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If you’re here to experience the colour of Santander or the towering peaks of the Picos de Europa then our Guru’s recommendations for the best places to stay in Cantabira has something specifically chosen for you. If you’re considering Cantabria for its laid-back qualities and you’re just looking for a rural escape then our Guru’s have quite a lot on their list of the best places to stay in Cantabria which might be of interest…
Green and rather peaceful Cantabria is a wonderful place to come to escape. As well as several national and natural parks, the interior is a rolling feast of mountains and rather spectacular valleys, complete with a light dusting of pretty towns and hamlets. And some of the world’s oldest and best cave art. While the coastline has lively little fishing ports, long beaches and gentle cliffs.
Santander is Cantabria’s capital, beautifully located on the northern side of the Bay of Santander with a couple of excellent city beaches - including a surf beach, a lively bar and restaurant scene, some good shopping and a beautiful suburb full of belle-époque houses which survived the fire which decimated much of the city in 1941. This is a popular beach break destination for Spaniards.
Then there’s immaculately preserved medieval Santillana del Mar - which actually isn’t by the sea at all - but a beautiful huddle of honey coloured brick buildings with balconies filled with flowers and narrow streets passing between them. This is a beautiful place to visit, but many people use it as a base for exploring one of Cantabria’s main attractions, the prehistoric cave art at Altamira. These cave paintings are some of the best in a region known for its cave paintings, but unfortunately the cave is too popular, and since 2002 visitors are only able to visit the replica cave in the museum.
Of Cantabria’s other caves, four more are UNESCO Heritage Listed, and two are open for guided visits, El Castillo and Las Monedas. El Castillo has some of Europe’s oldest cave art, dating from between 39,000 and 11,000 BC, and includes images of bison, horses, goats, deer and handprints. Las Monedas doesn’t have as much cave art, but it does have some spectacular stalactites and stalagmites.
Comillas is another beautiful town, this time largely paid for by the first Marqués de Comillas, who wanted to ‘do up’ his home town after doing well for himself growing tobacco in Cuba. His town planning and regeneration attracted other wealthy Cantabrians to build their mansions here, and some of them are quite quirky. Nearby is the Playa de Oyambre, a wonderfully golden sandy beach protected by the Parque Natural Oyambre.
Then there are the dramatic, jagged peaks of the Picos de Europa, which straddle the Castile-León and Asturias regions as well, offer some of Spain’s most spectacular scenery, and one of the world’s great walking canvases. The three tallest limestone peaks are enough of a challenge, but the whole park is vast, covering all kinds of rocky terrain.
Our pick of the best places to stay in Cantabria range from pretty guesthouses at superb prices to five star luxury hotels in beautiful original buildings.
For a complete Escape
- The Palacio de Sonanes is a spectactual golden palace set in a beautiful valley, surrounded by mountains and nature parks. There are 28 traditionally decorated rooms and suites - with four-poster beds, wooden floors, high ceilings and lots of space. There’s also a pool, gardens and an excellent restaurant.
- La Casona Azul is a quaint, nine room country house with a beautiful garden located in the tranquil Corvera countryside. The decor is elegant and you couldn’t be more perfectly located for exploring the local countryside on foot or two wheels.
- The Palacio de Trasvilla has been carefully converted from a rather romantic 16th century mansion, and now has six traditionally decorated rooms, complete with Flemish tapestries and Renaissance art. There’s a pool and jacuzzi and fantastic views.
For Cantabria’s Coastline
- The Posada Caborredondo is an old stone posada close to the beach and the mountains. There are 14 rustic-chic bedrooms with exposed wooden beams and cosy decorations, plus a lovely library, numerous fireplaces and good regional food.
- The Hotel Case Marques is a delightful five star hotel converted from a 15th century building just back from the coast, and around 30kms from Santander. The 15 rooms are Gothic in flavour, and there’s a games room and library.
- Posada Las Garzas is a charming little hotel right by the dunes and the sea, with views of the mountains and the marshes from the other side of the building. This is a perfect spot for nature lovers and the eleven rooms are comfortable, reasonably priced and family friendly.
- The Camino Real is a great value rustic hotel in the countryside with plenty of character and sublime Spanish cuisine. There’s a beautiful garden and terrace and 25 romantic rooms.
