Donostia-San Sebastián

San Sebastian (or Donostia in the Basque language) is a city in the Basque Country in Northern Spain. It is about 12 miles (20 km) south of France on the coast of the Bay of Biscay.

San Sebastian is known for its perfect beaches and gastronomy and we couldn’t have visited on a more beautiful and sunny day.

Transportation:

  • From Bilbao, an Alsa bus ride to San Sebastian takes 1 hour and 15 minutes and costs 6 euros.
  • From Madrid, an Alsa bus ride to San Sebastian takes about 6 hours and costs 33 euros.

Time:

The amount of time that could be spent in San Sebastian varies.

  • Colder weather: You could spend about 2 days there at a medium pace if you wanted to see everything.
  •  Warmer weather: Stay for a few more days to soak up some rays on the beautiful beaches.

2 days or longer:

  • Hike the other mountains for alternate views
  • Visit a Sidreria
  • Visit other parts of town
  • Lay on the beach
  • Go to the aquarium

We decided a day trip would be best and we could fit in everything we wanted to do. We were there from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and here were our top picks for a day trip:

Cathedral

Because we are in Europe, we have to see a cathedral in every city. Just kidding, but I feel like you have to see at least one, right? We actually didn’t mean to go inside, but the gate was open and we felt sneaky.

Museo de San Telmo

The museum sits in a 16th-century monastery at the bottom of Mount Urgull. Museo de San Telmo features paintings Renaissance and Baroque art, with an emphasis on Basque artists. There is also a chapel inside with frescoes covering the walls by José María Sert. The museum has an exhibition of Basque culture throughout the years, but it’s main focus is on San Sebastián.

Mount Urgull

It was a hike to the top of Mount Urgull, but beautiful every step of the way. The mountain hosts a 12th century military fort that protected the city. Atop of the mountain sits a large Jesus statue looking over Donastia.

View from the top

Pathway up

View from the top

Food

Many say San Sebastián has the best gastronomy in all of Spain. The town is famous for pintxos, or tapas in Spanish. You can find pintxos (probably) in every café around town and in the Basque Country. Pintxos are a small appetizer-like food and are usually under 2 euros each.

There are tapa tours to allow visitors to get the most out of  the various Pinxtos.

Walk

Just walk! There is a lot of shopping around town and you will be surprised with all the beautiful sights you see by getting lost.

San Sebastián reminded me a lot of Bilbao. When you were walking through the Old Town, it reminded me exactly of Casco Viejo in Bilbao. When you were walking through the newer part of town, it also looked like Bilbao. The only difference is the beach, which is a huge difference. It wasn’t as industrial as Bilbao, but both are beautiful places to visit.

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