A hidden gem in the north of Spain is the town of Comillas (Cantabria region.) It was one of the first in the country to supply electricity to its inhabitants as a result of the royal visit of the then king Alfonso XII who chose the town as his preferred location for a summer holiday.
It has got everything one could wish for: a superb beach within walking distance of the town centre, a Friday morning market of fresh produce in the main square, trendy night-time bars and some beautiful historical buildings such as the impressive neogothic Sobrellano Palace and "El Capricho" by the world renown architect Gaudi. For the scholarly visitor, the Pontificial University is a necessary stop. It overlooks the town from a spectacular vantage point and has been recently restored to its former glory. It is now open for tours and offers summer language courses and cultural events. The town itself is the perfect location to explore the north of the country and it is only 20 minutes away from Santander airport and ferry port. Pick up information from the tourist information office in the main square. Over the summer the town celebrates several popular festivities, so don't be surprised if you are passing by the harbour and you end up savouring some freshly barbecued sardines on crusty bread with a glass of wine for free. You may also come across the shows, a mobile "churreria" with mouthwatering Spanish delights that visits the town every summer or decide to enjoy fireworks on the beach at midnight.
There are some amazing walks over the hills to nearby villages and hamlets for the entire family to enjoy. If you are itching to get to know this diverse and unique part of the world, take a trip to the medieval town of "Santillana del Mar", drive through breathtaking scenery in the Picos de Europa or visit the caves of "El Soplao" and "Altamira" with some of the earliest prehistoric paintings discovered in Europe. Finally, if you want to try some traditional Spanish food on a budget, go to "La Venta del Tramalon" a roadside restaurant well known by the locals just outside the town in Ruiloba. Comillas is a truly unforgettable location and more importantly, you will be spoiled for choice!
Comillas in the region of Cantabria, northern Spain, is a gorgeous little cobble streeted seaside town, loads of lovely cheap family friendly places to eat, a fab fun family atmosphere in the square at night (sometimes there is even a free outdoor cinema) and the most perfect beach and sea.
The very basic campsite is within walking distance of both the town and the beach - so no worries about evening drinking. The huge beach is great for swimming, bodyboarding, rockpooling and sandcastle building. In Comillas, you can get up late, have late lunches and late dinners, just really chill out - and there's not too many British travellers! The climate is perfect for camping - you won't be boiled out of your tent in the morning!
Get the ferry to Bilbao or Santander and drive there - the ferry journey is great fun - kids love it and it's so relaxing! There is plenty to see and do in the area apart from just lazing on the beach. You can visit the fantastic nature park of Cabárceno, palaeolithic rock art caves, the Guggenheim in Bilbao, the oceanographic museum and aquariums of Santander, Gaudi's only building outside of Barcelona or the perfectly preserved medieval village of Santillana del mar - there really is something to please everyone in this area of Spain.
Just don't everyone rush there and spoil it!
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