Yesterday we had the opportunity to visit the beautiful Cantabrian capital, and you may have decided to stay for two nights to discover it in your own time, or perhaps not. Be that as it may, today we have another beautiful day ahead and we will arrive in another town full of charms, Santillana del Mar.
Today new pilgrims are incorporated on the Camino del Norte who have chosen Santander as a starting point, and we welcome them.
Let’s continue on the Camino del Norte!
Today we will advance in the company of the River Pas, going a long way between Santander and Santillana del Mar, since the nearest bridge to cross the river is located in the town of Puente Arce.
Some pilgrims avoid this detour, taking the train between Boo and Mogro, or risk crossing the river across the railway tracks, an option that is forbidden but is very practical.
If you are thinking about walking the Camino de Santiago from Santander tell us what your plans are for the Camino de Santiago and we will contact you to advise you on everything you need.
Itinerary stage Santander – Santillana del Mar
We are faced with a hard day, not because of its terrain, but because of its long distance. A total of 37 kilometres separate Santander from Santillana del Mar, that is if we do not take the shortcut that reduces the stage by 8 kilometres.
Santander (km. 0). Beginning of stage
Practical tips for this section: At the exit of Santander we will find signs on the ground with a shell and a red cross, this last one refers to the Camino Lebaniego, will help us get out of the urban hustle and bustle of the Cantabrian capital. Buen Camino!
We start the day heading to the Town Hall, from where we take Avenida Calvo Sotelo. Continuing in the same direction, we continue along Calle Jesus de Monasterio, Burgos, San Fernando and reach the roundabout at Plaza de Cuatro Caminos, where we continue ahead by Avenida de Valdecilla.
We cross two other roundabouts and, without changing direction, we leave the city by Calle del Cajo, which corresponds to the N-611 road, towards Palencia and Torrelavega. We pass under the train track and we advance along the same road, which is now called Campogiro, for two kilometres.
Between the national road and an industrial estate, located on our right, we advance to Peñacastillo (km. 4.7), where we find a church painted completely yellow. Next to the temple, we turn right, by Calle de Adarzo, to pass over the FEVE railway bridge and then turn left to follow a path that runs parallel to the road.
We pass through Lluja, cross the S-20 road, through a pedestrian tunnel, and continue to the left by Calle de Bezanía. At the end of this, we turn right and go on to the local road that we follow to the left and that corresponds to Avenida José María de Pereda.
Following the avenue, we cross the town of Santa Cruz de Bezana (km. 8,8), passing next to its church, where a wooden sign indicates to us that there are still 4.6 kilometres to Boo de Piélagos.
Santa Cruz de Bezana (km. 8,8).
Practical tips for this section: At the exit of Boo, it is possible to shorten the stage by 8 kilometres if you cross the River Pas by the railway bridge, thus avoiding the long detour to Puente Arce. You’ve probably seen a sign that alerts you that this step is prohibited.
We do not recommend it, but if you decide to take a risk, the safest and legal option is to take the train at Boo and get off at Mogro. Buen Camino!
At the church, we cross the CA-300 road and continue along Avenida de Mompía, a long street flanked by housing, which leads us to Mompía (km. 10.4), in the municipality of Piélagos.
We go back into the CA-303 road and descend it on the left. We arrive at the Mompia Clinic and follow, on the right, the CA-304 road, which heads to Boo de Piélagos. Next to the River Pas, we cross the pedestrian tunnel under the A-67 highway and enter Puente Arce (km. 16,8), passing through Escobal.
Crossing the River Pas, over the medieval Arce bridge, we reach Oruña (km. 18.8). On the other side of the riverbed, we follow the road towards Mogro. Two and a half kilometres later, we leave the road, arriving at the Chapel of La Virgen del Monte.
We cross the town of Mogro, on a slight ascent, to the Church of San Martín, where we turn left. Again, by paved roads and after several climbs, we descend to the CA-232 road. We cross it and enter a bleak stretch, where we are accompanied by an almost endless section for several kilometres.
At the end of this section, on the left, next to the STOP sign, we cross a bridge over the railway track to enter Requejada, a town in the municipality of Polanco (km. 27.7).
Requejada (km. 27,7).
Practical tips for this section: Many pilgrims prefer to stay overnight somewhere near Santillana del Mar and visit the city the following morning. Accommodation and hostels can be found in the vicinity.
We prefer to continue to the beautiful Santillana del Mar and enjoy the afternoon strolling through its beautiful streets. Buen Camino!
