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A journey along the Coast of Cantabria begins on the western part of the coastline, where just a few kilometres inland lies Santillana del Mar, one of the best-conserved historic and artistic sites in Spain. This mediaeval village dating from the 9th century combines mediaeval, Renaissance and Baroque buildings. Very near Santillana are the Altamira caves, discovered in 1879 and awarded the UNESCO World Heritage designation, and containing polychrome etchings of bison made by Palaeolithic man. Cóbreces, on the road to Comillas, is a chance to visit an attractive Cistercian abbey. Comillas itself has a combination of popular traditional architecture with some outstanding buildings such as the Comillas Pontificia University. Continuing on along our itinerary we come to San Vicente de la Barquera, the perfect example of a seafaring town with a number of attractive beaches.
The eastern Cantabrian coast stretches between the bay of Santander and the town of Castro Urdiales. This part of the coast features a succession of cliffs and magnificent beaches. Some of the best are Pedreña, Isla and Noja, and the well-known holiday resorts of Santoña and Laredo. Finally, the old Roman port of Castro Urdiales has numerous monuments in different styles and periods, all with rich ornamentation.