Collected by Steven Ast
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...
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...
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...
Rodil Zeharkalea, 79, 20013 San Sebastián, Guipúzcoa, Spain
One of my favorite sit-down dining experiences in the city, Zelai Txiki has a couple things going for it. One is a gigantic terrace that overlooks the entire city. On a summer evening there are only a few places I would rather be. Call ahead to...
Okendo Kalea, 1, 20004 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Let's say you only have a day or two in San Sebastián and no time to research your trip. Who you gonna call? Jon Warren and his team at San Sebastián Food. They offer shortcuts to the heart of the San Sebastián food scene, and the truth is, they...
Kontxa Pasealekua Edificio de La Perla Donostia Gipuzkoa ES 20007, Kontxa Pasealekua, 20007 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
What could make a spa with all the typical trappings of luxury even better? Wall-to-wall windows overlooking La Concha bay, that's what. La Perla does not disappoint, and it's a great way to spend those finicky winter days when visiting San...
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...
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...
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....
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,...
Aldamar Parkea Parkea, 6, 20808 Getaria, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Few names in fashion have the caché of Balenciaga. That's why it may come as a surprise that he is from the tiny village of Getaria. After years of contention and fighting over precious pieces, the Balenciaga Museum finally became a reality. It's...
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...
Narrika Kalea, 4, 20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
171 years crafting hats is a long time. The family behind Casa Ponsol are maestros of adorning heads, although they have since branched out into men's fashion as well. The Basque beret is ubiquitous, and if you find yourself pining for one this is...
Prim Kalea, 16, 20006 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Vinos Ezeiza is a store of a dying breed. A knowledgeable owner stands among dusty wine bottles, able to answer any question you might have about his collection. Headed out to a fiesta? Bring your wineskin and fill it by volume. Buying Rioja wine...
Narrika Kalea, 8, 20003 San Sebastián-Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Perhaps it's because of airline restrictions, but I'm willing to bet that you never thought of a knife as a great take-home from vacation. Stop in Cuchillería Colmenero and that will change. They have knives with beautiful hand-carved wooden...
Getaria Kalea, 14, 20005 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
A truly great store is one that makes you desire things that you didn't know you wanted. Almacenes Arenzana achieves this, but lucky for the shopper, they happen to sell extremely useful items. Cork, cords, burlap, fabric, ropes, all by the...
Zabaleta Kalea, 43, 20002 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
While Vintage Closet isn't technically an old store, this boutique carries a fascinating mix of vintage clothing and clothing that wishes it were vintage. It's a rarity in Donosti, a city that leans more toward Zara than second-hand. Off the...
C/ Fermín Calbetón 9, 20003 San Sebastián, Guipúzcoa, Spain
If you're in San Sebastián to eat, chances are you'll be wanting to eat Pimientos de Gernika and Guisantes Lágrimas long after your trip is over. Semillas Elosegui is a classic stop in the Old Part of San Sebastián, and they have seeds for all of...
20005 San Sebastián, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Donosti Librería is the bookstore that movies are made of. In the family for 40 years, the shop's beautiful art nouveau façade hides a calming interior. Walls are stacked with books, handpicked by the owners, and the overall atmosphere is the...
De la Brecha Enparantza, 2, 20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Want to know what's in season? Wonder past La Bretxa in the Old Part of San Sebastián and glance at the stalls of the local farmers that sell their produce every day on the side of the building. You might glimpse leeks, porcini, peppers, squash,...
Arrandegi Kalea, 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...
Calle Mayor, 18, 20003 San Sebastián, Guipúzcoa, Spain
Everyone knows a pintxo hop is a must-do in San Sebastián. What everyone doesn't know is that Atari Gastroteka, located in the shadows of the old town's beautiful Santa Maria church, is the perfect last stop on the tour. Their artisan foie is...
Fermin Calbeton Kalea, 12, 20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
"Aquí, Se Guisa" is the motto at Borda Berri, one of the Old Town's best pintxo bars. The star of every pintxo is a braised critter: beef, octopus, rabbit, you name it. There's no pintxos on the bar at this spot, but don't let that keep you from...
Calle Pescaderia, 10, 20003 Donostia, Bizkaia, Spain
Expect creative riffs on the classic pintxo at this ultra-modern spot. Everything from the colors to the flavor combinations are unique and draw in crowds from the street. Not everyone is a fan of their style—for instance, the old guard who remain...
Arrandegi Kalea, 11, 20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
San Jeronimo Kalea, 19, 20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Ganbara has two big cons. One, it's expensive. Raciones of mushrooms, for example, run you around 20 euros. Two, it's been discovered (twice over) and is on even the under-informed tourist's pintxo list. That said, and considering that perhaps...
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