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Did you know that... Santoña


It is located in the eastern part of Cantabria, in the bay that bears its name, on the left bank of the mouth of the river Asón, enjoying the Natural Park of the Marshes of Santoña, Victoria and Joyel and at the foot of Mount Buciero. The original history of Santoña, like that of the whole area, dates back to the Palaeolithic period and its population settlements. It is also known of an important nucleus of population in Roman times, the first century of our era. In the Middle Ages Santoña was known by the name of Puerto or Puerto de Santoña, according to documents.  In the middle of the 10th century it was devastated by Norman pirates. But it is the Abbot Paterno who is considered to be the true founder of the town, as it was he who in 1038 restored and revived the altomedieval monastery of Santa María del Puerto, of which the church of the same name still remains today, and which had a great influence on the way of life and customs of the local people. On 4 June 1579, Philip II incorporated it into the crown and it was constituted as a royal town. During the War of Independence Santoña became a prominent military square.




What to see in Santoña?


Santoña offers the visitor beautiful places where to discover its important historical heritage as a coastal defense that still exhibits. The Fort of San Martín at the end of the promenade was built at the beginning of the 17th century, but in the following two centuries it underwent successive rehabilitations that transformed it into an imposing fortification; The Fort of San Carlos, closest to the mouth of the bay, is the oldest in Santoña. At first it was built with earth and wood but at the end of the 17th century it was decided to rebuild it with stone and since then it has been called the Fort of San Carlos in honour of the monarch Carlos II; and the Fort of Napoleón or del Mazo, located in the Buciero, offers magnificent views of the whole territory. Being Napoleon himself who directed the construction of the fort in 1812, was slightly reformed in 1870 and in 2001 was completely restored. It is considered an Asset of Cultural Interest. Beautiful hiking trails bring the tourist to these historic corners as well as its strategic lighthouses, of unquestionable charm; the Fisherman's lighthouse next to the beach of Berria and the Lighthouse of the Horse​ which is well worth the effort to go down its almost 700 steps of access.

Fort San Martín in Santoña

To discover


A pleasant stroll through the streets of Santoña helps to discover buildings and monuments that are a clear exponent of its historical architecture, such as the Palace of the Duke of Santoña and Marquis of Manzanedo, the Institute of the Marquises of Manzanedo, both of the nineteenth century, the Palace of the Marquises of Chiloeches, It was a military hospital, prison and finally a post-war school, the House Palace of Castañeda built in neoclassical style at the beginning of the 20th century, the monument to Juan de la Cosa, from the beginning of the last century, or the monument to the Virgin of the Port, a curious lighthouse for boats at the entrance to the port; the town hall, without forgetting the emblematic church of Santa María del Puerto, a proto-Gothic building from the 13th century. Santoña gives the image of being an island surrounded by mountains, marshes and estuaries, with a peaceful promenade that invites you to enjoy the sea breeze, the sunsets and, of course, the prized gastronomy of Santoña and its super famous anchovies that have their own fair, the Anchovy Fair of Cantabria. 

Church of Santa María del Puerto de Santoña



Santoña celebrates its patron saint festivities in honour of the Virgen del Puerto on 8 September. The day before, on the 7th, the spectacular Maritime Procession takes place, in which a spectacular deployment of Cantabrian fishing fleet sails around the bay in pursuit of the flagship, the one that bears the venerated image of the patron saint. The seafaring carnivals that are celebrated in Santoña is the festival par excellence of winter, they were declared a Festival of National Tourist Interest in 1985.






According to the traditional popular saying: El Buciero encapotao, Santoña mojao.




The port of Santoña was the starting point of the nao Santa María, one of the three caravels that Columbus captained in his discovery of America.

Santoña Seafront Promenade

The Legend


Legend has it that on the highest cliff in Cantabria which is very close to Santoña, there is a castle in ruins today but that in its years of splendour, back in the 12th or 13th centuries, was inhabited by Don Rodrigo de los Vélez and his wife Doña Dulce de Saldaña and with them and under their tutelage lived the young apprentice Iñigo Fernán Núñez. It happened that one day the knight Don Rodrigo marched towards a campaign against the Muslims in which he was taken prisoner. The young and malicious Iñigo took advantage of this fact to seize the castle and all its possessions to which he also wanted to add to the grief-stricken Doña Dulce whom he persecuted continuously; and he wanted the destiny that arriving in one of these persecutions to the top of the tower and seeing Dulce that he had no escape he managed to seize the sword of Iñigo, and preferring honor to life he dealt himself a deadly blow. The young man, then frightened, moved away and at that moment a strong gale hit the place, causing him to fall into the void. Since then, every time the wind blows with force, it is said that the Maldito Rider, Íñigo Fernán on the back of a dolphin, rides without rest among the waves of the Cantabrian Sea.





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Get to Santoña by car


Santoña can be reached by the A-8 motorway that connects it with Santander and Bilbao. An extensive network of coastal roads connect it with nearby towns such as Noja, Arnuero or Isla. The CA-241 road that connects with the N-634 joins it with Cicero, Colindres and the A-8.


By bus


Santoña has bus services that daily and at different times link it with Santander capital. The bus station of Santoña is located in C/ Marinos de Santoña, 4.


By train


The closest train station to Santoña is Gama, where the regular railway line between Santander and Bilbao stops. The telephone number for further information is 942 642 211


By airplane


The closest airport to Santoña is Santander; Bilbao is also nearby.




SENDITUR is not responsible for any variation in the information described, as well as for the misuse of its guides and recommends that everyone be responsible and prudent in carrying out the activity. Likewise, we invite you to document yourself with books and specialized guides to complement the information described. From the commitment of SENDITUR with Nature and the respect to the balance of the environment, SENDITUR urges you to travel in a responsible way, with low environmental impact and respecting at all times the Natural, Cultural and Social environment wherever you go. For any suggestion, SENDITUR invites you to send an email to .   

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List of Routes
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  • Duration
  • Assessment

3:20 h.10.8 km.

Path of the Lighthouse of the Horse and the cliffs
Difficulty-ModerateRed difficulty category, level 1. More demanding courses, either because they are longer, more uneven or have a specific difficulty.
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See accommodation in Santoña
Santoña, Cantabria
See accommodation in Santoña

Santoña, Cantabria

See things to do in Santoña
Santoña, Cantabria
See things to do in Santoña

Santoña, Cantabria

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