Things to Do in San Sebastian

Buen Pastor Cathedral

Monuments

Baaa! Named after the Good Shepherd in St John’s Gospel, this cathedral is identifiable in the San Sebastian skyline by its supremely pointy spire. Locals flock here for Sunday mass or to bleat their wedding vows. Architecturally, it’s a Neo-Gothic masterpiece, with two rose windows that splash sunlight onto the cathedral floor. Check it out, don’t be sheepish!

Accommodations near Buen Pastor Cathedral
  • Plaza del Buen Pastor, s/n. 20005 San Sebastián
  • Open Monday-Friday 08:30-12:30 and 17:00-20:00
La Concha Beach

Popular Areas

One shell of a beach. La Concha Beach takes its name – literally “seashell beach” – from its shape. From above, it’s a perfect curve flanked by two hills, which jut in to form the sides. From down on the promenade, it’s a handsome sweep lined with grand façade after grand façade. For locals, La Concha’s a classic for blustery seaside strolls or lazy afternoons on the sand.

Accommodations near La Concha Beach
  • Playa de la Concha, 20007, San Sebastián, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Kursaal

Convention Centers

Cuboids of culture. Kursaal is three things at once – a convention centre, auditorium and latter-day city icon. When built in 1999, its outlandish design caused grumbling among locals. However, with the influx of euros from its box-office events, the naysayers saw the light. It sparkles with film royalty during the Film Festival, and gets freaky for Jazzaldia Jazz Festival.

Accommodations near Kursaal
San Sebastian Port

Marinas

Sittin’ on the dock of a bay. San Sebastián Port’s prime for a seaside sit-down. Rows of dinghies bob lazily, and fishing boats gently chug back to harbour, heavy with the day’s catch. In the middle distance, the hulking crag of Monte Igueldo is silhouetted against the sky. Pick up an ice cream on Garibai Street, dangle your feet over the jetty and enjoy just wastin’ time.

Accommodations near San Sebastian Port
  • Kaia, 23, 20003, San Sebastián
Monte Urgull

Landmarks

Hillside history. Wind your way up the shaded pathways of Monte Urgull, a mountain that’s always served as a city stronghold. Today, its slopes are peppered with ghostly stone relics from long-fallen armies. You’ll pass the English Cemetery – weathered, stained and half-swallowed by moss. Climb the weed-tufted steps, past dumpy fortifications and cannons, up to La Mota Castle.

Accommodations near Monte Urgull
  • Subida al Castillo Kalea, 20003, San Sebastián, Guipuzkoa, Spain
  • Changes seasonally.
Zurriola Beach

Popular Areas

Surf’s up! This beach is a smash-hit with bronzed, wetsuit-clad surfers. Off they go, boards in hand, jogging oceanwards in slow motion, tousled hair flapping in the breeze. They’re here because “Zurri” boasts the gnarliest waves this side of Oahu. Whether you’re a seasoned rider or a rookie, join Zurriola’s throngs of waterbound dudes on their planks. Far out!

Accommodations near Zurriola Beach
  • Av de Zurriola, 41, 20002 San Sebastián
Royal Palace of Miramar

Monuments

In an English country garden. If this cliff-top palace has a touch of the Mr Darcy about it, that’s because it was designed by an English architect. It was commissioned in 1893 by the Spanish queen, who wanted a plush residence for her San Sebastián summer sojourns. These days it’s open to the great un-hosed, and its stately lawns are spiffing for a picnic or a spot of tea.

Accommodations near Royal Palace of Miramar
Aiete Park

Parks

Leafy relief. Aiete Park is a world away from the city buzz, the grand façades and the busy restaurants. It’s a hilly haven of wild woodland and lush lawns, criss-crossed by winding pathways. It’s even got a spooky grotto, complete with stalactites – a perfect stomping ground for young park explorers or selfie-seekers. This pretty park’s sure to melt away your inner-city blues.

Accommodations near Aiete Park
Peine del Viento Sculptures

Landmarks

Art versus the elements. This series of abstract sculptures is starkly woven into its brooding seaside backdrop. Three hooked claws of rusted steel stand bolted to jagged sea rocks, twisted like gnarled talons reaching skywards. It’s a scene best appreciated when the wind lashes the coast, and the crashing waves engulf the sculpture in a momentary supernova of froth.

