San Sebastian, or “Donostia” in Basque – the regional language spoken here and also the oldest language in Europe – is just over the border of France on the west coast of Spain. This seaside surfing town is famous for its famous for its waves and “pintxos” – bite-sized tapas – so be sure to stop off for one (or ten!) whilst you’re here!
How to get there
Trains run direct regularly to San Sebastian from Madrid & Barcelona, Lyon, Paris Rennes and more.
A night train also runs from Lisbon to San Sebastian, perfect if you’re wanting to scoot up the west coast of Europe.
Flix Bus, as usual, offers cheap transfers from Porto, Lyon, Paris and other towns in France.
How to get around
The local bus service will help you reach the sights outside the city centre. You can find schedules here.
Where to eat
Wander through the Old Town and you’ll find plenty of bars selling pintxos – many sell these tapas for €1 each or sometimes free with a drink. The best thing to do is bar hop between venues and enjoy the array of tastes and styles of each bar.
Where to stay
Surfing Etxea is one of those rare hostels that make you feel like you are at home as soon as you walk in the door, completely equipped with all you need to chill out with the best vibes, enjoy the ocean and explore the city.
An idea of costs for one day in San Sebastian
€45 per day
– Hostel: €20 per night
– Free Breakfast at Hostel
– Foccacia for lunch: €5
– Gelato and espresso or snacks: €5
– Take away pasta dinner with bottle of wine: €15
How long to spend here
3 days is enough to explore this chill surf town.
What to see and do
The Old Town is the best place to start off your trip to San Sebastian. Here you’ll find the impressive town hall as well as three famous churches and more pintxo (bite-size tapas) bars than you can count. The Old Town is famous for having the highest concentration of bars in the world! Make sure you stop by Ayuntamiento (City Hall) Iglesia de Santa Maria del Coro Church and Plaza de Guipuzkoa as you explore the town.
Santa Clara Island
The small island located in the middle of La Concha Bay is served by a ferry service, leaving from the Port of Donostia every 30 minutes during the summer months. A return ticket costs €4. Once on the island, you can explore the lighthouse, secret beach and rock pools. The beach is only 30 meters long and disappears completely at high tide.
La Concha Beach
La Concha Beach – named because of its shape; concha means ‘shell’ in Spanish – is the main beach.
This beach is more exposed to winds and tides than La Concha, bringing in larger swell and making it popular with local surfers.
San Telmo Museoa
This museum is the oldest in the region, and explores the fascinating history and culture of the Basque Country.
Combs of the Winds
The Combs of the Winds is a series of bold art installations, created in the 1970s by Eduardo Chillada and Luis Peña Ganchegui and is located right near the natural blowholes – as the waves crash below, huge gusts of air are pushed up through the holes adding to the experience!
Located about 30 minutes out of the city you’ll find this little oasis park containing a mansion house, caves and waterfalls to explore. It is located on a hillside so there are plenty of steps but itis the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Pack a picnic and jump on bus line 19 or 31 for a direct route.
El Monte Urgull
El Monte Urgull is the mountain standing just across the bay – from here you have a gorgeous view over the city and the top is just a short 20 minute walk from the Old Town.