Santander, a picturesque coastal city in northern Spain, boasts a wealth of family-friendly activities that will create unforgettable memories. As a parent, I know traveling with kids can be exciting and challenging.
Finding activities that cater to their unique interests and energy levels is crucial for a successful family vacation. That's why I've compiled this list of the 10 best things to do with kids in Santander.
From beaches to museums and everything in between, this city has it all. So, pack your bags and join me on this unforgettable adventure through one of Spain's most captivating cities.
1. Playa del Sardinero
Playa del Sardinero is Santander's most iconic beach, and it's the perfect spot for a fun-filled day with the kids. With its fine golden sand and crystal-clear waters, this beach offers plenty of space for children to run, play, and splash around. The promenade lining the beach is ideal for a leisurely stroll, complete with numerous cafes and ice cream shops to satisfy those sweet cravings.
During the summer months, the beach is patrolled by lifeguards, making it a safe destination for families with young swimmers. There are also playgrounds and picnic areas nearby, ensuring that your little ones will never run out of activities to keep them entertained. Don't forget to pack sunscreen, beach towels, and sand toys for a perfect day under the Spanish sun.
2. Magdalena Palace and Park
The Magdalena Palace and Park is a must-visit destination in Santander for families. This magnificent palace, once the summer residence of Spanish royalty, is surrounded by expansive gardens and wooded areas that offer a serene escape from the bustling city. Kids will love exploring the park's various walking paths, playgrounds, and even a small zoo that houses animals such as deer, seals, and penguins.
The palace itself is worth exploring as well. Take a guided tour to learn about its history and marvel at the elegant architecture. Don't miss the opportunity to hop on the Magdalena tourist train, a fun and informative way for the whole family to explore the palace grounds while learning about the area's history and landmarks.
3. Mataleñas Park and Mini Golf
For a bit of friendly family competition, head to Mataleñas Park and Mini Golf. This beautifully landscaped park boasts an 18-hole mini-golf course that offers a fun challenge for players of all ages. The course is designed to mimic the natural surroundings, with obstacles like rocks, streams, and even a waterfall.
After working up an appetite on the mini-golf course, enjoy a delicious picnic in the park's lush green spaces or grab a bite to eat at the on-site café. Don't forget to explore the playgrounds and walking paths scattered throughout the park, where kids can burn off any remaining energy before heading back to your accommodation.
4. Maritime Museum of Cantabria
The Maritime Museum of Cantabria is a fantastic place to immerse your family in the fascinating world of marine life and maritime history. This modern and interactive museum is home to a wide range of exhibits that showcase the region's seafaring past, from ancient fishing techniques to the construction of Santander's port.
Kids will especially enjoy the museum's aquarium, which houses a diverse array of marine creatures native to the Cantabrian Sea. The touch tank, where children can get up close and personal with starfish, sea urchins, and other friendly critters, is always a hit. Be sure to check the museum's schedule for special workshops and events designed for young visitors.
5. Los Reginas Boat Trip
For a memorable family adventure, embark on a Los Reginas boat trip along the beautiful Bay of Santander. This popular excursion lets you explore the city's stunning coastline from a unique vantage point. The comfortable boats provide ample seating, ensuring a relaxing journey for the entire family.
During the trip, you'll have the opportunity to admire landmarks like the Magdalena Palace, the Santander lighthouse, and the picturesque beaches that dot the bay. The knowledgeable crew will share interesting facts and stories about the city and its surroundings, making this a fun and educational experience for children and adults alike. Don't forget your camera to capture the breathtaking views and family moments you'll cherish for a lifetime.
6. Cabárceno Wildlife Park
A visit to the Cabárceno Wildlife Park is an unforgettable experience for kids and adults. This vast park, set in a former open-pit mine, is home to over 100 species of animals from five continents, many of which roam freely in spacious, natural enclosures. Marvel at elephants, lions, bears, and more as you explore the park's winding roads and walking trails.
One of the park's main attractions is the incredible birds of prey show, where visitors can witness falcons, eagles, and vultures in action. The knowledgeable staff provides informative commentary on the birds' habits and hunting techniques, making this an educational and entertaining experience. Make sure to set aside a full day for your visit, as there is plenty to see and do in this extraordinary park.
7. Jardines de Pereda
The Jardines de Pereda is a beautiful and tranquil park in the heart of Santander. With its lush greenery, colorful flowerbeds, and charming fountains, it offers the perfect respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. Kids will love running and playing on the expansive lawns, exploring the winding paths, and discovering the various sculptures and monuments scattered throughout the park.
The park is also home to a modern playground, complete with swings, slides, and climbing structures, where children can make new friends and burn off some energy. Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy under the shade of the park's towering trees or treat your family to a refreshing ice cream from one of the nearby vendors.
8. Centro Botín
Centro Botín is a stunning contemporary art center located on the Santander waterfront. This architectural gem not only houses impressive art collections but also offers a variety of workshops and activities designed specifically for children and families.
Young art enthusiasts can participate in guided tours, storytelling sessions, and hands-on workshops that encourage creativity and self-expression. With its engaging exhibits and family-friendly programming, Centro Botín is an ideal destination for introducing your children to the world of art and culture.
9. Forestal Park Santander
For a thrilling day of adventure, head to Forestal Park Santander, an outdoor adventure park that features a variety of high ropes courses, zip lines, and climbing challenges. Catering to various ages and skill levels, the park ensures a fun and exhilarating experience for the entire family.
Safety is a top priority at Forestal Park, with experienced staff on hand to provide instruction and ensure that participants are securely harnessed at all times. The park's picturesque setting, surrounded by lush forests and offering views of the Cantabrian coast, only adds to the excitement of this unforgettable family outing.
10. El Soplao Cave
El Soplao Cave is a breathtaking natural wonder near Santander that is a must-visit for families. The cave is known for its stunning stalactites and stalagmites, as well as its unique formations that have been shaped by water and minerals over millions of years.
Visitors can embark on a guided cave tour, exploring its winding passages and learning about its geology, history, and preservation. The tour is suitable for all ages, and kids will be especially fascinated by the underground world surrounding them.
After the tour, visitors can enjoy various additional activities, such as panning for gold or exploring the nearby mining museum. There's even a zip line that offers a thrilling way to take in the stunning views of the surrounding landscape. A visit to El Soplao Cave is an unforgettable adventure that the whole family will love.
With its enchanting blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, Santander offers a treasure trove of family-friendly activities catering to various interests and age groups.
From relaxing days at the beach to thrilling adventures in wildlife parks, this list of the 10 best things to do with kids in Santander will surely help you create unforgettable memories during your visit to this charming Spanish city. So go ahead, pack your bags, and embark on the family vacation of a lifetime!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Santander a family-friendly destination?
Yes, Santander is a family-friendly destination with plenty of activities and attractions suitable for visitors of all ages.
What are some fun things to do with kids in Santander?
Some top things to do with kids in Santander include visiting the beach, exploring the Magdalena Palace and Park, and taking a boat trip along the Bay of Santander.
What are some indoor activities for families in Santander?
Indoor activities for families in Santander include visiting the Maritime Museum of Cantabria, exploring the Centro Botín art center, and visiting La Casa del Marqués.
Are there any budget-friendly options for families in Santander?
Yes, many parks, playgrounds, and outdoor events in Santander are free or low-cost, making them great budget-friendly options for families with children.
Is Santander a safe city to visit?
Santander is generally considered a safe city, but visitors should exercise caution and take necessary safety precautions, especially when exploring unfamiliar areas.