Accommodations near Peine del Viento Sculptures
Monte Igueldo

Landmarks

The views, the views! Monte Igueldo’s panoramas set the pulse racing. La Concha Bay unfurls beneath your feet, arcing round towards the leafy crag of Monte Urgull. It’s a scene that graces many a city postcard. To reach the summit, pootle up on the rickety funicular, then complete the experience with a whizz round the old-school fairground. Just don’t forget your camera!

Accommodations near Monte Igueldo

Accommodations and Hotels in San Sebastian

Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra

8.8 Excellent

Score from 2544 reviews

$290

Average price per night
  • Zubieta, 2, San Sebastian City Center, San Sebastian
Barceló Costa Vasca

8.1 Very good

Score from 2209 reviews

$203

Average price per night
  • Avenida de Pío Baroja, 15, San Sebastian
Tryp San Sebastián Orly Hotel

7.8 Good

Score from 1133 reviews

$209

Average price per night
  • Plaza Zaragoza, 4, San Sebastian City Center, San Sebastian
Husa Europa

7.6 Good

Score from 1066 reviews

$126

Average price per night
  • San Martín, 52, San Sebastian City Center, San Sebastian
Hotel Astoria7

8.5 Very good

Score from 1963 reviews

$181

Average price per night
  • Sagrada Familia, 1, esquina Sancho El Sabio, San Sebastian
NH Collection San Sebastián Aranzazu

8.7 Excellent

Score from 2382 reviews

$252

Average price per night
  • Vitoria-Gasteiz, 1, Antiguo, San Sebastian
Hotel San Sebastián

8 Very good

Score from 1105 reviews

$162

Average price per night
  • Avenida Zumalacarregui, 20, Antiguo, San Sebastian
Sercotel Codina

8.3 Very good

Score from 1861 reviews

$137

Average price per night
  • Avenida Zumalacárregui, 21, Antiguo, San Sebastian
Hotel Zaragoza Plaza

8 Very good

Score from 1376 reviews

$123

Average price per night
  • Plaza de Zaragoza, 3, San Sebastian City Center, San Sebastian
Discover San Sebastian

Popular Neighborhoods in San Sebastian

San Sebastian City Center

140 properties

A touch of class. The centre is full of stately façades, swanky flats and ritzy hotels. Grand beacons like Buen Pastor Cathedral and the City Hall mark the skyline. Swan down La Concha Promenade and San Martín Market, then sup on steak at Brasserie Mari Galant. Cap the day off by wiggling your derrière in Bataplan Disco, a celebs’ favourite.

Gros

103 properties

This up-and-coming district’s a heady blend of wholesome living and high culture. The lightbox-like Kursaal Centre stands proud on the seafront, drawing in arts buffs like moths to a flame. Joggers whoosh past on the way to Zurriola Beach, which is a site of pilgrimage for many a surfer. Grab a sandwich from Campero Bar and watch the scene unfold.

San Sebastian Old Town

97 properties

Eat, drink and be merry. Old Town’s narrow streets are crammed with “pintxo” bars, where revellers munch “pintxos” – San Sebastián’s famous tapas skewers. Head to Calle Mayor and slink from bar to bar, knocking back “txakolí” (Basque white wine) as you go. Then work off the calories with a seaside stroll along Paseo Nuevo. “On egin” (cheers)!

Antiguo

28 properties

To the sea! When the sun shines, happy Antiguo residents come out to play. Students and senior citizens laze side-by-side on Ondarreta Beach or picnic with panoramas in Miramar Park. Art aficionados shouldn’t miss the powerful Peine del Viento Sculpture, among the sea rocks. For funfair fun and fantastic views, head up Monte Igueldo’s funicular.

Local Tips for San Sebastian

Pintxo-Pote
Candela by Candela

Born in San Sebastián and living in Barcelona, Candela misses the atmosphere of her hometown.

Pintxo-Pote is is like a weekly happy hour but with "pintxos" and drinks. It is an initiative set up by bars and restaurants to offer a combination of a "pintxo" and a drink for an affordable price. They always take place on specific days of the week, depending on the district.

  • Plaza de Cataluña, 1, 20001, San Sebastián
Musika Parkean
David by David

David is a music lover, an avid reader and a passionate martial artist.

Once a month from April to September, different parks in the city offer concerts and invite everyone to bring with picnics and have fun with family and friends. It's a cool way of making the best of these public spaces while enjoying live music!

Santa Clara Island
Carla by Carla

Beach lover Carla has a passion for discovery: new places, new cultures, new people.

Santa Clara Island is right in La Concha Bay, you can't miss it. You can swim there when the sea's calm enough, and plenty of people do. There are also boats that take you there. Once you get there, there's a little beach with a bar, a terrace and a natural swimming pool.

