San Sebastián is famous for its white-sand beaches, beautiful architecture, charming Old Town and incredible food. Known as Donostia in Basque, visitors will find a strong regional character and wide selection of cultural events. It’s also a great destination for a short city break. We love this city for so many reasons. To begin, it has wonderful weather year round. It’s a city that can be visited on its own for a few days. Or, you can easily pair it with a longer Spanish holiday. San Sebastian is also a good choice in the off season as well!
This week, we share some tips and ideas for a tailor made city break in this beautiful city.
What to see in San Sebastián
First, locally known as La Parte Vieja, the Old Town is the most popular district of San Sebastian. Most of the buildings there date back to the mid-19th century. It’s a maze of small streets. Here, you will find many Pintxos bars (pronounced “pinchos”, it means ‘tapas’ in Basque) and shops. Places like the church of San Vicente and the basilica of Saint Mary of Coro are also worth a visit.
Second, La Concha Beach is a 1,350-meter strip of sand named after the shell-shaped bay (concha means shell in Spanish). Sunbathing, swimming, and sea kayaking are the main activities available. The beach also features facilities like toilets, showers, lockers, beach guards and Red Cross Emergency Services (in summer).
Third, Mount Igueldo can be accessed by the vintage funicular, first opened in 1912. To start, get to the top to see a breathtaking panorama of Concha Bay and San Sebastian. A popular destination right next to the city, Mount Igueldo features landmarks and attractions like a lighthouse and amusement park.
Finally, Mercado de La Bretxa is a picturesque fresh market at which the top Spanish chefs source their ingredients. Olives, oil, wine, Iberia ham, and many goods can be purchased. As in most Spanish markets, you’ll find a corner with a few stalls selling ready-to-eat local specialties, including tapas.
To conclude, there are so many things to see in the city. Even on your own, with our expert advice, you can explore in your free time.
Tailor made tours
A Welcome to San Sebastian Walking and Pintxos Tour
‘Pintxos’ is the Basque word for tapas. San Sebastián is famous for it’s delicious and sometimes elaborate ones, which you can find at almost every corner of the city. Today, your private guide will introduce you to the city’s history and culture. While at the same time, sample together San Sebastián’s unique food scene. This is a great tour for your first evening as your guide can give you the insider’s knowledge as to where to find the best of the best. With almost one hundred bars to choose from, knowing where to go and what to order only comes with experience and local knowledge. Your host for the evening has plenty of both. Together you can enjoy an evening of fine food and good company.
A Cooking Class at a Private Gastronomic Society
Basque men gather at sociedades gastronmicas to cook, eat, drink, sing, and socialize. (Until recently, women were excluded.) These clubs have nurtured the Basque culinary tradition, resulting in the current proliferation of top restaurants in and around San Sebastián. It is estimated that over 160 sociedades gastronmicas co- exist. Subsequently, we have arranged private access to the most prestigious gastronomic society of them all. Accompanied by your guide and translator, you will enter and learn about the club from the inside. You will spend the morning cooking traditional dishes and discussing Basque cuisine. Once prepared, you will enjoy the fruits of your labor for lunch accompanied by local wines.
A Private Hiking Excursion in San Sebastián
The rugged coastline and countryside around San Sebastián are one of the most panoramic areas of northern Spain. Together, with your local guide, you will be able to experience the outdoors at your own pace. And work off some of that wonderful food and wine you have been enjoying to the fullest! Afterward, there will, of course, be time for another wonderful Spanish meal!
City breaks, tailor made
A few days in the Balearic islands? Or even head to Portugal? The choice is yours and we would be happy to design your trip as you wish. San Sebastian is a great city break to add to so many other destinations!
We hope that these itinerary ideas provided some travel inspiration for a future holiday. As always, its our mission and promise to make your Mediterranean travel dreams come true!
Contact us to start planning!