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Travel and Sport

Beaches in Santander & the Costa Quebrada

July 11, 2019

The Costa Quebrada (Broken Coast) is marked by jagged rock glacial formations, sloping cliffs and crystalline beaches. Where can you take in the best views, soak up the sun, or surf up a storm? Let me clue you in about the top beaches in Santander, Spain. 

Geological Park Costa Quebrada

The collection of beaches in Cantabria giving name to this blog is actually more than just a coastline; it’s part of the Natural Park of the Dunes of Liencres, a figure on which it relies for its protection. For the time being, the (unofficial) title  “Geological Park” is supported by the Government of Cantabria and the municipalities of Santander, Santa Cruz de Bezana, Piélagos and Miengo. It might not be the biggest park in Spain, but the eleven kilometers of coastline offer spectacular proof of what has happened there since the last Ice Age.

The particularity of this area is that is has such a high density of geologically interesting coastal forms that, finding the same number of them on any European coast, would take around 100 kilometers. These littoral forms that rise vertically within the sea and intermingle with the sand are very impressive to see.

However, to fully enjoy this park now that it’s summer, the most important thing to know is probably that it has accessible beaches from Santander to Miengo. The Costa Quebrada begins at the beach of La Magdalena (city of Santander) and ends in Cuchía. Within the area you’ll also find El Camello, El Sardinero, Mataleñas, La Maruca, Virgen del Mar, San Juan de la Canal, Covachos, La Arnía, El Portío, Somocuevas, Canallave, Valdearenas and Playa de los Caballos.

Spending time on the Broken Coast

Costa Quebrada is not only a popular natural beauty for photographers, it’s also a perfect natural environment for active tourism. The area offers the possibility of horse riding, long walks or some of the guided tours that the Costa Quebrada Association organizes regularly, such as the nocturnal tide safari.

Water activities also have a lot of prominence in an area with many famous surfing spots, such as Canallave, Valdearenas, El Sardinero or Ola de la Vaca. The littoral rock formations also offer the possibility of climbing, with ocean views.

the beaches in santander are perfect for surfing

On the other hand, there are also activities that need some special attention in order to minimize our impact. For example, it’s not recommended to go cycling along the coast without sticking to the tracks because of the damage this can produce to the surroundings.

In line with this important consideration, the recommendable means of transportation to cover the entire area would be by car. That way you can also easily bring your picnics and surfboard(s) with you, two other important checkboxes for your visit to the beautiful Broken Coast of Santander.

Beaches in Santander

Of course, we couldn’t publish this post without dedicating a specific highlight to the beaches of what’s without a doubt a Top-3 of Spain’s most beautiful cities: Santander. This coastal capital has more than a dozen beaches scattered around different parts of the city, the ideal destination for beach lovers.

Los Peligros: the closest to the center of the city. Although there are several theories about its name, the most accepted is the one that refers to the danger for boats due to the shallow depth of the waters. There is a car parking.

La Magdalena: right next to the Peninsula of La Magdalena. It has all the services you might need and the added value of having a large lawn. Because of its location, sheltered by the bay, it’s an ideal beach for families with children.

Bikini: Famous for being the first beach in Santander where a woman in a bikini was ever seen, hence the name. With calm waters and a gentle breeze. It also offers all the services and is accessed by La Magdalena.

The Camel: It owes its name to the rock on the right of the beach that looks like a camel in profile, easily visible during low tide. It has a good number of services, including parking and a bar.

La Concha: In full Sardinero you will find this quiet beach with moderate waves. His name is due to the way he had previously. In addition to the usual services, it offers the possibility of renting umbrellas.

Primera de El Sardinero: this was the beach where the local nobility used to go and where they enjoyed the 'Baños de Ola' festivities. It has more than 2,800 m of surface and a pleasant marine stroll. You’ll find all the services there. Recently an elevator has been installed that facilitates access for people with reduced mobility.

Segunda of El Sardinero: separated from the “Primera” by the Gardens of Piquío, it used to be the beach for Santander’s nobility, the Second being reserved for the common people. It is the largest beach in town and has all the services and a playground for children. In its vicinity you will find restaurants, a large parking area and a park.

Los Molinucos: small (only 25 meters long) and no services, but worth a mention… You’ll find this cutie in Cabo Menor. It’s isolated location is to be accessed through the Mataleñas park or the pedestrian path that borders Cabo Menor.

Mataleñas: located in an inlet surrounded by cliffs, can only be accessed by stairs that go down a steep slope. Despite this, it presents a high occupancy due to the impressive views. It has all the services and is very close to a campsite and the Cabo Mayor Lighthouse.

beaches in santander are best enjoyed with a wetsuit

Just outside the city…

The Bocal: is located in the town of Monte, also quite isolated due to poor indications. Tranquility, together with the moderate waves and fine golden sand make it an ideal beach for those who seek a calm little visit. It has few services and only has a lifeguard on Saturdays and holidays.

Rosamunda: very low profile, even for the people of Santander. It’s secluded and lonely, located in the rural area of ​​San Román and sometimes even hidden at high tide. It does not have services and access can only be done on foot.

La Maruca: nestled in a rocky area of ​​great scenic beauty in Monte, this small beach has parking, a close-by hotel, surveillance services, toilets and daily cleaning.

Virgin of the Sea: located next to the hermitage of the Virgin of the Sea, in a rocky environment against which the waves of the Bay of Biscay strike. It is a very clean beach, with fine white sand that disappears at high tide. It’s adequately equipment.

Beaches in Santander with the Tourist Quality Certificate

  • Magdalena-PeligrosBikinis
  • El Camello
  • La Concha-Primera Sardinero
  • Segunda del Sardinero

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