Protected by the largest natural port in the Cantabrian Sea and shielded from the cool northern wind lies Santander, facing towards the sun in the south. Scattered along its riverbanks are remains of prehistoric settlements, evidence of a 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). Because of Santander´s proximity to the sea, much of its economy resides in fishing and trade, however there is also a thriving tourist industry due to the city´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.
Today with over 185.000 inhabitants, Santander remains a dynamic city with intensive commercial and service activity. There are a great deal of cultural events that are enjoyed throughout the year, including a prestigious yearly program offered by the Palacio de Festivales. This includes among other things theatre, dance, opera and music, 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, as well as the spectacular Mataleñas Golf Club.
The city offers splendid conditions for strolling, be it along the sea front -from Cabo Mayor to El Sardinero, from there to La Magdalena, and then on towards the centre following the Avenida de Reina Victoria- contemplating the coming and going of the bay and the beaches; or perhaps around the historic centre, from Puertochico to beyond the Calle Burgos, with views of stately buildings and the best shop windows. Santander is rich in green areas -La Magdalena or Mataleñas-Cabo Mayor gardens.