Juan de la Cosa for solo travellers
Santoña, Cantabria, Spain
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- Solo Travellers
- All Inclusive
Mountains and sea encircle this Spanish family-run hotel
Santoña’s renowned Playa de Berria beach is a hop, skip and jump away from the small and friendly Juan de la Cosa, a locally rated 4-star hotel run by the Santillana family. You’ll quickly feel right at home and may even learn a secret or two about the area from the attentive staff. In fact, exploring this beautiful part of Spain is easy, either independently or on a choice of optional excursions. Plus, Saga is the exclusive all-inclusive tour operator in the UK market.
If you’re planning a stay at the hotel Juan de la Cosa, do take a few minutes to visit our ‘What to Explore’ and ‘How to Explore’ sections below.
- All breakfasts, tapas/snack lunches and waiter-served dinners
- Free bar open 12 hours a day, open from 11am to 11pm, serving premium and local alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks
- Local wine and water at lunch and dinner
- The option to make a packed lunch
- Afternoon tea and cake
- Optional travel insurance underwritten by Great Lakes Insurance SE, UK Branch and additional cancellation rights on overseas holidays for over 50s, or a price reduction if not required (cover is subject to medical questions)
- Free local bus tickets to town of Santoña
- Return flights and direct transfers
- Free Wi-Fi at your hotel
- Welcome drink
- Porterage at your hotel
Our included extras
- Two Saga Hosts
Juan de la Cosa, Playa de Berria, 14 - 39740 Santoña, Cantabria, España
You can look forward to a warm welcome and personal service from owners Felipe and Margot at their comfortable locally rated 4-star hotel. They take special pride in the hotel's restaurant, which has splendid views of the beach and sea as well as delicious dishes.
The hotel has 55 contemporary-furnished rooms.
You can upgrade to a sea-view room for a supplement, subject to availability. Fridges will be available in 2020.
Tea coffee making facilities
Food and Drink
Enjoy delicious home cooked dishes typical of the region: savour buffet-style breakfasts, tasty tapas or snack lunches at the bar or on its terrace and waiter-served dinners in their locally acclaimed à la carte restaurant where seafood is a speciality. Complimentary tea and cake is also available at 4pm daily in the bar.
A delicious demonstration
The hotel prides itself on its food, and during your stay you’ll be able to enjoy an included cookery demonstration – a great way to take a taste of Spain back to your own kitchen. As the chef cooks up a storm, you’ll be able to taste a selection of wine from the area, each carefully selected by the hotel’s owner, Felipe.
During your stay, you can enjoy the following programme of activities and entertainment. Some activities are at an additional charge. Activities may change from time to time.
- A cookery demonstration with a selection of wines
- Live music/flamenco dancing
- A talk on interesting facts and differences between the British and Spanish cultures
- Mystery tours (extra charge)
- Table tennis
- Table football
- Golf - Available nearby – please ask the resort staff for details
Heated indoor pool
You’re well placed for exploring this region: scenic walking trails lead right from this beachfront hotel’s doorstep and there are birdwatching opportunities at a nearby reserve. The hotel is two kilometres from the centre of Santoña which can be reached by local bus (guests receive free bus tickets). Here you will find shops, cafes and restaurants. There’s plenty to do in the area, from enjoying the splendid beach and delicious food, to exploring the mountains and discovering age-old villages.
Bilbao airport is an hour’s drive away and Santander port is a 45-minute drive away.
Experience the essence of true Spain and immerse yourself in the culture, gastronomy, language and landscapes with a stay in the idyllic small fishing town of Santoña, which backs onto the mighty Picos de Europa. Set on Spain’s northern Cantabrian coast, it fronts a superb three-kilometre-long beach of fine white sand, the Playa de Berria. This spectacular beach and surrounding hillsides are popular with walkers, while the nearby marshes are rich in bird life and the mountains offer plenty of options for outings.
Bilbao and the Guggenheim
Bilbao stands on the estuary of the River Nervión. The capital of the Vizkaya province, it became a centre for shipbuilding and manufacturing during the mid-19th century. Its old town is a labyrinth of narrow pedestrian streets branching out from the Plaza Nueva. It’s one of the culinary capitals of Spain, whether you’re looking for a Michelin-starred restaurant or want to feast on tapas from the numerous bars.
The most dramatic addition to Bilbao’s cityscape in recent years is the Guggenheim Museum, a branch of the famous museum in New York which opened in 1997. Designed by the North American architect Frank Gehry, the building is a contortion of shapes, with limestone blocks contrasting with curtains of glass and curved, bent forms draped in titanium. Its collection of modern art is no less fascinating, with work from the Guggenheim in New York and local acquisitions to admire.
Optional on 7 nights itinerary
Picos de Europa
The highest range of mountains in the Cantabrian Cordillera is just 30 kilometres from the sea. The region, which covers 700 square kilometres, was declared a national park in 1995 – the largest in Europe. Venture deep into the Picos de Europa on this excursion which will take you along the narrow Hermida Ravine, in the valley of the River Deva. Reach the delightful mountain village of Potes, set in a natural amphitheatre surrounded by mountain peaks. Enjoy free time to admire the scenery and attractive old stone houses, including the Torre del Infantado, a 15th-century tower that's now the Town Hall. Next, a cable-car ride offers a different view of the mountains that is sure to take your breath away.
Optional on 7 nights itinerary
Optional on 7 nights itinerary
Santillana del Mar and San Vicente de la Barquera
Drive across Cantabria, pausing at San Vicente de la Barquera, en route to the beautifully preserved medieval village of Santillana del Mar. Stroll past 15th to 18th-century mansions to the Romanesque collegiate church, built to house the relics of St Juliana. While preserved and protected as a Spanish national monument since 1889 Santillana del Mar is still a living, working village. It's also said to be three times a lie, as it is not holy (santo), nor flat (llano) or by the sea (de mar)!
