Photo of Cantabria

About Cantabria

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. Our Guru’s recommendations for the best places to stay in Cantabira has something specifically chosen for you.

Santander is Cantabria’s capital, beautifully located on the northern side of the Bay of Santander with a couple of excellent city beaches. There is a lively bar and restaurant scene, some good shopping and a beautiful suburb of belle-époque houses that 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. This is a beautiful place to visit and 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 art, but it does have some spectacular stalactites and stalagmites.

Comillas is another beautiful town 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. They 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 and the whole park is vast, covering all kinds of rocky terrain.

What not to miss:

  • Try your hand at surfing in Somo, well known for its surf break.
  • Canoe in Cantabria's Picos de Europa where you'll find both challenging upriver routes (for the experienced) and gentle conditions.
  • Learn of the importance of fishing to the region in the Museo Mar?timo del Cantábrico.

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 complete escape

  • The Palacio de Sonanes is a spectacular 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 is 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 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 romantic 16th century mansion and now has six traditionally decorated rooms complete with Flemish tapestries and Renaissance art. There is a pool, jacuzzi and fantastic views.

For the 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 set back from the coast 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.

For foodies

  • 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.

For families

  • 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 The grounds are lovely.

For best value

  • 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 stroll from the fine art gallery and the rest of Santander’s highlights.

For an apartment or 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.

Travel Information

  • Best airport - Santander is the easiest airport for access to the whole region
  • If you are planning to hire a car, we'd recommend you check out our online partner Rentalcars.
  • 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?

    1. Browse through our list of all the best places to stay in Cantabria,
    2. Widen the net to include our recommendations in the Asturias or the Basque Country
    3. Or contact one of our friendly Gurus for advice.


    Monthly Weather in Cantabria

    Best Hotels in Cantabria

    • Valle d'Arco San Vicente de la Barquera (Prellezo) 23 rooms from £48

      Country Escape  -  Only a few minutes from the beach, in a charming village, with many activities and views to enjoy
      Sights nearby  -  S. Vicente de la Barquera, Comillas, Santillana del Mar, Santander
      Fishing  -  Nansa and Deva rivers, famous for its salmon and trout
      Views  -  Picos de Europa mountains
      GardenViewsNo pets
      Recommended by  -  Michelin Travel

      A pleasant hotel on the Cantabrian coast, not far from San Vicente de la Barquera. Large rooms are colourful, with exposed beams and views to the sea or mountains. A very secluded spot close to many outdoor activities. A great choice for country weekend by the sea. See More

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    • Palacio de Arce Santander, Cantabria 19 rooms from £55

      Local exploring  -  Ideally positioned to explore the city of Santander as well as the surrounding nature parks and coastal beaches.
      Sights nearby  -  Visit the opulent Palacio de la Magdalena in Santander.
      Great walks  -  Take long walks through the scenic Cabarceno Park.
      Full of character
      Air conditioningRestaurantGardenParkingNo pets

      A declared Asset of Cultural Interest, palace and hotel in Puente Arce. Rooms and suites are stylish and traditional with plenty of wood, simple furniture and luxurious bathrooms. A historic hotel with superb restaurant, set in beautiful gardens and offering easy access to Cantabria's attractions. See More

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    • Posada Caborredondo Cantabria 14 rooms from £48

      Country Escape
      Sights nearby  -  Visit the town Santillana del Mar and the Altamira Caves.
      Swimming Pool  -  Indoor/outdoor
      Restaurant  -  Recommended.
      Air conditioningRestaurantSwimming PoolGarden

      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. See More

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    • Camino Real Cantabria 25 rooms from £52

      Romantic Break  -  Gorgeous rooms with wooden beams and wrought iron beds, rural location for forest walks and riding before Spanish supper
      Great walks  -  With Red Cantabria Rural tours
      Kayaking  -  Navigating the Deva River
      Local markets  -  Good for local colour.
      RestaurantGardenPet friendlyDisabled accessParking

      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. See More

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    • Casona del Nansa Cantabria 18 rooms from £56

      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.
      Romantic  -  Good for couples.
      RestaurantGardenPet friendlyViewsParking

      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. See More

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    • Jardin Secreto Santander 6 rooms from £56

