12 Must-Do Experiences in San Sebastián
Collected by Marti Kilpatrick , AFAR Local Expert
San Sebastián may be a small town at heart, but it is rich with must-do experiences for all types of traveler. From pintxos to art museums to the Bay of La Concha, San Sebastián has plenty to keep visitors busy. Experience the local culture through stellar surf, unique drinks, killer views, and Michelin star cuisine in this Basque town.
Santa Korda Kalea, 4, 20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
At La Cuchara de San Telmo, on the corner of the plaza Valle Lersundi in San Sebastian, the specialties were hot pintxos, quickly prepared to order--from the menu or the specials board, or by pointing to what your neighbor was eating. This was one...
Igeldo Ibilbidea, 187, 20008 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
It was raining when we arrived in Donostia-San Sebastian, but the skies cleared on our second day, and we rode the funicular railway up Mount Igueldo to take in the view back on the city, La Concha Bay, and the empty beach. The "low" travel season...
Zurríola Hiribidea, 24, 20002 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
San Sebastián, for many, is a surf town. Pukas is your one-stop shop for everything from surf lessons, bikinis, gear, and cool souvenirs with a local twist, like their trademark 'Surfing the Basque Country' t-shirts.
Euskal Herria Kalea, 7, 20003 San Sebastián, Guipúzcoa, Spain
January 20. The favorite day of residents of San Sebastián. A day that nearly always portends cold, rain, and discomfort. It's the Day of San Sebastián, also known as the Tamborrada. Imagine an entire town turning up at the main square at...
Mount Ulia, 20013, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Most visitors never cross the river from the Old Part, and the vast majority overlook what has to be one of the most beautiful hikes from here to California. At the edge of Gros, a trail heads up some stairs (at the end of Calle San Francisco) and...
Plaza Zuloaga, 1, 20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Museo San Telmo is a must-see for any art or culture-phile during a visit to San Sebastián. The newly renovated museum's architecture alone makes for fascinating viewing, and there are sections on Basque anthropology as well as revolving...
Kalea Isla de Santa Clara, 2, 20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
From May to August, a ferry runs from the port of San Sebastián to the island that sits serenely in the middle of the Concha Bay. The island is quiet, isolated, and empty. There is a café on the island with a mysterious timetable, and a lighthouse...
Bretxa Plaza, 3, 20003 San Sebastián, Guipúzcoa, Spain
La Bretxa shopping center houses the usual trappings of a modern-day shopping mall, but below ground one can find the city's largest and best market for the fruits of the sea. Cold, wet and crowded, this is the spot where you will find both...
Calle de Nagusia, 96, 20115 Astigarraga, Guipúzcoa, Spain
December to May is cider season in the Basque Country. Basque cider is quite different (drier, more bitter) than its American and English counterparts. The real magic in Basque cider, however, happens when it is consumed. Groups of friends head in...
Zabaleta Kalea, 6, 20002 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
La Gintonería, in the less-traversed neighborhood of Gros, could very well be the best gin-tonic in San Sebastián. With two shelves laden with premium and hard-to-find gins, it's a gintonaholic's dream. They have a selection of premium tonics and...
Malkorbe Kalea, 5, 20808 Getaria, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Arriving to Getaria can be done by bus, but one of the most unforgettable parts of visiting this village is approaching (or exiting) it by the sidewalk that winds along the sea. Depending on the time of year, you will have endless views of a calm...