Next you'll visit the amazing prehistoric cave paintings of Altamira, often described as the Sistine Chapel of Paleolithic art. Visits to this UNESCO World Heritage Site are no longer allowed to protect the ancient artwork but the on-site museum contains an excellent replica of the caves and paintings.
Optional on 7 nights itinerary
What to explore
Santoña - 2km from hotel, free bus, 15 minute walk or taxi for approx £8 each way
You have the beach and a good selection of scenic walking trails on your doorstep, and there’s a surf school nearby.In Santoña, there’s a busy port and some attractive churches, palaces, fortresses and monuments. Be sure to look out for the one in honour of your hotel’s namesake! Santoña was the site of one of the most decisive battles in the War of Independence, and a visit to the Cultural Park of Mount Buciero will allow you to put that history in perspective, and to see the largest concentration of forts, batteries and arsenals in Spain.
Mount Buciero (or the Mount of Santoña) is an interesting place to visit even if you’re not martially-minded. It’s actually a peninsula, joined to the continent by a narrow strip of sand at Berria beach; around 600 hectares in size and almost circular in shape. The park has five well-marked walking trails; choose from lighthouses and cliffs, the forest ecosystem, the Fort of Napoleon…or just a walk through the marvellous countryside.
The town also has two routes that form part of St James’s Way: the famous Northern route of Laredo- Santoña-Güemes to Santiago de Compostela. Birdwatchers will greatly enjoy a visit to the Nature Reserve of the Marshes of Santoña, Victoria and Joyel, (locally known as Bengoa). It occupies more than 4,000 hectares and is of great ecological importance, with over 20,000 birds from 120 different species as well as small mammals and unique flora.
If you’re visiting Santoña during the first part of September, you may catch the festivities in honour of Our Lady of the Port. It’s a week of regattas, live music, sport competitions, fireworks and processions featuring humorous floats, the most important being the Sea Procession. Be sure to try the delicious ‘marmitada’ (stew) which is served everywhere during the festival.
Cabárceno Nature Park (27 miles)
75 hectares in size, situated in an old Roman iron mine, this is the biggest wildlife park in Europe, where more than 118 species roam in semi-freedom. That freedom means sightings of a particular animal can’t be guaranteed, but you may see hippo, giraffes, antelopes, several endangered primates, big cats, including lions and jaguars or European bison. The network of asphalted paths makes it ideal to explore by car, but there are separate trails for those who prefer to explore on foot, or by bicycle.
Santander (27 miles)
Start your visit to Santander by enjoying a stroll along the Pereda gardens from Plaza Alfonso X111. It’s a lovely route by the sea, and you’ll see many of Santander’s most famous buildings along the way, including the Palace of ‘la Compaña Transatlantic Española’. In the City Centre you’ll find the Cathedral of Santander ‘Neustra Señora de la Asunción’. It was faithfully rebuilt after Santander’s Great Fire of 1941, which destroyed much of the building: of particular note are its cloister, the crypt of ‘el Cristo’ under the main chapel, and the tomb of Marcelino Menéndez Pelayo.
The Museo Maritimo is a combined museum and aquarium. If you’re visiting, try to arrive around noon, when a diver feeds the fish and the sharks in the big tank. There’s an impressive whale skeleton, some beautiful model ships, and a roof-top café.
Slightly further afield, the famous gardens of Magdalena and its palace are located in the Bay of Santander on a peninsula also known as ‘La Magdalena’; easily reachable by local bus. Get off at the La Magdalena stop, then it’s five minutes’ walk to the park and about another 10 minutes’ walk to the Palace once inside. It’s only open on weekends, but the park is lovely and well worth a visit anyway. There’s a small tourist tram to take you around if you wish, and even a mini-zoo with seals, sea lions and penguins. Take your swimming costume and a picnic and make a day of it; there is a lovely beach nearby.
Santander, like most Spanish towns and cities, loves its festivals. July 25th is Santiago’s day, which kicks off the Big Week of Festivals (Semana Grande). Expect non-stop concerts, parades, performing arts shows, fireworks, food stalls, a funfair and popular competitions. On August 30th it’s the turn of La Semanuca (the Small Week); celebrating the day of the patron saints of the city, Holy Martyrs San Emeterio and San Celedonio. Legend has it that after these two Roman soldiers were martyred at Calahorra for refusing to give up their Christian faith, their heads reached the coast of Santander in a stone boat. Since then, the city has honoured them by taking their name (San Emeter), and holding this celebration in their memory, with fireworks, music and markets. And throughout August, the Festival Internacional de Santander offers a dazzling programme of opera, ballet and theatre.
How to explore
In general, it’s easy and inexpensive to do your exploring by the very efficient local busses.
By bus: Use your free bus tickets to get into Santoña, 2 kilometres from the hotel. The frequent busses from there to Santander take about an hour.
Hire car: If you’re going to Santander by hire car, we would recommend leaving it in one of the ten or so underground car parks. On-street parking can be a hassle.
Foot/local buses: Santander is compact enough to explore either totally on foot or combined with the cheap local buses. There are also hop-on hop-off bus tours that take around an hour to complete the circuit and offer commentaries in many languages, including English (8 euros).
By bike: For the energetic, the city runs a bike-borrow scheme. You’ll need to use a credit or debit card, because although it only costs one euro to hire a bike for the day, there’s a 150-euro deposit which is refunded to your card when the bike is returned in perfect condition to one of the 15 stations throughout the city.