Looking to get off the beaten track in Andalucia? We’ve scratched beneath the surface of this exciting, historic area of Spain, asked local experts and come up with a list of little-known things to…
Santander city on the Northern coast of Spain is home to 13 beaches – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg as the region of Cantabria boasts another 80 and each is prettier than the last. We’ve shortlisted 14 beaches to whet your appetite for the golden sand and refreshing waves amidst the green countryside that is so sought after by Spanish holidaymakers!
1. Los Peligros Beach in Santander
The closest Santander beach to city centre makes for a great stroll from Puertochico’s bars and restaurants. Take the Maritime Walkway beside Centro Botin and walk past Gamazo’s viewing platform to the beach. This stretch of water is wave-free and there’s a safe swim area protected by a floating platform and barrier which is perfect for young swimmers. Views of the bay and the Puntal sand bank are wonderful. You’ll also find a Stand-Up Paddle (SUP) activity centre nearby. Ample parking. Retire for a drink and food to the modern Caseta de Bombas Bar & Restaurant at Gamazo.
Caseta de Bombas Restaurant, Calle Gamazo, 39004 Santander, Cantabria. Tel: 942 74 26 68. Lacasetadebombas.es
2. Magdalena Beach in Santander
Fabulous white sandy Santander beach that’s reached from Los Peligros beach or a slip-road by the Royal Tennis Club. Excellent views of the bay and the modernist sailing school on Isla de la Torre. Parking nearby.
3. Los Bikinis Beach in Santander
Inside the grounds of Magdalena Palace – the former Spanish royal summer residence – you’ll find a charming beach with wonderful views of the mountains and the bay, plus extensive parkland for picnics and strolls. There’s an excellent playground with a slide down onto the beach. Handy snacks and drinks at the Caballerizas Café which was the stables for the Royal Palace. Ample parking at the entrance to the Palace.
4. Camello Beach in Santander
Named after a rock formation in the shape of a camel which has been partially eroded over time, this stretch of Santander’s coastline is very popular with families who enjoy exploring rock-pools. Views here are of the open sea and the Magdalena mini-zoo. Here is where you’ll get to see and hear a traditional game of ‘palas’ being played by 2-3 players using wooden racquets. Parking by the beach.
5. La Concha Beach in Santander
Right alongside the Sardinero Beach, the Concha is popular with swimmers all year long. You’ll find great views of the Sardinero beaches and the open sea. After your swim, retreat to the BNS bar with its year-round outdoor terrace for tapas and adjoining Balneario restaurant for more substantial meals and amazing panoramic views behind glass. Use the carparking by Playa del Camello.
Balneario de la Concha Restaurant, Av de la Reina Victoria, 46, 39004 Santander, Cantabria. Tel: 942 29 09 19. Balneariodelaconcha.es
6. The First Sardinero Beach in Santander
The most fashionable Santander beach during the 19th and 20th centuries as evidenced by the grandeur of the Casino and many belle-epoque buildings. Great views of the bay and the elegant Piquio Gardens. Dozens of bars and cafes in this area and long lines of people waiting for the eternally popular Regma ice-cream kiosk. You’ll find lockers, deck chairs, parasols and surf gear for hire. Parking in the area. After your swim, try a vermouth with local squid at the outdoor terrace run by Atalaya de Mayte behind the Gran Hotel Sardinero. For something more formal, jump in a cab or walk uphill along Calle Duque Santo Mauro to Restaurante Deluz.
