City-guide

San Sebastian

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Make San Sebastian the right way!

Located at less than 20 miles from the French border, San Sebastian in the Spanish Basque Country.  is an elegant city with one of the most beautiful city beaches in the world and which boasts more Michelin stars per square mile than any other place in the planet.

Discover in this San Sebastian city guide why eating is kind of an art for locals and it is taken really seriously. San Sebastian is surrounded by green hills and the contrast of blue sea and greenery offer the perfect frame for the ancient buildings of the Old quarter, or for the grand architecture that remains from the Belle Epoque and memories of the seasons when the Royal Family spent their vacations here.  

San Sebastian city guide - Contents

Practical information to plan your visit to San Sebastian

5 top reasons to visit San Sebastian

La Concha beach.  An icon for San Sebastian, La Concha is one of the Spain´s most famous beaches.

Pintxo hunting.  Despite pintxo bars in the old quarter have become too touristic, most still offer great quaility, Best value for money is however to be found in the newer areas of the city. Many pintxo tours run on a daily basis and combine stories of San Sebastian with food and txacoli wine. Find out more about how to plan your pintxo tour in San Sebastian in our complete guide. 

Michelin star restaurants It was Arzak who initiated in 1976 a deep revolution in Basque and Spanish gastronomy. A round table with local chefs was organised and French chef star Paul Bocuse was invited. His words at that time echoed in the minds of local young chefs. Local produce became king and a local passion for gastronomy developed into an identity. If you visit San Sebastian you may want to enjoy a Michelin star restaurant besides pintxos. Enjoyin life is about contrasting experiences!

2 countries in day: The proximity of France makes it easy to enjoy both Spain and France on the same day. Hondarribia, the last town in the Spanish border is worth a visit and on the French side you may venture yourself to San Jean de Luz by the amazing road of La Corniche or higher north to the elegant, surfers-paradise city of Biarritz.

The Semana Grande. The Great Week in San Sebastian takes place during the second half of September. Lots of cultural events take place during this week, along with food, fireworks and lots of fun!

Best time to visit San Sebastian

Our favorite months to visit San Sebastian are May, June and July. August is too busy, specially during the Semana Grande which is however the best week to visit if you want to have fun and enjoy a local festival (we would prefer quieter weeks of the year though!) The first weeks of september are excellent but then prices rocket at the time of the Flim Festival, when you will be able to meet Hollywood streets at restaurants and near the Kursal exhibition center.  

October is also a very good time to visit San Sebastian and, if you do not mind rain, from November till late March you will San Sebastian without tourists…

Weather in San Sebastian

Temperatures in San Sebastian are moderate and the coldest months of the year are from November till february with high averages between 55 and 58 F and low averages between 42 and 47F. You can expect rain all year-round but your chances vary a lot from summer (between 15%-20% chances of having a rainy day) and from November till March when chances climb to 35%.

A few days in San Sebastian?

Recommended hotels in San Sebastian

There are many hotels in San Sebastian. Depending on your budget, the style of hotels you enjoy and where you will prefer to be located the options are many. 

EAT & DRINK- Selection of top picks

Dish at a Michelin starred restaurant in San Sebastian
Practical information

The best restaurants in San Sebastian. The ultimate guide

With an increasing number of tourists arriving to San Sebastian every year, and with so many bars and tours to choose from, finding the best options for you may sometimes be a daunting experience. But worry not! Our local team has put together a list with some of the top bars to enjoy pintxos

Practical information

The best Pintxos in San Sebastian. The ultimate guide

With an increasing number of tourists arriving to San Sebastian every year, and with so many bars and tours to choose from, finding the best options for you may sometimes be a daunting experience. But worry not! Our local team has put together a list with some of the top bars to enjoy pintxos

Top attractions in San Sebastian

san sebastian aquarium

San Sebastian Aquarium

San Sebastián / Donosti Aquarium The Donosti Aquarium or San Sebastián Aquarium is located in one of the most emblematic areas of the city: the

San Sebastian Film Festival Kursaal
Practical information

San Sebastian Film Festival

The San Sebastian Film Festival is one of the most prestigious film festivals in all of Europe, held in one of Spain’s most spectacular cities. Discover the history of this unique award ceremony and what makes it so very special. The festival is a perfect moment to visit San Sebastian in September and one of the hot festivals to enjoy in Spain during this month.

House in Calle San Pedro in Hondarribia
Hidden Gems

Hondarribia, beautiful Basque town near San Sebastian

Ciutadella is (After Mahon) the second largest town in Menorca and until 1722 the island´s capital. It is today the seat of a bishop but above all a beautiful, attractive and appealing city.Its port is full of restaurants where you will enjoy fish with fantastic views.

Build your itinerary with our interactive map

Get to know San Sebastian

Brief history of San Sebastian

The Northern coasts of Spain where San Sebastian stands gave birth to famous sailors. Whale fishing was a main duty for sailors from Bermeo in Vizacaya, all the way to Getaria or San Sebastian. For many centuries a fishing village well-protected by its huge bay, San Sebastian turned into a fashionable tourist destination for the royalty and rich during the XIX century, a time in which Biarritz also developed. Art nouveau buildings remain today as the beautiful legacy of those belle epoque days. 

During those days there was a sharp contrast between the industrial, grey nature of Bilbao and the beauty and elegance of the beachfront in San Sebastian. 

But the best days of San Sebastian vanished and for most of the second half of the XXth century the city suffered brutal acts of terrorism that refrained the arrival of visitors. The last decades have however brought new light to San Sebastian and it has regained its lost reputation as a top tourist destination. The development of the city as a culinary hub has contributed to its current status and some of Spain´s most expensive flats are to be found in the seafront of San Sebastian

San Sebastian in a few minutes

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