With its mouth-watering cuisine, charming cobbled streets and photo-worthy beaches, San Sebastian is the ideal destination for your next getaway. While the sand and sea is likely to be the main draw for tourists, there’s a wealth of attractions to discover in this Spanish city. Alongside fascinating museums, you’ll find a vibrant art scene and a dose of culture. After all, San Sebastian is home to one of the world’s most glamourous film festivals.
San Sebastian is a city of two halves, from its neon-lit streets and bustling bars to the meandering alleyways of the old town. Keen foodies can revel in the delicious dishes found in traditional tapas bars, while those seeking shopping opportunities will be spoilt for choice with the city’s markets and high-street stores.
This city isn’t just perfect for short sightseeing breaks and romantic retreats either. There’s more than enough to keep the kids captivated, making San Sebastian a great spot for family holidays.
San Sebastian Old Quarter
Known locally as the Parte Vieja, this part of the city is characterised by its historic buildings and lively streets. There are a number of hotels and places to stay in this part of San Sebastian, mingled with restaurants, tapas bars and local shops. You’ll also find several of the city’s top sightseeing spots – from old churches to majestic squares.
Those in search of lively atmosphere should head to the downtown district, where you’ll find some of the best places for shopping. Situated close to the Plaza de Bilbao, you’ll find excellent designer stores as well as chic boutiques and the usual high street shops.
As the name suggests, the Zona Romantica district is the bohemian-style section of the city. Famed for its excellent nightlife, it is home to a number of stylish cafes and pubs offering live music. Dip into the local jazz club to linger over a drink and enjoy the entertainment.
Exploring San Sebastian…
Take a hike
While San Sebastian might be known for its urban landscapes, there are some particularly scenic surroundings worth exploring on your trip. For an easy hike, head to the statue of Christ that is located on top of the mountain in-between the city’s beaches. An hour’s walk will provide you with glorious views from the summit, and there’s even a bar located halfway for those all-important refreshments!
Enjoy city beaches
For those in search of sun-drenched sands, San Sebastian’s beaches are the main attraction. There are two main beaches, located on either side of the river – La Concha and La Zurriola. The former is a great spot for sun-bathing, and comes complete with sun-loungers, changing rooms and refreshments. The latter is favoured with water sports enthusiasts due to its opportunity for surfing and body-boarding.
Visit the amusement park
If you’ve got the kids with you, San Sebastian’s iconic amusement park should be top of your to-visit list. Located at the top of Mount Igeldo near Concha Bay, this charming attraction has old-fashioned rides and games, as well as stunning views of the town below.
Sightseeing in San Sebastian
There are a number of sights to uncover in San Sebastian, whether you’re looking to delve into the city’s fascinating past or make the most of its gorgeous surroundings. The funicular railway is a great experience for holidaymakers of any age, and offers great views of the town as well as La Concha Bay. If it’s museums you’re searching for, make the visit to the House of History at the top of Mount Urgull. There are interactive exhibits as well as a wealth of fascinating facts and stories documenting the city’s history.
San Sebastian’s aquarium is also a firm favourite with holidaymakers, and is one of the most modern centres in Europe. There’s even a large tunnel spanning 360 degrees, so you can immerse yourself in marine life as you become surrounded by the many different species of fish. Also keep your eyes peeled for sharks!
Cuisine in San Sebastian
It’s no surprise that this Spanish city is known for its delicious cuisine. Many believe that the Basque country is where you’ll find the best food, and San Sebastian certainly isn’t short of great places to eat.
In this part of Spain, tapas is referred to as pintxos and is served up in many of the city’s eateries. You can choose between hot and cold plates, selecting a few to make up your meal. Don’t leave San Sebastian without trying some of the local dishes – you’ll find authentic food around every corner, particularly in the old town.
Try Txuleta, the region’s finest beef dish. Served rare with a sprinkling of good quality sea salt, it is a delicacy in this part of the world and well worth a tasting. With its proximity to the coast, seafood is also popular. The Cantabrian sea is home to some of the best anchovies, so you’re likely to find them on many a menu.
A real treat is Torrija, a baked egg custard with a buttery brioche crust. They’re traditionally eaten at Easter but you’ll find them in bakeries throughout the city, making a particularly delicious breakfast.
Restaurants in San Sebastian
Gastronomy is an art in San Sebastian, and you’ll find traditionally-run eateries alongside stylish restaurants boasting Michelin stars. Those in search of atmosphere and good views with their dinner should try one of the restaurants situated at Concha Bay, while smaller and more charming places are located in the old town.
From its family-friendly attractions to its excellent food and drink, San Sebastian offers a great choice for your next getaway. Enjoy the city’s surroundings, make the most of its museums or kick back and relax on the beach – there’s plenty to do in this lively part of Spain.
Booking your holiday to San Sebastian with easyJet holidays is the perfect way to enjoy your next holiday without the hassle. You’ll even save on your trip when you book your flight and hotel together with easyJet holidays.
Not been seduced by San Sebastian? Take a look at our other Spanish destination guides for more inspiration.