Bienvenidos a Santander! Not the European bank, but the beautiful seaside city which inspired its name. Santander is frequently referred to as "The Bride of the Sea" due to its close ties with the fishing industry. It has been a busy city since 1755 and expats in Santander can witness its long history through its stunning architecture and local sights. Visit the Gothic-style Catedral de la Asuncíon, the eclectic Palacio de la Magdalena; and the Biblioteca de Manéndez Pelayo, a library that once belonged to local intellectual giant Marcelino Menéndez Pelayo. And then there are the beaches. Although situated in the north of Spain, Santander is south facing and enjoys a temperate and occasionally humid climate. As such, expats living in Santander are spoilt for choice with some the best beaches in Spain, and the city attracts a steady stream of tourists around the year.
Get trustworthy advice and local insights from fellow members in our Spain expat forums.
Expatriates have been coming to Spain for centuries, and British expats are particularly common in and around Santander. Santander Airport is located just outside of the city, and serves flights from all over Europe and further afield. The city itself has excellent transport links – the port is still thriving, and ferries, cruise ships, fishing vessels and recreational boats are constantly in and out of the Bay of Santander. There is a direct bus service and two main roads connecting Santander with Bilbao, so expats moving to Santander will have no problem travelling around. If you have any questions on expatriate life in Spain, just visit the InterNations discussion groups and forums and speak to other expats who can share their experiences and give you advice.
Santander is a busy and well-established industrial center, with all the amenities you would expect. Expats working in Santander will need to get used to the Spanish lifestyle – although most businesses and schools now operate regular hours, some still close for a few hours during the day, particularly in the hot summer. Work is then resumed in the afternoon (at around 3pm). As a result of this tradition, Spaniards tend to eat dinner quite late at night, at 9pm or 10pm, with socializing continuing well into the wee hours of the morning. Santander is a typical Spanish city in this regard, with an emphasis on good food (particularly seafood), and relaxed socializing. Form more of an insight into Spanish working hours and traditions, have a browse through the InterNations content section, including the Expat Magazine, for more information on expatriate life or simply get in touch with other expats living in Santander or other parts of Spain through InterNations.