The city of San Sebastián has the privilege of being able to boast of having many open and natural spaces. Places of beauty and tranquility, the city parks are ideal for activities with children and for couple walks. The park of Cristina Enea stands out particularly for the little ones, because it could be considered as the most exotic of all, since it is an authentic miniature zoo, where you can find swans and even peacocks.
And speaking of which, the Miramar Gardens are part of the Miramar Palace, one of the palaces of the Royal Family that is located in San Sebastián, which enjoys spectacular views. This English-style palace accompanies well-kept gardens and park, and so much so that they are the usual place to celebrate certain parties in its gardens and noble areas, mainly those of the San Sebastian Film Festival.
But we must also mention the Alderdi Park, whose name literally means in Basque "beautiful place", are located in front of the City Hall and the bay of La Concha are one of the most typical pictures of the city. The garden was designed by the French gardener Pierre Ducasse, and stands out for the presence of a hundred tamarinds that provide shade to the space, as well as flower beds and green hedges, a pond and various fountains and statues.
The night in San Sebastián is as fascinating as its day. Equally diverse and interesting, nightlife in the city offers a wide range of possibilities, which pleases all tastes. Mainly, Donostia's nightlife is divided into three main areas, the busiest and most popular in terms of party and fun. The most popular places are the Old Town, lively and busy both day and night; Reyes Catolicos Street, the most chic and modern area; the Barrio de Gros, the quietest and youngest area and, finally, the Zurriola area, with a youthful atmosphere and meeting place for surfers.
You can find everything on these streets: cosmopolitan gastropubs, cozy local neighborhoods, places where birthdays and bachelor parties are celebrated, chill-out pubs, nightclubs with DJ sessions, elegant nightlife events halls, avant-garde halls and somewhat hidden, concerts in bars, discos on the beach and many, many more places. Explore San Sebastian and choose what you like best!
What not to love about this majestic city on the coast of the Cantabrian Sea? San Sebastián boasts a circular bay with crystal clear waters and white sand beaches that has attracted wealthy people throughout history in search of sun and sophistication. This is what made the city famous during the Belle Époque and that is why the regent queen María Cristina established her royal residence here during the summer. Evidence of this glamorous past can still be seen today in San Sebastián. From beautiful sculptures such as the emblematic Comb of the Wind, an essential to visit, the imposing Empty Construction and the Dove of Peace and the tribute to Fleming on the beautiful Paseo de la Concha, to the charming Plaza de Guipuzkoa, of great artistic beauty.
In recent years, San Sebastián has captured the interest of the press due to its cuisine. Only San Sebastián has 16 Michelin stars distributed in 9 restaurants. The city can boast of having more Michelin stars per capita than any other place in the world, with the exception of Tokyo. San Sebastián is in many ways like a mini Paris, but in Basque style.
The beautiful basilica of Santa Maria del Coro is considered one of the main architectural ornaments of the city today. It was built in the 18th century and is a vivid example of the Baroque style. The construction of the basilica lasted more than 20 years. Its facade, decorated with stucco and carved elements, was perfectly preserved after hundreds of years. The interior of the church surprises with its luxury. Reveals unique elements of neoclassical and gothic styles.
The beautiful palaces that hide in the San Sebastian landscape deserve a special stop. Fall in love with the Palace of the Duke of Mandas, located in the Cristina Enea Park and the elegant Palacio de Aiete, built in 1878 on behalf of the Dukes of Bailén. The Castillo de la Mota, one of the first defensive buildings in San Sebastián, completes this picturesque visit to the main cultural attractions of San Sebastián.
The best known and characteristic beach of San Sebastián is probably the Playa de la Concha, which extends all along the city's coast. It is a very fine white sand, in contrast to the rugged and rugged rocks of northern nature, which makes it one of the most emblematic beaches in all of Spain.
It is not the only one, however, it is also worth mentioning the beaches of Zurriola and Ondarreta. This first one has established itself as a beach with a younger profile and appropriate for surfing (it is the most open beach with the strongest waves in the city) and as the setting for some concerts of the San Sebastián Jazz Festival and Bodyboarding, surfing, skateboarding and similar events, unlike the Frente to the elegant and quiet profile of the beaches of Ondarreta and La Concha.
But if you are looking for some peace and quiet, the beach of Santa Clara Island is what many people call an authentic natural pool because of its great beauty and is especially good for bathing. It is a place of exceptional biodiversity, because on the island there is a subspecies of Iberian lizard, unique in the whole world, thanks to its geographical position.
San Sebastián is one of the reference capitals in Spanish cuisine, and more specifically of Basque cuisine, of international fame. The capital of San Sebastian has magnificent restaurants of the highest level awarded with the coveted Michelin Stars. San Sebastian has its headquarters as famous establishments as the Arzak, the Mugaritz or the Martín Berasategui, to name just two within the firmament of stars of the San Sebastian restoration. This magnificent quality in regards to cooking is due to several factors: the excellence of raw materials, both from the sea and from livestock or the garden; the constant investigation by the most famous chefs, and some elaboration techniques that date from time immemorial, conveniently updated.
And it is these raw materials, the fish, that are so important in the kitchen of San Sebastián. Particularly note the sea bass, sargo, sea bream and turbot as specialty fish, especially for their preparations, which in many occasions are considered to be made "the Donostiarra way". In its traditional recipe we find famous dishes such as marmitako, made with potatoes, onion, tomato, peppers, all together with the star ingredient: the beautiful, fresh and tasty. We should also mention other popular dishes such as cod-pil cod, hake with koskera and txipirones in their ink. Undoubtedly, San Sebastián has an enormous gastronomic wealth that one cannot miss.
