Santillana del Mar

posted in: Cantabrica, Europe, Home, Spain | 4

Santillana del Mar was our last stop before taking the ferry back to the UK. It is a very pretty and historic town and a most enjoyable way in which to end a long trip in Spain.

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Plan of Santillana (

The start of Santillana del Mar

It seems that the town grew around the Monastery of the 9C which became a Collegiate Church, and then the Cathedral of Santa Juliana. All the roads in the town focus on the Cathedral, or rather radiate from it.

The town is also on the Northern Route of the Camino but it was so packed with tourists it was hard to see Pilgrims!

Growth of Santillana del Mar

The Calle del Rey links the Cathedral to the Plaza Ramon Pelayo and the town developed along this axis over time. The square was part of Mediaeval Santillana and it looked like a film set in the evening light! The town has always been important because in Mediaeval times it was the capital of what today is Cantabrica. And this explains the many mansions with crests, towers, and large religious establishments.

Calle Real, Santillana del Mar
Calle del Rey, linking the Cathedral and the Plaza Mayor
Tower of Don Borja (L) on the Plaza Mayor and the Tower of Merino (R)
Plaza Mayor, Santillana del Mar
In the Plaza Mayor
Tower of Merino
Tower of Merino

Velarde Palace

The Palace of the Velarde stands on the Plaza de las Arenas, behind the Cathedral. It is the best example of the Renaissance in Santillana. An old, walled, stone road leads out of the town from the Plaza.

Old stone road into the town
Old stone road into the town
Plaza de las Arenas behind the Cathedral
The Plaza de las Arenas behind the Cathedral
Velarde Palace on the Plaza de las Arenas
Coat of Arms of the Velarde

Mansions of the wealthy

As an important centre of administration and trade, Santillana also attracted the wealthy and powerful. Wandering through the town you notice many crests on the buildings, and many substantial buildings. The Parador was once the home of the Barredo-Bracho family and is now a very comfortable and intimate hotel. The mansion dates from the 17C

Parador Gil Bas in Santillana del Mar
Parador Gil Blas: Barreda-Barocha Mansion
Mansion in the town
Mansion in the town

Views of Santillana del Mar today

This is a delightful small town and the Parador is very comfortable but don’t expect a quiet stay!

Further information

Walks around Santillana

4 Responses

  1. Candy Blackham

    It is – if there were no tourists it would be rather like a film set. If you don’t know Northern Spain then this would be a good stop for the first night off the Ferry from the UK, and a magical introduction to similar towns.

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