Nerby cities: San Sebastián, Santander y Vitoria
Santander, the capital of Cantabria, is one of the most elegant and beautiful cities on the northern coast of Spain.With thirteen beaches, impressive coastal walks, 19th-century buildings, charming outdoor terraces and its spectacular bay, is without a doubt, the ideal place for a short break.
What to see:
- Santander Historic Quarter: The Plaza Porticada (porticoed square) is one of the liveliest and most symbolic places in the city. The city Hall and the cathedral are also a must-see.
- La Magdalena Peninsula: La Magdalena Peninsula is Santander’s greatest treasure. It’ s the former summer residence of the Kings of Spain and International University today. Outstanding views of the city of Santander can be seen from here. There are 3 caravels donated to Santander by a sailor and an entertaining mini-zoo.
- El Sardinero: El Sardinero is an extraordinary residential area with splendid mansions. The Gran Casino, which evokes the arquitecture of the Belle Époque, is located on the beach front, in the heart of the Sardinero.
- Museums: Santander has a collection of interesting museums to offer visitors such as the Maritime Museum, the Natural History Museumt, the Museum of Fine Arts, as well as the Cantabrian Maritime Museum.
- Ola Baths: Date: Mid July.
- Circuito Montañés Sailing: From April 9th to October 13th.
How to arrive to Santander from Bilbao:
- By Bus: ALSA runs a good service directly from Bilbao to Santander.
- By Car: Take A-8 highway, turn off at the Santander exit, follow the Paseo Marítimo towards the City Centre.
- By Train: The train takes about two hours and the services are infrequent but is quite scenic and well worth doing if you have the time. Check out www.feve.es
Chosen as the 2012 European Green Capital, is a perfect destination for a day trip from Bilbao. The capital of Alava has a rich historic-artistic heritage, a bustling main shopping area, beautiful gardened areas and pedestrian spaces ideal for a pleasant walk.
What to see:
- The Old Quarters: A visit to the old quarter of Vitoria gives you the opportunity to go back to Medieval times. Its almond-shaped old part dates back to more than 8 centuries ago and was declared a Historical Monument in 1997. It is possible to find countless places of interest such as Plaza de la Virgen Blanca or the cathedral of Santa María. The artisan traders who used to work and live there are remembered in the names of the streets: Pintorería (painter), Herrería (blacksmith), Zapateria (shoemaker)… Also in the old part, we find the Casa del Cordón, the Bendaña palace, the church of San Vicente, Villasuso palace and Los Arquillos viewpoint.
- Dato Street: Dato street is a beautiful pedestrian street located in the city centre. It’s a perfect place to find high quality shops, popular brands as well as local and traditional establishments.
- The Almendra Market: Once a month, the Almendra Market takes place in the Medieval District. And on the last weekend of September, the city centre commemorates its great Medieval Market.
- Jazz Festival: Vitoria is also known for it´s famous jazz festival. It is the only Festival in Spain that takes part in the International Jazz Festival Organization, which brings together the highest quality jazz events in Europe and the USA.
- Virgen Blanca festivities: On August 4th thousands will gather at the plaza de la Virgen Blanca Square in order to enjoy the beginning of the most important festivities of Alava’s capital. The descent of Celedon, a symbol of a countryman from Alava, is an experience that can be missed out. There are several activities from July 26 onwards.
San Sebastian is a classy and really elegant city, with a nice old town, excellent beaches and probably the best pinchos ( Basque tapas) in Spain.>What to see:
- Kursaal: It’s an amazing Congress Centre by the Spanish architect Rafael Moneo.
- The City Hall: It is the former Grand Casino of San Sebastian and it’s located in the middle of the La Concha Bay area.
- Beaches: La Concha beach is the most visited one. Ondarreta beach is located between Mount Igeldo and Miramar Palace Gardens and it’s a perfect place to play volleyball, beach tennis or football. Zurriola beach lies in the heart of the Gros neighbourhood and it’s the favourite beach among surfers.
- Monte Igueldo: From Mount Igueldo you’ll have an awesome view of La Concha Bay.
- Churches and Museums: There are a lot of churches that will surprise you in your visit to San Sebastián such as Buen Pastor Cathedral, San Vicente church and the impressive Basilica of Santa María which is a 18th century Baroque work that stands in Calle Mayor in the Old Part.
- Peine del Viento Sculpture: The work of sculptor Eduardo Chillida has become the emblem of the city.
- San Sebastian’s Film Festival: Every year in September big stars and directors attend this wonderful film festival which, along with the Cannes Festival and the Venetian Mostra, is one of Europe’s most important film events.
- Semana Grande/Aste Nagusia: It’s held every year at mid-August. An important international fireworks contest takes place too.
- The Tamborrada: It’s a drum festival in Donostia. The activity begins on the evening of January 19th at the Plaza de la Constitution.
- Santo Tomás: The Feast of St. Thomas is celebrated on 21st December around Constitución Square. A great number of stalls offer traditional local products such as txistorra (sausage), cheese, cod…
- Jazz Festival: San Sebastian grooves to the best jazz music during the last tow weeks of July.