      Value chic  -  Well priced, homely option in the heart of town
      Local exploring  -  Perfectly placed for exploring on foot
      Spa  -  Guests enjoy special rates at the Club Metropolitan Aqua-Floranes Spa.
      Local markets  -  Pick your way through the bustling street markets of Satander.
      SpaSwimming PoolGardenNo pets

      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. See More

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    • Posada las Garzas Santona (Berria) 11 rooms from £59

      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.
      Kayaking  -  Available locally.
      Air conditioning

      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. See More

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    • Posada la Panaderia Villabáñez, Cantabria 7 rooms from £61

      Country Escape  -  A tranquil spot surrounded by beautiful countryside.
      Fishing  -  Fish for salmon and trout on the River Pas that flows through the garden.
      Great walks  -  Take long walks in the nearby Cabárceno Nature Park.
      Sights nearby  -  Visit the Altamira , El Soplao and El Castillo caves.
      Air conditioningGardenDisabled accessViewsParkingNo pets

      A charming guesthouse located in a tranquil rural spot set by the River Pas. Rooms are light and airy with a white on white palette, beamed ceilings, intricately carved antiques and lovely views. A delightful spot from which to explore the charms of the Cantabria region. See More

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    • Suite Home Sardinero Santander 10 rooms from £62

      Local exploring  -  Located in the heart of the city and within walking distance of many main attractions.
      Great walks  -  Explore the Magdalena Peninsula with many parks, rocky shorelines and beaches.
      Sights nearby  -  Visit the opulent Palacio de la Magdalena.
      Air conditioningDisabled accessNo pets

      A chic pension, complete with 10 modern rooms, in the heart of the city. Light and airy accommodation is simple and smart with soft hues, minimalist furniture and luxurious bathrooms. Indulgent breakfasts are served and many of the city's sights are just a stroll away. See More

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    • Hotel Del Oso Cantabria 50 rooms from £62

      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.
      Tennis  -  Play a game on the hotel's court.
      TennisRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenViewsParking

      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. See More

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    • Hotel Tinas de Pechon San Vicente de la Barquera 36 rooms from £78

      Local exploring  -  Well situated to access attractions across Cantabria and Asturias.
      Sights nearby  -  Admire the architecture of Gaudí, Martorell and Llimona in nearby Comillas.
      Romantic  -  Good for couples.
      Great walks  -  Good for walkers.
      Air conditioningRestaurantNo pets

      A chic contemporary hotel located in a charming village near the coast. Individually styled rooms are light and airy with soft hues, floor to ceiling windows and parquet flooring. An elegant restaurant on the terrace serves innovative fusion dishes. A smart base from which to explore the region. See More

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    • Le Petit Boutique Hotel Santander (10 Bajo) 7 rooms from £69

      Local exploring  -  Santander Cathedral is less than a mile away and there are a number of other sights within a short distance
      Active Holiday  -  Mataleñas Golf Club is nearby and Sardinero beach has plenty of watersports on offer
      Sights nearby  -  Explore what Santander has to offer
      Sailing  -  Sailing available nearby
      No pets
      Recommended by  -  Michelin Travel

      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. See More

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    • Hotel Don Pablo San Vicente de la Barquera (Pechón) 14 rooms from £69

      Families  -  With suites and family rooms available, as well as cots upon request, this is definitely a family-friendly option
      Beach Life  -  Within walking distance from the breathtaking Cantabria coastline, a great base for a beach holiday
      Local exploring  -  The fantastic location is perfect for local exploring of the spectacular Cantabria landscape
      Great walks  -  Take a walk along the coast or inland to the spectacular forests and caves

      This traditional Spanish guesthouse draws on the best of Cantabria's style with spectacular wooden floors and ceilings, a refreshing terrace and contemporary dining area and bar. All rooms offer a spacious bathroom and plenty of natural light. A perfect oasis for a beach holiday. See More

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    • La Casona de San Pantaleón de Aras Cantabria 7 rooms from £69

      Fishing  -  Guests are invited to fish in the local river
      Four poster beds  -  For romantics.
      SpaGardenViewsParkingNo pets

      A charming 17th century house, steeped in Castilian history. All seven, distinctly designed en suite rooms offer unique views of the Cantabria countryside, with wooden floors and stone framed windows. Guests can sit by stone fires, relax in the gardens, or stroll by the river; ideal for relaxation. See More