San Sebastián is not a city outside the sporting world, quite the opposite, it is a meeting place and active when it comes to sports. It is no accident that San Sebastián is the host of the Behobia marathon, the Donosti Cup and the Cycling Classics, being these, among the most important sporting events in the Basque Country and at the same time in a reference of Spanish sport.
A walk through the historic center of the city is the best letter of introduction to integrate into the sporting life of San Sebastián. Basque ball tournaments are held in most of the downtown neighborhoods and is a great cultural attraction for both the San Sebastian community and visitors. Horse races, in the summer months, concentrate a large number of spectators and fans willing to enjoy this great sporting spectacle.
Being a city where a cycling event like the San Sebastián Classic is celebrated, visiting the city by bicycle becomes a perfect plan, especially because it is possible to combine the worlds of sport with that of culture and interest, making it doubly interesting. Do not forget the natural heritage that San Sebastian has, since its beaches offer a variety of water sports such as paddle surfing, canoeing and surfing.
San Sebastián hosts a varied and complete range of museums: history, science and technology, oceanography, art and other knowledge are disseminated through exhibition halls, marine water tanks and modern audiovisual installations. To satisfy those who want to know more about how things work. Those who want to know the world, and themselves.
The San Telmo Museum, formerly known as the old Artillery barracks, was converted into a museum during the 20th century. Its historical location in the old town and also in a magnificent building of the 16th century made it ideal for its cultural transformation. The canvases of the Catalan artist José María Sert decorate his Renaissance cloister, the church and the rest of the dependencies, which in 2011 were rehabilitated and expanded. This concept review changed the museum in both its definition and its objectives, making it a new museum for everyone.
Another cultural place of interest is the also remodeled Donostia Aquarium, which precisely because of this, can boast of being one of the most modern oceanographic museums in all of Europe. Particularly suitable for children, the Aquarium contains copies of the colorful and famous clownfish, which many know as the fish of the Nemo movie and one of the largest marine knowledge archives that one can find. Crossing its 360º acrylic tunnel suspended in the middle of the water, surrounded by large sharks and huge blanket fish, or touching specimens of live fish in its tactile aquarium are just some of the fun possibilities that this museum offers us.
Located in Astigarraga, at the foot of an apple orchard, is the Museum of the Basque Cider Sagardoetxe, a closed center equipped with all the resources and the most advanced technologies, which shows through computer panels, interactive material, photographs and games history ; the past, the present and the future of the exciting world of the apple, the sagardoa and its cultural importance in the Basque Country.
Cinema is closely linked to the history and popularity of San Sebastián for decades. The San Sebastian International Film Festival is the most important film contest in Spain and one of the most recognized internationally, rubbing shoulders with other long-term festivals such as the Cannes Festival and the Venice Festival. It is celebrated every year at the end of September since its first edition in 1953. This festival has welcomed dozens of great actors and actresses, and many prominent personalities of cinema as directors and producers, who from here took off their career. Particularly noteworthy are several important events in the world of the seventh art, such as the international premiere of Vertigo and the world premiere of With Death on the Heels, both by Alfred Hitchcock, the European premiere of the first title of the Star Wars saga, in 1977, or , more recently, the world premiere of Melinda and Melinda, by Woody Allen.
Not only that, but also the Festival has given birth, so to speak, to many movie stars who are now international icons. In the management section, the cinematographic origins of Roman Polanski, as well as Francis Ford Coppola, known for directing the trilogy of The Godfather, and Pedro Almodóvar stand out. And when it comes to the talented big screen, famous actors like Glenn Ford, Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn and Julia Roberts, Naomi Watts and Meryl Streep have walked through their red carpet. The San Sebastian Festival combines an independent and international quality cinema identity, with particular emphasis on Spanish-American cinema and thus leaves its mark on the world of seventh art.
San Sebastián enjoys being surrounded by a privileged natural wealth, surrounded by the sea and populated with trees and green that can be seen as far as the eye can see. That is why in Donostia there are many routes and paths through which its inhabitants can take excursions or simply walk and observe the nature around them. In fact, San Sebastián is part of the route of the Camino de Santiago, specifically the coast road, which is the most emblematic of the city, in which it invites the visitor to skirt the coast, approximately 15 kilometers, until reaching the neighboring town of Orio. There is also an alternative, for those who want a shorter route, which is the route of the San Pedro Passages of just 5 kilometers.
If one has a more familiar plan in mind, two interesting plans appear: a visit to the Artikutza estate and Mount Ulia. The Artikutza estate is a beautiful natural landscape through which several short routes of great beauty run, ideal for family plans because of its simple nature to travel and its geography. Similarly, we have the second plan, Mount Ulia whose viewpoints are its main attraction. Its views allow you to see, if you are lucky, whale watching, and from afar the Igeldo and Urgull mountains, which have various attractions and historical tributes that complete the tour of the natural areas closest to San Sebastián.
A very representative medium route route is the famous Route of the Three Temples. The journey that Saint Ignatius of Loyola made through Guipuzkoa during his pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The beautiful natural landscape, the particular charm of the villages that you will find in your path and the architectural jewels that you will discover along the way make this accessible 3-day route a classic of Gipuzkoan hiking.