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Balearic Islands Coronavirus (COVID-19) Spain Travel Report

Wolfgang Holzem

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Travel Warning – The Balearic Islands has multiply infections of the Coronavirus.

A beautiful Spanish enclave set in the Mediterranean Sea – are famous throughout the world. Their climate, scenery and beaches are exceptional, and their inhabitants have a tradition for being particularly hospitable. The capital of the islands – Palma de Majorca – is 132 miles from Barcelona, 287 from Marseille, 172 from Algiers and 140 from Valencia.

It would appear that these islands are the ideal location for resting and relaxing since they contain all the necessary ingredients for achieving this aim: beautiful scenery, forests, fertile farmlands, quiet and secluded beaches with crystal-clear waters, interesting folklore, a mild climate and temperatures, and a first-class hotel industry.

In spite of the close proximity of the different islands and the very many common ties between them, each one has its own very different landscape. Majorca has a magnificent coastline consisting of rocky outcrops intermingled with many small coves that offer excellent sandy beaches. Menorca, on the other hand, is noted for its tranquility, while Ibiza has a personality all of its won. Formentera and Cabrera are extremely solitary islands.

Climate of the Balearic Islands

Thanks to their privileged position in the Mediterranean, these islands enjoy an incomparable temperate climate. Even at the height of summer the maximum temperatures are not excessive, and the winters are renowned for their mildness.

The relative humidity oscillates around 70% throughout the year. As a result, these two factors–temperature and humidity–help to produce a feeling of extreme well-being on the human body. There are approximately 300 days of sun during the year, with an average of five hours a day in winter and more than ten during the summer months. The sea is an intense blue colour, crystal- clear along the coasts where the temperatures are at their best. The prevailing wind is generally from the south-west, and the average yearly atmospheric pressure is 758.7 mm.

Local Festivities and Folklore

Among the typical festivities that are held in the different towns and villages of the Balearic Islands, one of the most important is that at Ciutadella around June 18th, 23rd and 24th. The festivities of La Devallament at Pollensa (March 23rd), Sa Pobla (January 16th and 17th) in honour of San Antonio Abad, and the Day of La Beata at Santa Margarita (September 3rd), are all of interest to tourists. Ibiza celebrates its festivities on the days between July 30th and August 5th, while Mahón does likewise from September 7th-9th.

The folklore of Majorca is typified by its dances and songs. These include boleros, mateixes and copeos.

On Menorca there are Medieval jousting tournaments held at Ciutadella, and on Ibiza one can witness primitive dances that constitute a unique spectacle.

Local Crafts

The Balearic Islands maintain a rich and flourishing tradition in local crafts. Embroidery, carvings in olive wood, wrought-iron works, cut glass, objects made from palm leaves and raffia, cultivated pearls, pottery, handmade shoes, and exquisite imitation jewellery are just some of the things that entice all those who come to visit. At Ciutadella, Alaior and Mahón (Maó) it is possible to find high quality shoes at very reasonable prices, whereas Manacor and Felantx are famous for their cultivated pearls. Throughout the island of Majorca one can find embroidery of an exceptionally high quality. Menorca has a long-standing tradition of furniture manufacture, and also offers the opportunity of buying the typical bowls and plates from Alaior and Ciutadella.

Ibiza is noted for the growing importance of its fashion industry.

Accommodation

The islands can accommodate approximately 250,000 visitors in their modern and constantly-growing hotel network.

The province can also accommodate up to 350,000 holiday makers in other modern and comfortable establishments that range from apartments, villas and bungalows.

There is also the possibility of renting accommodation (with or without furniture), as well as buying property and land (although this largely depends on the availability in different areas). Nertheless, the prices are generally quite reasonable here.

Transport

The Balearic Islands have the airports of Palma de Majorca, Ibiza and Mahón, making any journey extremely easy.

It is also possible to reach them by ship, since Barcelona is only a night-crossing away aboard the most modern vessels. The journey takes just eight hours. By air the flight from Barcelona, Valencia, and Madrid takes less than an hour, while from París and London it takes under two. It is also possible to take vehicles to the islands aboard ferries specially designed for the purpose. Both air and sea services have extra flights and crossing during the “high season” (July 1st-September 30th), the latter being organized through the company Trasmediterránea ( – Palma – Ibiza – Sete.

Local Cooking

The local cooking of the islands is exotic, exquisite and at the same time imaginatively presented.

There is a clear dominance of pork and vegetable dishes, and the majority of the fish and meat dishes are given the typical Mediterranean touch in their elaboration. We can also find a sauce that has become internationally recognized and was probably invented on these islands – more exactly on the island of Menorca: mayonnaise. On the tree main islands, i.e. Majorca, Menorca and Ibiza, we can find certain differences in typical local cooking within the main characteristics of Mediterranean-type food. In all, the experts have encountered some 600 different recipes, which give some idea of the range there is available.

On Majorca the most popular dishes are the soups, of which there are two main varieties. The first are of a more liquid nature, composed of fish or meat, while the second – considered true Majorcan soups – are drier and more substantial and are nowadays much more difficult to find.

On the island of Menorca the most important dishes are those based on fish and shellfish, both of which are found in great quantities off the coast and are of an exceptionally high quality. Perhaps the most outstanding dish of all is lobster stew, consisting of pieces of lobster, peppers, onion, tomato, garlic and a liqueur made from herbs. Other typical dishes include lobster with rice, tunny fish with mayonnaise, partridge “a la menorquina” and roast goat with sobrasada. The cheese from Mahón is yet another fine local product.

On Ibiza there is also a predominance of fish dishes. Typical dishes include burrida de ratjada, which is boiled ray seasoned with an almond sauce; lobster with squid and herbs; and el guisat de marisc – a succulent stew made with fish and shellfish. Throughout the Balearic Islands there are a large variety of coques–rectangular tarts that are covered with minced vegetables, fish or meat.

As for wines, Majorca is the only islands which produces them. Nevertheless, these islands do have other interesting drinks. For example, Menorca is noted for its gin production, which is used in the preparation of the very popular pallofas, and on Ibiza there is a very strong herb liqueur known as frigola which is normally served with ice.

The Island of Majorca

The largest and most popular of the Balearics, Majorca is an island of startling contrasts. Its landscape varies from rugged mountains in the north to pine-covered hills and windmill-dotted plains in the south. In the west, the historic and elegant capital, Palma, skirts an attractive harbour while in the east, you can explore pretty, secluded sandy coves. Despite great popularity and development, Majorca remains an astonishingly beautiful place, with verdant pines, rolling green hills, endless superb beaches and a varied choice of resorts, each with a character and flavour of its own. Whether you want to sun yourself in peace and quiet or live it up in the hot spots until the early hours, Marjorca has just the resort for you.

The furthest distance that can be traveled on this island of 581,564 inhabitants and covering an area of some 3,640 km2 is 120 km, which is the distance between Puerto de San Telm and Formentor lighthouse at Cape Formentor.

Most visitors tend to stay around only part of the coastline, many without realizing about the magnificent inland scenery of plains and mountains that can also be enjoyed.

Palma, the island’s capital, has a population of approximately 300,000, which is practically half of the entire population of the island. It stretches some 15 km along the coastline, from El Arenal and Palma beach in the east as far as the cosmopolitan districts of Cala Mayor and San Agustín in the west.

Palma is a smallish city, having all the advantages that this brings, while at the same time having all the possibilities of a much larger city. Its main source of income comes from tourism and, consequently, leisure activities of all kinds are more than well-catered- for here. There are restaurants, cafeterias , pubs, concert halls, discotheques, a bull-ring and all types of shows, offering the visitor entertainment and amusement at all times.

