San Sebastian or Donostia as the Basque call it, is a popular vacation place of Spanish people but lesser known for foreign tourists though it boasts the second most Michelin stars per capital in the world—a total of 10 shared by 6 restaurants. (Kyoto being first). But if you plan to do other activities besides eating, what can you do here? Plenty!
Also known as the historical Old Town, is the most dazzling part of the city with its belle epoque promenades with incredible architecture dating back to the early 19th century, iconic churches and cathedrals and inviting pintxo (tapas) bars.
Beautiful as the famous Old Town, offering the same quality restaurant where you can find the best pintxos but less touristy. You can also find a lot of great selection of local shops and boutiques, bars and even yoga studios. If you’re looking for nightlife options, this area is definitely the winner.
Good Shepard Cathedral
The cathedral is about 5 minutes walk from the bus and train station, and is usually the first thing tourists visit as they arrive in San Sebastian. One of the most well known symbols of the city, the Camino del Norte can also be started from here.
San Sebastian City hall
The city hall is just as beautiful as the cathedral and also has an interesting history: it is located inside a former casino!
The former summer residence of the Spanish monarchy is itself spectacular and offers an amazing view of the ocean. Totally understand why the royals choose this place for their vacations.
San Telmo Museum
The oldest museum of the Basque country (1902) features exhibitions from Basque history starting from prehistoric times to modern age. What makes it even more interesting is the contrast of the two buildings, one is from the 16th century and the other from 2011.
La Concha beach
This 1.5 km long crescent shaped sandy beach is knows as one of the best in-city beaches in Europe and its the biggest of San Sebastian’s 3 beaches.
Santa Clara Island
From La Concha head to this lovely island in the middle of the bay where you can picnic or hike and rest at the bar enjoying the marvelous landscape before you visit the lighthouse.
Interesting fact: they used to quarantine those with the plague here few centuries ago.
This small mountain is a home for many fascinating sites such as a remains of a stone castle, a Fort and a cemetery where you can find a homage for English soldiers. And if you wish for more, on top of the mountain there’s a gigantic statue of Jesus Christ—which is also a free museum.
Most popular amongst young people and those who are fans of surfing. Thought it can be crowded during summer it’s worth to rent a board if your are here, beginner or advanced you find the right school here.
Monte Igueldo amusement park
The park entertains people since 1912 which makes it one of the oldest attractions of San Sebastian with a famous vintage rollercoaster. Make sure to take a ride on the 100 year old funicular of Monte Igueldo and enjoy the spectacular views from the top.
La Hora del Vermut
The vermut hour is a local ritual in the Basque country which you should endulge in. Its a notorious appetite opener (best ordered a red vermut on the rock) which you can get at any of the cities restaurants and bars.
As the city is famous for it’s pintxo and restaurants you’ll find remarkable dishes anywhere you go. However if you’re vegan you might have a little harder time as Northern Spain is not the perfect place for these kind of diets but each restaurant has something to offer that you can select from.
Get more like this—Sign up for our daily inspirational newsletter for exclusive content!
Photo: Imola Toth