San Sebastian Vacations

San Sebastian is an elegant beach resort in Basque Country known for its fine cuisine and tranquil beach. The city was founded around 1180, although it is likely that people have been living here much longer. Divided into the Parte Vieja (Old Town), Centro and Gros districts, San Sebastian's principal attraction is the beach. La Concha beach is the ... Read more
place to be for beach chairs and amenities while La Zurriola, on the other side of town, is a surfing beach. Hiking up the mountain to the Christ statue puts one in mind of Rio, while sampling hot and cold Basque pintxos (tapas) with a glass of vino tinto (red wine) is a great way to slowly sate an appetite. If you're lucky you will roll into town during an event like the San Sebastian International Film Festival. The Parte Vieja is pedestrian only, making it perfect for strolling back to your hotel after a day at the beach. Have extra time? San Sebastian is surrounded by charming medieval towns like Hondarribia, which features Charles V's castle and ancient city walls.
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San Sebastian places to stay and top hotels

San Sebastian things to do and experiences

  • Beach of La Concha
    9.537 reviews
    Outdoors, Beaches and Watersports, Beach
    Popular withFamiliesOutdoorsy
  • Parte Vieja
    9.719 reviews
    Sights and Museums, Historic Site, Landmark, Plaza
    Popular withFoodiesHistory
  • Monte Urgull
    9.314 reviews
    Outdoors, Hiking and Nature, Scenic Lookout, Park
    Popular withOutdoorsyAdventure
  • Plaza de la Constitución
    8.512 reviews
    Sights and Museums, Historic Site
    Popular withArtsyLuxury

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San Sebastian

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Top San Sebastian restaurants

  • Restaurante Akelare
    9.77 reviews
    $$$$
    Spanish, Basque
    Popular withFoodiesTrendsters
  • A Fuego Negro
    9.06 reviews
    $$$$
    Tapas/Small Plates, Bar
    Popular withFoodiesTrendsters
  • Sakona Coffee Roasters
    10.01 review
    Breakfast & Brunch, Coffee and Tea
    Popular withFoodies
  • Bar zeruko
    9.65 reviews
    $$$$
    Tapas/Small Plates, Breakfast & Brunch
    Popular withFoodiesTrendsters
San Sebastian

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43.3207365-1.9844209

San Sebastian reviews & trip reports

  • 9.8
    Foodies
  • 7.0
    Art & Design Lovers
  • 6.5
    Luxury Travelers
  • 6.3
    History Buffs
  • 6.1
    Outdoor Enthusiasts

Member Reviews(74)

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Florianópolis, Brasil

Right now this is my favorite city in Spain. So many good restaurants, this is a top spot for foodies in the world. Home of Pintxos, beautiful beaches and vibrant atmosphere. Make sure you visit this town!!!

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Simply one of the best cities in the world. Amazing place to live and fantastic for holidays.

Recommended for:FoodiesWellnessGreen TravelersTrendsters
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Miami

Great town, amazing food, people friendly. The beauty of this town is incredible. Al around are mountains and beaches, you can be I francs in 45 minutes, all the small Towson around are full of energy

Recommended for:Budget TravelersFamily TravelersBackpackersAdventure Travelers
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New York City

I love everything about this city! The gorgeous location set on the Bay of Biscay backed up by high green sloping hills, the spirited Basque culture, an "old town" with a maze of tiny alleys, good nightlife and the best tapas or "pintxo" (a smaller version of a tapa) in Spain. The beach Playa dd Gros is probably the finest city beach in Europe. Take to cable car up to the summit for a grand view of the city and surroundings. And on top of that they have a fantastic Film Festival every year!

Recommended for:FoodiesArt & Design Lovers
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West Los Angeles, California, USA

San Sebastian has the most Michelin-rate stars per capita in Spain, located in the northern tip, bordering France. The city lies on the quaint, beautiful beach coast, with classic architecture. Absolutely my favorite place in Spain, so peaceful, so comfortable. Food was delicious. Romantic for couples as well as a fun nightlife. I would highly recommend it!