From Requejada we follow the N-61 road, on the right, for 2.2 km to a roundabout, where we turn right to take the CA-131 road towards Santillana del Mar, passing first through Barreda (km. 29,7).
After River Saja, we reach another roundabout and continue to the right, following the road to Suances. We leave it immediately to continue on the CA-340 road towards Camplengo.
By the road route, and for 3.4 kilometres and without getting lost, we reach a well-signposted detour. We then continue straight on to Camplengo, where we turn right to descend to Santillana del Mar.
Santillana del Mar (km. 37). End of stage
Practical tips for this section: This afternoon offers a unique opportunity to get closer to Palaeolithic rock art, with a visit to the Altamira Caves. See you tomorrow!
Again we arrive at a stage ending which is full of places of interest, and where the afternoon is busy with a list of attractions that the town presents to us. The view of the Colegiata de Santa Juliana is essential since it was this monastery that gave birth to the village.
Visiting the Altamira Cave Museum and a walk through the wonderful historical complex of Santillana del Mar also seem must-sees, as its town centre is full of manor houses, palaces and baroque towers.
An example of this type of architecture you will find in the houses of La Archiduquesa, Leonor de la Vega, Quevedo and Cossío, Los Villa, Aguila y Parra, Sánchez Tagle or Bustamante, the palaces of Benemejís, Velarde and the towers of Calderón de Barca, Borja or Merino.
If after all of the above, you still have plenty of time, you can go and visit the Convent of the Dominicas, the port of Calderón or the Town Hall building.
In addition, the town has several museums that may be of interest to you, such as the Museo Diocesano Regional Regina Coeli or Museo de la Tortura El Solar.
Comments stage Santander – Santillana del Mar
Here’s how to get to Santander, in case you start your journey from there, and we’ll give you some tips for this stage.
How to get to Santander
Santander is perfectly connected. It is easy to reach the city by bus, as it has a wide network of routes that link to various Spanish and international cities, such as Paris or Zurich.
The Cantabrian capital can also be accessed by train, as it has several regular services linking destinations such as Madrid, Palencia, Reinosa, Albacete, Alicante, Valladolid, Avila, Bilbao and Oviedo.
Those who come from Britain may want to consider accessing the city by taking the ferry linking the British city of Plymouth with Santander.
Finally, and for those who come from afar, it is always interesting to consider the option of arriving by plane. The airport is about 5 kilometres from the city and receives both domestic and international flights.
Precautions stage Santander – Santillana del Mar
This is a long stage. If the distance is too much for you, something that you should especially consider if it’s your first day on the Camino del Norte, you can split the route into two parts or take the train by Boo de Piélagos and get off at Mogro to avoid the 8-kilometre detour to Puente del Arce.
Crossing the railway tracks is dangerous and is prohibited, we do not advise it.
In Santillana del Mar you will not find pilgrim path signage, either at the entrance today, nor at the exit tomorrow.
Food stage Santander – Santillana del Mar
Below are some suggestions for regional cuisine.
- Mountain Stew
- Veal fillet
- Regional cheeses
- Sobaos (lemon and egg sponge cakes)
- Santillana sponge cake, also known as milk cake or chocolate bar.
Servicios stage Santander – Santillana del Mar
Meet the main health care services, cafes, ATMs, restaurants and are in this stage of the Camino del Norte.
Map stage Santander – Santillana del Mar
Consult the map with the route, points and towns along the stage.
Profile stage Santander – Santillana del Mar
Consult the profile of the stage: altitude and degree of difficulty of each section.
What to do stage Santander – Santillana del Mar
Below we provide you with information about points of interest that you will find along the route and on arrival in the beautiful Santillana del Mar.
Santuario de la Virgen del Monte
The Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Mount is located in the parish of Mogro, on a hill. The temple dates back to the mid-17th century, although it was renovated a century later.
Its structure consists of a rectangular floor plan and a single nave covered with steeped mortar. The walls of the sanctuary are made of masonry and on them, buttresses rise up that extend to the ceiling. The cover is made in masonry and is topped with a beautiful bell tower.
The 17th-century small Chapel of Our Lady of the Mount stands out from the interior of the temple, on which is located an altarpiece in a Churrigueresque style.
Mass times: April to September, Saturday (19:00). From October to March, Saturday (18:00).
Santillana del Mar
Santillana del Mar is also a popularly known town under the name of “The village of the three lies” since it has no sea, it is not flat and it is not holy. The village, with just over 4,200 inhabitants, is the most visited urban area in all of Cantabria and, since a few years ago, has been listed as one of the most beautiful places in Spain.