Tourism had already become an important aspect of life on the island of Majorca back in the early 1920’s although on a much smaller scale than today, of course. It was a select, mainly winter tourism which grew up steadily until the begins of the Spanish Civil War. The later “discovery” of Ibiza and Menorca did not occur until well after the Civil War. At that time Majorca was full of artists, who established what was, to all intents and purposes, a colony in and around Pollensa and its port. One of the most famous of them all was Anglada Camarassa.

Menorca

Menorca, with a population of 62,000, is a bright and radiant island bathed by the magnificent Mediterranean sun, which reflects the dazzling whiteness of the whitewashed houses. The green countryside, the blue sea and sky, and the white of the buildings are the three main colours that go to form the island of Menorca.
A visit to the island is like arriving at a promised land, where everything is simple and nice, as are its inhabitants. Strange as it may seem, Menorca is basically an unknown island in terms of modern tourism. Its rocky and ever-changing coastline is made up of magnificent beaches and coves, some of which are being developed, and others which are secluded and quiet, where man has yet to read.

Thanks to the shape of the island, which is only 47 km long and between 10 and 19 wide, it has a coastline of some 200 km. As a result, the entire island is really all coast. The sea is a constant factor in the life of Menorca, and its numerous coves and natural harbours are ideal for the practice of all kinds of water sports. Menorca presents a fairly level landscape, its highest point being Mount Toro, on the top of which stands the shrine of the island’s patron saint. The views from here are quite breathtaking.

The shortest distance from the mainland by sea is via Barcelona, although there is also a ferry service from Palma. In addition, there are regular flights between Barcelona and Mahón (Maó) that take about forty-five minutes, and also flights between Mahón and Palma. The latter now has a new and modern airport that is specially designed for handling heavy air traffic, both from mainland Spain and abroad.

The Island of Ibiza

Ibiza, an island which is one in a thousand! It is undoubtedly popular within the international club life scene. Every one who loves nightlife clubbing should have been at least once on this magical island. In the sixties, the island dissociated itself from the rest of the European resorts with the arrival of Baghwan Shree Rejneesh. This religious cult hero was the leader of a rather strange sect and his hippytrain followed in his wake to Ibiza. The party community was born.
From all over the world, top DJ’s are attracted to play records at this party island. Real die-hards, however, think that Ibiza has become too much commercialised. The island, with its 84,000 inhabitants, attracts over a million visitors every year. Despite this, Ibiza remains a draw. During the whole summer, the island is the scene of non-stop parties, which can be said of only a few other places in the world.

Ibiza Town is the place to head for – it has everything the island is famous for; the other towns are nothing compared to the capital of the islands. San Antonio Abad has lots of ugly hotels and appartment complexes, Santa Eulalia is nice daytrip but not much more. The island of Ibiza is the third largest of the archipelago, covering an area of 541 km2, and with a population of over 70,000. Thanks to its hilly terrain the island offers some magnificent scenery of great beauty. There are a great deal of pine forests (the Greeks in fact named the island Pitiusa which means “pinery”), as well as almond trees, fig and olive trees, and also palm trees.

Another interesting fact about Ibiza is that the use of the windmill and the waterwheels is still quite common, mainly due to the lack of rainfall. Rainy days on this island of almost perpetual sun are something of a luxury.

There is also an excellent airport on Ibiza which is one of the busiest in Spain. The flight from Valencia tales half an hour, while from Barcelona and Palma it tales an hour and approximately twenty minutes, respectively. The airport never has to close because of adverse weather conditions.

The Island of Formentera

Formentera is the fourth island of the archipelago, covering an area of some 100 km2 and with a population of 4,800. It lies to the south of Ibiza, from which it is separated by the Straits of Es Freus. In fact, the city of Ibiza is only 11 miles from the port of La Sabina on Formentera.

The scenery is extremely beautiful and varied. The island itself is formed by two capes: Cape Berbería to the south and Cape La Mola to the east. Both have a wild beauty with thick pinewoods, and run down to the sea forming steed cliffs. The centre of the island spreads out in a long, narrow depression which runs northwards where it ends in salt pans and two large lakes. The entire coastline is bordered by beautiful beaches with
fine sands.

Access to Formentera is via Ibiza. There is a ferry service between the two islands six times a day, and this rises to ten during the summer months. This service is also linked to a bus service that runs between La Sabina, Sant Franesc Xavier and La Mola.

Former founder of Asiarooms.com and now reporting mainly on the Asia Pacific region and the global Coronavirus crises in countries such as Thailand, Germany & Switzerland. Born near Cologne but lived in Berlin during my early teenage years. A longterm resident of Bangkok, Udon Thani, Sakon Nakhon and Phuket. A great fan of Bali, Rhodes & Corfu. Now based on Mallorca, Spain.

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Spain

Malasana-Chueca Coronavirus (COVID-19) Madrid Travel Report

Wolfgang Holzem

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Malasaña and Chueca, as well as Conde Duque and Salesas, are neighbourhoods in northern central Madrid.

Understand

Malasaña used to be a not-so-privileged residential neighbourhood. Starting from the 1980s Movida madrileña period, however, it has been populated by the city’s young, creative, hip and artsy crowds. By day, it is a paradise for those shopping for second-hand or street fashion, artisan craftwork and young designers’ stuff. At night, the pavements are occupied by tables of bars and restaurants as well as people just spending time with friends.

Conde Duque is a smaller neighbourhood directly to the west of Malasaña. Its character is pretty similar, perhaps a little quieter. Located near the university campus, its population is quite young and studentish, too. It is named after the Conde-Duque (i.e. “Count-Duke”) barracks, an 18th-century former military compound-turned-cultural centre.

Chueca has a similar background like Malasaña (maybe a tad more bourgeois), but has built its reputation as Madrid’s gay district. Of course, that does not mean that straight people were not welcome. Indeed, most restaurants, hostels and nightlife venues cater to a general public, not a specifically gay one. Apart from that, this area has a high concentration of antique shops.

Salesas is the small neighbourhood inbetween Chueca and the posh Salamanca district.

The official name of the admistrative barrio that contains Chueca and Salesas neighbourhoods, is Justicia as the Supreme Court of Spain and the Court of Accounts are seated here. The Spanish Ministry of Justice is in nearby Calle de San Bernardo.

Get in

Image of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideChueca and Malasaña are just 1–2 km north of the central Puerta del Sol square and 3 km north of Atocha (Madrid’s main station for intercity trains). They can be reached with several metro lines. Stations Gran Vía (lines 1, 5), Tribunal (1, 10) and Bilbao (1, 4) are located along Calle Fuencarral that is right inbetween both districts. Noviciado (2) is between Malasaña and Conde Duque, and Chueca (5) of course in the middle of the eponymous district. San Bernardo (2, 4) and Alonso Martínez (4, 5, 10) are near the northern tip of Malasaña and Chueca, respectively. Plaza de España (3, 10) and Ventura Rodriguez (3) are on the western rim of Conde Duque, Colón (4) at the northeastern corner of Salesas.

