Santander is a vibrant city with many students, and a great nightlife. However, the city itself has few attractions other than its beaches, which are magnificent. The beaches are great for surfing, but are always very busy. Several ferries from the UK dock here. There are many slums and bad areas in the city.

Parking in Santander

Parking is a nightmare in Santander, perhaps the worst of all of the cities on this coast. Try finding a free space at Sardinero beach and walk in. There is a tourist information kiosk at Sardinero beach if you want a free map to make the walk into the city shorter.

Campsites in Santander

Camping Cabo Mayor
Tel: 942 391 542
On the Cabo Mayor bluff, 2km north of the Casino
Good facilities, next to a headland park with great views. Close to Sardinero beach, very close to Playa de Matalenas. To find it drive to Sardinero beach. Then following the yellow camping road signs. Keep going, past the golf club, and parks. You need to go further than you might think. Open all year. Moderately priced.


The town of Ajo is a small one with not much to offer, excellent some good restaurants and a few small supermarkets. The beaches are 2km away, but offer good surfing.

Beaches in Ajo

Ajo has two beaches. The larger one gets more swell but is more exposed. The smaller beach, served from the same set of car parks, just to the west of the campsites, is more sheltered but is smaller.

Campsites in Ajo

There are 2 campsites right next to the beaches, which is a couple of kilometres from the town.

Camping la playa

Closest to the beach. Has a bar.


Tel: 942 670 663
A basic campsite close to the beach. Has a cafeteria and supermarket (peak season only). Open all year. Expensive.

Santillana del Mar

Despite the name Santillana del Mar is not by the sea, but 4kms from it. Its attraction is a beautiful village of 15th to 18th century mansions and other buildings. All are imbecile kept, and a bit of a tourist trap. Nevertheless the town has some charm and is an interesting stop. The campsite is excellent should you be looking for somewhere nearby to stop.

Campsites in Santillana

The best campsite is the Camping Santillana on the main road north of the village.

Camping Santillana

Tel: 942 818 250
An excellent campsite, less than 1 km from the village, with a footpath. Swimming pool, supermarket and a restaurant popular with the locals. Open all year. Moderately priced.

San Vicente de la Barquera

San Vicente de la Barquera is a pretty little town with a thriving fish market, which along with tourism makes up its industry. There are many bars and restaurants serving great fresh seafood. The supermarkets here are limited, so it’s a good idea to stock up if you are staying here a while.. There is a market in the main car park on Saturday mornings. There is an internet cafe in the town. For Campingaz go to Furritorio Castro in the main Plaza, for Repsol gas there is an agent on the other side of the Plaza.

Across the small bridge lies the river beach of Playa El Rosal and the Parque Natural de Oyambre, with many beautiful beaches and possible free camping spots. There are several bars, restaurants and small shops on beach side of the bridge.

Parking in San Vicente de la Barquera

There are several car parks in the town with free parking. The one nearer the town has spaces for larger vehicles.

Beaches within the Parque Natural de Oyambre

There are many beaches in the parque between San Vicente de la Barquera and Comillas, The beaches line the crescent shaped bays, so there is normally a good area for surfing regardless of wind conditions.

Free camping in San Vicente de la Barquera and the Parque Natural de Oyambre

The beaches within the Parque Natural de Oyambre have large car parks where camper vans and motorhomes can stay.
Playa de Meron: the most popular, has excellent views, and surfing. There are showers and toilet wooden shacks on the beach, with a sign with prices, but they where closed when I visited in early October. There are free showers on the beach. It is possible to fill water bottles from, the foot shower. There are toilets at the bus depot in the town of San Vincente, at the end of the large car park in town, which are open during daylight hours. There are local Policia Municipal in the town and Guarda Civil police in the near by town of Comillas. The Guarda Civil police tend to do a lap of the car park each morning, just to check things.
Playa de Gerra: really a continuation of Playa de Meron. There is a small car park where vehicles can park, including overnight. Follow the coast road from Playa de Meron or Playa de Oyambre. There are a few restaurants and cafes along the road.
Playa de Oyambre: a big beach with a car park suitable for overnight stopping.


Torrelavega is a large working town, the biggest town in the area. It has nothing of interest to offer, but does have a good selection of shops. It also has a large supermarket which the towns on the coast lack. You’ll pass the supermarket on your left just before you enter the town from the main road. Parking is free there. There are a great deal of cheaper bars and restaurants at the northern end of the town.

Parking in Torrelavega

Parking is available at the supermarket on your left just before you enter the town when coming from the main road. Use the first car park, it’s bigger.

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