Atalaya de Mayte Restaurant, Av. los Infantes, 95, 39005 Santander, Cantabria. Tel:942 50 39 06. Laatalayademayte.es
Deluz Restaurant, Calle Ramón y Cajal, 18, 39005 Santander, Cantabria. Tel:942 29 06 06. Deluz.es
7. The Second Sardinero Beach in Santander
The choppier of the two Sardinero beaches – you’ll find plenty of teenagers with surfboards and body boards and on quieter days kite-surfers too. There’s a playground and you’ll find lots of beach volleyball on the go also. Great views of Mouro Lighthouse. On the other end of the beach, you can talk a cliffside walk around the peninsula with amazing views back down onto the Sardinero also. (Take the steps from behind Cafeteria Coronna on Calle Gregorio Maranon, 1.) Lots of bars and cafes service this Santander beach including a few informal restaurants built right on the edge of the beach – perfect for seafood platters served with garden-fresh salads and a refreshing beer or glass of red, white or rosé.
8. Molinucos Beach in Santander
A favourite for the best views of Mouro Island and lighthouse is the very charming Molinucos Beach. Park or walk to Mataleñas Park and take the steps down to this Santander beach. It’s a tiny cove so do go early to enjoy the place to yourself.
9. Mataleñas Beach in Santander
The jewel in the crown for many Santanderinos who rate this as their favourite Santander beach. You’ll need to walk down some steep steps so this isn’t for the faint-hearted. If you are driving, follow signs for Forestal Park (a zipline activity centre great for kids and teenagers) and park when you see the ice-cream van. Climb down to steps and dive into the secluded turquoise waters. If you’re looking for refreshments there are a few restaurants nearby and the views from the lighthouse café are wonderful, especially at sunset.
Ready to leave the city of Santander? Here are 5 more great beaches in the Ribamontan area closeby the Villa Bahia.
10. Somo Beach in Ribamontan al Mar
Huge long strand with high waves that are great for surfing and bodyboarding. You’ll find a real surfing vibe in the entire Ribamontan area but especially here in Somo with plenty surf shops and atmospheric bars, diners and restaurants. The Surf Café in Somo on the waterfront is great for drinks and light snacks. Drive to Magnolia in Suesa for meals and more.
Magnolia Suesa Restaurant, Calle Calabazas, 26, 39150 Suesa, Cantabria. Tel: 942 50 43 06
11. El Puntal Beach in Ribamontan al Mar
This sand bank offers wonderful views of the city, the Palace and the entire bay – without the crowds. You also have a wonderful vantage point of all the sailing action and get to witness the Brittany Ferries ferry navigate the very narrow channel beside the beach! Two open-air beach bars serve snacks, seafood, salads and lunches during the Summer months – El Puntal Tricio is the one nearest to the jetty. If you’re travelling by car, you can either drive into Santander and park at the Alfonso XIII carpark (by Centro Botin) before alighting on the passenger ferry or drive to Somo, park at the beach or by the pier and walk the 2km from Somo Beach out onto El Puntal itself.
El Puntal Tricio Beach Bar, Calle el Puntal, Tel: 619 109631. Chiringuitoelpuntal.tricio
12. Loredo Beach in Ribamontan al Mar
Wonderful views of the mountains and the city of Santander as well as the bay from this beach where a horse-racing derby has taken place on the sand every July since 1957. Surfing is very popular here also and you’ll find a few surf schools to hire boards or take a class. If you need a snack after catching a few waves (or a swim) you’ll find a few cafes in the town.
13. Langre Beach in Ribamontan al Mar
Great cliff walks and benches with views up over the beach where you’ll see many Camino de Santiago walkers take a break from their trek to admire the views. This is a quiet beach with very few facilities by the water – so drive onto Somo or Loredo for shops etc but the cliffside drama makes a visit here worthwhile. Make sure to walk to the viewing point on the western side of the beach. Parking at the top – which gets busy in high season so go early and avoid the crowds.
14. Galizano Beach in Ribamontan al Mar
More rustic and less built-up than many of its neighbouring beaches, Galizano is a charming cove with a beach bar operating in the Summer months. Choppy waves and open sea but lots of rock pools for the smaller members of the family to explore. Park in the nearby carpark and take the charming wooden platform bridges to the beach. The mini-market in Galizano village is handy for picnic essentials.