What to see and do

  • Museo de Historia de Madrid (Museum of History of Madrid), C. Fuencarral, 78 ,   Tu-Su 10:00-20:00This museum is dedicated to the history of Madrid from 1561 to present. Much of the history is explained by referencing exhibited paintings depicting people or events from the time, so it is also an art museum. Several maps and models (including two large ones in the basement) show how Madrid grew since the 16th century. All exhibits are explained in both English and Spanish. Free.
  • Plaza del Dos de MayoCentral square of the Malasaña neighbourhood. It was named after the 2 May uprising of 1808 against the Napoleonic occupation of Spain. A monument in its centre honours the leaders of the uprising who were executed. The monument is Malasaña’s symbolic landmark that is pictured on Malasaña postcards, on the label of Malasaña beer and other local merchandise.
  • Palacio Longoria (Longoria Palace), Calle Fernando VI, 6 / Calle Pelayo (metro Alonso Martínez). Exceptionally ornamental art nouveau building, erected 1902–03 for the banker and politician Javier González Longoria. It was designed by the Catalan architect Jose Grasses Riera and is considered to be one of the most important and beautiful examples of Spanish modernismo. Today, it houses the Spanish society of authors and editors. It can only be visited from the outside, but you may cast a glance at the entrance hall and staircase.

What to do

  • Cuartel del Conde-DuqueC/ Conde Duque, 11.  Box office: Tu-Sa 17:30-20:30; exhibits: Tu-Sa 10:00-14:00 17:30-21:00, Su and holidays 10:30-14:00This former military building now not only serves as a venue for musical, dance, and theatrical performances but also hosts contemporary art exhibits. Tickets for performances are also sold online.

Buy

  • 1 Calle Fuencarral (between metro stations Gran Vía and Tribunal). The high street that is right inbetween Malasaña and Chueca, is the main shopping and promenading route in this part of Madrid. The 500-metre long strip between Gran Vía and Calle Hernán Cortés is closed to motorised traffic which makes it ideal to stroll along. Fuencarral itself is mostly lined by branches of well-known international fashion, cosmetics and accessory chains. Have a look into the side streets on either side if you are looking for something more individual.
  • Mercado de FuencarralC/ Fuencarral, 45Centrally located shopping centre.
  • Time CapsuleC/ Belén, 7 (Chueca). Tiny, high-quality antique shop. The friendly owner is well aware of the worth of her hand-picked gems, so do not expect a bargain! Current offers are published on the shop’s website and instagram.
  • Flamingo Vintage KiloC/ Espíritu Santo, 1.   Monday – Saturday 11:00-21:00Great assortment of vintage fashion that is sold by weight.

Eat

  • Mercado de San IldefonsoCalle de Fuencarral, 57Su-W noon–midnight, F Sa noon–1AMStreetfood market on Fuencarral street, right in the middle of the Malasaña-Chueca area. 15 different stalls offer arepas (cornmeal griddlecake), brochetas (skewer), tacostapas, ham, meats, wine, beer etc. Between late-May and early-June an international street food festival is celebrated.

Budget

  • Antigua HueveríaC/ San Vicente Ferrer, 32 (Malasaña).  Tu-Th 20:00-23:00, F 20:00-24:00, Sa 13:00-24:00, Su 13:00-16:00The very best huevos rotos (‘broken eggs’) and croquetas. Cheap, beautiful and delicious! The chicken-adorned tiled front dates from the 19th century. Mains €8-14.
  • Cervecería 100 Montaditosmultiple locationsDailyPopular nationwide chain that offers 100 different types of montaditos (small sandwiches). Great place to go for a cheap drink and bite to eat.
  • Home Burger BarC/ Espíritu Santo, 12 (Malasaña).  M-Th 13:30-16:00 20:30-24:00, F Sa and holidays 13:30-17:00 20:30-24:00, Su 13:30-17:00 20:30-23:00THE place for serious hamburgers. Americans will feel at home!
  • Home Burger BarC/ Silva, 25 (Gran Vía).  M-Th 13:30-16:00 20:30-24:00, F Sa and holidays 13:30-17:00 20:30-24:00, Su 13:30-17:00 20:30-23:00A second branch of the same concept.
  • Tapería de MalasañaCalle Corredera Alta de San Pablo 8.  08:00-02:00Taperia with lunch room out the back. Reviews mixed about the tapas but great place for lunch; they do a great Cocido Madrileño and the house wine is more than acceptable (although served somewhat cold). Menu del dia €11.

Mid-range

  • La Cocina del Desierto (Al-Jaima), C/ Barbieri, 1 (Metro: Chueca).  Daily 13:30-16:00 21:00-24:00This dark, cave-like Moroccan restaurant has some of the best North African food in the city. The seating is at low Moroccan-style tables and the calm, mellow atmosphere makes you feel like you’re far from the bustling center of Chueca.
  • Lamucca de PezPlaza de Carlos Cambronero, 4 (Metro: Noviciado) ,   Su-W 13:00-01:30, Th 13:00-02:00, F Sa 13:00-02:30Nice designer restaurant popular within the 20s-30s crowd. Good music, cool people, even better food and cocktails. The kitchen opens in the afternoon.
  • La Panza es Primero (Cocina Mex-Mex), C/ Libertad, 33 (Metro: Chueca) ,   Daily 13:00-01:00This is a small, usually crowded, friendly Mexican restaurant with good food and drinks at reasonable prices. Sample some of their tacos and super-cheesy chilaquiles.
  • Restaurante La BarracaC/ Reina, 29 ,   Daily 13:30-16:15 20:00-23:45Recommended for paella if a more authentic experience is sought. €40+, €50 (meal for 2 with drinks).
  • Restaurante SiamC/ San Bernardino, 6 (Metro: Plaza España or San Bernardino).  Daily 12:00-16:00 20:00-24:00Beautifully-decorated with a tranquil atmosphere, the food is reasonable and offers a pleasant departure from Spanish fare, if so desired. Most mains between €8 and €12.

Drink

As becomes a real hipster quarter, Malasaña boasts its own, eponymous brand of craft beer that can be bought in local delis.

Tapas bars

  • El TigreCalle de las Infantas, 30 (Metro: Gran Vía / Chueca).  Su-Th 12:00-01:30, F Sa 12:00-02:00Probably the most well-known tapas bar in Madrid, a must do. Don’t get frightened by how crowded the bar is and go in anyway. This is one of the most lively places in the city! Get beers, big glasses of wine or un mini de mojito and get free big plates of tapas every time you order. Very affordable.

Cafés

  • Café ComercialGlorieta de Bilbao, 7 (Metro: Bilbao). Opened in the 1880s, this is the oldest cafe in Madrid, and has been run by the same family since the early 1900s. There’s a modern internet café upstairs, but the downstairs remains traditional.
  • Pastelería La DuquesitaCalle Fernando VI, 2 (metro Alsonso Martínez).  Monday to Friday 8.30AM-8.30PM, Sa 9.30AM-8.30PM, Su 10AM-8.30PMLong-standing confectionery (established 1914), offering excellent tartlets that are not only delicious but also look picture-perfect. They are also sold to take away. Tartlets 5–6 € a piece.
  • Café GijónPaseo Recoletos, 21 (Metro: Banco de España or Colon). A historic literary cafe. The outdoor terraza is nice in the summer. 
  • Café Restaurant El Espejo (El Pabellón de El Espejo), Paseo de Recoletos, 31 (Metro: Colon).  Daily 09:00-01:00 (café); daily 13:00-24:00 (restaurant)Opened in 1978, but looks much older. Has two divisions: a more casual café and a restaurant. Good food and very crowded during lunchtime. Café: €14-15 (midweek set menu), €19-20 (weekend set menu); Restaurant: set menu €11-17.
  • Libertad 8Libertad 8 is an iconic coffee shop and bar located on Libertad del barrio de Chueca, in Madrid. Opened as a coffee shop in 1975, ever since then it’s served as a stage for artists and singer-songwriters (known as cantautores). It’s become one of the most important spaces for songwriters, with frequent concerts by Pedro Guerra, Rosana, Ismael Serrano, Luis Pastor, Tontxu, Andrés Suárez, Lichis, Carlos Chaouen, or Kiko Tovar.

