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The town of the Archbishops

Comillas is located in the western coast of Cantabria, 48 kilometres from Santander, and is one of the most important tourism destinations in the region.

The town was declared a historical and artistic heritage site in 1985 and is known as the “Villa de los Arzobispos” -the town of the Archbishops- because no less than five prelates of important dioceses were born there in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

A historical fishing village

This historical fishing village underwent a major transformation at the end of the eighteenth century, when the Real Seminario Cántabro, an illustrious educational institution, was set up there, and after the mid-nineteenth century, with Antonio Lopéz and Lopéz, the first Marquis of Comillas. This naval entrepreneur, banker and industrialist achieved a very important status in the Spain of the time as senator, and even managed to persuade King Alfonso XII to stay there during his summer holiday.

Neo-gothic Mudejar buildings

Some of the most significant buildings in the town were constructed by the Marquis himself, such us the residence in the Palacio Sobrellano, the vault annex and the University Pontificia, which stands out above the landscape of Comillas, or by his relatives. There was an assiduous use of the skills of some of the most significant architects of the Catalan modernist movement, such as Martorel and Gaudí.


The exceptional concentration of Neo-gothic Mudejar buildings from the end of the nineteenth century fuses with a beautiful old quarters in traditional mountain style with typical paved streets and stone casonas (mansions) featuring large coats of arms.


Head up to the town’s most emblematic building, the Universidad Pontificía. Located on a slop, from which it looks out over the entire village, this building is in the Neo-gothic/ Mudejar style. It is decorated with arches, coloured glass windows and features a gable roof. The main entrance to the University is particularly worth a visit.


Another unmissable building is the Palacio de Sobrellano, also known as the “Palacio del Marques de Comillas” –Mansion of the Marquis of Comillas-. Neo- gothic in style, this building is the work of the architect Joan Martorel.


Some of the furniture was designed by Gaudí, who was also the creator of the “Capricho” a stunning building in the Arabesque style that was declared a historical heritage monument in 1969. In the early 1990`s it was restored.


After seeing the Modernist side of Comillas, visitors can stroll into the town centre, with its ancestral mansions displaying their coats of arms, typical of Cantabria, and modernist features, such as the Los Tres Caños water fountain or the Portada de Moro.

This is also the site of the San Cristobal, which dates back to the seventeenth century. Other attractions such as The Plaza del Corro, with its typical ambiance of cafes and restaurants that becomes busy during the summer.


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