Elegant, surrounded by nature and with a gastronomy that convinces even the most demanding palate… San Sebastian or Donostia is one of those cities that do not leave anyone indifferent. If you want to take a stroll around (of course you do!), take note of the 10 unmissable plans to enjoy in this beautiful city of Euskadi.
1. Approach La Concha Beach
It is probably the most beautiful urban beach in tooooda Europe and the most famous image of San Sebastian. This very long coastline stretches across the bay between gentle green mountains, offering a spectacular postcard, especially on sunny days. Although we have to warn you that if you are cold, tasting the water of the Cantabrian Sea may cost you a little bit, but bathing there is quite an experience. With or without baths, it is always interesting to walk along the promenade, enjoy the views and flip with the cases that are on the front line of the beach (hopefully get up in the morning and have that panoramic!).
2. Take a photo with the Wind Comb
If the day accompanies you and you want to continue walking, go to the emblematic sculpture known as the “Wind Comb”. It is located on Ondarreta Beach and is a steel work by the Basque sculptor Eduardo Chillida. It is undoubtedly one of the most representative places in the city.
3. Lose yourself in the streets of the Historical Quarter
Much of San Sebastian’s charm is due to the sea, that’s true. But don’t think that the beauty of the city stays in the sand of the beach, not at all! Donostia has one of the most coquettish and delicate historical centres in Spain, and being able to stroll aimlessly through its streets is a pleasure. Without direction, okay, but point these places where you pass yes or yes: the Plaza de la Constitución, the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, several stops at pintxos bars (below we give you a few suggestions to gain a few pounds) and of course ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
4. Visit the Basilica of Santa María del Coro
As soon as you see its façade, you’ll fall in love instantly: it’s one of the most beautiful examples of baroque-rococo art you’ll ever see (and no, we’re not exaggerating!). It was built in 1774, in the same place where there used to be a Gothic church. The curious thing is that it maintains elements of different architectural types: Gothic, Neoclassical and of course Baroque.
5. Get the hell out of here!
By fiiiin! If hunger squeezes, there is only one correct answer: pinks! In Donosti, getting out of pinxtos (or “go de poteo”) is almost as essential as breathing. There are hundreds of places to taste the local delicacies, but if you want to be on the safe side, take these recommendations:
Risotto at Borda Berri
The shrimp brochette in the Goiz-Argi
The potato omelette at the Nestor
Be careful not to confuse pinxtos with tapas for free: pintxos are paid and, to tell the truth, they are not so cheap (average price 2-4€). But it’s one of the most interesting things to do in San Sebastian. If you leave without trying them it would be like going to Naples and not eating pizza: a capital sin!
6. Climb Mount Igueldo
Don’t worry, we’re not going to propose you to climb it: you’ll just have to take a funicular and in a few minutes you’ll be at the top of Monte Igueldo. The reason for climbing is simple: the panoramic view from up there is one of those that removes the hiccups. You’ll have Concha Bay under your feet, and the swaying of the waves and the crossroads of the city streets before your eyes. It’s a pa-sa-da!
7. Give yourself a treat in La Perla
Founded in 1912, La Perla Spa Resort is one of the best known and most valued in Spain. Characters of the stature of Queen María Cristina passed through here and their installations are the living demonstration of the “Belle époque” of San Sebastian. In addition it is not as expensive as it may seem: the 3 hour voucher, which gives access to the thermal pools, jacuzzi, sauna, etc, costs about 33,5€. Besides… a day is a day and you deserve this little whim!
8. Surf at Zurriola Beach
If the spa plan doesn’t go with you and you need to get going, maybe you can rent a surfboard and enjoy the waves of the Bay of Biscay in the beautiful Zurriola Beach. There are even schools that offer classes for beginners (prices depend on the number of people enrolled, for example the one hour class for two people costs 40€/pax, for 4 people 25€/pax). No doubt an alternative plan for your trip to San Sebastian.
9. Visit Hondarribia
Do you have several days of time to get to know San Sebastian? Take a few hours to go to Hondarribia, one of the most beautiful villages in the Basque Country. It is only 23 km from the city and its visit will not disappoint you. This colourful city, a stone’s throw from the French Basque Country, is divided into two parts: the historic quarter (the oldest quarter, of medieval origin) and the Marina (the fishing quarter, with super-coloured wooden balcony houses). If you don’t have a car you can get to Hondarribia by bus E21, in 20-45min.
10. Stay in a hostel
San Sebastian has a reputation for being an expensive city, but… if you stay in one of its fabulous hostels you can find a bedroom bed from 14€ and double rooms from 44€! In addition, you will be able to make new friends, tour the city in company and save some good money J
Find your hostel in San Sebastian here!
We hope we have helped you plan your escape to Donostia, we have nothing left but to wish you a happy trip!
About the authors
“Travel, gastronomy and art are the great passions of Rober and Lety, a couple who have felt tiny watching the sunrise in Burma, have travelled in a bus with a goat on the roof in the Philippines, have bathed under the Milky Way in New Zealand and… better discover more adventures on their blog: www.mochileandoporelmundo.com.Su motto: if many dream the same as you, dream stronger!
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