Starting from the golden sandspit of Somo, stretching out into the bay of Santander – if you’ve arrived by ferry we’re sure it’ll have caught your eye – all the way across to Castro Urdiales, the eastern part of Cantabria is strung with beautiful beaches.
Some, such as Castro, Noja, Isla and the amazing crescent of sand stretching all around the bay at Laredo, are quite built up – good if you want to combine beach time with a trip round the shops or lively bars – but our favourites are perhaps the less developed beaches of which there are still plenty.
Galizano is perhaps the most rural of all, step from the green rolling hills direct onto the golden sand. It’s never too busy. Just down the road Ajo boasts two beaches, one just by the town (though not really a ‘town beach’ as you can only see a handful of houses) and another over the hill, both of which are favourites with the surfers (there is a surf school operating here through the summer).
Beyond Noja and Isla to the east, Playa Berria is a long straight stretch of sand which seems very popular for surf and as well as parapenting from the hills which mark either end. There’s a nice hippie-surfy atmosphere about the place with surf shops and a cool chiringuito next to the beach – all quite low key.
Though somewhat spoiled by uncontrolled urban development and hoards of holidaymakers, Laredo beach as a natural phenomenon is surely worth a visit. Over 4 kilometres in length and backed by small dunes, the sand just seems to go on forever and there are always pretty boats coming bringing delicious anchovies into Santoña across the bay. If you’re there at the end of August be sure not to miss the Battle of the Flowers
Further east still the beaches continue – Oriñon should be treated with respect due to possible currents; at Islares there’s a tiny beach next to the Aisa hotel restaurant, good for a quick dip as a stop off along the way (even better if you’ve got time for lunch at the restuarant); and Castro Urdiales now boasts two beaches, the natural beach at the east of the promenade and a new man-made beach at the west end, both will be busy in August but if you’re visiting Castro (which we thoroughly recommend you do) why not have a dip and take it easy a while!