The tourist who visits the city does not usually do so attracted to its religious temples since the most ancient architectural heritage was damaged by a fire in 1941, which concentrated in the city centre. However, Santander has a good number of churches of various architectural styles, fruit of a secular devotion and the patronage of rich gentlemen and merchants.
Plaza del Obispo José Eguino y Trecu, s/n
☎ Telephone 942 226 024
Guided tours in July and August. The Cathedral cannot be visited during worship. Admission 1€.
Initially, the Cathedral of Santander was the Abbey of San Emeter, the starting point of the city. Consecrated to the Holy Martyrs, San Emeterio and San Celedonio, it was declared Heritage of Cultural Interest in 1931 and it underwent a great change later due to the fire of 1941. The rotundity of its lines gives it an air of military fortress. Indeed, it is located on what it used to be a hill because that was a good place to guard the entrance of boats into the Bay. The monument is rounded off with a beautiful Gothic cloister whose garden was the cemetery of the town in the Middle Ages. Inside we can admire a Churrigueresque altarpiece, and the sepulchre of Santander scholar Marcelino Menéndez Pelayo. The 17th-century choir and the recently restored organ are also outstanding.
Church of Santísimo Cristo
C/ Somorrostro, s/n
☎ Telephone 942 211 563
Guided tours in July and August. The church cannot be visited during worship. Admission 1€.
This small austere three-nave church is located in the lower part of the Cathedral and it is currently the oldest temple in Santander. A part of the floor is glazed in such a way that a site with ancient remains of Roman hot baths can be seen through. It is an austere church consisting of three naves separated by sturdy pillars and a three-apse altar end which shows the influence of monastic proto-Gothic art. The capitals are mainly decorated with vegetables, although some of them (in the chapels and next to the Door of Pardon, which is related to pilgrimage), have a symbolic nature. The church was built in the Gothic style, despite the fact that its low height and the robustness of its supports give more a feeling of Romanesque seclusion. It houses a crucifix made of polychromatic stone, the relics of the Holy Martyrs and a Pietà carved in white stone by Gregorio Hernández
Church of Sagrado Corazón
C/ San José, 15
☎ Telephone 942 213 450
It is one of the best examples of neo-Gothic architecture in the city, as shown by its spires and pinnacles. Inside, some colourful paintings of Enrique Immemmcamp and twelve pillars representing the twelve apostles stand out.
Church of Consolación
C/ Alta, 19
☎ Telephone 942 233 194
Church in classicist baroque style composed of one nave, whose main façade is especially notable. Built in the 18th century, it is one of the oldest buildings preserved in the city. This is the place where the image of the Santo Cristo de la Salud (Saint Christ of Health) is guarded and venerated
Church of Santa Lucía
C/ Daoíz y Velarde, 11
☎ Telephone 942 211 723
Eclectic-style building of Antonio Zabaleta built between 1854 and 1868. It has a spectacular portico with large columns of Ionic order. It was declared Heritage of Cultural Interest in 1987.
Hermitage of Virgen del Mar
Virgen del Mar Island
(San Román de la Llanilla)
The Hermitage of Virgen del Mar (Our Lady of the Sea) was built in honour of the patron saint of Santander at the end of the 14th century. Its proximity to the sea has caused partial demolitions on several occasions coinciding with strong storms. It consists of a single nave divided into three sections and a hexagonal apse. It has three altarpieces, the biggest of them dominated by the image of the patron saint. Light enters the church through two windows and a porthole. It is located in one of the most striking natural places of the coast of Santander.
Church of La Anunciación (La Compañía)
☎ Telephone 942 226 832
Declared Heritage of Cultural Interest in 1992. It is considered to be one of the finest examples of Renaissance architecture in the region since it follows the classical model of Italian Vignola. The temple was really damaged during the fire of 1941.