Its origins date back to the 9th century, when monks brought the remains of Saint Juliana, martyred by order of her husband, and erected a chapel and a small monastery on the site where Santillana del Mar is currently located.
The monastery gained importance thanks to various donations and in 1045 the King of Castile, Ferdinand I, granted the abbot the title of Lord of the village, at which time the town acquired the name of Santillana, which comes from the Latin Sancta Luliana.
Today, Santillana del Mar and the Altamira Caves are wonderful historical heritage areas, both declared as World Heritage Sites.
Strolling through the town centre is a pleasure for visitors, as it is dotted with manor houses, baroque palaces and towers.
An example of the above is the houses of the Archiduquesa, Leonor de la Vega, Quevedo y Cossío, Los Villa, Águila y La Parra, Sánchez Tagle or Bustamante, the Benemejís, or Velarde palaces and the Calderón de la Barca, Borja or Merino Towers. A visit to the Colegiata de Santa Juliana is a must if you want to discover the origins of the town. It is also recommended to visit the Convent of the Dominicas, the Port of Calderón and the Town Hall building.
In addition, the town has several museums that will be of interest to the visitor such as Museo Diocesano Regional Regina Coeli or Museo de la Tortura El Solar.
La Casa de la Archiduquesa
The House of the Archduchess, Casa de los Abades, is located to the left of the Collegiate Church of Santa Juliana, in Santillana del Mar. It was constructed in the late 17th century and was owned by the Barreda Bracho family.
Currently, you can still see the shields on the façade, in a modern style, completed by Jesús Otero.
Casa de Leonor de la Vega
The Casa de Leonor de la Vega is located on Calle del Cantón in Santillana del Mar. The building dates from the 15th century, until the beginning of the 16th century. In the building lived Leonor de la Vega, mother of the first Marquis of Santillana, as can be seen in the three Gothic shields that can be seen on its façade.
Casa de los Quevedo y Cossío
The Casa de Los Quevedo y Cossío is located on Calle Del Río, in the town of Santillana del Mar, in front of a trough. It is a construction from the late 17th century composed of two houses, one next to the other, although today they make up a single house.
The southern house was owned by the Quevedo family and the other belonged the Cossío family. The first one features a shield, on the north façade, formed by a sill. However, the highlight is the stone-arched tunnel that runs through the house, providing drainage service to the trough and the stream.
The other house, that of the Cossío family, has a large access door, protected by pilasters attached to columns on which an iron balcony rests. This house has two entrance doors, among which the coat of arms of the family is supported.
Casa de los Villa
The Casa de Los Villa is located in the town of Santillana del Mar. The building dates from the 18th century, although it has been renovated on numerous occasions.
Its structure consists of a plant in the form of a square and has a tower, which is the element that has undergone the most remodelling, on which, a rectangular house was built in the 18th century.
The elements that stand out the most from the property are the lintel door, surrounded by small oval-shaped shafts, the iron balconies, adorned with stone brackets, and the shields of the Cos, Bracho and Bustamante families.
Torre de Calderón de la Barca
The Torre de los Calderón de la Barca, in Santillana del Mar, is the oldest civil building in Cantabria, with elements from the 15th century. The tower was owned by the Calderón family and since it was endowed with defensive purposes on the River Saja, which, at the time, was crossed by boat, acquired the name, Calderón de la Barca.
The grandiose tower rises on a square floor, is topped with battlements and covered with a four-sided gable roof. Next to the tower is the palace, which is connected by a hall, under a vault that rises on four half-point arches.
Casas de Águila y La Parra
La Casa del Aguila and Parra are located in the town of Santillana del Mar. The two buildings were built between the 16th and 17th centuries; and are unified by a small element on two floors, on which temporary exhibitions of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sport are held.
The Casa de la Parra has its main façade, with two Gothic doors, which give access to the old market square. On these is a wooden and brick screen that hides the original façade.
The name of the house comes from the tree that formerly accompanied it. Regarding the Casa del Aguila, it should be noted that its ground floor has two half-point arcades and that its name has been acquired from the Estrada family coat of arms.
Hours: Closes on Mondays. Tuesday to Saturday (10:00 to 13:30 and 16:30 to 20:00) and Sundays (11:00 to 13:30).
Colegiata de Santa Juliana
The Collegiate Church of Santa Juliana, in Santillana del Mar, was born from the popularity of the former monastery of the same name, founded in 870, to which is attributed the origin of the town.
