Study in Santander, Spain

Study in Santander, Spain

The dock in Santander, Spain, Source.The coastal and important port city of Santander is the capital of the autonomous community and historical region of Cantabria, which is situated on the north coast of Spain. Located east of Gijón and west of Bilbao, the city, as of 2014, had a population of 178,465 inhabitants.

Among other important functions, Santander houses the headquarters of multinational bank Banco Santander, and is the location of the founding of the namesake company.

From 1950 to the 1970s, urban growth in Santander exploded with the construction of many housing blocks with large buildings of 5 to 6 stories; however few housing developments were built for the city’s working-class population. In recent decades the growth of Santander has been beyond the periphery of the city with smaller buildings and structures.  Of major importance here is El Sardinero, which changed the morphology of garden city to the residential and leisure area of Santander. In the 1980s, the port of Santander was displaced from the center of the city and in recent years Santander has seen a recovery of its southern edge facing the Bay of Santander. The transfer of all port activities to Puerto de Raos has been gradual, with the exception of maritime passenger traffic that is centered on its maritime station front of Paseo de Pereda.

Currently the growth of port activity, increased value-added traffic (vehicles and containers of mostly liquids and solids) for storage requiring a lot of already scarce ground, and insufficient depth for some types of ships, is forcing the Port Authority to consider the long-term construction of a port outside the bay. On 29 June 2005 Santander celebrated the 250th anniversary of the granting of the title of "City."

Things to Do and See in Santander, Spain

Santander offers a number of interesting sites and attractions. Among these are:

Jardines & Paseo de Pereda in Santander

The beautiful Jardines de Pereda (Pereda's Gardens) are named after the Cantabrian writer José María de Pereda, whose seminal work, Escenas Montañesas, is illustrated in bronze and stone here.

The bay front promenade (Paseo de Pereda), which fronts the gardens, continues east to the Puerto Chico (Little Port) marina—a walkway on which over half the city seems to stroll on warm summer evenings. Both the Paseo de Pereda and Calle Castelar, located opposite the Puerto Chico, are dotted with lively cafes and lined with grand buildings characterized by their glassed-in balconies.

Here is also where you’ll find the 1875 Banco Santander building, with the arch in the middle, across the street from the Jardines de Pereda. The Santander is now one of the world's biggest banks, so the architectural grandeur and opulence is not entirely misplaced in this small port city.

Beaches in Santander

Situated just a couple miles east of the city center, the Playa de los Peligros, Playa de la Magdalena and Playa de Bikinis, the bay beaches on the Bahía de Santander, are more protected than the glorious 1.25km sweep of ocean-facing the Playa del Sardinero. Surfers emerge in force along Sardinero when the waves are right, mainly in autumn and winter, when surfs can reach 1.5m high. Sardinero is backed by some of Santander's most expensive real estate, including a number of emblematic early-20th-century structures, such as the Gran Casino.

The Playa del Puntal, a finger of sand jutting out from the southern side of the bay roughly opposite Playa de la Magdalena, is simply idyllic on calm days (but beware of the currents). Weather permitting, passenger ferries (€3.80 return) sail there about every 30 minutes from 10:30am to 7:45pm, June to late September, from the Estación Marítima Los Reginas.

Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Santander

The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Museo de Arte Moderno y Contemporáneo) offers a large and very eclectic collection of art spanning the 16th to the 21st centuries. Much of it is secondary Spanish art, though you'll find the odd curio such as Francisco Goya's portrait of King Fernando VII. The contemporary layout of some sections of the museum brings out intriguing connections between contrasting works. In an equally portentous building next door to the museum is the Biblioteca de Menéndez Pelayo, a vast old library built in 1915 to house the 41,500 books bequeathed to the city by local teacher, philosopher and poet Marcelino Menéndez Pelayo (1856–1912). Behind the library stands the poets family home, the Casa Museo de Menéndez Pelayo.