Situated in the north of Spain on the Bay of Biscay coast, washed by the Cantabrian Sea, San Sebastian (or Donostia) also known as Perla del Cantábrico (the Cantabrian Sea Pearl) is renowned for its spectacular natural beauty. Being one of the most elegant cities of Spain with about 200,000 inhabitants, Donostia – San Sebatian and the Polish city of Wroclaw will have the honor of being the Cultural Capitals of Europe in 2016.
Being one of the main tourist destination of quality in Spain, Donostia (in Basque or Euskera language), or San Sebastian (in Spanish Language) is the capital of Gipuzkoa province (in The Basque Country region) and both the capital and the region really have a lot of to offer citizens and visitors in the way of the gastronomy, culture, architecture, water sports, comfortable lifestyle, entertainment, beaches, leisure activities, festivals, among other things.
The Concha, Ondarreta and Zurriola beaches
Taking a stroll along its coastal promenade, the starting point might be at the Peine del Viento (the Wind Comb) the famous sculpture by the architect Luis Peña and the world renowned sculptor Eduardo Chillida. At Igeldo Mountain by the sea, visitors can feast their eyes on the beautiful Bahía de la Concha (the Shell Bay) (so called because the Bahía de la Concha is shaped like a shell) where are the Ondarreta Beach and La Concha Beach, which are some of the most beautiful beaches in Spain. In front of both beaches in the heart of the bay is Santa Clara island the symbol of the city with a small beach.
Following the enjoyable stroll walkers will find a large garden, the impressive Miramar Palace and its park and interesting buildings on the right, and the Ondarreta Beach and the Concha Beach on the left. After 30 minutes on foot they will arrive at the Hall City an imposing building on the right and at the end the Concha Beach on the left. By the way, both beaches have the best facilities people can go windsurfing, kayaking, canoing and others. Visitors must not leave the city without walking along this romantic and elegant area.
If visitors go on walking they will arrive at the Zurriola Beach the largest Beach of San Sebastian where people go surfing, swimming, sunbathing, windsurfing, so on. It takes about 20 minutes on foot from Hall City to the Zurriola Beach, walking through the pedestrian Zumardia Boulevard, crossing the Kursaal Bridge over the Urumea River, in the Gros Neighborhood. It is a pleasant and unbelievable stroll.
Tasting the gastronomy of Donostia San Sebastián
It is said that one of the main tourist attractions in Donostia- San Sebastian is its gourmet food because Gipuzkoa is known all over the world for its excellent restaurants, a famous chefs and traditional cuisine. Local people, who are easy going and friendly, are used to enjoying good food and fine wine at home and out with friends and visitors.
Wandering through the lively Old Neighborhood (La Parte Vieja) from Zurmardia Boulevard to Urgull mountain, tourists can find traditional bars, cafés, restaurants full of people eating pintxos (tapas) and drinking txakoli (a special white wine) or sidra (cider) creating a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere while enjoying the delicious and tasty pintxos.
There are plenty of bars, restaurants and cafés in the Gros and the Center neighborhood which also serve great variety of excellent pintxos and traditional wine. Moreover, visitors will come across stylish restaurants, bars and cafés which offer a rich variety of local specialty.
The three neighborhoods come alive at night when people are attracted by music, dance, food and drink. Donostia – San Sebastian is probability the best city to enjoy a pleasurable lifestyle and a lively nightlife. In fact, most tourists come back again in order to have a lot of fun at its parties.
Monuments, buildings and other interesting places
Probablyyou should visit The Mota Castle on the hill of Urgull mountain dates from 12th century, with a breathtaking view of the Concha Bay. It takes about 10 minutes on foot from Hall City. It is worth a visit.
The Gothic San Vicente Church dates from 16th century, the Baroque Santa Maria Basilica from 18 th century, and the historic Constitución Square, which is the main meeting point of the city, are located in the Old Neighborhood.
Nearby the luxury Maria Cristina Hotel, the outstanding Victoria Eugenia Theater by the Urumea River, and other interesting buildings can be seen walking around the center neighborhood. Moreover, walkers will come across amazing sculptures and buildings as they stroll along the streets such as the neogothic Buen Pastor Cathedral which was built in 19th century, one of the most emblematic buildings of the city it is located in the center neighborhood where visitors can stare other magnificent buildings. Do not miss out on this spellbinding church.
Parks, gardens and fun
San Sebastian has many large parks and lovely gardens where people can do sport, play football or tennis, spend the free time. Moreover, the city has plenty of green areas, and a theme park for children and multiples activities for all family. Besides, the Palacio del Mar (the Sea Palace) is one of the most modern aquarium in Europe with more than 5,000 living species.
In conclusion, San Sebastian can offer people luxury hotels, fine restaurants; a good theater; clean and sandy beaches with clear and blue water; unique festivals, Cinema, Gastronomy, Fashion, Music, Regattas, Surfing, fascinating museums, high class shops and so on. In fact, San Sebastian is a very glamorous holiday destination.
San Sebastian is situated to 30 km. from France, 80 Km. from Pamplona; 100 km. from Bilbao, and 450 km. from Madrid.
Other cities and regions to visit near San Sebastián / Donostia
– Bilbao: In Bilbao you can visit The Guggenheim Art Center, Gexto town and beaches and many more interesting places.
– The Basque Country: Check here all our posts about the Basque Country.
– Asturias: Asturias region is placed close to the Basque country. In there you will discover Gijón and Oviedo cities and a lot nature.