Photo of Comillas

Visit Comillas

Comillas is in the province of Cantabria in the region of Asturias and Cantabria. Comillas is about 50 km west of Santander.

Explore Comillas

Comillas is a very interesting coastal town with cobbled streets, open squares, two good beaches, historic buildings and a selection of Modernista buildings including the incredible El Capricho designed by Anton Gaudi. The town is one of the most beautiful in Cantabria.

The unusual nature of the architecture of this town compared to surrounding towns is due to the return of emigrants who went to America and came back again introducing Catalan Modernism. Notably amongst these was a wealthy businessman who moved to Barcelona on his return from America and was rewarded with the Marquisate of Comillas as thanks for his help in the Cuban conflict.


The Marquis commissioned the Sobrellano Palace and the chapel-museum of the Marquises. His son built the Pontifical University which he offered to the pope who gave it the pontifical title in return.

To make sure you see the main sights call in at the tourist office to get a map. There is a map with a route round the town to take in the Modernista sights and another to take in the historic sights.

A highlight among the buildings is the 'El Capricho' designed by Antoni Gaudi. Much of the building and the Mudejar-style tower are covered in tiles in typical Gaudi style. The building is now a restaurant, quite expensive but well worth it for the experience of eating in a Gaudi building as well as for the food. Even if you don't eat there you can visit the garden which allows you to have a closer look at the building.


The beautiful Sobrellano Palace is another Modernista building designed by one of Gaudi's associates Joan Martorell. It is possible and recommended to take a tour inside the building. The chapel mausoleum is Modernista with a classical influence where the palace has a more Gothic influence. It is thought to be one of the best examples of Modernist Catalan architecture in Cantabria. Some of the furnishings inside were designed by Gaudi.

Another building on your tour is the Pontifical University which is approached through a very quirky entrance gateway and the building itself is stunning. A mix of Eclectic, Gothic-Mudejar and Modernist, all in wonderful rich red and orange coloured bricks, mixed with stone to enhance the shapes of the detail in the building. You can visit the gardens and so get a closer look.

As well as these Modernista sights there are a wealth of historic sights to see in Comillas, including the lovely Plaza del Corro de Campios which is at the heart of the old town and surrounded by interesting mansions. Of course there is also the harbour and the excellent beaches to visit.

During the second half of the 19th century the Spanish royal family and many aristocratic families spent their summers in Comillas and it is easy to see why and to appreciate the wealth of architecture this popularity brought.

Palacio de Sobrellano

Places to visit nearby

One of the key sights to see are the nearby Altamira caves. These contain some of the best pre-historic paintings in the world.

Be sure also to visit Santillana del Mar, another of the most beautiful towns in Spain. This area is rich in beautiful towns and villages as the nearby village of Barcena-Mayor is classified as a 'most beautiful village of Spain'.

You can find more local travel ideas in the Asturias and Cantabria guide.

See also: 

Photos of Comillas

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Map of Comillas and places to visit


Comillas places to visit

Altamira Caves

Altamira Caves

Some magnificent pre-historic art is in these UNESCO-listed caves. The wonderful paintings are amongst the best prehistoric paintings in the world.

Altamira Caves guide
Santillana del Mar

Santillana del Mar

Santillana del Mar is perhaps the highlight of a visit to this part of Spain. It is one of the best preserved medieval towns in Europe.

Santillana del Mar guide
Barcena Mayor

Barcena Mayor

Barcena Mayor is a picturesque village with lots of the typically balconied houses of the region. Situated in the Cabuerniga Valley.

Barcena Mayor guide
Puente Viesgo

Puente Viesgo

Puente Viesgo is a lovely village in a beautiful setting and has some excellent caves full of stalactites, stalagmites and lots of prehistoric paintings.

Puente Viesgo guide


Llanes is an excellent seaside town on a rugged stretch of coast and with the Picos de Europa providing a backdrop.

Llanes guide


Take a step back in time as you wander around the lovely old town of Potes. An excellent base for visiting the Picos de Europa.

Potes guide

...or see all our recommended places to visit in Asturias and Cantabria