International Studies Abroad ®est. 1987

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Culture Corner

Getting around Santander

Walking is generally the most common mode of transportation among locals and visitors alike in Santander. It's the best way to learn street names, experience the personality of the city, and soak up the local culture. Be sure to bring comfortable shoes and be prepared to walk much more than you might be used to at home! If you get lost, don't be afraid to practice your Spanish.

Aside from walking, public transportation is also common when getting from one point to another in Santander. Bus transportation is the most economical way to traverse Santander (aside from walking). One ride costs about 1.10€ and most people simply pay upon boarding the bus; however, "bonobuses" (10-ride cards) may be purchased in estancos (tobacco and newspaper stands) for about 6€.

To learn more about the different ways to navigate Santander, please read the descriptions below.

Types of Transportation

Bus
To travel throughout the region, bus travel is often faster and cheaper than train travel, and the standard of comfort is quite high. Many times it is the only public transportation to isolated areas. There is no national bus line in Spain, but there are many private companies. You can obtain schedules and prices at the bus station in Santander. Click here to view an interactive map of the bus system.

F.E.V.E.
In Santander there is the F.E.V.E. station (Ferrocarriles de Vía Estrecha) for short train travel that service nearby suburbs and other cities within Cantabria. Prices vary according to distance and average between 2,5 and 5€. There are also small boats that carry passengers from Santander to other neighboring towns on the coast for 4€. Tickets are sold on the pier. All of the stations are connected with the central Plaza de las Estaciones making travel easy in Santander for tourists. Click here to view an interactive map of the F.E.V.E.

Taxis
It may be more expensive than you think to travel by taxi on a daily basis and Santander has excellent public transportation. However, although more expensive, taxis are one of the most practical means of transportation to take when returning home late at night unaccompanied.

When taking a taxi, make sure the car displays the name of the company and that the car has an official meter. Many people use their personal automobiles, and may even have a meter, but these "independent" drivers are not the safest way to travel. Also make sure that the taxi has a meter inside that is working; this will alleviate any problems you may encounter. Taxis will always charge a surcharge for leaving the airport or train station. If you find a taxi driver that you like from a reputable company, ask for his card. The next time you need a taxi, call ahead and request the same driver.

Ferries
Whether traveling to the UK, to other points in Spain, or locally, there a number of different ferry options. Los Reginas runs a tour of the Santander Bay throughout most of the year; price is typically €8. To read more about touring the Bay of Santander, rates, time tables, etc. click here.

RENFE
The national network is known as RENFE. Eurorail and student-rail pass are also valid for Spanish trains; Eurorail and student-rail passes may only be purchased in the US. RENFE has also established a series of special prices and discounts that make traveling by rail in Spain much more convenient. The AVE is a high speed train which runs from Madrid to Sevilla, amongst other locations. This is an excellent way to get to Central Spain and back although it can be expensive. A tourist train, "Transcantábrico", tours the north of Spain. Click here to view more information about RENFE.

Transportation Passes

Tarjeta Trimestral Joven
The best value for those who are in the city for several months is a tarjeta trimestral joven, an unlimited access pass for students 25 years of age and under that lasts for three months. This pass usually costs around 51€. These cards are good for travel on the Santander bus system.

Tarjeta Estandar Recargable
For those simply visiting Santander for a shorter time, a tarjeta estandar recargable, or a standard rechargeable card, is the best way to go. Each trip costs approximately .60€ and permits you to hop on and off different buses for up to an hour. It is generally much more economical to buy tarjetas for public transportation, rather than buying individual tickets. For more information on fares and restrictions, please visit the TUS website.