During the Summer season, Somo’s Curros&Co on Calle Isla de Mouro, 4 is a perfect place to pick up picnic treats for all the Ribamontan beaches. In Santander head for the delis such as Mantequerias Cantabras on Calle Joaquín Costa, 47 and Diferente on Calle Joaquín Costa, 28 (near the First Sardinero). Gastrobars in the city centre will also be able to organise tapas, wines and even Spanish paellas or tortillas to go with delivery options available.
Array (  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 139603 [post_author] => 5 [post_date] => 2020-12-11 09:50:40 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-12-11 09:50:40 [post_content] => Looking to get off the beaten track in Andalucia? We’ve scratched beneath the surface of this exciting, historic area of Spain, asked local experts and come up with a list of little-known things to see and do for our guide to hidden Andalucia...
If the bird's eye view of the inside of the cathedral looks spectacular, then to cap it off you emerge outside with 360-degree rooftop views of Malaga. [email protected]
Visit Malaga Cathedral's Roof
The top tip of Lindsay Gregory, Director of The Luxury Villa Collection: “Stroll around Malaga historic centre, take a hammam at Mammam Al Andalus and finish with cocktails at a rooftop bar.” https://malaga.hammamalandalus.com/en/
RELAX IN A HAMMAM
A rather lovely town with a Moorish fortress complex and no fewer than 30 churches. Don’t miss having tapas in the impressive Plaza de los Escribanos.
Meander in Antequera
Just outside Antequera, these are some of the largest and most complete megalithic structures in Europe. Museosdeandalucia.es
Visit Three 5000-year-old Dolmens
The ruins of a 9th-century church carved out of rock are the highlights of a larger fortified town complex. Anything 9th century and still standing is incredible in our books.
Wonder at a 9TH Century Church – Bobastro
A house with a garden in the Albayzin (the oldest part of Granada city) is known as a Carmen. These Carmens look out towards the Alhambra Palace, often have wooden balconies, plant-filled patios, babbling water features and decorative tiles.
Nose Around the Carmens of Granada's Albayzin
This 17th-century abbey and college comes complete with holy caves/ancient catacombs. The view of Granada alone is worth the walk.
Visit the Abbey of Sacromonte, Granada
This village has stately houses gripping onto the edge of a gorge, cobbled streets and spa credentials. Our top tip is to escape the summer heat in Granada and visit Alhama – it has a unique microclimate where summer nights cool to a comfortable level.
Take a day trip to Alhama de Granada and its Natural Hot Springs
Once part of several fortifications, the castle that sits on this tiny island dates back to the 13th century.
Find Out the Mysteries of the Island of Sancti Petri, San Fernando, Cadiz
This pristine white village, sitting high on a rocky hilltop, really comes into its own at sunrise and dusk. Aside from the dramatic light, there are lovely boutique shops, great restaurants and, during the summer, look out for their candlelight festival.
Experience the Beautiful Light in Vejer de la Frontera
While it's got a great beach with some decent Atlantic surf, it’s the laidback-hip bar vibe in El Palmar that makes it stand out from other stretches of southern Spain's coast.
Surf and Sip in El Palmar
David, chef at De Tako's top tip is, “One of the best ways to experience a country is through its food and an even better way is to enjoy perfectly cooked food is in an incredible setting surrounded by friends". We entirely agree – hire a private chef at your villa for the ultimate in convenience.
HIRE A Private Chef
One of our top hidden foodie treats in Andalucia is delicious Retinto beef from Cadiz. Much is spoken about fried fish, olives and olive oil, jamón ibérico and Sherry but this meaty option is also a real gastro-standout.
Taste Riotinto Beef
Hire a boat and hit the sea - you’ll almost inevitably come across a pod of dolphins in the Mediterranean.
Take to the Sea – Dolphin Watch
This forgotten about 12th-century arched gateway and wall was the main entrance into Seville, and is certainly off the beaten path.