Bars

  • AreiaC/ Horteleza, 96 (Metro: Chueca).  Monday to Friday 16:00-03:00, Sa Su 14:00-03:00Very cool chill out bar decorated with deep colours in a Moroccan style. Dark and inviting. The seating includes cushions on the floor, traditional tables and chairs, or if you’re lucky, grab the four poster bed at the back. Drinks: €7 before 22:00 and €8 after 22:00.
  • La Via LacteaC/ Velarde 18 (Malasaña, Metro: Tribunal).  Su-Th 20:00-03:00, F Sa 20:00-03:30A swingin’ bar where you can twist the night away with local hipsters.

Clubs

  • DemodeCalle Ballesta (At the back of Gran Via, closest metro may be Tribunal/Gran Via). From 00:00 to 04:00AMCool electronic sounds for 20s-30s. Free.
  • El Junco Jazz ClubPza. Santa Bárbara 10 (Metro: Alonso Martínez). From 23:00 to 05:30AM weekdays, to 06:00AM weekendsSmallish venue, starts the night with live jazz, later on morphs into relaxed night club. Not cheap (once inside, beer still €5.50, mixed drink €8.50), so attracts older crowd than others nearby. €6 with beer, €9 with mixed drink.

Where to stay in Madrid/Malasaña-Chueca

Budget

  • Hostal Jemasaca-Palma61Calle de la Palma 61 (metro: Noviciado) ,   Breakfast (coffee + pastry + juice) is included in price and it’s served in a cafe near hostel. The nearest metro station is Noviciado. The room includes own bathroom and TV. Quiet and clean basic hostel. Double room: about 50e/night.
  • Hostal San MartinCalle Concepción Arenal 4 (Metro: Callao).  Small, clean guest-house on the 4th floor. Ideally located just meters from Gran Via, with great staff and free wi-fi. All rooms have sink & shower, but most share bathrooms. Singles: €30-36; Doubles: €42-48.
  • Hostal MH FuencarralCalle Fuencarral 10 3º (Metro: Gran Via).  Centrally located, all rooms include bathroom, TV, free wi-fi, air conditioning, central heating, laundry and baggage storage facilities. Rooms with kitchen, washing machine and fridge are also available. Single: From €30.
  • Hostal VisaC/ Pérez Galdós, 7 (metro: Chueca).  Simple, clean and secure. Central location close to Gran Via. Friendly staff. Single €30+.
  • Hostal AsunciónPlaza Santa Bárbara, 8, 2º D (Metro: Alonso Martínez) ,   Check-in: 13:00 to 00:00, check-out: 11:00Simple but clean, on 2nd floor of building. Staff speak excellent English, very friendly. Reception open 6:00 to 00:00, but no curfew, guests get access code to front door. Good free WiFi. Doubles €55.
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Spain

Santander Coronavirus (COVID-19) Cantabria Travel Report

Wolfgang Holzem

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Santander is the capital and also the largest city of the province of Cantabria in Spain. The city is known throughout the United Kingdom for its bank of the same name.

Understand

Santander has some 180,000 inhabitants and is on the ocean. It features a small historic center and a handful of beaches. Its most famous tourist attraction is the Magdalena Palace which was used as a summer getaway of Spanish royalty.

  • Tourist Information (Oficina de Turismo municipal), Jardines de Pereda, s/n. ,  fax+34 942203005 from Sep 16 until Jun 14 Mon to Fri 8:30AM to 7PM, from Sep 16 until Passion Week Sat and Sun 10AM to 7PM, from Passion week until Sep 14 10AM to 7PM every day, from Jun15 until Sep 14 from 9AM to 9PM every dayM. Mm. M. M,,

Get in

By plane

  • Santander – Parayas, Aeropuerto Internacional de Santander (in the municipality of Camargo, 5 km East of Santander) ,  fax+34 942 202152 mostly domestic and charter flights; international flights from London, Dublin, Rome, Milan, Frankfurt(?), Paris, and Amsterdam

Ryanair fly from Brussels, Berlin, Rome, London, Edinburgh, Barcelona and Tenerife (all year) plus Weeze, Malaga, Dublin and Milano (summer schedule only).

Iberia offers daily flights to Santander from Madrid and Barcelona and weekly flights from Alicante, Gran Canaria, Malaga, Palma de Mallorca, Seville, Tenerife, Valencia, Paris, and Amsterdam.

Taxis from the airport to Santander are about €20. The taxi stand is in front of the terminal building.

You can also hire taxis with English speaking drivers at the following tel. +34692240616, you can ask for the price of your trip (airport to the centre for €15) and make reservations. Credit cards are accepted.

The Alsa city bus (tel 942211995) to Santander Bus Station (Estación de autobuses) departs daily at 6:30 and 6:50AM and then every 30 minutes from 7:15AM until 10:45PM from directly outside the arrivals terminal (€2,50). Duration of the journey: 10 minutes. If you go back to the airport from the bus station you can buy the tickets on the ticket machine inside the bus station.

Santander Airport has direct access to the motorway A8 Santander – Bilbao.

By bus

ALSA operates daily bus services to Santander from Galicia, Asturias, Pais Vasco, Extremadura, Castile-Leon, Zaragoza, and Barcelona; and weekly services from Belgium, France, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. The trip from Madrid takes about 5 hours (about €30) and the trip from Barcelona takes about 9 hours (via Zaragoza).

There are about 20 buses per day from Bilbao to Santander, journey time about 90 minutes. Single ticket €6.71, return €12.75 (December 2020).

Bilman Bus offers daily bus services from [ , Alicante, Cartagena, and Murcia.

For more information see the  Santander bus station (Estación de Autobuses de Santander)   with timetables from and to all destinations available.

By train

RENFE operates daily train services from Madrid and Alicante to  Santander station (Estación de Santander) with stops in the main cities on the way (Palencia, Valladolid, Ávila). Trains leave from Madrid Chamartin Station at 7:40AM Mon to Fri, 1:30PM, and 6:05PM daily. The trip from Madrid takes about 5-6 hours (~€35).

Feve offers daily train services from Bilbao and Asturia to Santander .

By ferry

You may also wish to take a ferry from Plymouth, England to the  Santander ferry terminal. The journey time is approximately 24 hours each way, and is an interesting journey, although you may wish to resist having a large meal too soon after departure from Plymouth if you are unused to sea travel as the Cantabrian Sea can be extremely rough.

Britanny Ferries operates two sailings a week from the UK to Santander from mid-March to October, on Wednesdays from Portsmouth and on Sundays from Plymouth, average sailing time hours. operated by the modern MV Pont Aven. From November until around December 20th and from Mid-February until March only the Plymouth – Santander service is operated with MS Bretagne, journey time 24 hrs. There is no service from around December 20th until mid-February.

By car

from France

Santander is 150 ml (246 km) from Biarritz, 272 ml (437 km) from Bordeaux, 327 ml (537 km) from Toulouse, 583 ml (937 km) from Marseille and 685 ml (1103 km) from Nice.

from Spain

Santander is 517 ml (832 km) from Alicante, 443 ml (709 km) from Barcelona, 173 ml (279 km) from León, 243 ml (399 km) from Madrid, 630 ml (1014 km) from Marbella, 226 ml (364 km) from Salamanca, 474 ml (763 km) from Santiago de Compostela, 155 ml (250 km) from Valladolid, 314 ml (505 km) from Vigo and 249 ml (401 km) from Zaragoza.

from Portugal

Santander is 848 km (527 mi) from Lisbon and 405 ml (648 km) from Porto.

