San Sebastian is known worldwide for its natural beauty and Belle Époque architecture, becoming the most beautiful urban beach in Spain and Europe. It is also known for its famous International Film Festival every September; and for its exquisite cuisine that makes it the second city with the most Michelin stars per square meter in the world. In the Basque Country food is not a human necessity, it is a way of life, so it becomes a symbol of its culture, and San Sebastian its best exponent. In this city there are many renowned chef, such as: Juan Mari Arzak, Martín Berasategui, Andoni Luis Aduriz and Pedro Subijana; and there is a Faculty of Gastronomic Sciences: the Basque Culinary Center.
It has been a tourist destination since the 19th century when the sea bath expanded as a medical cure; which had also happened in the French part of the Basque Country, especially in Biarritz. Both the French and the Spanish aristocracy made their summers on the Basque coast, and others in northern Spain.
The beauty of San Sebastian is admired in one day, but if you want to take away the essence of the city, you need at least two days. It is a city to walk along its beaches of La Concha and Ondarreta to the Chillida’s Comb of the Wind with a light bath in its waters. You can also walk through the streets of Old Town and Ensanche to admire its architecture. Go to try pintxo hopping as the locals say, and get to know the city at night, where its charm will just caught you. And if you like sports activities, the stay can be extended as much as you want. It is a city that is enjoyed at any time of the year.
I recommend not to leave San Sebastian without seeing in the Parte Vieja the facade of the Basilica of Santa Maria del Coro, the fishing port and the Plaza de la Constitución. Also some must-seen in the Ensanche are the gardens and the Town Hall in the Alderdi Eder Square (“beautiful place” in Basque), the Victoria Eugenia Theater, the Maria Cristina Hotel or the Bretxa Market. In the less visited district of Gross you can see the beautiful bridges over the Urumea river and the Kursaal Congress Palace. And do not leave without enjoying the ascent on the funicular to Mount Igeldo to observe the best views of the city, and spend some leisure time in its Amusement Park.
San Sebastián has received the Europe 2019 Award for working hard to spread European values; and in 2016 it was declared a European City of Culture. In addition to the Film Festival, it has the Quincena Musical festival of classical music that lasts more than a month, the International Fireworks competition (an event that when seen from the beach turns incredible), and the Film and Human Rights Festival, among others. It is the headquarters of the Basque Country Symphony Orchestra, the Orfeón Donostiarra, and the Easo Choir, the most important of the autonomous community. Amongst its 6 museums I suggest you see the San Telmo museum and the Aquarium. 5 days would be the minimum stay if you want to enjoy the city and its culture; tell us your interests and we will suggest the best moments to enjoy them.
It is also a city that is used by many visitors as a base of stay to visit other towns and cities in the province of Guipuzcoa; and from the French Basque Country; so five days here is a good vacation plan. Nearby we have the museum of the sculptor Chillida, the port of Pasajes; the cities of Guetaria, Tolosa, Biarritz, St. Jean-de-Luz or Bayonne. You can also ask us to incorporate in this tour themes related to illustrious Donostiarras such as the sailor Blas de Lezo, the nun ensign Catalina de Erauso, the writer Pio Baroja, or the life in the city of Cristóbal Balenciaga, the famous dressmaker.
San Sebastian’s arrow pierce your hearth!