In Basque culture, a house is more than a building; it is intertwined with a family’s and a person’s identity. To welcome someone into your home is to welcome them into your life, to count them among your friends. At Pensión Edorta, a 19th-century house hidden away amid the narrow cobbled streets of San Sebastián’s historic Parte Vieja, this philosophy is evident. Owner Arantxa Alduntzin runs the guesthouse with her husband, Xabier, and brother, Edorta, in the very same house where she and Edorta grew up. The pensión is basic—half the rooms share a (spotlessly clean) communal bathroom, and neither toiletries nor breakfast are included—but the atmosphere is warm and welcoming, a haven in the bustling tourist center. Rooms are simple and elegant, with modern furnishings, colorful walls, and, in some, private balconies overlooking the street below.
And the pensión’s location can’t be beat. Everything in the heart of San Sebastián is within walking distance. With many of the city’s famous pintxo bars just out the front door, a nightly pintxo hop is practically required here.
Rooms: Nine rooms, four with en-suite bathrooms. From $43. Check-in: upon arrival; check-out: noon. Dining options: As a pensión, the Edorta doesn’t have a restaurant, and doesn’t offer breakfast, but the city’s myriad acclaimed pintxos bars, restaurants, and cafés are just out the front door. Spa and gym details: The hotel has neither a gym nor a spa, but Mount Urgull—a popular hiking spot for views of the city—is just at the end of the street.
Who's it best for: Independent travelers on a budget, who want to be in the heart of the action. Our favorite rooms: Each of the nine rooms is individually decorated, but those with en-suite baths not only have in-room facilities but also are slightly larger, and most have private balconies, too. Local expertise: Two of the proprietors, Arantxa and Edorta, grew up in the house that’s now the pensión, so ask them for any local tips for sights, restaurants, and experiences. They’re founts of local knowledge.