In any corner of Spain, you’ll uncover charming villages and unforgettable cities. It’s a country which you need to take your time to explore fully; to traverse from north to south and east to west at your own leisure.
Cities such as Madrid, Barcelona, Seville and Granada appear in all of the tourist guides to Spain, but if there’s one city in the north which you really shouldn’t miss and which is sometimes overlooked by tourists, it’s San Sebastian.
The city boasts a rich culture and plenty for the visitor to see. We recommend taking a look at a good tourist guide to San Sebastian before visiting. You will discover the significance of the city’s cuisine and its celebrated restaurants, learn about its local language (Euskera), traditional sports (played throughout the Basque country), and maritime roots and culture.
The whole city revolves around the sea and its three beaches (La Concha, Ondarreta and Zurriola). In the city’s Parte Vieja (old town), you can sample pintxos, a Basque take on tapas, in some of the country’s best pintxo bars. San Sebastian certainly deserves its reputation as the pintxo capital of Spain .
If you visit San Sebastian, you can’t leave without climbing Monte Igueldo, a hill from which you can enjoy some of the best views of the entire city. You can make your ascent using its famous funicular railway, a small train which climbs the steep slope to the summit. From the top of Monte Igueldo, you can take in an unbeatable panorama of the whole of La Concha bay.
If there’s one season when we especially recommend a trip to Donostia (as San Sebastian is known by its locals), it has to be summer. For the rest of the year the weather can be rather unpredictable, but in summer the good weather transforms the city.
In August, for example, the Semana Grande, literally ‘Big Week,’ takes place. This is one of the city’s biggest celebrations and welcomes visitors from all over the world. The highlight of the festival is the firework championship which takes place at La Concha beach each evening. This spectacle is witnessed by thousands of people who flock to the beach to watch.
September is also a good time to visit. This is the month when the prestigious San Sebastian Film Festival, one of the biggest and best known of its kind in Europe, takes over the city. Make sure to book a hotel well in advance if you want to visit during the festival as every hotel gets booked up for the week.
So, now you know. If you’re thinking of visiting Spain soon, why not set a few days aside for a trip to San Sebastian, one of the most beautiful, and all too often forgotten cities in the whole country?