Area : Cantabria stretches over 2,042 mi², from the Cantabrian Cordillera to the Cantabrian Sea. km2
Population : There are about 530,000 inhabitants in the autonomous community, with an approximate density of 69 inhabitants per mi². Almost 200,000 inhabitants live in the capital city, Santander. inhabitants
Approximately 5 and a half hours from London, with a connection in either Madrid or Barcelona.
The Santander airport is 3 mi from the capital, in the municipality of Camargo. Regular flights to Madrid, Barcelona, Alicante, Malaga, Valencia, Seville, Palma de Majorca, and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria are available. Santander is also linked to some European cities, such as Paris, Frankfurt, Rome, Liverpool, Milan, Dublin, Düsseldorf, and Brussels, thanks to the low-cost airline company Ryanair. Air Nostrum also schedules flights to Paris and Amsterdam, and to Tenerife, Minorca, and Ibiza in summer. A coach shuttle links up the airport to Santander coach station: the ride is about 15 minutes long and costs about £1.30. It runs every 30 minutes (both from Santander and the airport) from 6:30am to 10:45pm. The phone number for information about this service is +34 942 211 995 and the phone number for the airport is +34 942 202 100. The same journey by taxi costs about £13. The number for Radiotaxi in Santander is +34 942 333 333. If you're driving, you will need to know about parking prices: £2.99 a day, starting on the fifth day. Also provided from the airport are coach connections to the cities of Bilbao, Gijón, Oviedo, Laredo, etc. In 2007, the airport welcomed 761,780 passengers.
As is the case for all tourist areas, it is recommended that you keep an eye on your personal belongings (money and valuables).
The main language is Spanish (Castilian) but other languages are spoken according to the region; Catalan in Catalonia (17%), Basque in the Basque Country (2%) and Galician in Galicia (7%).
- For visits of up to three months you simply require a passport that is valid for the duration of your stay.
- If you wish to stay for a period superior to three months, it is crucial to register in person at the closest Office for Foreigners (Oficina de Extranjeros) usually located in the Town Hall (Ayuntamiento) or at designated Police stations. You must show a valid passport, complete some paperwork and pay a fee. Following this, you will be given an identity number (NIE; Número de Identificación de Extranjeros) and a certificate.
- British nationals do not require a visa to travel to Spain.
Around 71% of the population is Catholic, about 3% other faith and about a quarter is unreligious.
The national currency is the euro, which consists of 100 cents.
ATM machines are widespread and often offer a more attractive exchange rate than banks. However, most ATMs incur a charge of about 2%.
The best exchange rates for cash tend to be at banks and building societies, which can be found in nearly all towns and villages. Banking opening hours are from 8:30am to 2pm Monday to Friday, with some also open on Thursdays from 4pm to 7pm. It is worth asking whether you will need to pay commission before exchanging currency.
Cash and travellers cheques can also be exchanged at exchange offices, which are abundant in tourist areas. Opening hours are often longer than banks, but will cost you more in terms of exchange rate and commission.
Trains are the fastest way to move between cities. The AVE is the Spanish equivalent of the British National Rail. It links Seville and Cordoba to Madrid, but can also be very expensive! To travel from one smaller town to another, you would be better off to rent a car or take the bus and if you can, try and book your car before leaving.
Buses are very widespread and range from fast intercity links to local services connecting small villages. Buses are far less frequent on weekends. Regarding fares, we recommend you book in advance for particularly long trips such as Madrid-Seville. If you are under 26 it is worth asking about discounts.
You can hire cars through international agencies, as they have outlets in every airport and agencies in all the major cities, notably in the central train stations. When you get there, the national companies are well represented and travel agencies also rent out cars for more than a week (your English driving license is sufficient). It is worth remembering that most car rental companies require you to be over 21 and you will need third-party car insurance.
The N4 major road axis goes along the Guadalquivir Valley, via Cadiz, Seville and Cordoba. Seville's city centre of narrow streets can be visited on foot; otherwise, there are four bus lines which circulate around the city.
- UK nationals should obtain a European Health Insurance Card before going to Spain. Please remember this is not a substitute for health insurance, and you must take out a comprehensive health insurance policy as well. The EHIC warrants you state provided medical treatment on the same terms as Spanish nationals. For more information see the NHS EHIC page
- Ensure you have sufficient medication for any pre-existing illnesses in their original, clearly labelled containers from the UK. It is not worth the hassle trying to acquire this abroad.
- No vaccinations are required. Conversely, the World Health Organisation advises all travellers ensure they are covered against diphtheria, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella and polio before venturing abroad.
- Dial 112 for an ambulance in Spain.
Voltage is 220 V. Electrical outlets correspond to the European norms.
Spain, the world's third most popular tourist destination after France and the United States of America, welcomed 43,252,000 tourists in 2010.
Service is included in most places, but it is preferable to leave a tip in hotels, restaurants, bars and taxis. In general, this constitutes 10% of the price you pay.
The area code for Cantabria is +34 942.
Spanish Embassy in the UK
39, Chesham Place
London SW1X 8SB
Tel: 020 7235 5555
British Embassy in Spain
Paseo de la Castellana 259D
Tel: (+34) 91 71 46 300
Seville Tourist Office
Avenida de la Constitución 21, Seville
Tel: (+34) 95 42 21 404
Cordoba Tourist Office
Torrijos 10, Palacio de Congresos, Cordoba.
Tel: (+34) 95 74 71 235
Granada Tourist Office
Corral del Carbón, Grenada.
Tel: (+34) 95 82 25 990