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    • La Casona Azul Cantabria 9 rooms from £69

      Active Holiday  -  Local hiking and cycling routes plus Carbáceno Nature Reserve is within a short drive
      Country Escape  -  Situated in the peaceful countryside of Corvera
      Great walks  -  The staff can provide information regarding local hiking routes
      Secluded setting  -  For escaping.
      GardenParkingNo pets
      Recommended by  -  Michelin Travel, Great Small Hotels

      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. See More

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    • Palacio de Sonanes Villacarriedo, Cantabria 28 rooms from £69

      Sights nearby  -  Caves of Altamira.
      Four poster beds  -  For romantics.
      Swimming Pool  -  Indoor/outdoor
      Restaurant  -  Recommended.
      RestaurantSwimming PoolGardenPet friendlyViewsParking

      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. See More

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    • San Roman de Escalante Escalante Cantabria 16 rooms from £86

      Weddings  -  Featuring a Wedding Hall and three private dining areas, plus a stunning setting, this is the ideal spot for a wedding.
      Local exploring  -  Boasting a secluded rural spot yet the local sights and beaches are within easy reach.
      Sights nearby  -  Visit the medieval Santillana del Mar, where you can see the replica of the Altamira Caves.
      Romantic  -  Good for couples.
      Air conditioningRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenDisabled accessParking

      A 17th century mansion, now four star hotel, boasting a secluded spot in rural Cantabria. Elegant rooms are traditional and spacious with high beamed ceilings, dark antique furniture and rich hues. An atmospheric restaurant serves up exemplary regional cuisine. A quintessentially Spanish stay. See More

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    • Hotel Palacio Torre De Ruesga Cantabria 12 rooms from £82

      Back to Nature  -  In Cantabria Alto Ason, near the Natural Park Collados del Ason
      Spa breaks  -  Modern spa facilities, hot tub and a pool
      Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor pool
      Remote  -  Off the beaten track.
      Air conditioningSpaRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenViewsParkingNo pets

      Fully renovated 17th century palace that lets you sleep, bathe and dine like royalty. The decor is in keeping with tradition: stone walls, antique furniture and frescoes, but with exquisite modern comforts, including a spa, Jacuzzi, gym, meeting room, free wifi and whirlpool. See More

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    • El Jardin de Carrejo Cantabria 12 rooms from £84

      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.
      RestaurantGardenViewsParkingNo pets
      Recommended by  -  Sawdays, Great Small Hotels

      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. See More

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    • Casona de Quintana Quintana de Soba, Cantabria 7 rooms from £115

      Views  -  Great views from hotel
      Restaurant  -  Traditional regional cuisine
      Great walks  -  Good for walkers.
      Recommended by  -  Mr & Mrs Smith

      A wonderful country house hotel in a lush green valley. Romantic rooms with exposed stone walls, wooden beams and rustic chic furnishings. Lovely views from terraces and the restaurant. A peaceful country escape in the Basque region. See More

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    • Palacio de Trasvilla Escobedo, Cantabria 6 rooms from £104

      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.
      Swimming PoolGardenPet friendlyViewsParking

      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. See More

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    • Hotel Casa del Marques Cantabria 15 rooms from £110

      Romantic Break  -  Converted 15th century building is full of atmosphere, elegant bedrooms and couples massages available
      Sights nearby  -  Santander is 30km from hotel
      Romantic  -  Good for couples.
      Air conditioningGardenNo pets

      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. See More

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    • Hotel Palacio de la Pena Cantabria 12 rooms from £289

      Weddings  -  The property is well equipped to host large groups for parties and events
      Beach Life  -  The picturesque Playa de Cuberris is just a short walk from the hotel
      Sights nearby  -  Explore the expansive Soplao Cave considered unique for the quality and quantity of geological formations found within
      Surfing  -  Try your hand at surfing at one of the various clubs to be found along the beach
      RestaurantGardenParkingNo pets

      A 16th century palace turned small luxury hotel set a short distance from the area's dramatic coastline. Atmospheric rooms are filled with antiques and the old building's fireplaces and exposed beams lend real character. The restaurant serves exceptional authentic regional dishes. A charming stay. See More

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