Situated on the north coast of Spain, Santander is the captial of the autonomous community of Cantabria. Santander is primarily a port city and is home to over a third of the people who live in Cantabria. It dates back to the Roman Empire when the town was known as Portus Victoriae Iuliobrigensium. Fortunately for those of us who do not speak Latin, Santander later received the shorter, more pronounceable name of San Emeterio. St Emeterio - the martyr who the town is allegedly named for - was the martyr whose head was brought to the city in the 3rd century. The town was known as San Emeterio until it the name eventually took the modern form we know it by today. In 1248, Santander participated in the battle for Seville for which it was rewarded with a coat of arms. It served as an important port for Castile in the Middle ages and also as a trade port for the New World. It became officially recognized as a city in 1755.
In 1941, a massive fire took hold of the city. Fanned by strong winds, it burned for two days. While there was only one casualty - a brave firefighter - thousands of families lost their homes and the city was left in ruins. The larger part of the historical side of Santander was destroyed. Thus Santander is not all that well known for its historical attractions. While Santander is a popular tourist destination this has more to do with the beautiful Sardinero beaches and the mild though sometimes rainy weather. When the rain clouds close in on a Santander holiday, vacationers generally head for the casino next to the beach. The Plaza de Canadio is the most popular night spot as it is bordered by seven different bars and is near to numerous taverns. Shopping is also enjoyable as there are several interesting shops close to the Ayuntamiento and at the Cuatro Caminos. Santander restaurants serve delicious Spanish cuisine while the Santander hotels offer great service.
Many people choose to start their holiday with an enjoyable ride in a ferry to Santander though there are other ways to get there. Santander may not be everyone's cup of tea but it's a great place to take a quite break and an even better place to enjoy good beaches and moderate weather.