travel blog » San Sebastián: Travel tips for the Basque Country

San Sebastián: Travel tips for the Basque Country

It is impossible to arrive in San Sebastián, or Donostia, as the Basque name is, and not fall in love with the city directly. San Sebastián is indeed the pearl of Spain, especially in summer. What makes it so special and how you can spend your holiday in the north of Spain best, I will tell you here.

What makes San Sebastián so special?

The city actually has everything you need to spend an all-round successful holiday. Thanks to its location on the Atlantic Ocean, there is always a pleasant climate and it never gets too hot. Surfer's favorite for years, San Sebastián, despite its conditions, is not yet very well known to the wider masses and therefore not overcrowded even in high season. The city is best known for its annual International Film Festival and its gourmet cuisine.

Beaches in Donostia

The long sandy beach of La Concha has long held the title of the most beautiful urban beach in the world. The bay and the mountain Monte Urgull enthroned above the city in the background - San Sebastián reminds me a little bit of a smaller, much more cosy Rio de Janeiro.

Those who come here for surfing meet at the equally beautiful Playa Zurriola. For beginners there are surf courses and surf rental.


Try the star cuisine

The old town of San Sebastián is lined with famous pintxo bars and small pubs. Pinxtos are how they call their tapas here, which you can get for less than two Euros, including drink. Everything in San Sebastián is so close by that you almost automatically move from bar to bar with the same people in a large group.

An above-average number of restaurants from San Sebastián regularly end up on the best lists in the world. The city currently holds the record of the most Michelin stars per square meter. A true paradise for gourmets.

Monte Urgull

After an evening of good food and partying in the old town, the next day you can simply relax on the beach or enjoy water sports. In the late afternoon, a short hike from the harbour to Monte Urgull is worthwhile.

There are many devious ways up to the statue of Christ. No matter which one you choose - in between you will always be rewarded with a breathtaking view over the bay, the harbour or the city. On the way you will encounter countless remnants of old fortifications, the old English cemetery and finally the statue as the highest point above the city. In the free museum about the history of the city, at the foot of the statue, there are stairs that lead to the top and offer you the best view over the Basque port city.


The meeting point for sunset is the promenade of La Zurriola every evening. Covered with food and drink sitting on the beach wall, watching the sun disappear into the sea - it doesn't get any better than this!


Getting to San Sebastián

If you want to fly to San Sebastián, you will usually have to accept a stopover in Madrid or Barcelona. So it is rather worthwhile to take a direct flight to Bilbao, which is 70 kilometers away. You can find flights there from as little as 40 Euros. From Bilbao you can easily get to San Sebastián by bus or train. So you can also include a few hours of sightseeing in Bilbao.

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