Cider Houses
Leo by Leo

Leo is a pug lover and avid video gamer who has been on many a stag party to San Sebastián.

The Basque Country has a cider tradition. Plenty of cider houses, where natural cider is produced, can be found close to San Sebastián. You can try some tasty, traditional cider and enjoy delicious food, as most of these places have both a cellar and restaurant.

Cristina Enea Park
Pilar by Pilar

Pilar loves dancing, cooking and travelling. She loves visiting her family in San Sebastián.

When you get a sunny spell in San Sebastián, you need to make the most of it. I love going to walk in Cristina Enea Park. It's a really calm place, and I always prepare a hefty picnic beforehand to enjoy the place to its fullest.

  • Paseo Duque de Mandas, 66, 20012, San Sebastián
  • Open Monday-Sunday 10:00-20:00
Flysch Route
Cristina by Cristina

Eternal optimist Cristina adores hiking, especially in the countryside around San Sebastián.

The coastline near San Sebastián is breath-taking, particularly the 8-km stretch between Deba and Zumaia. Located 50 minutes' drive away, this protected natural area has amazing cliffs. It's best appreciated with a guided tour, which includes kayaking and whale watching. Amazing!

San Sebastián International Film Festival
Elena by Elena

Originally from Málaga, Elena loves travelling, cooking and spending time with family and friends.

Since its creation in 1953, the festival has established itself as one of the most important cinema festivals in the world. For a week in September, actors and directors alike attend to present their films, making for a glamorous, cosmopolitan and cultured atmosphere.

Paseo Nuevo
Lía by Lía

Travel addict Lía is constantly planning her next trip to faraway lands.

If you follow the steps next to the Aquarium, you'll get to Paseo Nuevo, a cliff path where you can enjoy the best sunset views in San Sebastián. When the sea is rough and the Paseo is not closed for safety reasons, you can get drenched with the massive waves! It's unmissable.

  • Paseo Nuevo, 20003, San Sebastián
Zarautz
Biljana by Biljana

Born in Belgrade, married to a Basque and living in Barcelona, Biljana is a true sun seeker.

A 20-minute drive takes you to this coastal town, internationally popular among surfers. The beach is known for being the longest in the Basque Country. Zarautz is also the hometown of one of Spain's most famous chefs, Karlos Arguiñano, whose restaurant is right on the beach.

  • Zarautz, 20800
Mounte Ulía
Koldo by Koldo

Koldo was born in Donosti and now lives in Madrid. He loves his city, its gastronomy and landscapes.

Everyone visits Monte Igueldo and Monte Urgull when they're in San Sebastián. But my favourite is Monte Ulía. I have loads of happy memories from this place. When I was a kid, my parents used to take me up here for picnics. It's a lovely spot.

  • Ulía Pasealekua, 20013, San Sebastián
See what other visitors said

Best of San Sebastian

There are so many pinxo bars along Fermin Street in Old Town. Be sure to order off the calientes (hot) menus rather than limit yourself to the pinxos on the bar!

We visited at the end of November so we looked at the beach rather than lounged on it. The views from Monte Igeldo and Urquall are worth the (steep!) climbs.

Booking.com asked travelers...

Why do you recommend San Sebastian for food?

Elkano in Getaria, Arzak in Donostia, Etxebarri in Axpe, and an amazing array of pintxos bars in Parte Vieja.

When you go for tapas you can sample from food on the bar or ask for the menu for more interesting foods.

Arzak was amazing. Would recommend it to anyone. Although start saving - it's very expensive!

Gorgeous unique evenings cruising pintxos bars with no drunkeness observed.

They were lively with plenty of tapas displayed on the bar

Wanted to stay there forever

The old town

Transportation

San Sebastian Transportation

Air - San Sebastian Airport

The easiest and cheapest way to get into town from San Sebastián Airport is by bus. There's a bus stop right outside the terminal. Just look for the red buses. A single journey costs EUR 1.65, just make sure you're not paying with notes of EUR 50 or more. The journey takes around 30 minutes. If you're in a hurry, you can get a taxi. The taxi rank is also right outside the terminal. The journey costs about EUR 40.

Air - Bilbao Airport

If you're flying into Bilbao Airport, the bus is definitely the most sensible option for getting into San Sebastián. Buses leave from just outside the Arrivals Terminal. A ticket to San Sebastián costs EUR 16.85 and the journey takes just over an hour. Book online ahead of time to be sure. If you've got cash to spare, then a taxi will be marginally faster. That will cost you around EUR 160.

