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San Sebastian

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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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Sànchez 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...
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Andia Kalea, 11, 20004 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
People dream of European bakeries, lining the city streets, emitting delicious smells day in and day out. However, the truth is, in Spain a good bakery can be hard to find. Gogoko Goxuak is the newest addition to San Sebastián's café scene. They...
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Zabaleta Kalea, 55, 20002 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
La Guinda is quite unassuming, but its baked goods are among the city's best. They have a selection of typically "American" items, such as carrot cake, as well as alfajores, the Argentinian sweet. Their lunch menu is decent and decently priced,...
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Soraluze Kalea, 1 bajo, 20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
Café Artess is one of the city's best people-watching spots. It's spacious, with high ceilings, and locals flock there to play cards in the afternoon. It also has ample outdoor seating that looks out onto an agreeable plaza. A wide selection of...
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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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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...
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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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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...
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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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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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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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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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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...
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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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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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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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Calle Mayor, 18, 20013 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...
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Calle Mayor, 6, 20003 San Sebastián, Guipúzcoa, Spain
This is a classic of the Old Part. The VIP here are the tempura-fried shrimp, which fly out of the kitchen at an astonishing rate. No frills and no nonsense, it's a great local spot.
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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...
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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...
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Arrandegi Kalea, 11, 20003 Donostia, Gipuzkoa, Spain
In Spain, the word tortilla refers to a thin omelet, and in San Sebastián the Best Tortilla is a title that everyone loves to argue about. It is indisputable that one of the city's most delicious is that of Bar Nestor. It's a masterpiece that is...
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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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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...
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BAJO, Prim Kalea, 16, 20006 San Sebastián, Guipúzcoa, 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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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Plaza de Bilbao, 2, 20005 San Sebastián, Guipúzcoa, 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...
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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,...