Palacio de la Magdalena

Santander, Spain

The Palacio de la Magdalena was built between 1909 and 1911, by popular subscription, to house the Spanish Royal Family. Built by the architects Javier González Riancho and Gonzalo Bringas Vega, is located in the place where the old Fort of San Salvador de Hano was, which protected the entrance to the bay.

The design and construction of the palace were overseen by architects Javier González de Riancho and Gonzalo Bringas Vega, with construction completed in 1912. King Alfonso XIII and his family first arrived at the Palacio de la Magdalena on August 4, 1913, and returned annually to summer at the palace through 1930. The royal family used the palace as a base for numerous recreational and sporting activities, and the king sometimes also held government meetings at the property. The annual trips ended with the proclamation of the Second Spanish Republic in 1931.

Beginning in 1932, the palace was used to host summer courses through the Menéndez Pelayo International University. In 1977 the Count of Barcelona sold the palace and the peninsula back to the city of Santander for 150 million pesetas. The palace was declared an historical monument in 1982 and renovated between 1993 and 1995. It is the most visited place in the city of Santander and continues to be used as a conference and meeting hall to the present day.


The building has an eclectic style, combining English, French, and regional architectural styles. It has two points of entry, a north entrance with a Porte-cochère for carriages, and a second entrance to the south which was designed as the main entrance. The building is covered with stone masonry slate. The highlight of the interior is the reception rooms, which hold paintings of interest by artists such as Luis Benedito, Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida, and Fernando Alvarez Sotomayor.

The stables were designed by Javier González de Riancho. They emulate a medieval English village with sharp roofs of steep slopes and wooden tiles. After summer courses were started, the stables were converted to student dormitories.


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Founded: 1909-1911
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Spain

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User Reviews

Robert Nuszpl (7 months ago)
Lovely little peninsula with a nice castle looking building on the tip with magnificent views. There is a little "train" service for the ones who can't/do not want to walk but honestly, it is worth the effort. Not too hilly and if you go anti-clockwise you will reward yourself with a chance to see cute little penguins and see lions! Definitely recommend when you are in Santander! For adults and children alike!
Marc Müller (Molly) (8 months ago)
We walked around the small island. Pretty nice park area, which is free to enter and public open. You can go for a walk, see the Palacio, your kinds can play on a separate area, Rex and enjoy the view to the sea or you go to the beach or the small zoo area. The garden areas and the palacio where super renovated and groomed. We walked around and enjoyed the morning. Dogs are as well allowed. In total really nice and recommended.
Biswabrata Banerjee (8 months ago)
Fantastic view of the bay and from both sides. The palace is situated in such a way that it is surrounded by sea from three sides. Best scenic and photogenic park in the town. Huge green field for kids to play and plenty of sitting arrangements for tourists. All in all a 10/10 place to hang around, making birthday parties in the open, chill out with your gang and even enjoy sun bath in the little adjacent beach.
Veronica Bonilla (8 months ago)
The views are beautiful on a clear day. I took the train up to the palace which really added to the experience. There are various other things to see in the area of the park. It’s very well maintained with lots of green areas and flowers. Check out the old ships, the marine animals in their enclosed area, and the marine museum. It is a nice place to explore with views of the nearby beaches.
Heydita 10 (10 months ago)
Beautiful architecture and a great story behind it. With beautiful beches and parks to enjoy in Santander, Spain A must see!
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