The temple was built by several monks with the aim of repopulating Sancta Luliana, the present-day Santillana del Mar. They also erected a small chapel to display the relics of the martyr Juliana there.
No remains of the old monastery are preserved, although it is assumed that, like other Mozarabic or Visigothic buildings, it was a simple stone construction with a rectangular apse and wooden roof.
The current collegiate church, from the mid-12th century, has a Romanesque style, heavily influenced by the currents from the south of the Peninsula that arrived through the Camino de Santiago.
Its south-facing façade is proceeded by a large atrium that features a half-point arch, bounded with a frieze, in which the Pantocrator appears, and a niche, which houses the image of St. Juliana.
The capitals are adorned with floral and metaphorical motifs, typical of the iconography of the Romanesque style.
The cloister of the collegiate is located on the north façade. Here, the capitals also stand out with decoration based on figurative, floral and geometric elements, typical of the time.
It consists of arches on double columns, although you can also see four-column pillars, which are used to separate themes, which show the Old and New Testaments.
The main altarpiece, from the late 15th and early 16th centuries, which combines elements of flamboyant Gothic and Plateresque style, stands out in the interior of the church.
Hours: Closes on Mondays. Tuesday to Sunday (from 10:00 to 13:30 and from 16:00 to 19:30).
Convento de las Dominicas
The Dominican Convent is located in Santillana del Mar. Formerly the site was intended to house the maidens of the main families of the city.
The convent complex has a north-facing church and a simple south-facing cloister, with small arcades and unadorned windows. Inside the church, the huge Christ in Philippine ivory from the 18th century stands out, and presides over the high altar.
Cuevas de Altamira
The Altamira Caves are located in Santillana del Mar and constitute the ultimate example of the ingenuity of the human being, since they combine all the basic techniques of art, such as drawing, engraving or painting.
In addition, they show a wonderful use of forms and symbolism, as well as an excellent use of space.
This cave was the first place in the world where rock art was discovered, typical of the Upper Palaeolithic era. Its good conservation, with the freshness of its pigments, as well as its peculiarity, made this a place of great recognition and importance for a quarter of a century.
The cave extends into an area of approximately 280 metres, with different representations such as bison, deer, horses and mysterious signs either painted or engraved. However, the highlight is the polychrome paintings.
In order to preserve this space in the best possible condition, the Altamira Museum was conditioned, where you can see reproductions of many of the works found in the cave.
Museo Diocesano Regional Regina Coeli
The Regina Coeli Diocesan Museum, in Santillana del Mar, was created, inside a Dominican friar priory, in 1592, and is considered to be the first diocesan museum in Spain. The church annexed to the convent was constructed in 1648 and consists of a single nave and a cloister.
In the museum space, you can visit more than 800 works from various parishes in the region. Among the collection, the Gothic sculpture, the groups of San Roque and San Sebastián, the enamels and silverware of various eras, the Philippine-Hispanic ivories and, mainly, the American collection all stand out.
Ayuntamiento de Santillana del Mar
The Town Hall building of Santillana del Mar dates from the early 18th century, although it has been renovated several times throughout history. The most outstanding remodelling is the one that was carried out in 1883, in which the building was adapted to accommodate the offices of the City Council. The coat of arms of the town goes back to this date, in which lions and mermaids are shown as its decoration.
Museo de la Tortura El Solar
The El Solar Museum of Torture, in Santillana del Mar, has a collection of more than 50 instruments of punishment used by the Holy Inquisition.
In the exhibition, these are classified according to the purpose of torture, so we find utensils used for public punishment and humiliation, execution, created to specifically torture women, among others.
Elements such as guillotines, racks, truncheons, chastity belts, among others are also on display.
Hours: Open daily. Monday to Friday (from 10:00 to 20:30) and at weekends (from 10:00 to 21:00).
Admission: General (3.60 euros), with a young or student card (2.40 euros).
Palacio de Benemejís
The Benemejís Palace is considered one of the most elegant buildings in Santillana del Mar. The construction dates back to the 17th century and is Baroque in style. Its structure consists of a square floor, two levels and a four-sided gabled roof that is topped with decorative pinnacles on its corners.
The most noteworthy thing about the exterior of the palace is its main façade, on which the coat of arms of the Peredo family is to be found, under which is located a large forged balcony. Currently, the building is the Cultural Centre, where exhibitions are held.
