Bilbao is a large, revitalised city in northern Spain with coastline backed by forests and mountains. Other notable sites include the historic port of Bilbao, lying at the very heart of the Basque country. The Guggenheim Museum is also worth visiting. The medieval town of Santillana is also close by, home to cobbled streets and a 12th century monastery.
In Santander you can visit the Royal Palace with beautiful gardens. The famous gardens of Magdalena which are located in the bay of Santander in a peninsula also known as “La Magdalena”, besides the beaches of Sardinero. The Royal Palace of la Magdalena was once a residence for kings and queens who came to the city for their beach holiday. Stroll along the Pereda gardens from Plaza Alfonso XIII. In your walk you will come across some of the most famous buildings of Santander such as the Palace of “la Compañia Transatlantica Española”. The Cathedral of Santander “Nuestra Señora de la Asunción” is located in the city centre. It was rebuilt after the fire of 1941 which destroyed most of the building (see history of Santander). The Cathedral is one of the oldest buildings in the Santander, dating from the 13th century. Opposite the cathedral is the square “Plaza Porticada” with several official and government buildings. This is a busy area where you can do some shopping or enjoy lunch. There are also a number of beaches in and around the city. The Playa de El Puntal is an outstanding sandy beach located in Santander Bay. Playa de Bikinis and Playa Primera de El Sardinaro are also fantastic beaches worth visiting.
The Parque de Cabârceno (39690 Obregón de Villaescusa, Cantabria (near Santander) is worth a visit with an array of different species, including exotic birds and birds of prey. The bears, gorillas, wolves and other animals stay in a free environment in huge enclosures. The parc can be visited by car, bus or on foot. Zoo Santillana del Mar (Avenida del Zoo, 2, 39360 Santillana del Mar, Cantabria) is another excellent animal attraction. It is heavily involved with conservation work so it houses some of the rarest primates in the world, along with lions, leopards, bears and many more fascinating creatures. There is also a farm section for children to pet their farmyard favourites like rabbits and donkeys.
San Sebastian, located in the North-western tip of Spain is a fantastic city to visit and one of its best attractions is its aquarium with 300,000 visits a year. It is an obligatory stop for all visitors to the city. The Aquarium stands in one of San Sebastián’s most picturesque spots, the harbour, right next to the Old Town, with its enormous gastronomic selection, and only a few minutes from the city centre. There are numerous tanks dedicated to the Bay of Biscay, in which you can view more than 200 species and a 360º tunnel and a variety of tropical species. The Monte Igeldo amusement park is a different kind of park, where the charm of old-fashioned attractions like the Roller Coaster and Trampolines will have everyone in stitches, no matter what their age. The Eureka Science Museum is great for older kids and the Txikiklik zone is especially for kids aged 4 to 9, where they can see where forest animals live and learn about the five senses. San Sebastián has several parks, and almost all of them have children’s play areas: Alderdi Eder, Sagüés, Araba park, Riberas de Loiola district. Toddlers will also love the merry-go-round Alderdi Eder and the pond in the Plaza de Gipuzkoa, with its ducks and geese. Monte Ulia has a beautiful park and a fantastic kids play area. Cristina Enea Park has a play area, a duck pond and peacocks and an Environmental Resources Centre. Other interesting areas are the play area beside Ondarreta beach and Araba Park. The Basque Cooltour offers to the visitors the opportunity to see first hand the customs and traditions of the Basque culture through our excursions and guided tours. They organize all kinds of tours, for example, donkey rides. An interesting way to see the city which younger kids will love includes the hop on hop off bus tour, a tourist train and a catamaran boat tour.
You can also opt to tour the region and visit its towns and beaches. Gijon is situated in the central coastal area of Asturias; it began as a fishing village nearly 3000 years ago and is now considered the maritime capital of Asturias, incorporating one of Spain’s busiest shipping ports. The city combines perfectly its historical past with a modern day, energetic and prosperous town. It’s vibrant and lovely and has great shopping and places to eat. The stunning town of Noja is another must see.
Aviles is located on the Cantabria coast, although the smallest of the three main towns in Asturias, it is the most popular in terms of tourism, the old seafaring and farming town is now a modern industry-thriving town. UNESCO has declared its city centre a Historical-Artistic site and it boasts many important architectural sites.
The municipality of Llanes, which is located in the eastern area of the Costa Verde, comprises of over 70 towns, villages and hamlets, and is dotted with picturesque valleys, hills and rivers. Llanes itself is a charming and historical village with fantastic views to the Cantabrian Sea. Playa de Gulpiyuri is an unusual 40 metre beach near Llanes situated over 100m from the Cantabrian Sea. This tiny golden sand beach, with crystal clear waters and hemmed in by cliffs, is regularly voted as being Asturias’ best.