Get around

Image of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideBy foot

Santander is reasonably small. The distance from one end of town to the other are some 6km (4 miles) and can be walked in 2 hours along the coast road. Within the city center everything is within walking distance (15min walking).

By bus

Public buses are available at reasonable prices. Each journey costs € 1.10 (more for journeys out of the city proper, or you can save 40% by buying a 10-journey ‘Bonobus’ at a ‘Tabaco’ shop). A 10 journey Bonobus ticket costs € 6 (December 2020). Specifically, buses can take you to the main beaches some 2-4km (2m) from the city center. Timetables and map for download: 

  • Hop On Hop Off Bus, tel 800-750-2859 departs from the Cathdral daily at 10.45 and 11:25AM, 12.00 noon, 1.15, 1.55, 4.45, 5.20, 6.00 and 6:35PM, with stops at Pasea Pereda, Museo Maritimo, Palacio de Festivales y Planetario, Palacio de la Magdalena, Casiono/Playa de Sardinero, Faro de Cabo Mayor, Matalenas/Campo de Golf. Estadio, Universidad, Avenida Valdecilla, Cuatro Caminos and Barrio Pesquero, the entire journey which takes around 75 min. Internet rates: for 24 hours $21,95 per adult, $10.95 per child (5 to 15), for 48 hours $24,95 per adult, $11.95 per child (5 to 15) plus $3.95 “processing fee” per order. No refunds! Children under 5: free of charge. Explanations given in Spanish, English, French, German, Italian, Dutch and Japanese plus a commentary for kids.

By taxi

Taxis are widely available throughout the city.

  • Radiotaxi : tel. 942333333. Tariffs: Mon to Fri 6AM to 10PM, Sat 8AM to 3PM minimum € 3,15 plus € 0,78 per km, luggage € 1,17, waiting time € 15,52 per hour. Mon to Fri 10PM to 6AM, Sat midnight to 8AM, 3AM to midnight, Sun and public holidays: minimum € 4,00 plus € 1,02 per km, luggage € 1,50, waiting time € 20,23 per hour (2020)

By bicycle

The city offers bicycle rental, for a very low price, at a number of locations around Santander (Jardines de Pereda, El Sardinero, La Magdalena). Bikes are loaned for the day, so get in early to avoid missing out.

What to see and do

  • Palacio de la MagdalenaLa Magdalena, s/n ,  fax+34 942282689 Summer residence of the Spanish King from 1913 until 1930.

Museums

  • Prehistoric and Archaeological Museum of Cantabria (Museo de Prehistoria y Arqueología de Cantabria), Casimiro Sainz 4.  from Sep 16 until Jun 15 Tue to Sat 9AM to 1PM and 4 to 7PM, from Jun 16 until Sep 15 Tue to Sat 10AM to 1PM and 4 to 7PM, Sundays all the year round from 11AM to 2PMAn impressively well curated and presented museum focused on the ancient history of the local Cantabria region. All items are presented in Spanish, French and English, and there are a significant amount of video and interactive displays. More than 1000 objects are displayed with a Neolithic focus, though the collection ranges at least the Paleolithic through Roman and medieval periods. €5.
  • Maritime Museum of Cantabria (Museo Marítimo del Cantábrico), San Martín de Bajamar s/n. ,  fax+34 942281068 Oct 1 until Apr 30 Tue to Sun 10AM until 6PM, May 2 until Sept 30 Tue to Sun 10AM until 7:30PM, closed Mon, Jan 1, Good Friday, May 1 and Dec 25adults: €6, children from 4 to 12: €4, senior citizens over 65: €4, tourist groups: €5 per person.
  • Bullfighting Museum (Museo Taurino), Calle de Jerónimo Sainz de la Maza.  Jun 15 to Sep 15: Tue to Fri 6 to 9PM, Sat 11AM to 2PMIn the lower floor of the bullring, in the western part of the city, near the Plaza de México, with bullfighting memorabilia, posters, photos and paintings, and colourful suits of bullfighters from all over Spain admission free.
  • Municipal Museum of Arts (Museo Municipal de Bellas Artes), C/Rubio, 6 ,  fax+34 942203125 from 16 Sep until 14 Jun: Mon to Fri 10AM to 1PM, 5.30 to 9PM, Sat: 10AM to 1PM, closed Sat afternoon, Sun, from 15 Jun until 15 Sep: Mon to Fri 11:15AM to 1PM, 5.30 to 9PM, Sat: 10AM to 1PM, closed Sat afternoon, Sun,Principal art museum of the region with s remarkable collection of paintings and sculpture from the 15th to 20th centuries, from Italian, Flemish and Spanish schools and a painting of King Fernando VII by Goya admission: free.
  • Biblioteca Menéndez PelayoC/ Rubio 6.  Mon to Fri 9 to 11:30AM. guided visits every 30 min.
  • Museo del Faro de Cabo Mayor (exhibition of the painter Eduardo Sanz).  Jul and Aug Tue to Sun 11AM to 1:30PM, 5 to 9PM, rest of the year:11AM to 1:30PM, 5 to 8PMThere’s an art gallery and a strange collection of lighthouse images from popular culture–on everything from matchboxes to liquor bottles. admission free.
  • Colección del Ateneo de SantanderC/ Gómez Oreña, 5-1º ,  fax+34 942360520Salón Social and Cafetería: 9AM to 1PM, 4 to 9:30PMadmission free.
  • Colección del Parlamento de CantabriaC/ Alta 31/33.
  • Colecciones y Patrimonio de Caja CantabriaC/ Rubio 6.  Mon to Sat 9AM to 1:30PM, Tue and Thu 4.30 to 9PM except Jul, Aug, closed Sat afternoon and Sun.

Old Town

Churches

  • Cathedral – Catedral de Santa Maria de la AsunciónPlaza del Obispo José Eguino y Trecu s/n.  Mon to Fri 10AM to 1PM and 4 to 7:30PM, Holy service at 11AM and 6:30PM, Sat 10AM to 1PM and 4 to 8PM, Holy service at 11AM, 5 and 8PM, Sun 10AM to 1PM and 5 to 9PM, Holy service at 12AM, 1.30, 5 and 8PM. The cathedral cannot be visited during services, guided tours free of charge in July and August.
  • Iglesia del Santísimo CristoC/ Somorrostro s/nJun 1 until Sep 30: 8AM to 1PM and 4 to 8PM every day, Oct 1 until May 31: 8AM to 1:30PM and 5 to 8PM every day, Holy services from mon to Fri at 11AM and 8:30PM, Sat 10AM to 1PM and 4 to 8PM, Holy service at 8.15, 10 and 11:15AM, 5 and 8PM, Sat at 10 and 11:15AM, 1.15, 6 and 8:30PM, Sun at 8.15, 10, 11 and 12AM, 1, 5 and 8:30PM. The church cannot be visited during services, guided tours free of charge in July and August.
  • Iglesia de la AnunciaciónC/ Juan de Herrera 17open during services onlygood example of Renaissance architecture
  • Iglesia de la ConsolaciónC/Alta 19open during services onlychurch in classical Baroque style
  • Iglesia de Santa LucíaC/ Daoiz y Velarde 11open during services onlybuilding of the eclectic style dating from the 19th century
  • Iglesia del Sagrado CorazónC/ San Joseopen during services onlyone of the best examples of Neogothic style in town