Recommended for:FoodiesSpiritual SeekersTrendsters
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Edinburgh, UK

I didn't really "do" much in San Sebastian, but I think that's part of why I liked it so much. The town itself is so beautiful, and the beach so tranquil, that it's easy to while away several days roaming, munching, sitting, and observing... and feel like you've made great use of your time (something very contrary to my normal check-list-driven nature). I'm not much of a foodie myself (Spain's pretty big on meat and I am not), but I'm told this is one of the country's top spots for digging in.

Recommended for:Art & Design LoversFoodies
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San Francisco, California, USA

Hemingway got drunk here and then wrote the town in to The Sun Also Rises--such a factoid can give you a frame of reference for the alluring, literary beauty of San Sebastian. San Sebastian is to Spain as San Luis Obispo is to the United States--a breezy, charming small town rich in culinary adventure and seaside aesthetic.

Do not makes plans in San Sebastian, simply wander and inundate yourself in the Basque culture. Take a walk on the beach, hike to the top of either surrounding mountain, watch the sunset--such is a fulfilling day in this sleepy yet vibrant beach city.

Most importantly: eat Tapas, known as pintxos in Basque country. One should approach these culinary venues--often lining a single street in a procession of 10 or so restaurants--the way in which one would "bar-hop." Eat a pinxto at one spot and then move along to the next bar, such an exercise allows one to traverse San Sebastian's thriving foodie scene without spending too much money.

Recommended for:Budget TravelersFoodiesBackpackersAdventure Travelers
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Pleasant Hill, California, USA

In a recent NY Time Interview, Chef Anthony Bourdain mentioned that given a choice, he would prefer to die in San Sebastian. My advice is that he doesn't do it on Monday as many of his favourite dining destinations (including Asador Etxebarri) are closed on Monday. Gayle and I learned that the hard way during our recent visit to San Sebastian, but we we happily managed.

Despite that inconvenience, Gayle and I had a wonderful time in San Sebastian/Donostia. Compact, elegant, sophisticated, and stately, San Sebastian is a Parisian looking city filled with "La Bella Easo" architecture and is considered one of Spain's most beautiful destinations (and in a Country full of such places). Some have called it the "Pearl of the Cambrian Sea". Gayle and I particularly enjoyed:

- Filling up on delicious Tapas in Old Town and wandering around its intriguing and dense grid.

- Walking along La Concha Beach and marveling at the shoreline/bay and the stately homes along the promenade.

- Climbing up Monte Urgull and marveling at the scenery, Franco Jesus, and the Jorge de Oteiza sculpture.

- Hanging out at La Bretxa Plaza over a drink.

- Wandering through El Muelle (Port) area.

- Walking across the Zurriola/Kursaal Bridge, including its original lamps of expressionist and futuristic styles which light up the mouth of the Urumea river. It's also on the Northern Route of the Camino de Santiago.

It was all very romantic and uncrowded when we were there in October. If we came back, we'd make up for that lost culinary time, take in the San Telmo and other Museums, go inside the Buen Pastor and Santa Maria Cathedrals, have a Cider House drink, take in a performance at the ornate Teatro Victoria Eugenia Republica Argentina, and even branch out into the Basque Countryside (on both side of the French/Spanish Border). So many possibilities!

Recommended for:Art & Design LoversFamily TravelersHistory Buffs
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New York City, New York State, USA

Another of my top ten cities in the world. Just a lovely small town with great food, drink and atmosphere. Just go.

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Paranaque, Philippines

This is my favorite city in Spain! Been around various cities in Spain in the past but San Debastian captured my heart. Extremely lovely sights, green environment, lovely old town with interesting shops, curos, alleys, buildings and food was simply delicious! It's the gastronomic capital!

Recommended for:Business TravelersFoodiesGreen TravelersLuxury Travelers
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