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A Tourism Guide to San Sebastian Spain


San Sebastian Spain

The pearl of the North of Spain


San Sebastian is one of Spain's most attractive, charming and popular cities, and this sophisticated coastal gem, situated in the north of Spain, certainly has a lot to offer its visitors.

Lying on the coast of the Bay of Biscay, being surrounded by hills, and offering a lively beach front means San Sebastian is a city that boasts a range of natural beauty, but the fabulous architecture, plazas and parks dotted throughout the city adds to its well-deserved label as the “pearl” of the North of Spain.

Not only is picturesque San Sebastian visually stunning, it offers a wide variety of activities to its visitors to keep everyone entertained during the day and night.

Beaches in San Sebastian


La Concha and Ondaretta Beaches
Unsurprisingly, one of the city's main attractions is its beach front, which offers sandy beaches and gentle turquoise waters ideal for either a lazy day of sunbathing or a fun-filled day of beach games, paddling and sand-castling building.

La Concha – the city's most popular beach – and Ondaretta lie in the crescent of San Sebastian, and both will satisfy any beach-goer's desires.

Zurriola Beach
Zurriola is renowned for its popularity with young people looking for some sun, sea sand and waves, and this lively beach offers fabulous surfing opportunities, including courses and workshops for the yet-uninitiated.

Mountains
The city is surrounded by accessible mountains, and a trip up either Monte Urgull to explore its ruins, or Monte Igeldo, perhaps to experience the amusement park sitting on its peak, will provide glorious views of San Sebastian.

While Monte Urgull is easily explored by foot, a recommended route to the top of Igeldo involves taking advantage of its funicular railway – an unforgettable experience in itself!

Beautiful Architecture
A lot of San Sebastian's charm lies in the beautiful examples of architecture dotted around the city, and a leisurely visit to these monuments will allow you to truly experience the heart of San Sebastian.

Buen Pastor Cathedral is one of the city's most popular attractions, and with one glimpse of the building, it's easy to see why.

Heading into the Old Town you'll find the Basilica of Santa Maria and San Vicente Church, as well as the Plaza de la Constitucion, an old bullring converted into the perfect place to relax and absorb the city's atmosphere.

Bars and Restaurants
The plethora of food and drink options San Sebastian offers is one of the main reasons the city has achieved and maintained its popularity as a tourist destination. The city offers fine dining experiences for the most sophisticated palates, and you would be seriously remiss not to visit one of San Sebastian's pintxos restaurants and experience the city's quirky spin on traditional Spanish tapas.

You'll be spoilt for choice when it comes to bars if you head to San Sebastian's Old Town. Day or night, this part of the city boasts a lively bar scene, yet retains the city's air of elegance and sophistication. As an alternative, head to the Calle Reyes Catolicos area of the city for an evening of true style and class. See our San Sebastian restaurant guide for full details.

San Sebastian Beach


Top 10 Cultural Attractions in San Sebastian, Spain


Culture in San Sebastian, Spain, which the Basque speakers call Donostia, is a coastal beauty best experienced in summer with its music, film festivals and pintxos (bar snacks). There is always some form of culture that visitors can immerse themselves in, no matter the time of their visit.


Summer Festivals in San Sebastian, Spain

1. dFeria, March
dFeria is a festival of theater and dance, held in order to present performing arts creations with particular attention given to Basque theater groups. This festival, which runs for 5 days, brings the global theater world down to Donostia with a festive ambiance. dFeria is not to be missed by dance and theater enthusiasts.

2. The San Sebastian Heineken Jazz Festival, July
The Heineken Jazz Festival is held every year, usually in the third week of July, a tradition that has been going on since 1966. The festival usually hosts a hundred concerts across 12 indoor and open air venues. The shows at Kursaal Auditorium and Zurriola Beach are particularly popular.

3. San Sebastian International Film Festival, September
The International Film Festival is an annual Donostia festival that is considered just as important as the Cannes festival. It is held in late September, showcases about 200-250 international films and awards the Golden Shell.


Museums in San Sebastian, Spain

4. San Telmo Museo
This is the oldest museum in the Basque country. It was created in 1902 and is dedicated to the interpretation and showcase of Basque prehistoric to modern society. The museum is situated below Mount Urgull and houses over 26,000 art pieces across 11,000 square meters of display space.

5. Tabakalera
The Tabakalera museum houses avant-garde and contemporary displays across the media of sound, science, films and television, design, contemporary art, technical observatory, gastronomical showcases, etc. This is a must-visit for the enthusiasts of innovative art.


Art Galleries and Theaters in San Sebastian, Spain

6. Arteko Gallery

Established in 1996, Arteko aims to promote the contemporary artwork of young foreign and national artists, with spaces showcasing drawing, sculpture, photography, painting, artist books, and more. Artists that have exhibited here include Andres Nagel, Nori Ushijima, Dora Salazar, and others.

7. Victoria Eugenia Theater
This iconic building first opened in 1912 as an important cultural stage in San Sebastian. Recently renovated, the theater today is one of the most beautiful buildings in town and is a host to musicals, plays and other cultural events throughout the year.

8. The Kursaal
The Kursaal exhibition center is an icon of San Sebastian with a large auditorium, chamber music hall and exhibition rooms. It hosts the Film Festival and other concerts ranging from classical to contemporary pop and rock. The unusual design of the building with its translucent crystal structure also makes it an admirable attraction in itself.

9. Basilica of Santa Maria
The Basilica of Santa Maria is emblematic of the city and is an important element of Donostia history. Its construction was completed in 1764, and today it is considered important by both atheists and believers.

