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Santander Cathedral

This fortress-like building is actually two churches combined and stands on a pile of Roman ruins. Inside, see religious works of art and sacred relics.

Santander Cathedral has been a dominant presence since the 13th century, an austere Gothic structure on the incline of a hill. Explore this grandiose medieval church which occupies a site that once housed Roman baths and later an abbey.

The religious complex is actually two overlapping buildings, the principal basilica and the lower parish church, now a crypt. 

Start your visit in the main church building. It suffered serious damage during the devastating fire that almost destroyed Santander in 1941. Consequently, many of the altarpieces are new or come from other churches. Visit the handful of centuries-old side chapels. Study the piece of marble near the sacristy that is inscribed with carvings in Arabic. It is believed to have been taken by Cantabrian sailors during the Siege of Seville in the middle of the 13th century. 

Stop by the tomb of the Santander polymath Marcelino Menéndez y Pelayo who died in 1912. Browse the works of art including a copy of The Visitation, an early 16th-century painting by Raphael that depicts Mary the mother of Jesus Christ visiting her cousin Elizabeth who is pregnant with St. John the Baptist.

Access the lower church via the Romanesque doors. See the reliquaries that contain parts of the remains of St. Emeterio and St. Celedonio. Both were Roman legionnaires who were beheaded for professing their Christian faith. According to legend, their severed heads were brought to the city aboard a boat made of stone. Look through a glass section of the crypt's floor to see the remains of Roman thermal baths that were excavated in the early 1980s.

Enjoy a stroll around the colonnaded Gothic cloister which used to surround a secluded orange garden.

The cathedral is open daily although it closes for a few hours each afternoon. Admission is free. Arrive by bus or taxi or drive and park for a fee in nearby garages. If you are already in the center of the city, the Santander Cathedral is a short walk from other attractions such as Plaza Porticada and the Museum of Prehistory and Archaeology of Cantabria.


Guide to Exploring around Santander Cathedral


Best Lodging Options Near Santander Cathedral

See all 698 Properties near Santander Cathedral
Hotel Bahia $85
Hotel Bahia

Hotel Bahia

C/ Cádiz, 22, Santander, Cantabria
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Santander City Centre, this hotel is steps from Parroquia Santisimo Cristo and Santander Ferry Terminal. Palacio de la Magdalena and Bay of Biscay are also within 3 mi (5 km). Santander Station is 6 minutes by foot.

    Eurostars Hotel Real $106
    Eurostars Hotel Real

    Eurostars Hotel Real

    Paseo Perez Galdos 28, Santander, Cantabria
       
      5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Situated near the beach, this luxury hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Los Peligros Beach and Palacio de la Magdalena. Santander Ferry Terminal and Bay of Biscay are also within 3 mi (5 km).

      Cabo Mayor $43
      Cabo Mayor

      Cabo Mayor

      C/ Cadiz 1, 2ª Planta, Santander, Cantabria
         
        2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in the heart of Santander, this pension is 0.2 mi (0.4 km) from Santander Cathedral and within 3 mi (5 km) of Gran Casino del Sardinero and Bikini Beach. Palacio de la Magdalena and Bay of Biscay are also within 3 mi (5 km). Santander Station is only a 2-minute walk.

        Hotel Art Santander
        Hotel Art Santander

        Hotel Art Santander

        SANTA TERESA DE JESUS,20, Santander, SDR
           
          4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Situated near the beach, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Centro Botín, Santander Cathedral, and Santander Ferry Terminal. Gran Casino del Sardinero and Primera El Sardinero Beach are also within 2 mi (3 km). Santander Station is 17 minutes by foot.

          Hotel Silken Coliseum $63
          Hotel Silken Coliseum

          Hotel Silken Coliseum

          Plaza de los Remedios, 1, Santander, Cantabria
             
            4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Santander City Centre, this hotel is 0.1 mi (0.2 km) from Mercado La Esperanza and within 3 mi (5 km) of Palacio de la Magdalena and Santander Ferry Terminal. Bay of Biscay is 2.7 mi (4.3 km) away. Santander Station is 8 minutes by foot.

            Royal Suite Santander $46
            Royal Suite Santander

            Royal Suite Santander

            Paseo Menéndez Pelayo 63, Santander, Cantabria
               
              3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Situated near the beach, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Monumento a La Sardinera and Santander Ferry Terminal. Palacio de la Magdalena and Bay of Biscay are also within 3 mi (5 km). Santander Station is 23 minutes by foot.

              Hostal La Mexicana $33
              Hostal La Mexicana

              Hostal La Mexicana

              Calle de Juan de Herrera, 3, Santander
                 
                2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Santander City Centre, this hotel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Santander Cathedral, Cantabria Maritime Museum, and Santander Ferry Terminal. Gran Casino del Sardinero and El Sardinero Beach are also within 2 mi (3 km). Santander Station is 7 minutes by foot.

                Hotel Boutique Las Brisas $53
                Hotel Boutique Las Brisas

                Hotel Boutique Las Brisas

                Calle La Brana, 14, (El Sardinero), Santander, Cantabria
                   
                  1.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Situated on the boardwalk, this romantic hotel is within 2 mi (3 km) of El Sardinero Beach, Palacio de la Magdalena, and Santander Ferry Terminal. Bay of Biscay is 2.2 mi (3.5 km) away.