Bus

San Sebastián's bus system is quite efficient, and many locals use it as their main way of getting round the city. You can get tickets on the bus. A single costs EUR 1.65, try to make sure you have the right change. If you're staying for a while, it might be an idea to buy a San Sebastián Card. This card includes bus travel as well as discounts on museum tickets. These can be bought from the tourist office in Boulevard Avenue.

Taxi

San Sebastián has a large and modern fleet of taxis available 24 hours a day. The rates are official and they operate with a taxi meter. In San Sebastián, unlike in other cities, taxis do not normally stop when hailed in the street. The best idea is to head for a taxi rank or phone for one.

Bicycle

Travelling by bike in San Sebastián can be very rewarding. Although it's known for its hills, most of the city centre is relatively flat, especially the seaside promenades. There are also over 30 km of red cycle paths, known as "bidegorris", covering most of the city.

Food in San Sebastian

Top Restaurants in San Sebastian

Upscale Dining
Spanish
Restaurante Anastasio
Cheap Eats
Spanish
Bidebide
Upscale Dining
Spanish
Restaurante Lanziego
Upscale Dining
Spanish
La Brasserie Mari Galant
Cheap Eats
Italian
La Mina
Cheap Eats
American
Va Bene
  • Calle Blas de Lezo, 4, 20007, San Sebastián
  • Open Monday-Thursday 11:00-23:00, Friday 11:00-03:00, Saturday 12:00-03:00, Sunday 12:00-02:00
  • 0034 943454699
Upscale Dining
Spanish
Restaurante Narru
  • Calle Zubieta, 56, 20007, San Sebastián
  • Open Tuesday-Saturday 13:30-15:30 and 20:30-23:00, Sunday 13:30-15:30
  • 0034 943423349
Mid-Range Fare
Spanish
La Madame
  • Calle San Bartolomé, 35, 20007, San Sebastián
  • Open Monday 18:00-01:00, Wednesday 18:00-01:00, Thrusday 18:00-02:00, Friday 18:00-03:00, Saturday 12:00-17:00 and 18:00-03:00, Sunday 12:00-17:00 and 18:00-01:00
  • www.lamadamesansebastian.com
  • 0034 943444269
Mid-Range Fare
Japanese
Shake
  • Calle San Martzial, 8, 20005, San Sebastián
  • Open Monday-Sunday 11:30-16:30 and 19:00-00:00
  • 0034 943424210
Cheap Eats
Spanish
Bideluze
Cheap Eats
American
Va Bene
  • Alameda del Boulevard, 14, 20003, San Sebastián
  • Open Monday-Thursday 11:00-23:00, Friday 11:00-03:00, Saturday 12:00-03:00, Sunday 12:00-02:00
  • www.facebook.com
  • 0034 943422416
Mid-Range Fare
Indian
Bollywood Indian Restaurant
Mid-Range Fare
Spanish
Via Fora
Mid-Range Fare
Spanish
La Perla
Upscale Dining
Spanish
La Muralla
Mid-Range Fare
Spanish
Morgan
  • Calle Narrica, 7, 20003, San Sebastián
  • Open Sunday-Monday 13:00-15:30, Tuesday 13:00-15:30 and 20:00-22:30, Wednesday-Thursday 13:00-15:30, Friday-Saturday 13:00-15:30 and 20:00-22:30
  • www.morgandonostia.com
  • 0034 943424661
Cheap Eats
Spanish
Giroki
  • Calle Embeltran, 4, 20003, San Sebastián
  • Open Sunday-Tuesday 11:30-00:30, Wednesday 11:30-15:30, Thursday 11:30-00:30, Friday-Saturday 11:30-01:00
  • www.facebook.com
  • 0034 943421365
Cheap Eats
Spanish
Juantxo
Upscale Dining
Asian
Restaurante Cafe Saigon
Mid-Range Fare
Italian
La Mamma
Upscale Dining
Spanish
La Cuchara de San Telmo
Upscale Dining
Spanish
Bodegon Alejandro
Upscale Dining
Spanish
La Fábrica de Iñigo Bozal
Upscale Dining
Spanish
Alderdi Zahar
  • Calle de Fermín Calbetón, 9, 20003, San Sebastián
  • Changes seasonally. Check website for details.
  • 0034 943425254
Upscale Dining
Spanish
Bar Restaurante Ganbara
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