Palacio de Mijares
Mijares Palace is located on the site of Mijares, Santillana del Mar. The building was built in the mid-16th century as the main residence of the Peredo family. In 1995 it was declared as a building of Cultural Interest.
The building is made entirely in stone masonry and is shaped like a tower. It is topped with pinnacles and gargoyles on its corners and shows the shield of the Peredo family on one of its balconies.
In 2007, the palace was renovated to be used as a hotel-restaurant.
Hours: Closes on Mondays. Tuesday to Thursday (from 13:00 to 18:00),
Friday and Saturday (from 13:00 to 00:00) and Sundays (from 13:00 to 18:30).
Palacio de Velarde
Velarde Palace, also known as the Palacio de Las Arenas, is located in the Sands Square of Santillana del Mar. It is a building of Renaissance Gothic style, built in the 15th century, although in the 17th century the property underwent a profound remodelling. Today, the original façade is still preserved, which features the Velarde coat of arms and pinnacles as decoration.
Palacio de Viveda
Viveda Palace, located on a hill in Viveda, in Santillana del Mar, is also known as Peredo Palace. The construction takes the form of a mountain house and dates back to the 17th century, although during the 18th century many of the elements that can be seen today were added, especially in its façade.
In 1982, it was declared a site of Cultural Interest and in 2003 the City Council rehabilitated it to be used in cultural events within the town.
Museo de Altamira
The Altamira Museum is located very close to the Altamira Caves, in a building designed by Juan Navarro Baldeweg and inaugurated in 2001.
This museum preserves material from the Altamira Caves and collections from other Cantabrian sites such as the Coin Cave, the Stalactites and the Castle Cave, among others.
The museum highlights La Neocueva, a three-dimensional representation of the Altamira caves in which it simulates the life that hunter-gatherers had from 35,000 and 13,000 years ago.
Hours: Closes on Mondays. From May to October, Tuesday to Saturday (9:30 to 20:00), Sundays and public holidays (9:30 to 15:00). From November to April, from Tuesday to Saturday (from 9:30 to 18:00), Sundays and public holidays (from 9:30 to 15:00).
Casa de los Sánchez Tagle
Casa de Los Sánchez Tagle, in Santillana del Mar, is a 17th-century building designed by the brother of the first Marquis of Santillana. From its façade, stands out the series of balconies running, on the upper floor, on the shield of the lineage. Inside, the house accommodates an archive and an art collection.
Puerto de Calderón
The Port of Calderón, of Santillana del Mar, is a cove, of Romanesque origin, on the Cantabrian Sea. In the past, it was a port of great importance, as it was the only free port, in which fish or other goods could be boarded or disembarked. Today it functions as a port for small sport and fishing boats.
Torre de Beltrán de la Cueva
Torre de Beltran de la Cueva is located in Queveda, next to its parish church. It is known by various names, such as La Beltraneja or Torre de Queveda. The tower dates from the late 15th or early 16th century and its construction was carried out, by order of Don Beltran de la Cueva, for defensive purposes.
Throughout history, the tower underwent several renovations, being later transformed into a private residence. In the 17th century, a semi-detached mountain house was erected. In 1981, the site was declared as a building of Cultural Interest.
The building, with a quadrangular floor, has three levels and an upper area topped by battlements, on the west façade. The austere tower is built in masonry and features some decorative baroque-style additions, chiefly on the main façade.
However, the west façade stands out, on which you can appreciate the coat of arms of the De La Cueva family lineage, supported by two lions.
Torre de Don Borja
Torre de Don Borja, known as the Santillana Foundation, is located in Plaza Ramón Pelayo in Santillana del Mar, near Torre del Merino. The construction of the tower was carried out in the 19th century by order of Francisco de Borja Barreda, son of the Barreda family. Today, the shields of the lineage can still be observed.
The construction has had several owners over time, among which is Princess Doña Paz de Borbón. In 1981, the tower was remodelled and became the headquarters of the Santillana Foundation.
Torre del Merino
Torre del Merino is located in the old market square in the town of Santillana del Mar, known as Plaza Ramon Pelayo. Its construction dates back to the 14th century. Its name is because Merino, a city official representing the king, lived there. Its structure highlights the battlements presented in its details.
Casa de los Bustamante
La Casa de Bustamante, in Santillana del Mar, is a house from the 17th and 18th centuries, built by Francisco Ambrosio Sánchez de Bustamante. The house is flanked by two oculi and on its façade, you can see the coat of arms of the Bustamante family.