Public buildings

  • Santander Ban (Edificio del Banco Santander), Paseo Pereda 9-12 (opposite Pereda Gardens, not open to the public, in the city center, best reached with bus no. 1,3,4.C1,4.C2,9 and 10).
  • Banco Español de CréditoHernan Cortes 11building in the eclectic style of 1900
  • Banco de EspañaAvenida Alfonso XIIIopened 1922
  • Town Hall (Ayuntamiento)Plaza del Ayuntamiento s/nbuilding in the eclectic style of the 19th century, richly decorated with columns, balconies and coats of arms
  • Mercado del EsteC/General Molaerected from 1840 onwards, completely reconstructed in 1986
  • Mercado de la EsperanzaPlaza de la Esperanzainaugurated 1904 in Modernism style
  • Plaza Porticadaconstructed as new city center after the fire of 1941
  • Casa PardoPaseo de Perez GaldosHouse from 1915, also called ‘Palacio de los Botin’ with spectacular views over the bay, one of the most splendid mansions of the city, at Sardinero, reached with bus no 10
  • Casa PomboPlaza de Jose Antonio 3 (mansion of 1875, in the city center, reached with bus no 1).
  • Dique de Gamazosmall fishing port, dating from 1908, 180 m long, 15 m wide, 8 m deep, in the city center, reached with bus no 1
  • Post Office Building (Edificio de Correos), Avenida de Alfonso XII.  An impressive building, one of the landmarks of Santander, builtin 1915,in the city center, reached with bus no 1 and 8
  • Edificio de Los Arcos de BotinHernan Cortes 21Neoclassic building on the north side of Piaza Pombo, near the harbour, good example of 19th cent. architecture, visitors are not allowed inside, in the city center, reached with bus no 1
  • Edificio de Los PinaresDuque de Santo Mauro (near Primera Playa, between Calle Duque de Santo Mauro and Calle Joaquín Costa). Impressive private home of ship owner Francisco García, with an outstanding view on the beach as well as Renaissance and Baroque elements of architecture
  • Edificio de ViviendasCalle Castelar, 15 (in the city center, reached with bus no 1). One of the city’s grandest mansions of the early 1900S in the historic district along the Calle Castelar and Paseo de Pereda.

Streets and Squares

  • Paseo de Pereda y Calle Castelar (in the city center, reached with bus no 1). 1550 m long street with nice views on the harbour and the cathedral and many buildings from the 18th to 20th cent., including Puerto Chico, Dique de Gamazo, Cuesta del Gas, and Banco Vitalicio
  • Plaza de José Antonio (Plaza Pombo) (Calle de Hernán Cortés and General Mola are on the north and south, and Pancho Cossío and Las Infantas on the east and west). charming plaza with colorful flowerbeds and musician bandstand

Parks

  • Alameda de OviedoSan Fernando, s/nin the western part of the city center, running from Cuatro Caminos Roundabout in the west, to Plaza de Numancia in the east, specifically between Calle de San Fernando and Calle Vargas.
  • Jardines de PeredaPaseo de Pereda, s/nSantander’s most famous park with a lot of trees, bushes and flowers, a pond, several sculptures, a music pavilion, a monument to the writer José María de Pereda (1833-1906), a fountain dedicated to the Cantabrian author, Concha Espina (1877-1953), the Fuente de los Meones and the city tourist office nearby.
  • Parque de AltamiraPaseo del General Dávila, s/n (in the north of the city near the commercial center between Paseo del General Dávila and Calle Vía Cornelia). botanical garden in city center, covering a total area of 16000m2.
  • Jardines de PiquíoAvenida de Castañeda, s/noccupying an area of 13000 m2, with fine views on the Ensenada del Sardinero, Cabo Menor to the north and Magdalena Peninsula to the south. On a promontory between Primera and Segunda Playa (First and Second Beaches, originally known as the “Piquillo” or the “Punta del Rostro” (Face Point).
  • Parque del Doctor González MesonesAvenida del Stadium, s/n (in theeast of the city near El Sardinero and the football stadium). park with an area of 40000m2,with fountains, ornate stone benches with heraldic shields and a statue of the poet José Luis Hidalgo.
  • Parque de La MargaJerónimo Sainz de la Maza, s/nwest of the city, near Puerto Pesquero (Fishing Port), Dársena de Maliaño (Maliaño Docks), fish market and restaurants in the Barrio Pesquero (Fishing Quarter).
  • Parque de La MagdalenaAvenida de La Magdalena, s/n.  8AM to 10PM dailyWith 25000 m2 the biggest park in the city, surrounding the Palacio Real (Royal Palace). It was deserted until the end of the 19th century and houses a hermitage dedicated to Saint Magdalena and a defensive castle overlooking the bay. It has a zoo on the rocky cliffs on the northern end, with lions, seals, penguins and polar bears and a galleon nearby that belonged to the sailor and adventurer Vital Alsar.
  • Parque de Cabo MayorAvenida del Faro, s/n, (situated near El Sardinero beaches.). Covering an area of more than 100,000m2, the park is extremely spectacular on windy days, when the waves crash onto the cliffs. The Faro de Cabo Mayor is the oldest lighthouse in Cantabria. It was built in 1839, is 30m high and its light can be seen from 29 miles away. The rock formation of the Puente del Diablo (Devil’s Bridge) and the Panteón del Inglés (Englishman’s Pantheon) is nearby.

What to do

  • Picnic on Magdalena Peninsula
  • Learn how to sail
  • 5 city walks: go to the Santander Tourist Office in the city center (Old Market, near the Old Banco de Santander) and get a free city guide; the free city guide describes these 5 itineraries.   These 5 itineraries are enough to keep you busy for 1-2 days.
  • boat round trip: There is a regular boat service through the Santander Bay, boats run from Santander to Pedreña, Somo and back. For a 45-minutes round-trip you have to pay €3,90 and the boats starts at least every hour.
  • Enjoy the beaches. Walk up to the lighthouse at Cabo Mayor, visit the museum and enjoy the view from the top.

Beaches

Santander has a lot of fine beaches.

  • Magdalena Beach (Playa de la Magdalena)
  • Sardinero Beaches (Playa del Sardinero)
  • Camel Beach (Playa del Camello)
  • Mataleñas Beach (Playa de Mataleñas)
  • Magdalena Peninsula (see the penguins in the ‘mini-Zoo’) & Magdalena Palace (Palacio de Magdalena)
  • Lighthouse at Cabo Mayor (faro de Cabo Mayor), and the devil’s bridge (puente del diablo), a bizarre rock formation.
  • Playa de Bikinis, safe and lovely beach on the Peninsula de la Magdalena, protected from big waves, very calm.
  • Playa de Covachos, Cotero (Santa Cruz de Bezana), one of the most attractive beaches,
  • Playa de El Bocal, Corbanera, peaceful and quiet,
  • Playa de El Camello, Avenida de la Reina Victoria, near Magdalena Peninsula,
  • Playa de El Puntal, Somo (Ribamontán al Mar),
  • Playa de La Concha, in the middle of Sardinero,
  • Playa de La Magdalena, Ensenada del Sardinero, with fine views of the bay,
  • Playa de La Maruca, Monte,
  • Playa de la Virgen del Mar, San Román, peaceful and quiet,
  • Playa de Langre, Langre (Ribamontán al Mar), spectacular situation between the cliffs,
  • Playa de Los Molinucos, small beach north of Segunda Playa,
  • Playa de Los Peligros, Avenida de la Reina Victoria, quiet beach in a sheltered bay,
  • Playa de Mataleñas, between Cabo Mayor and Cabo Menor, the ‘luxury’ beach of Santander,
  • Playa de Somocuevas, Liencres (Piélagos), with fine golde sands,
  • Playa de Valdearenas, Liencres (Piélagos), fine sand dunes,
  • Playa Primera de El Sardinero, Plaza de Italia, the most famous beach of Santander,
  • Playa Segunda de El Sardinero, Playa de Castaneda.
  • Somo Beach is a little bit outside of Santander. It can be reached from downtown Santander by boat. Boats leave every 10 minutes and the boat ride takes about 10 minutes. Somo Beach is about 3 km long and is less crowded than beaches in Santander.

