Yep, no two ways about it: summer in most of Spain is hot, hot, hot. And Spaniards and foreign visitors alike take full advantage to flock to its fantastic beaches. But a few of those lovely beaches are located not along the sunbaked coasts of the Costa del Sol, Costa Brava, and the Canary and Balearic islands, but up north along the Cantabrian Sea. And Cantabria province is a favourite summer getaway for Spaniards not just because of its great beaches (including some of Spain’s best for surfing), bucolic hinterland, and exciting capital city Santander, but also because it offers temperatures way more moderate – around 20° Celsius/68° Fahrenheit in July and August – than the rest of the country.
Santander in particular is a summertime treat – very much in party mode. And especially in the month of July it’s wall to wall, starting with the concert series Música en Grande, running the 3rd through the 6th this year, followed by Baños de Ola, from 10 to 15 July, when the city’s beaches near the Gran Casino Sardinero and Piquío Gardens take a leaf from the 19th century when Spain’s high society would summer up here, with music, dancing, theatre, and regattas, all featuring locals in period dress.
But the biggest deal in town is Semana Grande, taking place this year right on the heels of Baños de Ola, 21-28 July, when the city gives itself over to a truly dizzying whirl of street fairs and markets, performances, parades, fireworks, and more.
And even outside festival season, Santander rocks after dark with concert venues such as Escenario Santander and the Blackbird Club, both hosting a variety of genres from both national and international acts.
And even beyond all that, Santander offers a feast for both body and soul, with its fresh, fantastic Cantabrian cuisine and an array of other cultural offerings, in particular several institutions of the city’s so-called Anillo Cultural (Cultural Ring): the recently inaugurated Centro Botín modern art museum (above); the City History Museum; the Prehistory and Archaeology Museum of Cantabria; an underground museum showcasing a section of the city’s mediaeval wall; another the mediaeval docks; yet another about Santander’s experience during the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s, in a former air raid shelter; and a new affiliate of Madrid’s Reina Sofía modern art museum.
Beaches and culture in a charming city and climate. Not at all bad for a summer holiday!
More info in English: Turismo.Santander.