The advantage of Santander is in the road network that runs out of it, enabling you to go very quickly to all destination in Spain and Portugal . This makes Santander an ideal gateway for United Kingdom travellers.
The seafront of Santander holds its main attractions. The royal Magdalena Palace is near the Sardiniero beach alongside some lovely gardens and a casino. The Altamira Cave is to the southwest of Sandander. This contains drawings of bison and other animals as well as some famous Stone Age paintings. Anyone who is interested in the development and history of man will find the Altamira Cave a must. For conservation reasons, the local authority has restricted entrance to the original cave, which explains why the general public can be accommodated in a replica of the cave.
Santander is reached by ferry from Plymouth in a journey lasting 24 hours. The differences between the destinations are quite sharp. Plymouth is regarded as rather grubby, and still in need o proper rebuilding after being ravaged in the war. But Santander is seen as a nice seaside city - "mischievous" is the description of one recent visitor - which can surprise those who go by delivering a lot more than promised.
Yet, once many English people arrive in Santander the first thing they tend to do is to leave it. When they come back to it they may stay the night in order to catch the boat going home with a minimisation of stress. If you are going to stay the night, you could go to the Hotel Mexico, right on the sea, which has an excellent restaurant. Once they wake up, they leave Santander.
Something to understand about Santander is that it has a calm harbour which is followed by the very choppy waters of the swell of the Atlantic. So very quickly your boat gets buffeted and tossed by the sea very soon after leaving port. The significance of this is that people who take time to find their sea legs will not find leaving Santander port a particularly pleasant experience. When you leave Plymouth you start with the calm of the channel then you go into the western approaches. Some people therefore spend a while on ships out of Santander feeling rather sick. But once morning dawns the sea calms and you can enjoy the sunshine on deck.
So when you are in Santander, check the flags. If they are madly flapping, then you can expect a rather choppy start to your trip and you should prepare for it. While you're checking the flags though, try the shopping, it's better that you'd think!