Parador de Santillana Gil Blas

Know the environment

The Cantabrian town of Santillana del Mar is unusual in that it is open only to pedestrians. You won't find any cars, making your visit very special indeed. This historic district has preserved its original character for hundreds of years. Highlights include the Casa del Águila (House of the Eagle) and the Casa de la Plaza (House of the Square), the statue Homenaje al hombre de Altamira (Homage to the Man of Altamira), and the fabulous town hall building. Don't miss the opportunity to visit Altamira Cave, a World Heritage Site just two kilometers away.

What to see

  • Old quarter and house museums
  • Altamira Cave and Museum
  • Romanesque collegiate church and diocesan museum
  • Santillana Zoo (2 km)
  • Central coast beaches (Tagle, Suances, Liencres)
  • Comillas (15 km) and San Vicente de la Barquera (30 km)
  • El Soplao Cave (40 km)
  • Valles Pasiegos district (45 km)
  • Santander (25 km)
  • Oyambre Nature Reserve (29 km)
  • Cabárceno Nature Park (40 km)
  • Ruta del Cares Trail (60 km)
  • Picos de Europa mountains (70 km)

What to do

Relax at the nearby beaches: Urbiaco (5 km), Cobreces (10 km), Comillas (17 km), Oyambre (20 km), Suances (10 km). Or visit Oyambre Nature Reserve (20 km), San Vicente de la Barquera (29 km), Santa María de los Ángeles Church and El Rey Castle.

Expert's recommendation

  • Santillana historic district
All you need are comfortable shoes to navigate the irregular cobbled streets and Santillana del Mar offers the chance to explore a unique historic district like no other in Spain. Stone is also one of the most notable architectural features, found in the mansions of both nobles and indianos (Spaniards who made their fortune in Latin America), their wooden balconies bedecked with flowers, as well as house museums such as Torre de Don Borja and Casa de La Parra. The jewel in the crown is the 12th-century Romanesque collegiate church, which houses an extremely beautiful cloister.
  • Beaches of the western and central coasts
During the summer season, one of the best options is to head to any of the many beaches around Santillana del Mar: San Vicente de la Barquera, Oyambre and Comillas to the west; Santander and Somo on the central coast (20–25 minutes by car); or nearby Cóbreces, Tagle, Suances and Liencres (10–15 minutes by car). Whichever you choose, we're sure you'll want to return.
  • Santillana del Mar Zoo
This is the place to enjoy more than 2000 animals from around the planet in an outdoor space covering more than 6 hectares. The spectacular tropical butterfly garden offers visitors the chance to witness the birth of these insects and gain a comprehensive understanding of their metamorphosis. The zoo has more than 40 conservation programs in place for endangered species such as the Asiatic lion, European bison, slender-snouted crocodile and the only family of Sumatran orangutans in Spain. Quaternary Park features fauna from the age of the humans who populated Altamira Cave and inspired their art. This is a beautiful place for a wonderful family outing, just 1 km from the Parador.
  • Ancient caves at Altamira and El Soplao
If Cantabria is known for one thing, it is the many prehistoric caves in the area. Among them is Altamira, considered one of the world's most important sites for cave paintings. Altamira Cave is located within the municipality of Santillana del Mar. It offers a comprehensive museum and interpretive center. And just 40 kilometers from Santillana is El Soplao Cave, one of the region's unique karstic formations.