San Sebastian (Donostia) Travel Guide

San Sebastian

San Sebastian is a city that’s simply made for culinary lovers, beach-goers and romantics alike. Located on the Bay of Biscay, which is only just twelve miles from France, in the Basque country of Spain, the cityscape offers beautiful views of the Bay, as well as the mountains on the southern side of the city.

San Sebastian is often recognised as a top foodie destination and culinary city in the world, and for good reason. It is home to three of Spain’s seven three-star (the highest level) Michelin-starred restaurants. However, if you’d rather skip the fancy stuff and go for what the locals eat, you may want to try pintxos. One of the city’s most well-known foods is pintxos, which is very popular in Basque Country. Pintxos is a snack often eaten in social settings and usually consists of cod, hake, anchovies and various meats. It’s also a pretty popular bar food, so be sure to enjoy it as a before-dinner hors d’oeuvre. The difference between these little delightful bites and tapas? They’re typically held together on a skewer or toothpick, while tapas are not, and served on top of a thick slice of bread.

If food is not your thing, you can check out one of the city’s four beaches located on the Cantabrian Sea. Each beach offers a different experience. Try La Concha Beach, which is arguably the most popular and well-known, if you don’t mind the tourists and the crowds. Then maybe head to Ondarreta which is the most family-friendly, where kids are welcome. These two beaches make up the bay beaches. The Zurriola beach attracts a younger crowd and is a popular destination for surfers. Isla Santa Clara is the smallest beach, and it fluctuates throughout the day with the tide. This beach has a bar, a first aid station and a natural swimming pool filled with sea water.

The dating website We Love Dates recently declared San Sebastian one of the Top 25 Most Romantic cities in the entire world. A mix of beautiful and classic architecture, wonderful beaches and amazing food obviously highlights this. San Sebastian isn’t without its romantic lodging either. Hotel Maria Cristina and Hotel Villa Soro are two of the several options for a romantic stay.

From hotels to buildings, the city’s architecture brings a unique feel to every street. One of the most popular sites in the city for tourists to visit is the Buen Pastor Cathedral. The cathedral features gothic revival architecture and was built in the 1800s. Other popular tourist attractions include the Basilica of Santa Maria, the San Sebastian International Film Festival (which is held every September and showcases over 200 films), San Telmo Museo (the oldest museum in the Basque Country) and the Victoria Eugenia Theatre.

One of the best ways to see the city in its entirety is to take a guided tour. Tickets start at 10 euros and last about two hours.  San Sebastian is more than just a culinary palace, a beach dream and a romantic haven. That is what makes it special.