3 Reasons to Visit Cantabria

May 21, 2018
capricho gaudi comillas cantabria spain travel outfit
I probably should have titled this post 5 reasons to visit Cantabria, because we've already seen two important ones: the mountains of Cantabria and its capital city Santander. If you haven't read those posts, you absolutely should. Today, on the final post about this beautiful Spanish region, I'm going to give you three more reasons to visit Cantabria.
capricho gaudi comillas cantabria spain
1. COMILLAS
Foul weather accompanied us on our visit to the magnificent town of Comillas. As much as we prayed "rain, rain, go away", we couldn't close our umbrellas for the whole day. That's what happens in the north: you can get lovely sunny days, but it rains a lot. capricho gaudi comillas cantabria spain
In Comillas you will find some of the most original and beautiful buildings in Cantabria. The first Marqués de Comillas is responsible for this. He made a fortune in Cuba and then returned to commission the most important Catalan Modernist architects to liven up his hometown in the late 19th century. Other highlights of the town include quirky mansions, the cobbled old town and a lovely beach.

There are few buildings by genius architect Antoni Gaudi outside of Catalonia and one of them is this: El Capricho (the caprice). This flamboyant masterpiece striped all over the outside with ceramic bands of sunflowers is actually his first work ever.
capricho gaudi comillas cantabria spain
capricho gaudi comillas cantabria spain
Despite the bad weather, we spent a long time at El Capricho. I had been looking forward to going back to this place for a long time. One of my first memories from childhood is when my parents brought me here, it seems that this place made a big impression on me that I could never forget. To this day, it still is my favorite building by Gaudi (who also happens to be my favorite architect). The place is worth every second you spend here, everywhere you look there’s something to attract your attention.casa del duque comillas cantabria spain
Wandering the streets of Comillas, we found Casa del Duque (the Duke's House), a beautiful mansion that could be a great location for a horror movie. It makes you think of a haunted house, doesn't it? The house cannot be visited but you can take a look from outside.sobrellano palace palacio comillas cantabria spain
The Marquis of Comillas commissioned Catalan architect Joan Martorell the Sobrellano Palace, the architecture of this fabulous neo-Gothic palace is breath-taking. The Palace is closed on Mondays, which was the day we visited Comillas, so we couldn't take the guided tour. 
old town plaza casco antiguo comillas cantabria spain
Last but not least, there's the charming old town with steep stone streets, picturesque squares, big mansions and typical houses with wooden balconies portraying the most traditional Cantabria architecture.

2. SANTILLANA DEL MAR
santillana del mar cantabria spain pueblos bonitos españa
There's a sign when you arrive at Santillana del Mar saying "Los Pueblos Más Bonitos de España", a  sign given to the most beautiful villages in Spain. We say that Santillana is the town of the three lies: not holy (santi), flat (llana) or by the sea (del mar). The truth is that Santillana is a very well preserved Medieval jewel with its cobbled streets and flower-filled balconies.
santillana del mar cantabria spain pueblos bonitos españa
santillana del mar cantabria spain pueblos bonitos españa
Colegiata de Santa Juliana is the most important monument in the town, a collegiate church with a beautiful cloister dedicated to the relics of Saint Juliana. 
colegiata santa juliana santillana del mar cantabria spain pueblos bonitos españa
I'll be honest, this town is charming but in my opinion it is not as beautiful as Comillas. Nothing can compare the architectural heritage of the later. Maybe the fact that's considered one of the prettiest towns in Spain made my expectations too high and it disappointed me. Nevertherless, I think it's worth visiting.

We did have a spectacular lunch at El Parador de Gil Blas. A hotel and restaurant of our favorite chain Paradores. The hotel occupies a lovely mansion located on a square in Santillana del Mar. The place is a monument itself, so it deserves a visit even if you are not eating or staying there. 

This brings us to the last -but very important- reason to visit Cantabria: the food. 
parador hotel gil blas restaurante santillana del mar cantabria spain pueblos bonitos españa
parador hotel gil blas restaurante santillana del mar cantabria spain pueblos bonitos españaTIP: since this little town receives many visitors, the prices tend to be high, so I advice you to eat at a place like El Parador. Being a national hotel chain, prices are very similar all around the country.
parador hotel gil blas restaurante santillana del mar cantabria spain pueblos bonitos españa
3. THE FOOD
Trying Cantabria's traditional dishes is a must. Tasting the local cuisine is a very important part of our travel experiences and we always book restaurants that offer it.
parador hotel gil blas restaurante menu santillana del mar cantabria spain pueblos bonitos españa
At El Parador de Gil Blas I ate the biggest tomato I had ever seen. It was filled with prawns and salsa rosa. DELICIOUS!
parador hotel gil blas restaurante menu santillana del mar cantabria spain pueblos bonitos españa
Rabas (fried calamari) are widely popular in Cantabria, they will be on every menu so if you go, you MUST order them.

Even though this region is washed by the sea, they have amazing meat. This pork with BBQ sauce, veggies and figs was divine.
parador hotel gil blas restaurante menu santillana del mar cantabria spain pueblos bonitos españa
Spanish cocido (stew) is popular all around the country, but each region has its own recipe. The varieties served in Cantabria start with the traditional stew soup and come with many ingredients including meat, chickpeas, cabbage and chorizo.
parador fuente dé restaurante menu cocido cantabria spain picos de europa
Decadent desserts are our favorite part of any meal, our favorites in Cantabria were tarta Santa Juliana (cheesecake with a cookie base topped with peach preserves) and grandmother’s special dessert (custard with ice cream, meringue and a touch of liqueur).
parador hotel gil blas restaurante menu santillana del mar cantabria spain pueblos bonitos españa
This trip around Cantabria made me fall in love with the north of Spain. The bad weather is already forgotten and beautiful memories are all that remains.
xo Cristina

Pin it!
things to do cantabria spain comillas santillana del mar food
MUST-HAVES FOR RAINY DESTINATIONS

43 comments

  1. Very original place to visit and the food seems delicious ;)

    https://4highheelsfans.wordpress.com/2018/05/18/in-the-mix/

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow such beautiful and interesting architecture! Another great guide, thank you xx

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a beautiful place to visit! I also admire Gaudi and love his work. Amazing architecture and to this day I am at awe at what I saw in Barcelona. I would love to visit Cantabria one day and see his work there. For now, I will enjoy your beautiful photos!

