Santander is the "Marbella of the Atlantic Coast." It is an affluent city with a big reputation. It is a posh retreat for the well-heeled, and a prominent banking center of Spain besides. It is a city of promenade-lined beaches, with a port filled with luxury cruisers and sailboats. Here, in the "in" area of El Sardinero and along such immaculate streets as Paseo de Pareda, the uppity lot move about with few cares in the world. It would be hard for anyone to guess that Santander has been a victim of successive catastrophes, swept by fires one after another, every one of which either destroyed its neighborhoods or killed its people. For here is a city that is at once manicured, elegant and high-spirited, with no apologies for its snob appeal.
Santander's main visitor attractions are the eclectic early-20th-century Palacio de La Magdalena, the Gran Casino del Sardinero, the symbolic Bank of Santander building, the 13th-century Cathedral of Santander, and El Sardinero, which is both an historic neighborhood filled with lodgings and cafés and a terrific 4,300-foot-long (1,300 meters) beach with golden sand.
Santander is the capital of the Cantabria region, situated on the north coast of Spain. It is 64 miles (104 km) northwest of Bilbao. It has a population of approximately 184,000.
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