San Sebastian – food culture and joie de vivre
On the Bay of Biscay, San Sebastián is located on a striking, horseshoe-shaped bay. Known in Basque as Donostia, the city is a colorful mix of a lively cultural scene and relaxed beach life. On the city beach of Playa de la Concha, locals and visitors alike have a good time, before later in the evening they are drawn to one of the first-class restaurants in San Sebastián.
Experience San Sebastián – sights
You have a good overview of the city from Urgull, a prominent hill in the heart of the city. From there it is not far to the alleys of the old town (Parte Vieja). At the foot of the Urgull is the Church of San Vicente, built in 1507 and the oldest structure in the city. Although San Sebastián is much older, the city was a popular subject of controversy between the English and the French during the Napoleonic Wars. As a result of the clashes, San Sebastian burned down almost completely.
The cathedral of San Sebastián was built in the neo-Gothic style . Erected in the last years of the 19th century, it is the most important religious building in San Sebastián.
In the old town there is also the San Telmo Museum, the modern extension of which is attached to a Dominican monastery from the 16th century. The collection includes Basque art, photographs, and historical and archaeological finds.
To the south of the old town is the Centro Romántico, the shopping area of San Sebastián. From designer clothes to local handicrafts, there is something for every taste and budget.
The San Sebastián Aquarium is located on a rocky stretch of coast. The tunnel through the large pool with rays and sharks is fun for young and old.
Other interesting sights are:
- The Alderdi-Eder Park near the beach with the town hall
- The Maria Cristina Bridge over the Urumea
- The Miramar Palace, built for Queen Maria Cristina
- The Victoria Eugenia Theater
Enjoy San Sebastián – restaurants and beach life
Donostia is one of the culinary centers of the Basque Country. In the relatively small town, a surprising number of Michelin stars shine in the restaurant sky. Nueva cucina vasca is available in Arzak or in Ni Neu. In addition to the top-class restaurants, there are also many, cheaper, restaurants that serve traditional Basque cuisine.
Especially in the old town there are good and cheap pintxos (Basque for tapas) bars. Fish and seafood dominate the offer. Some bars specialize in pintxos with mussels as the main ingredient. There is also a solid Rioja.
When they are not lingering over pintxos or a good glass of wine, many locals spend their free time on the city beach of Playa de la Concha. Chic houses from the late 19th century line the waterfront. You can watch the hustle and bustle on the beach from numerous cafes.
Across the Río Urumea is Playa de Gros, or Playa de la Zurriola, San Sebastián’s water sports refuge. Sailors and surfers cavort in the bay. The wave and wind conditions are not too challenging and are also suitable for beginners.