Comillas – the Spanish royal resort since 19th century

Comillas is a municipality and a town in the autonomous community of Cantabria (Spain) located in the Comarca de la Costa Occidental.

The popular part of the Costa Cantabria of the Atlantic resorts of Spain.

From the second half of the 19th century, the Spanish royal family started spending their summers in Comillas, and so did large part of the Spanish nobility, whose many descendants still frequent the town every summer. As a result, Comillas left an imprint of architectural relics such as palaces and monuments designed by renowned Catalan artists in particular, i.e. Gaudí or Doménech i Montaner. It still maintains its character as “the haven for the decadent and discreet aristocracy”.

Tourism and main attractions

The municipality of Comillas has several assets of cultural interest:

Gaudí’s El Capricho building: the sunflower mosaics stand out on the whim. Also next to the caprice is the statue of Antoni Gaudí.

Main façade of the cemetery, a monument since 1983. The Comillas cemetery was installed next to a late 15th century church, already in ruins. The reform began in 1881, and Domènech i Montaner intervened in it, integrating the ruin into the cemetery, by creating a closure with crosses and pinnacles. On one of the walls of the old church stands the sculpture El Ángel Exterminador, a modernist work by Josep Llimona (from 1895).

Old Pontifical University: apart from the university building that used to be a seminary, you can see the portal and the many gardens.

Palace of Sobrellano or of the Marquis of Comillas: next to it stands out the Panteón chapel where the Marquis’s family is buried along with him. The Palace and the Chapel are located in a green field with many trees.

Cueva de La Meaza, in Ruiseñada, archaeological zone.

The town of Comillas, a historical complex since 1985.

The church of San Cristóbal, a baroque building built between 1640 and the end of the 18th century. In it, the tower stands out, finished in a pinnacle of French style and the interior, spacious and slender. The organ, the Santo Cristo del Amparo and the vaults of Gothic tradition stand out. The church tower was toppled in the civil war by a Republican bomb, but it was rebuilt and made taller.

The Torre de la Vega, formerly owned by the Casa de la Vega (Garcilaso I de la Vega).

The Tres Caños fountain, a monumental work by the modernist architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner. It was built thanks to Joaquín del Piélago for bringing water to Comillas. It was one of the first towns in Spain to have water in their houses.

Güell y Martos Park, a public park and architectural elements by the Catalan architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner. In it is the statue of the Marquis and several crosses that symbolize death, since it was made in 1890 after his death.

Statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Next to the Rectoral House.

El Espolón Cultural Center (18th century), an interesting neoclassical building, built in 1794 by order of Juan Domingo González de la Reguera.

House of the Duke of Almodóvar del Río, 19th century English style.

Coteruca Palace: large building with battlements similar to a castle where aristocratic families resided. This building was burned in the civil war by the Republicans but today it has been restored.

Beaches

The city central beach – a picturesque sandy beach. The city centre lies a littler farther back away from the beach that has a large car-park with many reserved disabled parking spaces as well as wheelchair ramps that lead right to the beach. The fishing port lies at one end of the beach. There is a good choice of bars and restaurants.

How to get to?

From Santander 46 min (54.1 km) via A-67 and A-8

From Madrid 4 hr 26 min (462 km) via A-67

Main information

Area: 18 km²

Coordinates: 43°23′13″N 4°17′22″W

Population: 2117

Languages: Spanish

Currency: Euro

Visa: Schengen

Time: Central European UTC +1

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