Santander has its own bus network, TUS Santander, the city buses are easy to spot, as are the bus stops. The main bus station is right in the centre, opposite the RENFE and FEVE, and a short, flat 5 minute walk from the ferry port, and there are also major interchanges in El Sardinero and Valdecilla (the hospital). The bus station is where the airport bus arrives, and where regional, national and international buses leave from. However, there are only one or two local buses which leave from outside of here, the number 4 being of most interest. For a wider selection of buses, you need to walk through the road tunnel outside the station towards the town hall (ayuntamiento), where there are bigger bus stops (both right and left of the exit of the tunnel) from where you can get all over Santander itself. At every bus stop there is a clear map showing the bus routes and and stops, or you can download a map and timetable of the bus network. Be careful, as where there are multiple bus stops in one place you must be at the correct bus stop for your bus, the buses can only stop at their designated stops, the bus numbers for each stop are clearly shown with coloured stickers on the glass panels of each stop. Most of the city buses now have automated information systems at the front of the bus to inform you of the next stop (some of them speak). There is a flat fare for any bus journey on the local TUS buses of 1.30€, but if you are staying for longer in the city it may be worth you buying a bus card, available from the bus station, which is rechargeable and gives you cheaper fares, or using the Contactless Card.
Torrelavega has its own urban bus network, the Torrebus, running 6 lines around the city, with stops including the FEVE and RENFE stations and Viernoles. Tickets are 1.10€.
Castro Urdiales also has its own urban bus network, Castrobus, with 4 lines running both around Castro, and connecting nearby towns and villages such as Islares, Oriñon, Mioño and Sámano. Tickets are 1.40€.
Regional, National & International
There’s a fairly comprehensive bus network in Cantabria run by several companies which covers most areas of Cantabria, although admittedly some areas more than others. The hub for most buses is the main bus station in Santander, where there are ticket offices for all the main companies in the main entrance hall, and a clear departures and arrivals board as you walk in, telling you where to go to catch each bus. Some local ALSA buses will also accept the Contactless Card. The Transporte de Cantabria website has timetables and prices for all companies in Cantabria.
Companies that run buses from Santander include:
ALSA – Torrelavega every 15 mins, Los Corrales de Buelna, Reinosa, Laredo, Castro Urdiales, San Vicente de la Barquera locally. Also Bilbao, San Sebastian, Madrid, Barcelona, Asturias, Galicia, and more. They also buses directly from Santander airport to cities such as Bilbao, Oviedo and Gijon. You can buy ALSA tickets in advance online for long distance journeys, and this is advisable for long distance.
Palomera – Potes and on to Fuente De in summer, Somo, Santoña
La Cantabrica – Santillana del Mar, Comillas, San Vicente de la Barquera
Turytrans – run to many villages in Cantabria (and have no website, but their times are on the Transporte de Cantabria website)
Bilman Bus – Vitoria, Logroño, Teruel and the south coast of Spain (Valencia, Murcia, Alicante etc).
Eurolines – international buses to Germany, Belguim, France, Holland and Switzerland.
Additionally, the bus station in Torrelavega is also a hub for the south and west of Cantabria. Be aware that there are some buses in Torrelavega which do not leave from the bus station, but from stops around the town (most from outside the FEVE train station, with the exception of Suances which stops behind the Hotel Regio), notably to Suances (2+ a day), Santillana del Mar (7 a day) Comillas (7 a day), San Vicente de la Barquera (7 a day). Information about this is available at the bus station, and the bus route maps available on the Transporte de Cantabria website should clear up any doubts.
It is also possible to hire buses and minibuses in Cantabria, there are many bus companies that do so, most towns have a bus company that will. Palomera, mentioned above, are one such company, as are N.R.Ruiz
For those arriving at Santander airport and wanting to get into the centre of Santander (or visa versa), there is an airport shuttle bus which runs every 30 minutes from the stand just outside the airport to the main bus station, one way tickets can be bought on the bus from the driver for 2.10€…good idea to have some change for this as they don’t take kindly to hundreds of 20 Euro notes!
Santander also has a hop-on-hop-off tourist bus, run by the worldwide company City Sightseeing. These panoramic, red, double-decker buses run a nice route around Santander linking the main sights over 9 stops, including going up to the lighthouse, for 15€ a day. They also offer a “Santander Experience” ticket, which includes a boat tour, walking tour and tapas. These buses run from 1st July – 30th September. Tickets can be bought online in advance if desired.