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c/ pescadería, 5, 20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
When Christopher Hall reported his "57 Small Bites of Spain" story about tapas in four Spanish cities, he visited Bar Txepetxa in San Sebastian's old quarter. We brought the December/January 2010 issue of AFAR with us and shared it with the pintxo...
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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...
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Kontxa Pasealekua, 12, 20007 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Bataplan is San Sebastián's best example of the classic, European, sweaty, house-music-filled disco. It is the iconic disco of the city, the one that you can bet every single San Sebastiánite has passed through at least once in their life....
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Salamanca Pasealekua, 3, 20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Be Bop is a staple in the San Sebastián night scene. If you are with a diverse group and uncertain how to reconcile their tastes, take them to Be Bop. Be Bop plays a wide range of music, from Michael Jackson to The Band to Bruno Mars. Drinks are...
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Boulevard Zumardia, 27, 20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
If you're looking for a late-night, early morning scene and Bataplan doesn't seem to do it for you, Friends Disco in the middle of town could be your pick. Usually bumping from early (1am) to even earlier (6am), Friends plays tasteful Top 40 and...
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Erregina Erregeordea kalea, 2, 20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Where can I see live music? This question comes up a lot with visitors, and the answer is, not many places. Altxerri Jazz Club, underneath Altxerri Galeria, is one of the only spots in town that has consistent (and consistently decent) live music...
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Av de Zurriola, 16, 20002 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
If Cheers were set in Basque Country and crossed with Portlandia, the resulting bar would be Ondarra. A simple café bar by day, the bottom opens by night for all manner of interesting events. The small space hosts jam sessions, concerts, poetry...
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Reyes Catolicos Kalea, 20006 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
No one is the wrong age for Reyes. This pedestrian street, which stretches south from the cathedral, is lined with bars. They range from classic pintxo spots to a craft beer pub to late-night drinking holes. Perfect for anyone, at any time of day....
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Fermin Calbeton Kalea, 8, 20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
In San Sebastián nightlife, there is an awkward stretch between 12:30am and 2am in which the discos are empty and the pintxo bars are closed. You will find everyone, even locals of an older persuasion, in one of the many 'in-between' bars in the...
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De Igeldo Ibilbidea, 187, 20008 Donostia, Guipúzcoa, 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...
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Zurríola Hiribidea, 24, 20002 San Sebastián, Guipúzcoa, 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.
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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Aldura Gunea Aldea, 20, 20100 Errenteria, Gipuzkoa, Spain
$$$$
Molecular and sustainable Basque cuisine at 2-Michelin starred restaurant Mugaritz. Modern farm house, garden, and sheep frolicking about make the ethereal setting one-of-a-kind.
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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...
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Edificio Astillero, Puerto 3, 20808 Getaria, Gipuzkoa, Spain
It's scientifically proven: even if you think you don't like anchovies, when you try the Maisor anchovies from Itsas Mendi store, you are 92% likely to change your mind. Getaria is anchovy central, and this store is located right on its port. In...
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Carretera San Prudencio, 0 S/N, 20808 Getaria, Guipúzcoa, Spain
Aroa farm, a 10-minute walk from the middle of Getaria, is a farm unlike any other in the entire country of Spain. Jaime Burgaña and his team cultivate exotic vegetables, fruits, and herbs on this 12-acre farm. But their focus is on perfecting and...
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Potzuaga Kalea, 8, 20808 Getaria, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Txakoli. It's not as hard to say as it looks, and it's really easy to drink. This slightly fizzy white wine is unique to the Basque Country and is made (officially, at least) from the local Hondarribi varietal. Many of the bodegas in the D.O....
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Getaria, Gipuzkoa, Spain
A unique feature of Getaria's city streets are the grills, built into the side of buildings. The outside observer can glean that the general purpose is cooking, but seeing them in action is a different story. Fish are brought fresh from the port,...
