San Sebastian Spain Travel Guide

For a unique holiday where you can bask on the beach on one day and go skiing the next, San Sebastian in Spain could be the ideal destination.

Also known as Donostia, the capital of the province of Guipuzcoa is the perfect location if you want to drink in some Basque culture, sample delicious food and take part in a range of exciting activities.

Beach-wise, the city has some stunning stretches of sand that attract crowds of tourists every year.

When wandering around San Sebastian, there is plenty to see – particularly the old churches and an array of architectural styles in the Old Town neighborhood. This part of the city is also densely packed with lively bars, making it a great place to head to for tourists staying in cheap hotels.

Various museums and galleries provide other points of interest for those looking to take in some culture.

In the evenings, you can head to one of the many Michelin-starred restaurants dotted around the city or save some money by sampling the equally fantastic food at San Sebastian’s bars and smaller eating establishments.

Pintxos, the Basque version of tapas, is a must-try for anyone with even a passing interest in food. These little dishes are packed with flavorsome ingredients ranging from fresh seafood and meat to locally produced vegetables and are teamed with some delightful wines for the perfect meal.

In terms of skiing, San Sebastian is situated close to the Pyrenees, which are located roughly along the border between Spain and France and harbor many winter sports resorts.

Do not let the cold months of winter deter you from planning your next vacation or at least taking a few minutes to envision the sand between your toes, a walk on a promenade while the waves crash in and a relaxing afternoon in a chaise lounge underneath the sun’s rays. San Sebastian, Spain is a classic weekend hot spot and an excellent backdrop to get you through the winter blues.

Pop in just for the day to recharge or plan a long weekend away. Whether you are a history buff, beach lover or active enthusiast, San Sebastian appeals to every kind of traveler. An easy drive from Barcelona, Spain or Toulouse, France and a typical stopover for jet-setters to Biarritz, France, for those craving a more relaxed atmosphere. In just 24 hours, you will find everything you are looking for.

Traces of all, this still can be found, but the city has changed quite a bit during the last forty years. That doesn’t mean that is has lost its charm, although the palaces could use some fresh paint.

Today San Sebastian is one of the major tourist hot spots in Northern Spain. Tourists from all over the world come to visit the lovely old city center, the glamour might be decaying, the prices of hotels still reflect the old splendor.

The city has about 170,000 inhabitants, but almost all the sights are well within walking distance from the city center. Orientation is easy: the main beach La Concha (the shell) is always close. As the name indicates, it forms a perfect half circle and the shiny white sand indeed reminds the visitor of a beautiful seashell. Either end of La Concha is marked by a hill – at the western end the Monte Igleldo, in the East the Monte Urgull. Right in the middle of the bay, you can see the little island Santa Clara, a popular place in summer, because it is usually less crowded than the cities beaches.

Are you ready to shop? OK ladies, leave the guys at the beach and make your way to La Bretxa or San Martin. San Sebastian fits anyone’s wallet: designer boutiques, souvenir shops, international brands and Spanish varieties. Do not forget the Spanish siesta, where many of the stores will be closed A siesta, a nap or longer lunch, is a common tradition which is usually taken midday. Many stores and establishments in San Sebastian hold true to their culture opening around 8:30-10am, taking a siesta around 1-2pm and then re-opening around 4-5pm.