Welcome to San Sebastian, a beautiful coastal city in the Basque Country of Spain. San Sebastian is known for its picturesque beaches, stunning architecture, and mouth-watering cuisine. If you’re planning a trip to San Sebastian and have three days to explore, you’re in luck. In this guide, we’ll provide you with travel tips, what to see, where to sleep and eat, and free tours to make the most of your stay.
Travel Tips in San Sebastian
- San Sebastian is a walkable city, so make sure to pack comfortable shoes
- Bring a jacket or sweater, even in the summer, as temperatures can drop in the evening
- Take advantage of the local transportation, such as buses or bicycles, to explore the city
- Don’t forget to try the local cuisine, including pintxos (small tapas-like dishes) and Basque cider
- Learn some basic Spanish or Basque phrases to communicate with the locals
What to See in San Sebastian
San Sebastian is a city full of history, culture, and natural beauty. Here are some of the most important places to see:
- Playa de la Concha: This picturesque beach is one of the most popular in the city and boasts stunning views of the bay.
- Mount Urgull: Hike up to the top of this hill for panoramic views of the city and its surroundings.
- Old Town: The historic center of the city is filled with narrow streets, charming buildings, and delicious pintxos bars.
- Miramar Palace: This beautiful palace was built in the 19th century and offers stunning views of the sea.
- San Telmo Museum: Learn about the history and culture of the Basque Country in this impressive museum housed in a former Dominican convent.
- Kursaal Congress Centre and Auditorium: This futuristic building is a landmark in the city and hosts a variety of cultural events throughout the year.
Routes in San Sebastian
If you want to explore San Sebastian on foot, there are several routes you can take:
- Historic City Centre Route: This route takes you through the narrow streets of the Old Town, where you can admire the architecture and try some of the best pintxos in the city.
- Bay of La Concha Route: Walk along the beach and the promenade for stunning views of the bay and the city skyline.
- Mount Urgull Route: Hike up to the top of Mount Urgull for panoramic views of the city and its surroundings, and explore the fortresses and cannons that date back to the 12th century.
- Combination Route: Combine the Historic City Centre Route with the Bay of La Concha Route for a comprehensive tour of San Sebastian.
If you prefer to explore the city by bike, there are several bike rental companies in San Sebastian that offer guided tours or self-guided options.
Where to Sleep in San Sebastian
San Sebastian has a variety of accommodation options, from luxury hotels to budget hostels. Here are some recommendations:
- Hotel Maria Cristina: This iconic hotel is located in the heart of the city and offers luxurious accommodations and top-notch amenities.
- Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra: This historic hotel overlooks the bay and has been welcoming guests since 1854.
- A Room in the City: This trendy hostel is located in the city center and offers affordable and stylish accommodations.
- Pension Edorta: This cozy guesthouse is located in the Old Town and offers comfortable rooms at a reasonable price.
No matter where you choose to stay, make sure to book in advance, especially during peak tourist season.
Where to Eat in San Sebastian
San Sebastian is known for its culinary scene, and there are plenty of options to suit every taste and budget. Here are some of the best places to eat:
- Bar Nestor: This small bar in the Old Town is famous for its grilled steak and tomato salad.
- Casa Urola: This elegant restaurant serves traditional Basque cuisine with a modern twist.
- La Cuchara de San Telmo: This cozy pintxos bar in the Old Town offers a variety of delicious and creative dishes.
- Gandarias: This popular pintxos bar serves a wide range of dishes, from classic tortilla to seafood specialties.
- Bodega Donostiarra: This historic bar in the Old Town serves some of the best pintxos and Basque cider in the city.
Make sure to try the local specialties, such as anchovies, squid, and Basque cheese, and don’t forget to wash them down with a glass of txakoli or cider.
Free Tours in San Sebastian
If you’re on a tight budget or want to learn more about the city’s history and culture, there are several free tours available in San Sebastian:
- Free Walking Tour: This tour takes you through the Old Town and the city center, and covers the history, culture, and traditions of San Sebastian.
- Free Pintxos Tour: This tour takes you to some of the best pintxos bars in the city and offers a taste of the local cuisine.
- Free Surf Tour: This tour takes you to some of the best surf spots in San Sebastian and gives you the chance to try surfing yourself.
These tours are a great way to explore the city without breaking the bank, and they are led by knowledgeable and passionate locals who are eager to share their love for San Sebastian.
Frequently Asked Questions
When is the best time to visit San Sebastian?
The best time to visit San Sebastian is from May to September, when the weather is warm and sunny, and the city is bustling with tourists and locals. However, keep in mind that this is also the peak tourist season, so expect higher prices and crowds. If you prefer a quieter and more affordable trip, consider visiting in the shoulder season, from April to May or September to October.
What is the currency used in San Sebastian?
The currency used in San Sebastian is the Euro (EUR).
Do I need a visa to visit San Sebastian?
If you are a citizen of the EU or the Schengen Area, you do not need a visa to visit San Sebastian. If you are a citizen of a country outside the EU or the Schengen Area, you may need a visa, depending on your nationality and the length of your stay. Check with the Spanish embassy or consulate in your home country for more information.
Is it safe to visit San Sebastian?
San Sebastian is generally a safe city to visit, with low levels of crime and a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. However, as with any city, it’s important to take precautions and be aware of your surroundings, especially at night and in crowded areas.
What are some cultural events and festivals in San Sebastian?
San Sebastian is home to several cultural events and festivals throughout the year, including the San Sebastian International Film Festival in September, the Tamborrada drum festival in January, and the San Sebastian Jazz Festival in July. Check the official tourism website of San Sebastian for a full list of events and dates.