Collected by Valerie Klosterman
264 rte Plages Qua, 64500 Saint-Jean-de-Luz, France
If you've ever been to--or have seen photographs of--San Sebastian during the summer, you know that the perfectly crescent-shaped white-sand beach in this Basque seaside town never looks like this. It would be packed with sunbathers cheek by jowl....
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...
San Bartolome Kalea, 35, 20007 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
La Madame is one of the most forward-facing dining spots in San Sebastián. It's one of the only place in the city where you can find well-executed fusion cuisine, with touches of American, Japanese, French and Basque cuisine and perhaps THE only...
Gipuzkoa Plaza, 10, 20004 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Let's be honest...how many of us have actually enjoyed chestnuts roasted by an open fire? The beginning of winter is marked by the arrival of chestnuts to the Plaza de Gipuzkoa. They're sold from a tiny hut in each corner of the square. What...
Ijentea Kalea, 2, 20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Turning down that last gin-tonic has its benefits. The Old Part of San Sebastián is at its most peaceful in the morning. Head to Pastelería Oyarzun, grab a hot piece of what the locals call "brioche," but is actually a croissant with raisins, off...
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...
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....
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...
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...
Okendo Kalea, 1, 20004 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
San Sebastián, or Donostia in the Basque language, is a Belle Époque resort town built around the Bay of La Concha. Stroll the cobblestone Old Town streets in search of cozy shops, the city’s oldest church (San Vicente) and celebrated restaurants...
Familia Santua Kalea, 1, 20010 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
The Astoria7 hotel is one of the few spots in town with character. With Hollywood stars as its leitmotif (in homage to the San Sebastián Film Festival), each room is dedicated to a different actor. Comfortable, modern and clean, and with a lovely...
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...
San Pedro Kalea, 20280 Hondarribia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Dwarf-sized, colorful wooden houses line San Pedro street in Hondarribia. They are still inhabited; laundry hangs off balconies and old women peer out windows while they wash dishes. Below, shops and pintxo bars give the crowds something to look...
Plaza de Armas, 14, 20280 Hondarribia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Hondarribia, founded in the 13th century, has an incredibly beautiful and well-preserved old part. The perfect after lunch or dinner activity is strolling the streets of the walled city, which feels much more ancient than nearby San Sebastián....
Puerto Deportivo Zona Técnica Nave 5, 20280 Fuenterrabía, Guipúzcoa, Spain
For less than two euros, you can spend the afternoon in another country. If you need a break from Hondarribia, or have an intense craving for some stinky cheese, you can catch the ferry. This tiny boat pulls out every 30 minutes, and after a...
Plaza de Armas, 14, 20280 Hondarribia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Starting on the 8th of every September, Hondarribia celebrates a huge festival called El Alarde. Citizens dressed as military march through the streets, while others perform a traditional dance to the Virgin of Guadalupe, all to celebrate the end...
Nafarroa-Behera Kalea, 1, 20280 Hondarribia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Sugarri Restaurant in Hondarribi is doing something that few restaurants in nearby San Sebastián are: serving updated twists on Basque cuisine that are equally delicious as their traditional counterparts, in portions that satisfy. Chef Bixente...
San Pedro Kalea, 63-65, 20280 Hondarribia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Bixente Muñoz is Hondarribia's culinary star. Gran Sol is his pintxo bar. Here you can find perfectly executed small bites with names of nearby landmarks. Try the Hondarribi: smoked cod with piquillo pepper, foie, and jellied peach. Or the...
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...
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...
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