Santander – Seve Ballesteros Airport (SDR) is located on the southern half of the bay of Santander. Air traffic to the airport is ever-increasing, and it is now served by several national and international airlines: Iberia, Air Nostrum, Vueling, Ryanair, Volotea, Wizz Air. There are considerably reduced flights over the winter months.
Services before security include cashpoints (ATMs), toilets, a large cafe (serving hot food, but not a restaurant), and a newsagent/gift shop. There is free WiFi both before and after security – for once you don’t even have to sign in to use it either.
Airside, there’s a smaller bar/cafe with some local produce on sale and a small selection of cold food, a small duty free shop, which has a small selection of wine, olive oil and other usual duty free products. There are also toilets on the ground floor, but be aware that if your flight leaves from upstairs (gates 6 & 7 – where amongst others the Ryanair London flights usually leave from), there are no toilets upstairs!
There’s a small tourist information stand in the arrivals area with brochures etc, although it is not always manned.
Outside the airport, there’s a large paid car park, with covered areas, there is no additional short stay/drop off car park, but it is cheap to park for a short time. It is possible to reserve spaces in advance online, however it is not necessary – there’s always space. There is no area for stopping cars outside, and a tow truck is usually parked there waiting! For those who might be going in the other direction and need to leave their car at the airport for a longer period of time, there is new company offering low-cost, long-stay parking close the airport with free transfers, Parking Parayas.
The airport has the following companies in the arrivals hall: Hertz, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Europcar, Avis, OK Rent A Car. Goldcar are also just outside the airport (they have a shuttle bus to their office).
There are information boards on the shuttle bus & taxi prices just next to the doors in the arrivals lounge. Directly outside the doors of the arrivals lounge is a well stocked taxi rank (with official taxis only).
Airport Shuttle Bus
There is a clearly marked airport shuttle bus which runs every 30 minutes, on the hour and half hour, directly to the main bus station, taking about 10 minutes. It leaves from its own designated area (usually full of naughtily parked cars until the bus arrives and they clear off), where there is a bilingual information post, a large yellow painted area on the floor to indicate where to wait, and an electronic timing board to tell you when the next bus is due. A timetable online can be found here. One way tickets can be bought on the bus from the driver for 2.90€…it’s a good idea to have some change for this if you can, as they don’t take kindly to hundreds of 20€ notes!
Long Distance Buses
There is an area just past the shuttle bus stop which is the small but well designed Long Distance bus stop area. There are direct buses with ALSA to places like Bilbao, Gjion, Oviedo, Laredo, Castro Urdiales etc. Tickets for these buses should be bought in advance online on the ALSA website, or can be bought from the ALSA ticket machine in the arrivals lounge at the airport, but there is no manned ALSA ticket office at the airport.
There are no hotels in the direct vicinity of the airport, the best option is to choose one close to the bus station in Santander and take the shuttle bus if you’re getting in late or leaving early.
Well, not quite, but if you’re hanging around in the airport waiting for a plane, bus or similar, why not get one last/first little excursion in? If you head out of the airport, you’ll see to your left there is a stone walled cemetery on the corner of the main road, next to the roundabout with the plane on, and it’s worth a little investigate. Inside are the remains of a 12th century Romanesque church and the excavations underneath it of a Roman bathhouse, all explained in a little information hut inside, and all covered if it’s raining too. You’ll see the sign and information board on the corner outside the cemetery, all you need to do is go through the gate and it’s there in front of you. It’s only small, but worth a peek! And it’s literally 1 minute’s walk from the airport forecourt. There you go, a little bit of culture to start/end you trip!