Puerta de Macarena/Walls of Seville
You'll never have experienced a bar like Garlochí, a homage to Easter in Spain. All year round there's incense burning and procession music playing – they call it the cathedral of bars. Don’t miss their signature cocktail: Grenadine, whisky and Cava.
Drink at a Bar Dedicated to Easter in Sevilla
There’s a succession of beautiful waterfalls running over some interesting limestone formations in Sierra Norte de Sevilla Nature Park.
Wild Swimming at Cascadas de Hueznar in Seville Province
Fiona Flores Watson, Telegraph Travel Writer and Seville resident recommends: “The summer outdoor concerts held in the Alcazar Palace… a magical setting for live jazz, flamenco or classical music by moonlight.” Alcazarsevilla.org
SEE LIVE MUSIC IN THE ALCAZAR PALACE
The castle of Castillo de Almodovar del Rio was built in 740. You can join theatrical tours, do some medieval combat training or spooky storytelling. Castillodealmodovar.com
Visit Highgarden, the Tyrell’s House in Game of Thrones
Manni Coe of Toma & Coe Tours' top tip is: “One of the most consistently excellent restaurants I know in Andalucia is located on a little-known street, in the little-known town of Lucena. It's called Tres Culturas and it's also a handy stop off en-route to Cordoba." Tresculturasrestaurante.com
TRAVEL TO EAT AT TRES CULTURAS
In the Sierra de Cazorla natural park this castle was built at the start of the 16th century. A beautiful monument in an even more beautiful part of the world.
Marvel at the Castle of Iruela, Jaen
The colours of autumn over the vast landscape of rural Huelva is the perfect way to disconnect. Local people flock here to experience the change of the season.
Reconnect with Nature and See Autumn in Aracena
This breath-taking beach near the charming village of San Jose feels like another world.
Genoveses beacH in Cabo de Gata, Almeria
A bit of a cheat but do a tour…
Our top 5 are: Most unusual is in Segura de la Sierra in Jaen province: this square bullring is the old courtyard of a castle and was built in the 18th century. Ronda bullring is the second oldest and the biggest. Seville bullring is the oldest; Antequera's is famed for appearing in Madonna’s Take a Bow video; Mijas has spectacular views and is simply charming. Archidona usually erects a bullring inside its eight-sided main square during the summer season. Like this and want to know more about visiting southern Spain? Check out our 50 things to do in Andalucia and our guide to the five best cities to visit in Andalucia [post_title] => Hidden Andalucia [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => hidden-andalucia [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2021-01-31 15:25:18 [post_modified_gmt] => 2021-01-31 15:25:18 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://theluxuryvillacollection.com/?p=139603 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 133379 [post_author] => 5 [post_date] => 2020-10-03 15:27:14 [post_date_gmt] => 2020-10-03 15:27:14 [post_content] =>
See Andalucia through its Bullrings
(As of Nov 2020)Since the global pandemic reached our countries in early 2020 there has been restrictions in one way or another on the way we live our lives. With the sheer amount of press on Covid-19 it’s difficult to see the wood from the trees. So we wanted to reach out to our guests and give you a clear idea of what it’s really like to be in southern Spain in 2020. As we become used to Covid-19 not going away we’re getting better at carrying on with our lives but with safety measures in place. Obviously, those who are at high risk may adopt a more stringent approach to their activities but for the rest of us we’re getting out and about responsibly. While we at The Luxury Villa Collection welcomed guests during 2020 we realise that clarity on what it's like in southern Spain is needed.
What restrictions are there in southern Spain?Shops, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, events, museums and art galleries all have capacity limits to ensure social distancing can be adhered to safely. Businesses all have hand sanitizer at the door so customers can clean their hands upon entering and leaving an establishment. As of 25th October there is a curfew between 22.00hrs and 07.00hrs. Further restrictions have been put in place to limit the movement of people outside their municipalities. Face coverings must be worn at all times if over 6 years old, other than:
- People playing sports do not have to wear a mask whilst engaged in the sporting activity.
