San Sebastian travel guide

Cities and towns

About San Sebastián

San Sebastián, in Pais Vasco (the Basque Country), is a stylish city renowned for its excellent beaches, fine architecture and culture, and its wealth of Michelin star restaurants.

Known as Donostia in the Basque language, San Sebastián is built on the beautiful shell-shaped Bay of La Concha, recognised as 'one of the most beautiful bays in the world'. The city has 3 beaches right in the town - La Concha, Zurriola and Ondarreta, all of which are covered in fine golden sand. Just off La Concha beach is the Isla de Santa Clara, a small island of steep rocks and lush greenery that is accessible at low tide by a pier. Surrounding the entrance of the bay are the promoneteries of Monte Urgull and Monte Igueldo, which, with the Isla de Santa Clara, protect the bay and shelter the city and its beaches. From these hills you are afforded sensational views of the city and the bay and can enjoy the beauty of Green Spain's wonderful abundance of flora. Inside San Sebastián itself are some pretty parks and gardens to be enjoyed on foot or by bicycle so why not have a stroll along the promenade?

A city of cultivated tastes and style, whether in food, lifestyle or culture, San Sebastián is home to many festivals including theSan Sebastián Film Festival, the Tamborrada and the festival of Santo Tomas. The city has a rich architectural heritage on show in the Basilica de Santa Maria, Cathedral of the Good Shepherd, the Victoria Eugenia Theatre and the Miramar Palace. New and contemporary buildings coexist alongside these stunning monuments, such as the Kursaal Centre and the famous Wind Comb statue by Chillida.

Explore the history of Pais Vasco in the Museo de San Telmo and the relationship between the Basque people and the sea in the Naval Museum, or why not discover the wonders of the sea at the Aquarium de San Sebastián or of the universe at the Kutxa Espacio de la Ciencia, an interactive science museum with a planetarium.

With the most Michelin star restaurants per square metre in the world, San Sebastián is a gastronomic delight. If your tastes are less extravagant, or you just get peckish in between meals, then why not sample some pintxos, the Basque equivalent of tapas that are on sale in most bars here. Shopping opportunities are bountiful with fresh produce available from the traditional market just outside the Old Quarter and in the heart of this fashionable city you'll find numerous small boutiques selling designer brands. Nearby are the coastal towns of Hondarriba and Zarautz, with the historic town of Tolosa further inland.

Why visit San Sebastian?

  • Beaches
  • Food and Drink
  • The Architecture
  • Shopping
  • Festivals

Overview

  • Country: Spain
  • Region: Pais Vasco
  • Province: Gipuzkoa
  • Population: 186,000
  • Coordinates: 43.326926,-1.984406

Coordinates shown are based on the WGS84 system, please check driving directions before departing.

Nearby attractions

Places to visit nearby

Tolosa, in Pais Vasco (the Basque Country), is a brilliant destination for food lovers that is surrounded by the beauty of Green Spain and full of remarkable architecture.

St Jean de Luz in Aquitaine is a beautiful coastal town with some great beaches, close to the Spanish border in what is known as the French Basque Country.

Biarritz in Aquitaine is a refined aristocratic town that is now the surfing capital of Europe.

Find a holiday

Brittany Ferries holidays include return ferry travel with your car so you can explore at your own pace. What's more, you can pack everything you need to make the most of your time away - from bikes to surfboards and even the family pet.