For the Picos de Europa
- The Hotel del Oso is an impressive country house hotel with fifty rooms and stunning views of the mountains. The decor is traditional, with parquet flooring, antiques and private balconies, the restaurant specialises in Cantabrian cuisine and you’re surrounded by beautiful countryside.
- Casona del Nansa is a traditional rural property in the picturesque valley of Nansa, close to the Saja-Nansa Natural Park and between the coast and the Picos de Europa. There are 18 rustic rooms with nice details like exposed beams and exposed stone walls, and a cosy bar.
- El Jardin de Carrejo is a stylish, comfortable collection of 12 rooms and suites converted from a former stable. The rural location is picturesque, nestled into the foothills of Cantabria and close to the beach, the mountains and two national parks, and the grounds are lovely.
The Best Value Places to Stay in Cantabria
- Le Petit Boutique Hotel is, unsurprisingly, a small boutique hotel just two miles from Sardinero Beach, Santander. There are seven, simple yet chic, rooms, starting from around £55 per night, plus a breakfast buffet.
- Jardin Secreto in the heart of Santander is a cheerful, six room guesthouse with individually decorated rooms. You’re just a short stoll from the fine art gallery and the rest of Santander’s highlights.
For a holiday villa
- If you're travelling in a group or with extended family, a self catering property might suit you better. For a wide selection we recommend you visit our online partner, booking.com.
- Best airport - Santander is the easiest airport for acess to the whole region
- If you are planning to hire a car, we'd recommend you check out our online partner, Holiday Autos.
- Best time to visit - June to October are the best months to visit. There's lots going on and the weather is warm! Temperatures peak at an average high of 25 degrees celcius during August.
Still not sure which is the best place to stay in Cantabria for you?
Best Hotels in Cantabria
Posada Caborredondo 14 rooms from $57Cantabria
An old stone pousada surrounded by beaches and mountains. Rustic chic bedrooms have wooden beams and cosy decoration. Lovely library, fireplaces, excellent local cuisines, and plenty to do on the beach and in the mountains. Excellent value for an all round holiday.Country EscapeSights nearby - Visit the town Santillana del Mar and the Altamira Caves.Swimming Pool - Indoor/outdoorGreat walks - Good for walkers.
Camino Real 25 rooms from $63Cantabria
Gorgeous countryside hotel. Unique rooms feature wooden beamed ceilings, characterful furnishings, and modern bathrooms. Garden and terrace to enjoy. Sublime Spanish cuisine and extensive wine list in the bar. Romantic, rural and rustic.Romantic Break - Gorgeous rooms with wooden beams and wrought iron beds, rural location for forest walks and riding before Spanish supperGreat walks - With Red Cantabria Rural toursKayaking - Navigating the Deva RiverDesigner - Uniquely designed interiors.
Le Petit Boutique Hotel 7 rooms from $66Santander (10 Bajo)
This small boutique hotel is located just two minutes away from Sardinero Beach. It features chic, natural palette rooms which include free wifi and an LED TV. A breakfast buffet is served each morning, perfect for setting you up for a day on the beach or for exploring Santander and its sights.Local exploring - Santander Cathedral is less than a mile away and there are a number of other sights within a short distanceActive Holiday - Mataleñas Golf Club is nearby and Sardinero beach has plenty of watersports on offerSights nearby - Explore what Santander has to offerSailing - Sailing available nearby
Casona del Nansa 18 rooms from $68Cantabria
A traditional rural property set in the picturesque Valley of Nansa. Country-style rooms with pretty floral fabrics, exposed stone walls and beamed ceilings. Indulgent continental breakfasts. A cosy bar ideal to unwind in with a regional tipple. A great base to explore this lovely part of Spain.Total relaxation - Relax in total tranquility in this pretty corner of rural Spain.Great walks - Gorgeous countryside to be explored in the Saja-Nansa Natural Park.Fishing - Fish for trout and salmon in the River Nansa.Views - Great views from hotel
Jardin Secreto 6 rooms from $68Santander
A cheerful guesthouse located in the centre of Santander. Its six comfortable rooms are all individually furnished, some featuring exposed brickwork and others wood panelling. Just a short walk from Santander's fine art gallery it is perfectly located for exploring the city. A superb value option.Value chic - Well priced, homely option in the heart of townLocal exploring - Perfectly placed for exploring on footSpa - Guests enjoy special rates at the Club Metropolitan Aqua-Floranes Spa.Local markets - Pick your way through the bustling street markets of Satander.