    Maureen | www.littlemisscasual.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks, Maureen. You are so kind! I'm looking forward to going back to Barcelona, I haven't been there since I was a kid. We may go next fall...

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you for stopping by, you are always so kind :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Living on Cloud NineMay 21, 2018 at 12:49 PM

    This gets a BIG WOW!! It looks stunning, beautiful adn fun!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I would love to visit Cantabria. Beautiful photography...thank you for sharing.

    http://modaodaradosti.blogspot.ba/

    ReplyDelete
  8. It looks so charming there! The architecture is so cool, and reminds me of something you would see out of a fairy tale. The food also looks pretty good there.
    http://sugarcoatedbears.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  9. I would love to visit this place someday. All your photos are gorgeous!
    Xo, Christianne
    Https://simplychristianne.com

    ReplyDelete
  10. Mademoiselle CoconathMay 21, 2018 at 8:10 PM

    Looks like such a lovely place! Great post
    xx
    Mademoiselle Coconath
    http://mllecoconath.com

    ReplyDelete
  11. Beautiful colours and architecture, would love to go there some day - must put it on the list.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Oh wow, that's a gorgeous place indeed. So much history and culture, with beautiful works of architecture. Will add this to my bucket list!

    Jessica | notjessfashion.com

    ReplyDelete
  13. Wow! It is sooo beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  14. What a picturesque place! Added to my bucket list.
    #MondayEscapes

    ReplyDelete
  15. I love your recommendations! They're all so beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Cantabria truly looks like a wonderful region to visit.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Tin Box TravellerMay 22, 2018 at 9:46 PM

    What an incredibly beautiful place Comillas is. Of course food is always a greta reason to visit somewhere as well. Thanks for linking up with #MondayEscapes

    ReplyDelete
  18. This place looks unreal! Wow even with the rain

    ReplyDelete
  19. Wow is looks incredible, the fried calamari is one of my favourite thing to eat!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I’ve just added this to my bucket list! What an interesting place to visit!

    ReplyDelete
  21. This is such a beautiful place! That first location kind of looks like it's made from legos.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Rachel CatherineMay 23, 2018 at 4:31 PM

    This looks so beautiful and different. I would love to go see this sometime.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I'm dying over the gorgeous buildings! Googling plane tickets asap!

    ReplyDelete
  24. You've got me convinced! The city looks absolutely beautiful and that food looks so yummy!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Although I´ve lived in Spain for 10 yearsI´ve never visited this region but would love to. We moved to Madrid from Gran Canaria a few months ago so maybe I will be able to do it now. Love the vibrant photos! Where about in Spain are you situated? #FarawayFiles

    ReplyDelete
  26. WOAH!! This place looks AMAZING!! I would LOVE to be able to go here and see all this beauty and taste all these appetizing foods!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Tiffany Petersen (Live Love &May 24, 2018 at 1:41 PM

    What a stunning place! Not going to lie had google where it was! I love old architecture & this provided a lot!

    ReplyDelete
  28. This looks like such an amazing place! Those buildings are so awesome and that food sounds like it would be downright irresistible .

    ReplyDelete
  29. I can't get over that stuffed tomato - it looks so delicious! I can see that I'd really love Cantabria. The architecture, that food, the towns - it all looks fabulous. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

    ReplyDelete
  30. Too bad about the rain, but it looks like it was still a lovely day out. That tomato looks giant, and delicious! Thank you for sharing on #farawayfiles

    ReplyDelete
  31. With all that yummy Spanish food to dine on I would have to do a lot of walking around! So worth it!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Oh, I went to Cantabria many moons ago and even stayed in Comillas for several days. That house is amazing. Were you able to see some of the cave paintings as well?
    #Theweeklypostcard

    ReplyDelete
  33. Wow, I have never heard of either of these towns, and they both look incredibly lovely! I've officially added both to my list. And when I saw your first picture, I'm like "hmm, that looks familiar...", I had no idea that Gaudi had designed things outside of Catalonia! I'll definitely have to visit, thanks for all of the great information.

    ReplyDelete
  34. A shame it rained alot when you visited, but the place is so beautiful, nevertheless! I LOVE the artistic building and story behind it. it looks magical! Your tomatoe lunch looks delicious too!
    thanks for linking!
    jess xx
    www.elegantlydressedandstylish.com

    ReplyDelete
  35. You are welcome, Jessica! There are also a couple of Gaudi buildings in Leon.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Thanks for your comment, Esther!
    It's much more difficult to see the cave paintings these days, they only allow a number of people there so we couldn't see them.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Everything was delicious!
    Thanks for your comment, Deborah :)

    ReplyDelete
  38. I discovered this a long time ago from a calendar and have wanted to go every since!! It's soooooo beautiful and you really captured the details! Thanks for linking up with #TheWeeklyPostcard!

    ReplyDelete
  39. What a beautiful place. I love how your photos captured how gorgeous it is. :)

    http://www.lifeofardor.com

    ReplyDelete
  40. I cannot get over the beautiful tilework on that first structure! It's insanely beautiful! I'm adding this to my bucket list immediately!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for taking out the time to leave a comment!