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Surf, Sand & Sebastian

Stylish San Sebastián (Donostia in Basque) has the air of an upscale resort, complete with an idyllic location on the shell-shaped Bahía de la Concha. The natural setting – crystalline waters, a flawless beach, green hills on all sides – is captivating, but the city itself has plenty to offer. Head to the buzzing Parte Vieja (Old Quarter) for tempting tapas bars and gourmet restaurants. Or just get your surf gear together and hit the waves. 

Top Tips

  • Climb to the top of El Monte Urgull, a 20 min walk from the city centre for fantastic views or if you're feeling lazy take the cable car!
  • Do a Pintxo pub crawl, and don't be shy to ask the staff for their recommendations
  • Try The Kalimotxo (pronounced "calimotcho") 1/2 wine and 1/2 coca cola, popular among the youths

1. Hit the beach!

San Sebastian has some of the best urban beaches in Europe with a wide range of activities to do. There are 3 beaches that you must know about and visit whilst in town. La Concha Beach:This is the most famous and popular of all the beaches. A white sandy beach perfect for relaxing, that is dotted with luxurious mansions, spas and cafes.
Ondaretta Beach: Located just to the west of La Concha, it is a little bit smaller than the other beaches and frequented by mostly locals and families. A good reason to head here is to walk to the start of Monte Igueldo, another must see sight in town.
Zurriola Beach: Located on the other side of old town, Zurriola is known to bring in the younger crowds and surfers with its big waves and lots of surf schools. A popular spot for those not wanting to brave the waves is ‘El Muro’ where you can sit and enjoy the sunset over the beach at the end of the day.

2. Monte Urgull

Once a strategic military point, cannon ruins still lay visible and are a part of the old fortifications on Monte Urgull. You can climb to the summit to see the castle walls and the grand statue of Christ. Wait a little while for sunset and you’ll get the most beautiful view of the bay lit up all the way across the city.

3. Monte Igueldo

Another spot to get some great photos is Monte Igueldo. A funicular that is over 100 years old will take you all the way to the top for some great views over the town. Once at the top you’ll discover the oldest amusement park in the region that opened its doors in 1911 and is still going! It’s a little on the old side, so don’t expect the latest thrill park rides, but it’s good fun nonetheless.

4. Aquarium

This isn’t just any old aquarium; it’s also a nature science museum that is located right in the port area of La Concha Beach, first opening its doors in 1928! The main attraction is the massive tank, where you can view over 200 species through walking its glass tunnels

5. Take a trip to Santa Clara Island

In the bay you’ll see Santa Clara Island, which is a nice place to spend your day exploring and relaxing. There is a small beach where you can swim, there are plenty of hiking tracks to be found to the island’s lighthouse or you can simply chill out, have a picnic and watch the world go by.

You must try the local pintxos in San Sebastian, a Basque version of Spanish tapas. Pintxos is a Basque-Spanish word for small snack and you will find them in a lot of bars around Old Town.

Eats

1. Atari

Atari is a pintxos bar with the most incredible, mouth-watering specialties. One of their specialties is a rich, melt in your mouth piece of beef cheek with potato mash. They also have gluten free pintxos available.

2. La Mejillonera

This is a very fun, loud and buzzing pintxos bar with mussels prepared in many different ways. Get in there early to avoid the crowds, and watch out for the empty mussel shells that are thrown on the ground as a sign of respect for the chef!

3. Astelena

Situated in the old town square, this place will blow your mind with delectable pintxos spread all over the bar top. Must-try dishes include the mini steak and the mini desserts. Or you could be adventurous and try the frog’s legs.

4. Petritegi

Basque cider is a regional specialty and is a little different to the stuff you’ll find elsewhere. The local brew is pretty much just pressed, fermented apples with a dry and intense flavor. Petritegi is a brewery out in the hills near San Sebastian and inside you’ll find a 2-metre long stream where you can catch your drink (as the locals do) emerging directly from the barrel that it was brewed in. The food is pretty spectacular too, with set menus of seafood, veggies, sausages, steaks and cheeses.

Drinks

1. Zibibbos

Zibibbos is a great place to go for a dance and a drink with an exciting mix of travellers and locals. Head there any time after 10pm and dance until the early hours of the morning.

2. Bataplan

This is a huge club right next to La Concha Beach, where you will surely have an epic night. There’s a huge dance floor with a with plenty of room to strut your stuff and glass doors that open up to a terrace overlooking the beach.

3. Mendaur

This bar is extremely popular with a mix of travellers and local students. It is so busy it spills onto the streets outside. Mendaur is a great place to go dancing.

4. Relojberri

In a fantastic location, Relojberri is one venue you’ll not want to miss, dancing to the early morning with the sounds of groove music.

5. Be Bop

Feeling the urge to go Salsa dancing? This dark and mysterious bar plays a mixture of jazz and Latin music that will make your feet move to the sound of the beat. The cool bar has a good range of drinks with cocktails that are well priced.

Click the coloured pins to find out how to get here

Recommendations

13

Our guide said you can tell which bars have the best pintxos - the ones with all the discarded napkins and plates on the floor. He was right."

Henrik, Norway