams) and navajas (razor clams); fish include seabream, red mullet, anchovies, seabass and sardines; and squid and cuttlefish are also commonly eaten.

Some typical dishes from the city of Santander are the fried calamari called rabas, double donuts, bean stew called cocido montañés, and seafood dishes ranging from seabass and sardine to products such as morguera.[citation needed]

Famous peopleEdit

Historical FiguresEdit

19th CenturyEdit

20th CenturyEdit


  • Marcos Alonso Imaz (1933–2012) nicknamed Marquitos, was a Spanish footballer, 272 pro appearances
  • José Pérez Francés (born 1936) a Spanish former professional road racing cyclist
  • Francisco Javier Aguilar Garcia (born 1949) a Spanish retired professional footballer 300 pro appearances
  • Seve Ballesteros (1957–2011) a Spanish professional golfer and World No. 1
  • Quique Setién (born 1958) a Spanish retired footballer, 518 pro appearances, current coach of Real Betis
  • Marcos Alonso Peña (born 1959) a Spanish retired footballer, and a current coach, 309 pro appearances
  • José Ignacio Bollaín Ochoa (born 1974) known as Iñaki, is a retired Spanish footballer, over 500 pro appearances
  • Iván Helguera (born 1975) a Spanish football player, 326 pro appearances
  • Pedro Munitis (born 1975) a Spanish football player, 475 pro appearances
  • Iván de la Peña (born 1976) a Spanish football player, 331 pro appearances
  • Mario Bermejo (born 1978) a Spanish retired professional footballer, 546 pro appearances
  • Ruth Beitia (born 1979), high jumper, gold medallist at the 2016 Olympic Games
  • Gonzalo Colsa (born 1979) a Spanish retired footballer 394 pro appearances


Panoramic viewEdit

View of the city from the Bay of Santander.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Municipal Register of Spain 2018". National Statistics Institute. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  2. ^ Wells, John C. (2008). Longman Pronunciation Dictionary (3rd ed.). Longman. ISBN 978-1-4058-8118-0.
  3. ^ Jones, Daniel (2011). Roach, Peter; Setter, Jane; Esling, John (eds.). Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary (18th ed.). Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-15255-6.
  4. ^ Fernández González, Lorena (2002). Santander una ciudad Medieval. Estvdio. ISBN 9788495742056.
  5. ^ "Catholic Encyclopedia: Santander". 1 February 1912. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
  6. ^ Ringrose, David R. (2005). Toward a contemporary city: Santander, 1755-1910. Ed. Universidad de Cantabria. p. 7. ISBN 9788481029772.
  7. ^ Aupí, Vicente (2005). El Incendio de 1941 en Santander. Guía del Clima en España. Omega. p. 75. Consultado el 16 de mayo de 2013. ISBN 84-282-1370-4
  8. ^ "Así ocurrió", El Diario Montañés (in Spanish), 12 February 2011, retrieved 14 December 2014
  9. ^ "Balance de la tragedia", El Diario Montañés (in Spanish), 13 February 2011, retrieved 14 December 2014
  10. ^ "Santander". Lonely Planet. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  11. ^ "Extreme values for Santander". Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  12. ^ "Valores Climatológicos Normales. Santander / Aeropuerto". July 2011.
  13. ^ "Santander". Spain: Cantabria and Asturias. Rough Guides. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  14. ^ David de la Garma. "Catedral de Santander" (in Spanish). Retrieved 14 April 2011.
  15. ^ "Lighthouse of Cabo Mayor". Retrieved 14 April 2011.
  16. ^ "Parque de la Vaguada de Las Llamas en Santander, Cantabria" (in Spanish). El Mundo. Retrieved 16 February 2019.
  17. ^ Santander: The Smartest Smart City. Governing, May 2014
  18. ^ "SmartSantander".
  19. ^ "Resultados municipales: Santander". El Pais. PRISA. Archived from the original on 28 May 2007. Retrieved 8 January 2018. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  20. ^ Isabella Noble (14 October 2015). "36 Santander". The Telegraph. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  21. ^ "Sail to Santander: Hop on board Ireland's first direct ferry to Spain".


External linksEdit