Santander is the largest city in Cantabria, and is increasing in popularity for its attractive environment, well maintained beaches such as Camello and modern culture. It has been a favourite holiday spot with Spanish royalty ever since the early 1900's. At only ten minutes from the Santander Airport by car, Santander makes a good choice for a weekend break.

Getting to other areas of interest is easily done in less than two hours if you hire a car, and trips to the best beaches can take under twenty minutes. The area surrounding Santander is filled with national parkland, namely Fuentes Carrionas and Picos de Europa which are wonderful to explore. Old Spanish villages such as Carrejo, the coastal town of Castro-Urdiales, and cities such as the ancient Vitoria-Gasteiz make exploring a must. Vitoria-Gasteiz is an historical city and retains much of its medieval heritage and is an excellent place to spend the day surrounded by charismatic Spanish architecture.

Take your hire car east to the stunning natural landscape of Picos de Europa national park. You'll see towering snow capped mountains, brilliant blue waters such as Enols Lake and lush green woodland while visiting this beautiful Spanish treasure. Be sure to pick up a map or rent a sat nav with your hire car before heading out though, most signs are in Spanish and you're unlikely to come across many English speakers.

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