Cultural events

  • Centro Cultural Caja CantabriaTantín, 25.  The buildings is also known as “Modesto Tapia”. It was designed by the Catalan architect, Domenech i Muntaner, a contemporary of Gaudí, and was inaugurated by Alfonso XIII in 1907. It incorporates many Modernist architectural features and was completely re-modeled in 1994. The Social and Cultural Office of Cantabria Bank offers theater performances, rock, pop and jazz concerts, conferences, art exhibits and workshops in drama, painting and photography.
  • Centro Cultural Doctor MadrazoCasimiro Sainz, s/n, (near Tetuán Tunnel and Puerto Chico).  Organized by the Cultural Bureau of Santander’s City Council.
  • Palacio de Festivales de CantabriaGamazo, s/n.  Designed by Javier Sáenz de Oiza, opened in 1991, classical music concerts, ballet and dance performances, home to Cantabria’s School of Dramatic Arts

Festivals

  • Fiestas Virgen del Mar (Lady of the Sea festival): May 19
  • Los Baños de Ola: July 16 until 20
  • Fiestas de Santiago (St.James’s Festival): July 25
  • Mercado medieval (medieval market): second half of August
  • Romería del Faro (pilgrimage to the lighthouse): August 23

Buy

  • Lupa (big supermarket chain), Avenida de Parayas, s/n.
  • Mercado de la EsperanzaEl Mercado, s/ (Behind the Mercado de la Esperanza in Plaza de la Esperanza is an open-air market selling clothes, fruits and flowers. Mon to Fri 8AM to 2PM and 5 to 7:30PM, Sat 8AM – 2PM).  busy market built in 1897 and restored in 1977, oldest surviving market in Santander after the Mercado del Este, built in 1839, was recently demolished
  • Santa María PescadosSan Francisco, 12 (fish market located in the San Francisco complex). Mon to Fri 9AM to 1:30PM and 4:30 to 8:30PM, Sat 9AM – 1:30PMoffering fresh seafood from the Cantabrian Sea, shellfish, hake, sea-bass, sardines, squid, octopus lobsters, percebes (goose barnacles) and crayfish
  • HilarioGeneral Dávila.  Mon to Fri 9AM to 2PM and 5 to 8PM, Sat 9AM to 2PMmeat shop located at the Hospital Santa Clotilde

Learn

The Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo offers summer courses for university students, including Spanish language courses for foreigners, that take place both at the Magdalena Palace and at Residencia Las Llamas.

The Universidad de Cantabria offers Spanish language courses of 4 to 10 weeks duration throughout the year through the Centro de Idiomas (CIUC). CIUC also coordinates exchange students at the university.

Eat

  • The best area to eat fish is the district close to fishing harbour (Barrio Pesquero), although locals usually regard this as a tourist trap.
  • Santander is known amongst Spaniards for its many Regma ice-creamery outlets. At times it can seem that they have an outlet on every corner. Their very generous serving sizes of 8 popular flavours of ice cream have been melting down the hands of locals for years, even throughout the winter months. Other chains such as Capri on Paseo de Pereda provide a greater range of choices.
  • Señores Patatas on Calle Santa Lucía offers student-priced meals of fries and hamburgers. Try the ‘Five Sauces’ (Cinco Salsas) plates with five types of fry cut and five types of sauce.
  • Taj Mahal on Calle Santa Lucía is the only Indian restaurant in town and serves a tasty alternative to the Spanish staples.
  • Sakura near Cuatro Caminos serves Japanese dishes.
  • La Casona del JudíoResconorio 35.  40 €.
  • La BombiCasimiro Sainz 15.  42 €.
  • La MulataTetuan sn.  30 €.
  • CañadioGómez Oreña, 15.  45 €.
  • La Posada del MarCastelar 19.  45-55 €.
  • ZacariasHernán Cortés 38.  one of the best restaurants in Santander, owned by the best known chef de cuisine in Santander, Cantabrian and seafood dishes, 45 €.
  • El SerbalAndrés del Rio, 7.  1.30 until 4PM, 8.30 until 11:30PM, closed Sun evening and Mon55 €.
  • Bar del PuertoHernán Cortés 63 ,  fax+34 942219393 60 €.
  • La Sardina de PlataPlaza Doctor Fleming, 3restaurant in nautic design, serving regional cuisine, cheese mousse, beef fillet with truffles and cognac, fish salad, € 20 to 40.
  • Bodega CigalenaDaoíz y Velarde, 19 (Zona: Puerto Chico).  1 to 3PM, 8PM to midnightCastilian bodega, popular with younger people, serving fish soup (sopa de pescado) and shellfish paella, great selection of wines from Castilia. € 30.
  • AltamiraAvenida Reina Victoria, 27.  Serves traditional cuisine.
  • Copa CabanaReina Victoria, 46.  spectacular views
  • El CormoránSegunda Playa del Sardinero.  dining by the sea
  • FigónCisneros, 7.  home-style cuisine
  • GelínNueva Montaña, s/n.  Traditional and rustic
  • Horno de BurgosLa Unión, 4.  Traditional Castilian cuisine
  • Peña PrietaVargas, 35.  Fresh fish
  • La MejilloneraPlaza de la Leña, 4.  Mussels
  • CapitolFrancisco de Quevedo, 7.  seafood tapas
  • El Estanque de GamaGama (Next to the N634).  One of the most beautiful restaurants in Cantabria. 20 min. from Santander towards Bilbao. It is also an elegant cocktail bar in the middle of the Santoña`s Nature Reserve Marshes. €20.

Drink

Everybody starts their night at Plaza de Cañadío, in the centre of the old town. It is a hive for young Santanderinos and exchange students. It is surrounded on three sides by various bars and restaurants. This is where most drinking of calimocho – the red wine/coca-cola combo favoured by young Spaniards – takes place.

Later in the night (from about 2AM) the drinking action moves to bars and clubs in the area, including La EmbajadaRetrosCafe del SolLa Rana VerdeOpium and many others. Three major dance clubs are located nearby – El DivinoMalaespina and Rocaverde.

Where to stay in Santander

  • Hotel Las BrisasCalle La Braña 14, El Sardinero Cantabria.
  • Santemar Hotel, Calle Joaquin Costa 28, Tel: +34 942 272 900, in the City Centre.
  • Hotel Sardinero, Plaza de Italia 1, Tel.: +34 942 271 100, near El Sardinero Beach.
  • Hospedaje Magallanes, Magallanes 22 Entlo, Tel.: +34 942 371 421, in the City Centre.
  • Hotel Chiqui, Avenida Manuel Garcia Lago 9, Tel.: +34 902 282 700, near El Sardinero Beach.
  • NH Ciudad de Santander, Menéndez Pelayo, 13-15, +34 94 2319900.