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Elkano, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Elkano is world-famous for its grilled seafood. From clams to tuna, this spot grills it all and sells it by the kilo. They specialize, like Kai Kaipe, in grilled fish. Locals who prefer Elkano, and even those who prefer Kai Kaipe, say that the...
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General Arnao Kalea, 4, 20808 Getaria, Gipuzkoa, Spain
“A poorly grilled turbot is a turbot that has died in vain." This is the motto that hangs in Kai Kaipe, one of the two stars in a village that really shouldn't have any. They specialize, like Elkano, in grilled fish. Locals who prefer Kai Kaipe do...
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20170 Usurbil, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Kalimotxo is a drink made of equal parts red wine and cola. When I first heard of the drink, I had to check the source - I thought someone was playing a trick on me. When I found out that people have been drinking kalimotxo in Spain for quite some...
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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...
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Monte Igueldo, 20008, Gipuzkoa, Spain
The view of La Concha Bay must be the most photographed and recognisable of San Sebastian. What you may not realise is that one way to ascend the spectacular Monte Igueldo from where you can capture this unforgettable shot, is by a rickety old...
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San Sebastián, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Musika Parkean is a wildly popular, one-of-a-kind experience in this coastal town. Once a month, from April to September, one of San Sebastián's green areas is the site of a free concert, with beautiful views and interesting food options to match....
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Iberia
We walked to the end of the La Concha beach in San Sebastian and stumbled upon these "Wind Combs" by Eduardo Chillida. Not only are they placed in an amazing setting, but their installation was truly a feat of engineering.
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Argentinar Errepublika, 2, 20004 San Sebastián, Guipúzcoa, Spain
Victoria Eugenia is a double-edged sword. A beautiful, red-velvet-swathed theater occupies the aboveground section of this building. Offerings feature biggish names in music, Broadway adaptations, and classical performances. Meanwhile, after...
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Alameda del Blvd., 26 - 1º izquierda, 20003 San Sebastián, Guipúzcoa, Spain
One of the cornerstones of the Basque dining tradition is the gastronomic society. It is a private club whose 'clubhouse' typically consists of a kitchen and a huge dining room. Members bring raw product and join together to cook dinner, eat, and...
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Zurriola Ibilbidea, s/n, 20002 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Zurriola beach is slightly off the radar, or at least as much off the radar as one of a city's three beaches can be. The only tourists that typically venture over are of the surfing persuasion, and sitting to watch the sunset on the wall that...
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Gernikako Arbola Pasealekua, 8, 20006 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Botanika is one of San Sebastián's best local spots to just BE. Especially if you consider yourself slightly hip, ride a fixed gear, are a NOLA-phile, or enjoy café food with a vegetarian bent. The private garden overlooks the river that runs...
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Guipuzkoa Plaza, 14, 20004 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Bideluze hits all the right notes. There's nothing artisan or hoity-toity about it. Just a good, comfortable Irish pub style vibe, with pintxos that are big enough to qualify as sandwiches and a kitchen open all day long. Mornings in Bideluze are...
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Bermingham Kalea, 1, 20002 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Entering this cafe is like stepping through a time warp to America. Highlights are the flavored coffees (donut latte! muffin cappuccino!) and the croissants. They're made by hand behind a glass window all day long. In a land of mediocre puff...
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Kontxa Pasealekua, S/N, 20007 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Café de La Concha is a perfectly satisfactory café for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. However, what it does really well is sit smack dab in the middle of La Concha Beach. This means there is no place more picturesque to take a morning coffee than...
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Bengoetxea Kalea, 2, 20004 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
This is the neighborhood spot for the entire town of San Sebastián under the age of 40. Whether it's an 8 o'clock shot of espresso, a mid-morning toast with tomato and olive oil, or a beer at 7pm, this place is always hopping with people. It's the...
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Sanchez Toca Kalea, 1, 20006 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Pokhara, located in the center of the city, has one of the best ambiences around. The quintessential European café, with a touch of Paris and a touch of Spain, it attracts a younger, hip crowd. Don't expect food beyond the obligatory croissants...