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As our birthday gift to each other, we managed to secure some cheap flights to Santander, the elegant capital city of the province of Cantabria, which is located on the northern coast of Spain, between Asturias and the Basque Country, overlooking the Cantabrian Sea.

The port city of Santander has many clean, golden beaches and is home to the magnificent coastal resort of El Sardinero, which became popular with the Spanish upper classes during the late 19th century.  The wonderful beaches together with the promenade and the Magdalena Peninsula are some of the main attractions for tourists. 

Santander fell victim to a great fire in 1941. Fanned by a strong south wind, the fire burned for two days, destroying the greater part of the medieval town centre and gutting the city’s Romanesque cathedral.

The historic quarter includes a number of majestic buildings which are situated against an incredible natural backdrop of sea and mountains.  In the early part of the 20th century King Alfonso XIII chose this part of the Cantabrian coast as his summer retreat and many fine buildings sprung up to accommodate the needs of the aristocracy and court officials who followed the King and Queen.

Of course, one of the more pleasant things to do in Santander is to bustle along with the locals towards the many superb tapas bars in the old part of the city.  It´s amazing what a good glass of Rioja Crianza and a mouthful of seafood can do for you!  We spent the evenings strolling along the streets seeking out the busiest tapas bars, with their clients spilling out onto the pavements outside,  and diving straight in there 🙂