Posada las Garzas 11 rooms from $71Santona (Berria)
A charming little hotel set in a privileged location surrounded by sea, dunes, mountains, and marsh. An ideal spot for nature lovers and sports enthusiasts. Charming rooms with comfortable beds. Excellent value, family friendly, nature on your doorstep.Back to Nature - The Nature Reserve is host to marshes,the Cantabrian holm oak grove, the coastal cliffs, the dunes and the beaches.Sailing - Can be booked nearby.Great walks - Good for walkers.Sights nearby - Well located for major sights.
Hotel Del Oso 50 rooms from $75Cantabria
An impressive country house boasting stunning mountain views. Traditionally styled rooms feature parquet flooring, antique furniture and private balconies. Sample exemplary Cantabrian cuisine in the restaurant. Plenty of outdoor pursuits within the grounds and surrounding hills. Rural bliss.Country Escape - Gorgeous walks, plenty of space and scenic countryside.Great walks - Excellent walking country. the hotel will provide detailed maps of surrounding trails.Sights nearby - Visit the fascinating Santo Toribio de Liébana Monastery.Views - Great views from hotel
La Casona Azul 9 rooms from $84Cantabria
This quaint country house situated in the tranquil Corvera countryside has elegant rooms and a beautiful garden, the perfect location to have your breakfast each morning. Cabárceno Nature Reserve is only a short drive away and there are plenty of local hikes and cycling routes to explore.Active Holiday - Local hiking and cycling routes plus Carbáceno Nature Reserve is within a short driveCountry Escape - Situated in the peaceful countryside of CorveraGreat walks - The staff can provide information regarding local hiking routesSecluded setting - For escaping.
Palacio de Sonanes 28 rooms from $84Villacarriedo, Cantabria
A beautiful golden palace set in a valley and surrounded by nature parks and mountains. Traditional elegant rooms and suites have four poster beds, wooden floors, high ceilings and lots of space. Excellent restaurant, gardens and pool. Great for local exploring, good value too.Sights nearby - Caves of Altamira.Four poster beds - For romantics.Swimming Pool - Indoor/outdoorGreat walks - Good for walkers.
El Jardin de Carrejo 12 rooms from $101Cantabria
A former stable converted into a stylish and comfortable hotel, nestled in the hills of Cantabria. Rustic-style interiors with stone floors, and fireplaces combined with contemporary wood furnishings, neutral colours and framed photographs. A chic and charming rural retreat with lovely grounds.Country Escape - Set in the beautiful Cantabrian countryside, this rural house opens doors to guests who want a serene environment.Families - Two large and spacious suites have been constructed in the new building and are ideal for families.Back to Nature - Surrounded by mountains, two national parks and close to the beaches of Comillas as well.Fishing - Bring a packed lunch, provided by the hotel, and head off for a days fishing.Recommended by - Sawdays
Casona de Quintana 7 rooms from $141Quintana de Soba, Cantabria
A wonderful country house hotel in a luscious green valley. Romantic stone walled rooms with wooden beams and rustic chic furnishings. Lovely views from terraces and the restaurant. A peaceful country escape in the Basque region.Views - Great views from hotelGreat walks - Good for walkers.Recommended by - Mr & Mrs Smith
Palacio de Trasvilla 6 rooms from $125Escobedo, Cantabria
A chic and comfortable 16th century mansion, set in stunning countryside. Traditional decor with exposed stone walls, antique wooden furniture, Flemish tapestries and Renaissance art. The outdoor pool, garden and Jacuzzi offer fantastic views. Meals can be arranged on request.Back to Nature - Surrounded by forests, just off the village of Escobedo, hawks, eagles, foxes and wild boars can be spotted in this region.Country Escape - A half an hour drive away from Santander, this place offers comfortable accommodation in a secluded rural setting.Hideaway - A romantic and elegant palace ideal for a serene escape.Great walks - Head down to the nearby Cabarceno nature park, a stunning spot for a morning walk.
Hotel Casa del Marques 15 rooms from $133Cantabria
Delightful 5* hotel in 15th century building. Gothic bedrooms have wooden floors, stone walls and velvet furnishings. Games room, library, courtyard and massages available. Full of atmosphere and character, it is a unique stay at good value.Romantic Break - Converted 15th century building is full of atmosphere, elegant bedrooms and couples massages availableSights nearby - Santander is 30km from hotel5* Luxury - Very high service standards.Romantic - Good for couples.