The medieval town of Santillana del Mar is known as the village of 3 lies: it is not holy, it is not flat and has no sea … But that does not mean that we are talking about any villa. Its well-kept streets, stately homes, its impressive collegiate church, … Santillana del Mar village is a very special place.
The medieval town of Santillana del Mar
This villa dates from the Middle Ages, although archaeological remains from previous settlements have been found in nearby areas. However, there is a consensus that the current village rose next to the Saint Juliana collegiate church.
This impressive building is of Romanesque style and was built in the 12th century. According to tradition here are the remains of Saint Juliana of Nicomedia, Christian martyr of the third century.
It is in very good condition and stands out for its cloister, capitals, graves and tombs of the Polanco family. An artistic reference in Santillana del Mar and Cantabria.
Santillana del Mar is also rich for its sculptural ensemble. Here is the Jesus Otero Museum and Foundation, a sculptor originally from the town of 3 lies.
And not only in the Museum are his works. You can also contemplate and admire the bison sculpted by Otero that is in front of the houses of the Eagle and the Vine. A modern version of the old painted bison in the Altamira Cave.
These stately homes, like others in the villa, were built between the 16th and 17th centuries. Moreover, in the latter you can still see on its facade the coat of arms of the Estrada family, owner of it.
Walking through this beautiful villa you can also see a palace. Such as the Velarde Palace. Of Gothic and Renaissance origin, it stands out for its pinnacles that decorate the facade and ceiling.
And also some hidden tower between its streets (Merino tower).
As you can see, Santillana del Mar has many historic buildings to visit. However, we loved visiting the villa without an established route. Strolling through its cobbled streets, contemplating beautiful rural houses in stone …
… old streets, some with watering hole for cattle …
… ancient arches that give access to old houses …
… and beautiful fountains that take you to another time, where you had to go for water …
And not only the architecture in Santillana del Mar stands out, the villa is located in a beautiful enclave of Cantabria, surrounded by green fields …
What museums are in the medieval town of Santillana del Mar?
There are several interesting museums in Santillana del Mar:
- Torture Museum: Here you can contemplate instruments of torture used by the Holy Inquisition (See more on their website).
- Jesus Otero Museum and Foundation: Sculptural art center with many of the works of Jesus Otero, a native of the town of 3 lies.
- Merino tower: Today it is a cultural center with temporary exhibitions.
If you visit this villa in May, you cannot miss the international puppet festival “Bisóntere”
How to get to the medieval town of Santillana del Mar?
It’s easy since Santillana del Mar is pretty well connected. It has several highways nearby.
- From Santander: Go along the A-67 motorway until exit 187. From here take the N-611 and CA-131 towards Santillana del Mar (9 km).
- From Asturias/Galicia: Go on the A-8 motorway eastbound. Take exit 234 towards Santillana del Mar (5.5 km away).
- From Bilbao: Go on the A-8 motorway westbound and take exit 234 towards Santillana del Mar (5.5 km).
- From Castilla y León/Madrid: The fastest route is on the A-62 and A-67 until you cross the A-8 highway. At that point, take it in the Oviedo direction and exit in km 234 (from the A-8). Santillana del Mar is about 5.5 km away.
Once in Santillana del Mar, you can park your car on a street outside or in the public parking inside the town (not expensive).
Where to stay in the medieval town of Santillana del Mar?
You have many and good options to enjoy this wonderful villa: luxury hotels, cottages, inns, old houses, … All at a very reasonable price!
Nearby places of interest
- Altamira cave: The visit to the museum revolves around a very realistic reconstruction of the cave, since the original cave does not admit massive visits to avoid the degradation of its cave paintings. Although there is an exception. On Fridays, if you arrive at the museum a Friday before 10:30, you enter a raffle to visit the original cave (only 5 lucky ones). They are 2.5 km from Santillana del Mar (More information about the Altamira Museum).
- Cabarceno Nature Park: It is one of the natural parks that best cares for animals. They are not in cages, but the orography of the land allows its accommodation in a much more natural and respectful way. It is located on the outskirts of Santander, about 20 km. (More information about the Cabarceno Natural Park)
- Santander city: Nice stately city in northern Spain with good beaches, the main ones being Magdalena and Sardinero. Nor can you miss the recreational area of the Palacio de la Magdalena. It is located 30 km from Santillana del Mar.
- Santoña: Maritime town famous for its canned anchovies, its carnivals and its fort San Martín. It has magnificent beaches to enjoy the sea and surf. You can also enjoy some beautiful walks to reach the Fisherman’s and Horse’s lighthouses. It is located 70 km from Santillana del Mar.
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Kiss and hugs.