Go next

  • Castro-Urdiales: seaside village east of Santander with a nice Gothic church and lighthouse.
  • Laredo (Spain): another seaside village to the East, the old quarter is worth a visit.
  • Potes: this small village is the key to the Picos de Europa mountain range (which is a National Park), and the Liébana region. Good eating place, and the local orujo (a strong spirits drink) is highly recommended.
  • Reinosa: the main town on southern Cantabria, it’s a good base to explore the Cantabrian mountain range (Cordillera Cantábrica), with the Alto Campoo sky resort, the Roman city of Julióbriga and several Medieval churches close by.
  • Santillana del Mar: Picturesque stone village 1 hour away by bus; visit the famous cave of Altamira.
  • San Vicente de la Barquera – Sea-side fishing village, about 30 minutes by bus. See the fishing vessels unload what Madrid will be eating tomorrow. Fantastic tides, so stay for at least 6 hours. Nice Roman bridge.
  • Valles Pasiegos: for a taste of rural Cantabria, no better place than the Valley of the Pas river, especially Toranzo, Selaya, Villacarriedo, Vega de Pas, San Roque de Riomiera and San Pedro del Romeral. Try the typical sobaos and quesadas, two traditional desserts.
  • Ethnography Museum (Museo Etnografico de Cantabria Casa Velarde), Calle de los Heroes dos de Mayo, Muriedas, Camargo (5 ml/8 km from Santander).  from Jul until Sep Tue to Sat 10AM to 1PM, 4 to 7PM, Sun 11AM to 2PM, from October to June Tue to Sat 10AM to 1PM, 4 to 6PM, Sun 11AM to 2PMHistorical 17th-century building, birthplace of Spanish artillery captain Pedro Velarde y Santillan, antiquities and period furnishings, kitchen utensils, paintings.
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Spain

Arganzuela Coronavirus (COVID-19) Madrid Travel Report

Wolfgang Holzem

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Arganzuela is a district in southern Madrid on the banks of river Manzanares. In addition to that, this article covers all southern districts of the Spanish capital, most of which are little frequented by international travellers.

Get in

Image of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideImage of Destination GuideMadrid’s main station, Atocha, is located at the northern edge of Arganzuela. Cercanías (suburban trains) also stop at EmbajadoresPirámidesDelicias and Estación Sur de Autobuses stations. Metro stations that serve this district are EmbajadoresPalos de la FronteraDelicias and Legazpi of line 3, Puerta de ToledoAcaciasPirámides and Marqués de Vadillo of line 5, Méndez AlvaroArganzuela-PlanetarioLegazpi and Usera of line 6.

What to see and do

  • Parque Madrid Río (metro: Legazpi or Marqués de Vadillo, or cercanías: Príncipe Pio). The motorway that used to carve into the city and blight the banks of Río Manzanares, was banished into a tunnel, in a superlative urban landscaping project that cost some 4 billion euros. Nowadays, a unique 6-km long landscape garden accompanies the river on both banks. For this project, 33 bridges were dedicated, that allow you to cross from one side to another whenever you want, as well as 5500 benches installed and 33,000 trees planted. The park is multifaceted, including flowerbeds, Baroque-style boxwood broderies, pine, cypress or bamboo groves, playgrounds, climbing garden, skatepark etc. Asphalted paths are ideal for cyclists and roller skaters, while pedestrians enjoy priority rights. Cafés, “beach bars” and kiosks provide sustenance.
  • Planetario de Madrid (Planetarium of Madrid), Avda del Planetario, 16 (or).  Tu-F 17:00-19:45, Sa Su holiday 11:00-13:45 and 17:00-20:45Features several exhibits related to space exploration, two screens playing documentaries, an interactive area and, of course, the planetarium. Projections last 45 minutes each. Different ones play on different days so check their website. All the exhibits are explained in Spanish only and the projections in the planetarium are also in Spanish. Entry is free but the sessions in the planetarium each have a cost of €3.60 for a regular ticket and €1.65 for a reduced ticket (children and seniors).
  • Museo de Ferrocarril de Madrid (Railway Museum of Madrid), Paseo de las Delicias, 61 (; Renfe Cercanias: Delicias) ,   Oct-May: M-Th 09:30-15:00, F and holidays 10:00-18:00, Sa Su 10:00-20:00; Jun-Sep: Tu-Su 10:00-15:00Museum with four railway tracks, exhibiting a large number of steam, diesel and electric locomotives used in Spain in the 19th and 20th century. Also on display are several model railways. Exhibits are described in Spanish only. M-Th, F before 14:00, holidays: €6 (adults), €4 (concessions), free (children under 4); F after 14:00, Sa Su: €2.50.

What to do

  • Matadero MadridPlaza de Legazpi, 8 (metro: Legazpi). Usually Tu-F 16:00-21:00, Sa Su 11:00-21:00, on M only the cinetheque is openedMadrid’s former main abattoir (matadero), an early 20th-century industrial brick compound in Arganzuela district, has been converted to an arts and cultural centre since the 2000s. It is intended to serve as a cross-disciplinary laboratory of contemporary arts, including studios, exhibition spaces, a theatre, an arthouse cinema, and a library, as well as a café. One of the preferred spots of the city’s “artsy” crowd to meet. There are performances and other events almost every day.
  • Sala La RivieraPaseo Bajo de la Virgen del Puerto, s/n (Metro: Puerta del Angel or Principe Pío) ,   Another large venue for touring rock and pop bands.
  • Gruta ’77C/ Cuclillo, 6 (Metro: Oporto) ,   Concerts everyday – pop, rock, and punk.
  • Atlético de MadridPlays games in the Vicente Calderón stadium. The club is one of the most successful in Spanish League history, having won both La Liga and the Copa del Rey on ten occasions, including a double in 1996. They also won the European Cup Winners Cup in 1962, were European Cup runners-up in 1974 and 2014, Intercontinental Cup winners in 1975 and more recently won the UEFA Europa League both in 2010 and 2012.
  • Madrid Open (Mutua Madrileña Madrid Open), Camino de Perales (Metro: San Fermin – Orcasur; bus 23/78/123). Held in mid-May at La Caja Mágica. 

Eat

  • Freiduría de Gallinejas EmbajadoresC/ Embajadores, 84 (near Glorieta Embajadores, Metro lines L3 and L5).   Monday – Saturday 11:00-23:00, Su 12:00-22:00Another classic tapas bar in Madrid, not for conservative stomachs. Their most popular tapas are two of the most typical and traditional dishes in Madrid: gallinejas and entresijos. A treat for adventurous palates and lamb-lovers. Raciónes €3-9.

Drink

  • Café Ziryab Tablao FlamencoPaseo de la Esperanza 17 (Metro Acacias) ,   shows at 9.30 pmA Flamenco venue with daily shows at 9:30 by first line artists, in an intimate ambiance. Kind staff, nice drinks and tapas, personalized attention and the artists right in front of you. 22€.
  • La Esquina de EusebioC/ Caramuel 16 (Metro: Puerta del Angel).  Trays of tapas are passed from one person to another in this typical bar of Madrid, absolutely not touristy but really worth it. And it’s not so far from the centre.

Where to stay in Madrid/Arganzuela

  • Sol HostelCalle Bernardino Obregon 25 (metro: Palos de la Frontera or Embajadores) ,   Rooms from 4 to 14 people, plus breakfast and internet (WIFI). Dorm bed: €12-17, breakfast included.
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