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Top Rated Attractions in Santander

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Playa Primera de El Sardinero

Particularly popular with families and water sports enthusiasts, this beach is 330 meters long and covers a total area of around 18000 square meters. The event which made the beach famous over 150 years ago, the Baños de Ola, is still celebrated here every summer. The beach is well looked after and facilities include nearby parking, sun umbrellas, lifeguards, a nursery for small children and showers. It is cleaned every day and there are bins for your rubbish. It has been awarded the European Union's "Blue Flag" in recognition of its cleanliness and the excellent facilities available. It's a well known landmark located in front of Plaza de Italia and the Gran Casino.

Palacio Real de La Magdalena

This wonderful building is well-known as the headquarters of Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo (Menéndez Pelayo International University). It was built in 1909 and became the summer retreat of Alfonso XIII in 1913, and the Royal Family continued using it until 1930. In 1977, along with the rest of the peninsula, it was taken over by the city to become a public park. The building has since undergone an ambitious refit and is now equipped with all the latest technology for conferences and meetings. There are around 20 conference rooms as well as dining rooms. Facilities include air conditioning, a simultaneous translation system, CCTV, loudspeakers, video units, Internet connections and computers. The building is only open during conferences and in the summer months when it is used by students and teachers.

Gran Casino de El Sardinero

The Gran Casino was one of the first buildings to be constructed near Santander's beaches in El Sardinero. The original Casino, built midway through the 19th Century was purchased by a French organization in 1870 and converted into the building we see today, which dates from 1916. When gambling was forbidden under the Franco dictatorship, the Casino was used for other activities (dances, weddings, theater and cinema screenings). In 1978, following Franco's death and the return to democracy, the Casino was completely overhauled, reopened and its original function was restored. All the usual diversions are on offer: Black Jack, Roulette, Poker and slot machines. In addition, there are banquet rooms, a restaurant, pub, café and an events room for parties. Various meeting rooms are also available, the largest of which can accommodate up to 300 people. One area of the building is dedicated to art exhibitions as well.

Playa de La Magdalena

Along with Peligros and Bikinis beaches, Magdalena beach is within the bay itself, south-facing and sheltered from the north-east wind which often blows across the beaches on the Ensenada del Sardinero (El Sardinero Cove). Views out over the bay are truly spectacular. The beach is 350 meters long, with fine golden sand and it is popular throughout the year. Be careful, however, particularly at low tide, of the steep slope down into the water. Facilities are good, Magdalena has been awarded the European Community's Blue Flag and has parking, showers, lifeguards, and bins. Like most of the beaches in Santander, it is cleaned daily. For safety reasons, windsurfers and sailing boats must stay within a restricted area.

Escenario Santander

Escenario Santander is not only a concert hall but a multifaceted facility for music and musicians. This state-of-the-art venue comprises of a 1000-seat concert hall, 250-seat club stage for live gigs and smaller concerts, warehouses, classrooms and rehearsal studios. The huge performance space is also used for disco nights, festivals, movie screenings and art markets.

Menéndez Pelayo House, Museum & Library

This is one of the most important cultural repositories in the Santander region. The city council commissioned the building especially to house the literary collection of Marcelino Menéndez Pelayo (1856-1912) after his death. It was declared a national monument in 1982. Inside the impressive building, the erudite writer's study has been preserved, along with his reading room and library. Natural overhead lighting beautifully illuminates the glass-fronted oak bookshelves that hold some 42,000 volumes, including 563 original manuscripts and 23 rare early books. The Menéndez Pelayo family home, built in 1876, can also be visited. The house was still lived in up until 1935 when the Menéndez Pelayo Society purchased it to establish a museum.

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