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Donostia San Sebastian in Spain

San Sebastian, also known as Donostia in the Basque language, is a picturesque coastal city located in the north of Spain. It is situated on the Bay of Biscay and is surrounded by lush green hills, which make for a stunning backdrop to the city’s beautiful beaches.

Overall, San Sebastian is a vibrant and culturally-rich city that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re a foodie, a culture enthusiast, or an outdoor adventurer, you’re sure to find something to love about this beautiful coastal gem.

Beautiful places in Spain San Sebastian coastal city with best beaches

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The sunsets over the Bay of Biscay in San Sebastian are absolutely breathtaking! As the sun begins to dip below the horizon, the sky becomes painted with a kaleidoscope of vibrant colors – a mix of oranges, pinks, purples, and yellows.

The bay itself takes on a golden hue as the sun’s rays dance across the water. You can hear the sound of the waves gently lapping against the shore as seagulls fly overhead.

The atmosphere is peaceful and serene, almost like time has stopped for a moment. It’s truly a sight to behold, and one that leaves a lasting impression on the heart and soul. Watching the sunset over the Bay of Biscay in San Sebastian is a magical experience and one that you will never forget.

Would we recommend visiting San Sebastian in Spain?  Yes, definitely.

Is San Sebastian worth seeing?

The Bay of Biscay, known in Spain as the Gulf of Biscay, is home to many beautiful cities, of which San Sebastian is only one.

The natural beauty of San Sebastian is all the reason to visit.  It is really blessed with an abundance of the most beautiful nature scenes in the world.

But there are many many more reasons to visit the beautiful San Sebastian coastal city in Spain.

beautiful places worth seeing in Spain San Sebastian

5 Reasons why we recommend Donostia-San Sebastian to travelers:  

  • Stunning Beaches: Donostia-San Sebastian boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in Europe, like La Concha Beach which is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. 
  • Food: Donostia-San Sebastian is famous for and renowned for its cuisine. It has a high concentration of Michelin-starred restaurants, making it a foodie’s paradise. 
  • Rich Culture: Donostia-San Sebastian has a rich history and culture, which is evident in its stunning architecture, museums, and festivals. The city is home to several museums, including the San Telmo Museum, which showcases Basque culture and history.
  • Outdoor Activities: Donostia-San Sebastian is surrounded by beautiful mountains, making it an ideal destination for hiking and outdoor activities. 
  • Friendly Locals: Here you’ll find warm and friendly locals. They are always eager to share their culture and traditions with visitors and make them feel welcome.

Overall, Donostia-San Sebastian is a beautiful and culturally rich city that offers something for every type of traveler.

Best places to visit in San Sebastian Spain Best places to see
La Concha Beach
La Concha Beach
Must see places
  • La Concha Beach: It is a truly stunning sight, and one of the best ways to experience it is by taking a stroll along the promenade that runs alongside the beach.
  • Monte Urgull: Monte Urgull is a hill that rises up from the heart of San Sebastian’s Old Town. It is covered in lush greenery and offers breathtaking views of the city and the sea. At the top of the hill, you will find a castle and several historic monuments.
  • Miramar Palace Gardens: The Miramar Palace Gardens are a peaceful and tranquil oasis, with winding paths, colorful flowers, and stunning views of the sea and the city. It’s a great place to relax and take in the natural beauty of San Sebastian.
  • Basque Coast Geopark: A UNESCO-recognized area that stretches along the coast from San Sebastian to the nearby town of Mutriku. It is home to an impressive array of geological formations, including cliffs, beaches, and caves, as well as a diverse array of flora and fauna. It’s a great place to explore and experience the raw beauty of the Basque Coast.

Overall, San Sebastian is a city that is surrounded by natural beauty at every turn.

Beautiful places in Spain Monte Urgull San Sebastian
A few hidden gems to discover
  1. The Cementerio de Polloe: The local cemetery – yes I know:  While it may seem like an unusual attraction, it is a peaceful and beautiful spot that offers stunning views of the city and the sea. It is also the final resting place of many important historical figures from the Basque Country.

  2. Tabakalera: Tabakalera is a contemporary arts center located in a former tobacco factory in the city center. It hosts a variety of exhibitions, events, and workshops.

  3. The Albaola Sea Factory: The Albaola Sea Factory is a museum and workshop that is dedicated to the art of traditional Basque boatbuilding. Visitors can watch skilled craftsmen at work, learn about the history of Basque seafaring, and even take a boat out on the water.

  4. Monte Igueldo: While Monte Urgull is the more well-known hill in San Sebastian, Monte Igueldo is another option that is often overlooked. It offers breathtaking views of the city and the sea, and is home to an old-fashioned amusement park that is popular with families.

When is the best time to visit?

May and June have the best weather conditions.  However, it is also a busy tourist time of the year.

Closest airport?

The closest international airport to San Sebastian, Spain is the Biarritz Pays Basque Airport (BIQ) in Biarritz, France. It is located approximately 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of San Sebastian and serves as the main gateway for visitors traveling to the region.

Biarritz Airport offers direct flights to several major European cities, including Paris, London, Brussels, and Dublin, among others. From the airport, you can easily reach San Sebastian by renting a car, taking a taxi, or using public transportation. The journey takes around 45 minutes by car or taxi, and around 1 hour and 15 minutes by bus.

Is it worth visiting San Sebastian in Spain would we rocommend going Travel and Home top reasons to go to San Sebastian
Food to try while you're there

Top 3 dishes to try in San Sebastian

The city’s cuisine is based on the principles of the Basque culinary tradition, which emphasizes the use of fresh, high-quality ingredients and simple, yet flavorful preparations. Here are the top three dishes that San Sebastian is famous for:

  • Pintxos: You must try this while you stay in San Sebastian.  Pintxos are small, bite-sized dishes that are typically served on a piece of bread and they are delicious. They are the Basque version of tapas and are a popular snack or appetizer in bars and restaurants throughout San Sebastian. Some popular pintxos include Gilda (a skewer with olive, anchovy, and pickled pepper), tortilla (the authentic Spanish omelet), and croquettes.
  • Txuleta: Txuleta is a type of beef steak that is a specialty of the Basque Country. The beef is sourced from local farms and is aged for several weeks to enhance its flavor and tenderness. It is typically cooked over an open flame, resulting in a charred, crispy exterior and a juicy, tender interior.
  • Basque-style fish dishes: As San Sebastian is a coastal town, it also means that it has access to a wide variety of fresh seafood. Basque-style fish dishes are a specialty of the region and include dishes such as marmitako (a tuna and potato stew), merluza en salsa verde (hake in green sauce), and kokotxas (hake cheeks). These dishes highlight the simplicity and freshness of the ingredients and are a must-try for seafood lovers visiting San Sebastian.
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Do they speak English?

In addition to Spanish and Basque, English is also commonly spoken in San Sebastian, particularly in tourist areas and among younger generations. It is a popular second language in schools and is widely used in the tourism industry, so you will have no problems being understood. 

Some locals may also speak French, especially in the nearby city of Biarritz, which is located just across the border in France.

Where to stay in San Sebastian

Stay in the best places you can afford – enjoy stunning sea views, and spoil yourself.  You deserve it.

Top hotels in San Sebastian Spain best places to stay

5 Star Royal Luxury – A truly memorable stay in a magnificent place:

The best accommodation in San Sebastian Spain