Advice for (Erasmus) students in Santander
What do you think about living in Santander? Would you recommend it? What's it like?
An all-inclusive city. Peaceful if you're looking for a bit of peace and quiet, but there's lots of things to do. 100% recommended for those that want to get away from overcrowded cities and want to travel, visit places with breathtaking scenery, proximity to other cities, parties, nice climate, beach and breathtaking views with something to do at all times.
What's student life like in Santander?
Quite good. It's a big university for the size of the city, with lots of students that usually have parties, getting together on the weekends, meeting for matches, organising trips and weekends away. Any Erasmus student that comes will love the atmosphere, for sure! You have to get stuck in and not marginalise yourself. We may seem cold at first, but when you get to know us, we know how to have fun.
How much does it cost to live there?
I have friends that live in shared flats and they spend around 180-200 euros each, not much more. That depends on the area and if you live alone and in a good flat. But you can find it all. I can't really compare it with other places in Spain to say whether it's expensive or not, but for example I live in Germany in an average flat and it costs more than 200 euros, so I don't think it's that expensive in Santander.
Supermarkets, bars, restaurants, etc. generally have good prices and offers, so you can find good deals wherever you go.
When going out, prices can differ depending on the place, but prices on average: drinks, 5-7€, beers 2-4€, glass of beer 1-2€, bar snacks 1.50-2.50€
Was it difficult to find accommodation in Santander? Can you give any advice?
It's easy to get accommodation. Erasmus students normally get help from the university, and there are also associations that help quite a lot, like AEGEE. I'm sure you'd get better advice from the Student's Union of the university.
What's the food like? What are your favourite dishes?
I've been able to compare food from my country with others (I've lived in Hungary, Germany and travelled around a lot of Europe) and there isn't better cuisine than Spanish cuisine... guaranteed. Any Erasmus student must get out and try what there is to offer.
In Santander there are loads of places to have some beers and nibbles.
I love bean and meat stews with potatoes (known as 'marmita'), potato omelette (without onions), Cáceres potatoes, gulas (eels) with potatoes and egg in blue cheese sauce, mashed vegetables, battered skirt steak, meat soup with noodles, 'Purrusalda' (potato stew with cod and leeks)... a long list.
I know that these aren't too easy to cook, but there are lots of recipes and videos online or look up sites (there are plenty) where there's a menu of the day to try Spanish food.
What places do you recommend to visit?
Sardinero and its beaches, together with the Magdalena Peninsula, where you can take thousands of photos for Facebook...
I recommend spending various afternoons in la Virgen del Mar.
Take the walk between the end of the Sardinero and the lighthouse, passing through Mataleñas.
Take the promenade in the city, from the Hotel Bahía and Paseo Pereda, to La Magdalena.
For playing sports or enjoying a nice afternoon, go to the Parque de las Llamas, just after the universities.
For those that like shopping and fast food, you should go to both Vallereal and El Corte Inglés, with endless shops and restaurants.
And what about eating in Santander? Do you have any favourite places?
There are lots of places, from places to snack, to eat and dine. It is also very common to go out for breakfast with a coffee or chocolate.
What you definitely cannot miss out on and I would recommend, is going out for tapas and beers. Many places, especially in the city centre, prepare tapas daily.
What I'd recommend the most:
- Tortilla de Patatas (potato omelette), not only on its own, but also with onion or with tuna and mayonnaise on top or minced meat and tomato or blue cheese or Serrano ham... in all its varieties. The place I'd recommend for omelettes, par excellence, is 'El Manila', incredible! I recommend the cafe 'Palma' and 'El Quebec' too. There are lots of places to try it and each make it differently, so something for everyone!
- Rabas y Chipirones rebozados (battered squid and cuttlefish). Lots of places do it well 'La Radio', 'El Museo de la Música', 'Tivoli'.
- Croquetas rellenas (stuffed croquettes) (ham, egg, chorizo, meat or blue cheese... ). Recommended 'Restaurante Cantabria' and 'Croqueta y Presumida'.
- Cazuelitas de gulas con patatas (small casserole with potatoes) of all varieties (chorizo, serrano ham, prawns or blue cheese... ). Recommendation: 'Sartenes y Colores', delicious!
- Pichos (tapas) of all kinds, for every taste. I recommend 'Restaurante Cantabria', 'Tivoli', 'Trendy' 'Casa Lita' for cheaper options I'd recommend 'El Punto' and 'La Barruka'.
- To eat or dine, and without breaking the bank, there are lots of places: hamburgers at 'La Vaca Pasiega', fries and lots of other things at 'La Conveniente', sandwiches and main courses at 'Picos en Europa', nibbles at 'El Punto', pizzas at 'Pinocho' and 'PizzaJardín'.
I'll leave you a link I saw, where people recommend places and explain thoroughly what each place offers:
Where do you recommend to go out in Santander?
There are lots of places to go for a drink before you go out to clubs, there's 'El Señor del 3', where they give you really tasty 'cachis' (0.75l glasses) of calimocho (wine and cola) for little more than 2€, same with cachis of beer or whatever drink you want for 6€, or go to 'El Panel', which does the same thing. Then for those who want cheap shots, 'Rincón de Lucía' is the cheapest, although not the best quality...
Clubs to go to:
- Wednesday: recommendations for those brave enough to get a bit messy on this day. First, a visit to the 'Cala', 'Opium' or 'Tokyo', which are always open, and finish at Rocambole.
- Thursday: student day. Cañadío first, then 'Malaspina' and 'Rocambole'. Sometimes 'Kudeta' has nights.
- Friday: Cañadío or Río de la Pila first, then 'Loft', 'Paradise', 'Malapina' and finish with 'Kudeta' or 'Rocambole'.
- Saturday: same plan as Friday, but you can also go to 'Summum' in place of 'Kudeta' to mix things up a bit. I also recommend going to Torrelavega, 35-35 minutes from Santander, with buses running all day and night to get back.
And I also really recommend going a few times to Bilbao (1hr30 on coach, 1h by car) where there are lots of good clubs to go out Thursday-Saturday with really good events, where you can meet up with other Erasmus students that are studying there.
Any advice you'd give to future students in Santander?
Meet up with local people and stay with them. I know it's difficult and there are a lot of students, that depending on the country, hang out with others from their own country, but it's worth meeting people from Santander and, obviously, with other Erasmus students.
I recommend getting in touch with AEGEE, who will give you lots of advice and help. They usually organise low price trips and events.
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