Social icons

Santillana del Mar, the Spanish town which time forgot

Wednesday 16 July 2014

The town of Santillana del Mar is, to be quite blunt, a bit of a liar. It's neither a saint, nor flat (illana) nor by the sea. What it is, is really quite stunning. A protected little village where only local cars can drive the cobbled streets, dotted with cider and chocolate shops. It's small, apparently rammed with tourists in the morning or high season, and popular with American visitors, who feel as though they're in a film set.

We arrived late in the afternoon, when the last of the day trippers were emptying out and heading back to the car park. They made their way over the crooked streets and made the most of the dying sun with a few last pictures. Some couldn't make their way without clinging onto each other, lest the cobbled streets collapse in and leave them drowning without the touch of their lover. Others stood behind them, taking pictures and rolling their eyes.

The little shops started to close up for the day. Bars of chocolate were laid out in every conceivable flavour, from lavender to sea salt.

The shutters were drawn, the buses departed and the town was officially its own once more.

Residents peeked over their balconies to check the lay of the land, before heading down to the bar and catching up over a sidre.

We were free to amble around the empty streets, poking our heads into tiny shops, gazing at the church and checking out the various menus.

As the sun set, we checked into an amazing little guesthouse, which deserves a post all to itself, before diving into a hefty steak at the Parador on the main square and sinking into bed.

Santillana del Mar is about 30km from Santander Airport, and a wonderful village to let time run away from you. Perfect for a sleepy stolen weekend.

See more about the region at


Powered by Blogger.