SAN SEBASTIAN - ( DONOSTIA ) Basque Region
San Sebastian is one of Spain's pearls of touristic supremacy. The city, situated on the shores of the Bay of Biscay, in the Basque Region of northern Spain, is a modern, cosmopolitan hub for the best tourism and exploration in the country. San Sebastian, or Donostia for its true Spanish name, boasts a fashionable atmosphere, flanked by a number of promenades and amazing beaches, the most famous of which is the Playa de la Concha. The La Concha Bay houses a small offshore island, perfect for a few hours of enjoyment. The nearby popular Ondaretta Beach is much better for those searching for relaxation right by the sea, or swimming in clean , although somewhat chilly water.
San Sebastian, despite being a relatively small city geographically, is divided into areas, all of which are worthy of visiting. The Old Part is peppered with a variety of cosy restaurants and pintxo (tapas) bars of an excellent reputation among locals and foreigners alike. The city boasts numerous Michelin Star restaurants, so finding something to eat of the finest quality is on hand if your happy to go that extra mile with your holiday budgey . If you wish, you can take a stroll by the seafront on a warm afternoon just as the sun sets – you are sure to find the best of fresh fish and shellfish, with a charming and vibrant nightlife springing up all over the city.
Don't forget to hit the back streets for some really affordable and homely menus.
San Sebastian hosts several parades and festivals throughout the year, though most of them take place during the summer months – this is the best time to visit the city; the climate is mild at night and offers comforting warmth, not to hot, during the day. I would recommend coinciding with the Basque Week in early September, seven days of Basque-related activities and the ideal opportunity to fully blend in with the local atmosphere and traditions.
San Sebastian comprises a multitude of accommodation types to suit all desires, from more out-of-town places to central high-profile hotels.
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 and Hostels in San Sebastian
There really is a great choice of fine homely Hostels in San Sebastian .
Arguably one of the best must be the Hospedaje Donosti -B&B which has received the HostelBookers Awards for Excellence 2010 - Ranked top 3 for
'Cleanliness' in Europe, located in San Marciel 33 this hostel has a great atmospher and is near the beaches.
Other top rated hostels in the city include the Pension San Juan located in Calle San Juan num.13 - 3, located in the 'Old Town' between the beaches of San Sebastian, La Concha and Zurriola (Gros) the 'surf beach'.
Another popular choice is the Guesthouse Ongi Etorri in Calle San Juan Num 3, again located in the old town. Hostal Olga located in Calle Zabaleta num 49 in Zurriola ,and arguably the nicest, most picturesque part of the city and has great sea views. The Pension Goiko located in Calle Puerto 6 some 5-10 minutes to Kursaal and Zurriola (surf beach) and regularly gets a rating of 90% and over
by clients staying at this fine Hostel.
Other Hostels of note include the
Beti Anayak Guesthouse , Guesthouse Ongi Etorri, Hospedaje Kati, Kaixo Hostel, Lagunak B&B, Lau Buru, Loinaz Pension, Pension Aries, Pension Ira-Flor, Pension Joakina, Pension Zurriola Waves, Roger's House, the Umoreonabi Guesthouse and the Uzturre Guesthouse.
More on San Sebastian. Next