Protected by the largest natural port in the Cantabrian Sea, facing the sun, and defended by a ridge from the cold northern winds, lies Santander. Along its riverbanks, lie remains of prehistoric settlements, evidence of Roman port and mining activity, and later, evidence of those who were associated with the abbey of San Emeterio (origin of Cantabrian capital's toponymy). Due to Santander´s closeness to the sea, a lot of its economy is based on fishing and trade. Additionally, there is also an enormous amount of tourist activity due to Santander´s beautiful beaches, landscapes, and mild weather. In fact, from the mid 19th century, different monarchs - Isabel II, Alfonso XII- have taken famous "bathes in the waves" in Santander. In 1913, Alfonso XIII presented Santander the Palacio de la Magdelena, his summer court, as a gift to the city for his inauguration. In fact, he resided in the palace until the end of his reign. At this time, El Sardinero, a city in Santander, made its appearance, with its French influenced buildings and recreational villas.
Today with Santander's 185.000 inhabitants, it remains a dynamic city with intensive commercial and service activity. There are a great deal of cultural activities that you enjoy throughout the year, including a prestigious yearly program offered by the Palacio de Festivales, which includes theatre, dance, opera, music, etc and commences in the summer with the Santander International Festival.
The cultural panorama is enriched with theatrical, artistic and literary contributions from other institutions. Also of note are Cantabrian Maritime Museum and the modern Show and Exhibition hall, apart from the spectacular Mataleñas Golf Club. The city offers splendid conditions for strolling, whether along the sea front -from Cabo Mayor to El Sardinero, from there to La Magdalena, and from the latter towards the centre along the Avenida de Reina Victoria- contemplating the coming and going of the bay and the beaches; or around the historical centre, from Puertochico to beyond the Calle Burgos, alternating views of stately buildings with the best shop windows. Santander is rich in green areas -La Magdalena or Mataleñas-Cabo Mayor gardens.