- Masks do not need to be worn by customers who are eating, drinking, or smoking.
- In the sea or swimming pool.
- In a designated household sunbathing area on the beach.
Do I have to wear a face covering?The use of face coverings is mandatory for anyone over the age of 6 years old at all times unless during one of the points stated above. This includes in all forms of indoor and outdoor public spaces even if social distancing can be applied. For countries that haven’t adopted this measure, face coverings seem a huge inconvenience but what they have allowed people to do is enjoy their holiday as normal with face coverings and social distancing being the only restrictions.
Are restaurants open?Yes, restaurants and cafes are open with limitations place upon their capacity to ensure tables are spaced out enough so customers can remove their face coverings while drinking or eating. Serving staff and chefs must wear masks at all times.
Are Beaches open in Andalucia?Yes. Once on a beach in your own sunbathing area and in the sea you may remove face coverings. The sunbathing areas must be 2 metres apart and social distancing must be adhered to in the sea. Some beaches have allocated sunbathing areas others are flexible but there are personnel checking that people adhere to social distancing rules while enjoying the beach. No distancing is necessary within your family unit. The norms that local governments put in place over summer 2020 worked to great effect and people could enjoy the beaches of the Costa del Sol, Costa de la Luz and Costa Tropical.
Are tourist sights open?Yes. Restrictions on numbers being allowed into famous landmarks, tourist attractions and galleries has meant some sights have never been so quiet. Achieving the perfect photo of the Alhambra Palace or Real Alcazar de Sevilla without other sightseers is actually possible.
Does a face covering need to be worn while driving?When driving alone or with your household no face covering needs to be worn, but if there are passengers or a driver from a different household then everyone must wear a face covering.
What’s the general mood in southern Spain?Summer 2020 saw fewer parties for sure: the dancing all night in a club and watching the sunrise from a buzzing rooftop bar was and is not on the cards at the moment. However, long lunches beside the sea, visiting theme parks, historic sights, galleries and museums, beach days and outdoor activities are all there being enjoyed. It's really business as usual with the some sensible parameters in place. Some of our guests used our villas with entertainment rooms, cinemas, spas and abundance of space to organise private experiences from chefs to talks to spa treatments and live music. Bringing the wonderful Spanish culture into the safety of their private villa.
What is State of Alarm and What Does it Mean?The phrase state of alarm sounds very official and, well, alarming however, it is really just an administration step for the government and helps regional governments put in place restrictions. This phase allows the government (if necessary) to limit the movement of people at specific locations and times, temporary use private industries (such as private hospitals), limit the use of services and ensure the supply of necessary goods and services. In 2020 during Covid19, the state of alarm has meant limiting the movement of people between different provinces and curfews been implemented (from 23.00-06.00hrs). In no circumstances does state of alarm mean visitors aren't permitted to travel back to their home country.
Air travel – Is it safe?So far there has been little evidence of in-flight transmission of coronavirus, but there have been a couple of examples of transmission early on in the pandemic before more stringent controls were in place. Shaun Fitzgerald, Royal Academy of Engineering visiting professor at the University of Cambridge said, aircraft ventilation systems are unique, the “replacement rate” - the number of times a volume of air equivalent to the volume of the cabin is removed each hour - can be four minutes in a aircraft. Compare this to 20 or 30 minutes in an indoor environment on the ground and it’s very brisk. The air filters themselves on aeroplanes are sophisticated and much more effective than filters found in indoor venues on the ground. Most airlines say face coverings are mandatory, limit food and drink services and don’t allow queuing for the toilet. The airports themselves are being diligent ensuring social distancing is in place as well as temperature controls in some. As from October 2020 if traveling from Europe or the UK:
- You must complete a health control form - which includes a HCF - a negative PCR test within 72hrs of your arrival to Spain.