Parador de Santillana Gil Blas
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- Twin rooms (15)
- Double rooms (10)
- Room with living room (3)
- Capacity (56)
- Central heating
- Air conditioning
- Canal plus
- Deposit box
- Credit cards
- Currency exchange
- Airport (23km)
- Station (8km)
- Port (25km)
4* - Spain – Cantabria – Santillana del Mar - 17c Ancestral home
The first of the two Paradors to be established in Santillana del Mar and one of the earliest Paradors in the network to be created, the Parador de Santillana Gil Blas occupies the palatial mansion of the Barreda-Bracho family, parts of which date back to the 15th century, and which was later refashioned by Count Guell (the patron of Gaudi) in the 1920s as a hotel. One of a number of local buildings of great architectural appeal, the property is very traditional in style with stone arches, pan-tiled roof, wooden balconies and beamed ceilings.
Located conveniently close to Santander (15 miles away) and on the main square of one of the most attractive and well-preserved old villages in Spain, the Parador de Santillana Gil Blas is a good base for exploring both the northern coast of Cantabria with its superb beaches and coves, and the magnificent mountains of the Picos de Europa. Also nearby are the world-famous Altamira Caves with their prehistoric cave paintings.
The Parador de Santillana Gil Blas has 28 bedrooms, like its sister Parador, making it one of the smallest and prettiest Paradors in the network. Guests often tell us that there is little to separate the 2 properties in their appeal (except for the location of the bar and restaurant in this Parador and the difference in price between the two properties of about 10%). Bedrooms generally overlook the square and gardens, with large windows, wooden furnishings and rustic décor throughout.
The facilities available at the Parador de Santillana Gil Blas include gardens, a bar and restaurant where you may sample traditional Cantabrian dishes, featuring both fish and meat, as well as varies beans and a wide range of vegetables. . Local dishes include Ensalada Cántabra (green leaf salad with tuna and anchovies), Cocido montañes (bean stew with potato, red cabbage and pork) and Sorropotún (cod and potato stew).
There is garage parking available here. The Parador is accessed through the entrance to the old town, which involves passing through security bollards which will be raised immediately when you identify yourselves as guests of the Parador.
The Parador de Santillana Gil Blas has, in its previous function, provided accommodation for King Alfonso XIII who went on to instigate the founding of the original network of Paradores, and since its conversion in 1944, has attracted the likes of Charles de Gaulle and more recently the Emperor of Japan.
- This is a town to enjoy on foot. It is worth savouring the architecture and atmosphere from one of the terraces in the evening before or after dinner.
Directions to arrive at the Parador:
- Heading North on Avenida de Dorat, take the right to enter Santillana Del Mar
- Follow the road to the tourist office and take the left road (Plaza Gandara)
- Take 1st left onto Calle La Carerra and at the end of the road, take turn right continuing on Calle Carrera and take the 1st left still on Calle Carrera
- At the end of the road, take a right onto Calle De Juan Infante
- At the end of Calle De Juan Infante, you will find the Plaza Mayor bordered by the Parador
The town’s name is an enigma since it seems to imply that this is a seaside town, and although the town isn’t far from the coast, it is the place where ‘’Santa Iliana came from the sea’’. Described by Jean Paul Sartre as ‘’the loveliest town in Spain’’ and by Unamuno as ‘’a town enveloped in literary prestige’’, Santillana is a delightful stopover either on the Camino de Santiago (the Pilgrim’s way of St James) or along the northern coastline. In the 18th century the French author Lesage wrote his novel ‘Gil Blas de Santillana’ and the town was declared a national monument in 1889.
Many of Santillana’s original buildings and monuments have been maintained - generally houses of the nobility which still display their coats of arms today – and the town’s records reach back to the 9th century when the north of the peninsula was resisting the Moorish conquest. The monastery of Santa Juliana, later to be extended and converted into the Romanesque collegiate church in the 12th century, and it was The Church that controlled and oversaw the surrounding lands until the 16th century when the nobility finally governed.
Much of the town’s architecture dates from the period of Spain’s good fortunes in the Americas and in the 19th century in southern Spain, and in the 1920s, the Count of Guell extolled the virtues of Santillana and helped to spread word of its appeal. He was the founder of the hotel in the 17th century building set on the main square, which later became the original Parador de Santillana Gil Blas in 1944. The town benefited from the importation of exotic plants and furnishings from far-flung lands and the influence of the colonies is still evident in the design of many gardens.