10. Urgull Mount
Urgull Mount towers over the center of Donostia, offers magnificent views over the city and houses a public park with remnants of 18th century cannons and fortifications. It has played an important role in the conflict between the French and the local population.



And More ...

The picturesque island of Santa Clara is situated closely offshore in the centre of the La Concha Bay and can be accessed from the pier located on the eastern side of the isle. It is home to one of the areas prettiest beaches in the area, although due to the tides it can only be used for part of the day. The island can be accessed by boat or you could join some of the locals and swim across !!.

Zurriola Bridge also known as the Kursaal Bridge , proudly shows off its original lamps of expressionist and futuristic styles which light up the mouth of the Urumea river. The bridge was built on the site of the old Kursaal Casino.

The San Sebastian Town Hall is now a famous landmark which was inaugurated in 1897 as a casino although due to gambling prohibition laws in 1924 the Casino was closed down to be renovated and reopened as the City,s Town Hall and continues to be used for that function to this day.

San Sebastian has three beaches: the Playa de la Concha, Ondaretta and the Playa de Gros. La Concha is probably the prettiest, with a wide crescent of sand stretching around the bay, but it's also the busiest . Ondaretta is less packed considered to be the best beach for swimming. The atmosphere here is more calm than La Concha's bikini party atmosphere, and locals call the beach La Diplomática.

Once you're off the beach, you'll probably want to hit the old quarter for a go at the bars and waterside restaurants crowding the narrow and noisy streets. Tapas are laid out at all but the fanciest bars for delectable bites of special treats, and shellfish merchants hang out by the harbor to hawk the freshest of fish.

Once you're off the beach, you'll probably want to hit the old quarter for a go at the bars and waterside restaurants crowding the narrow and busy streets. Tapas are laid out at all but the fanciest bars for delectable bites of special treats, fresh fish and seafood are a plenty here, search around the back streets for the best prices and you will not be disappointed.

However, the wildest, weirdest party of the year is the Procession of Drummers, or Tamborrada, an all-night celebration that lasts from midnight January 19 to noon January 20. Adults and children take to the street to beat on drums and barrels, mimicking the rhythms played by the smartly-uniformed bands. Many of the Tamborrada tunes were composed especially for the occasion by famed composer Raimundo Sarriegi.


 Best Value Hotels in San Sebastian - Book Online and Save Money!

Villa Soro
"Tasty breakfast - Comfortable rooms -Large bathrooms"
This is one of the best romantic hotels in San Sebastian. The service at this hotel is amazing, and it deserves a five star position. The staff here is made of well trained professionals who work diligently to make your stay in this hotel a memorable one. The hotel has a spacious parking area where you can park your car and not have to worry about the security because the hotel is well secured. On top of that, the rooms are nicely organized and equipped with complementary water. Also, the rooms are luxurious and the breakfast is served hot, special and very delicious. The environment is quite welcoming, and there are no disturbances whatsoever.

Hotel Maria Cristina San Sebastian
"Comfortable beds - Large bathrooms - Superb dining"
If there is a hotel you must visit when you go to San Sebastian, it is Hotel Maria Cristina. The hotel is located on the river and has an easy access to the infamous pintxos bar and the historical city. This means that you will have a spectacular view of the river and the beautiful landscape right from your hotel suite. The rooms are equipped with the latest electronic gadgets and free Wi-Fi, which is fast and reliable. You can use your laptop or smart phone to access the internet using the free Wi-Fi. The staff is friendly, kind and very welcoming. The management emphasizes the customer's satisfaction and comfort.

Hotel Astoria 7
"Very modern", "Very trendy", "Well-equipped gym"
If there is a hotel you must visit when you go to San Sebastian, it is Hotel Maria Cristina. The hotel is located on the river and has an easy access to the infamous pintxos bar and the historical city. This means that you will have a spectacular view of the river and the beautiful landscape right from your hotel suite. The rooms are equipped with the latest electronic gadgets and free Wi-Fi, which is fast and reliable. You can use your laptop or smart phone to access the internet using the free Wi-Fi. The staff is friendly, kind and very welcoming. The management emphasizes the customer's satisfaction and comfort.

Hotel Mercure - Monte Igueldo - San Sebastian
"Comfortable beds - Large bathrooms - Superb dining"
The single word that describes this hotel is lovely. This is one of the many romantic hotels San Sebastian boasts of. The rooms are spacious, clean and contain the most comfortable beds. The breakfast offered here is delicious. It also has a very good view as it is not far away from the beach. If you want to relax, you can take a walk down the beach to relax and unwind with your loved one. On top of that, the staff is very accommodating and friendly to visitors.

Hotel Codina
"Tidy rooms", "Fantastic bar", "Loved the beach"
The Hotel Codina is perfect for a romantic getaway. Close to beach it offers modern and comfortable rooms equipped with satellite channels, a mini bar and complimentary toiletries. To ensure your day gets off to a good start, the hotel offers a buffet breakfast each morning. The location of the hotel allows guests to easily reach many tourist attractions on foot. The Cathedral of the Good Shepherd and Maria Cristina Bridge are a quick drive from the hotel.


Send a postcard of San Sebastian

postcards of San Sebastian Spain
San Sebastian
postcards of San Sebastian Spain
San Sebastian
postcards of San Sebastian Spain
San Sebastian
postcards of San Sebastian Spain
San Sebastian
postcards of San Sebastian Spain
San Sebastian
postcards of San Sebastian Spain
San Sebastian

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