One of Santander’s best and oldest (open since 1960) cafés for for chocolate con churros, Chocolatería Áliva features long canteen-style tables and a relaxed, but busy atmosphere. While you can have coffee and sponge cakes here, too, you’re better off ordering their signature fresh crispy churros (similar to long fried doughnuts) and cup of thick, dark hot chocolate.
Situated on the graceful porticoed Plaza Pombo, Café de Pombo is both an elegant and historic choice. Painted in dark green and decorated with lots of brass lamps, mirrors and beautifully carved wooden furniture, it makes quite the statement. It’s a little pricier than other cafés in the city, but you’re paying for the atmosphere and history, as well as the food. There is even a famous painting of the café, by the artist José Gutiérrez Solana, which now hangs in the Reina Sofía art museum in Madrid.
A modern café with a lovely sunny terrace outside, Cafe Suizo is ideal for breakfasts, as well as for mid-morning or late afternoon snacks. They serve everything from coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice to pastries, filled sandwiches and apple tarts.
This chain café is popular all over Spain, particularly for its famous hot chocolate, which comes from the town of Valor in the province of Granada in Andalusia. Thick and sweet and almost custard-like, it’s best paired with some freshly made churros.
This grungy, hipster-style café has a chic industrial feel with bare concrete walls, exposed wires and pipes, glammed up by colourful tiles, hanging lamps and intricate ceiling carvings. It’s essentially a bakery with a huge seating area, serving up everything from pastries and cakes to sandwiches and rolls. Those looking for something more substantial can also order empanadas and slices of tortilla.