There are superb beaches at Comillas, Suances and Cobreces, and Comillas is a particularly good day trip with its famous university, Gaudi-designed palace and renowned modernist architecture. This was a popular destination of the nobility, with its clean beaches, attractive harbour and charming taverns nearby, and it has several palaces to visit.
Restaurant meal times & typical dishes
Breakfast is served from 8.00 to 11.00 and dinner from 20.30 to 22.30.
It may be possible to arrive up to 22.00 and still enjoy a meal.
The restaurant offers traditional Cantabrian dishes, featuring both fish and meat, as well as varies beans and a wide range of vegetables. . Local dishes include Ensalada Cántabra (green leaf salad with tuna and anchovies), Cocido montañes (bean stew with potato, red cabbage and pork) and Sorropotún (cod and potato stew).
- Mr Sanderson
Santillana....since the Santander ferry from Portsmouth arrives late afternoon and the evening and the following day can be spent in the town. The prehistoric caves museum at Altamira (10 minutes drive) must not be missed. You could spend a full morning in the museum alone, but one caveat. It is true that the public cannot visit the original caves, for obvious reasons but they have recreated the paintings as near as possible and I would say it is essential to book a day and time to see this exhibit which, I understand, is a separate building. Museum only visit, no problem but the earlier you get there the better.
How to get there
The Parador is located in Santillana del Mar's main plaza, in which the city's most characteristic buildings are also located: Torre de Don Borja, Casa del Águila y la Parra, Torre de Merino and the Town Hall. Guests can access the Parador from the Travesía Santander-Comillas by way of a cobblestone street just under 100 metres long. Santillana is located 24 km from Santander.
Fuente De - 101km
Cervera de Pisuerga - 112km
Gijon - 163km
Argomaniz - 209km
Bilbao Airport - 120km
Region & Cuisine
As with the other neighbouring regions comprising ‘Green Spain,’ the principal attractions of Cantabria are essentially coastal and rural. The region’s rivers, beaches, cliffs, valleys, mountains and forests combine to create a mosaic of contrasting landscapes.
Cantabria’s climate is temperate. With relatively warm winters and summer temperatures rarely exceeding 25°C this is an ideal region of Spain to visit at any time of year, particularly for those wishing to avoid crowded cities and resorts. The entire population is only a little over half a million and getting on for half the population live in the region’s capital city, Santander.
Santander is a beautiful and elegant city with many public parks. Like San Sebastián further east along the coast, it has been a popular destination for many Spaniards since the mid 19th century when it became a fashionable bathing resort and the summer residence of the Spanish royal family. A particular feature of the city is the residencial area of El Sardinero with its stretch of lovely beaches with fine sand.
24 km to the west of Santander is the remarkable little town of Santillana del Mar which, despite its name, is not actually on the coast. The entire town is a national monument and a living museum of a medieval 9th century village, although most of the town displays a variety of architectural styles ranging from the 14th to the 18th centuries.
Another major attraction, just 3 km from Santillana, are the Altamira Caves. Discovered in 1879 and declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the caves are known throughout the world for their paintings made by early man during the late Paleolithic period some 14,000 years ago.
The cuisine of this region is of a high quality based on fresh products from its fertile farmland and, in the south of Cantabria, its excellent cattle-grazing land – not to mention boar and venison in the mountain villages during the hunting season. Particularly recommended are the traditional Cantabrian stews (cocido) – no additives, just fresh top-quality ingredients. Needless to say there is also a wide choice of sea food: clams and lobster figure prominently, while bass, hake, monkfish and red mullet are normally on most menus.
Please be aware of the following:
- 'Special Offers' are subject to the availability of a number of rooms per night and/or a specific meal basis.
- Age restrictions apply to the 'Golden Days' Offer (for those aged 55 and over) and the 'Young Persons' Offer (for those aged between 18 and 30). All reservations made using these tariffs are checked upon your arrival at the Parador(s) booked to ensure that at least one person in a room qualifies for the restricted tariff. In the case that you do not qualify for the restricted tariff, the Parador will apply the standard rate without exception and you will be required to pay a supplement locally. However only one person (per room) needs to qualify for either of these two reductions.