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San Sebastian Travel information
Tucked away on the northern sea coast, close to the border with France, lies San Sebastián, a diverse and undeniably Basque city. Some say it is worth coming to purely for its famous pintxos, which underpin a cuisine worthy of thirteen Michelin starred restaurants, an accolade only superseded in central Paris. However, there is so much more to San Sebastián than simply fabulous food. Although it does not boast as many famous monuments as neighbouring Bilbao, San Sebastián is a city to be enjoyed purely by walking around; admiring its beautiful Art Nouveau buildings and soaking up its cheerful, upbeat atmosphere. The Parte Vieja (Old Quarter) boasts more bars than any other neighbourhood the world over, and the city is said to be the event capital of Europe's Atlantic Arc. Both the San Sebastián Jazz Festival and the International Film Festival are famous all over the globe. Combine this with beautiful beaches with ample opportunity for surfing, what more could you want from a city?
A small settlement on the site of San Sebastián has been unearthed dating back as far as the Roman age. For centuries, the city was little more than a fishing village, until it was finally granted self-governing status by Navarre in 1174. The city was at the centre of a number of European conflicts, namely the Peninsular War, when Anglo-Portuguese troops fighting Napoleon lost control and burnt down the entire city in 1813. However, during the 19th century, the city enjoyed a renaissance, when it became a fashionable holiday resort for Spanish royalty and prominent figures. Today, San Sebastián continues to hold its title of style capital of northern Spain and attracts thousands of visitors every year.
San Sebastián is a jewel in the nation's crown, and not a city you are likely to forget easily. The relaxed, cheerful lifestyle is infectious, and we guarantee that whether you are surfing on the beach, soaking up the history and architecture or just enjoying a pintxo in the sun, you will wonder why it was you never came sooner.
Places of Interest
Just west of the town, this is the best place from which to see stunning views of the Bahía de la Concha and the surrounding coastline and mountains of Guipúzcoa. Step back in time and reach it via funicular railway.
Contains displays and exhibits about the Bay of Biscay, as well as bringing you face to face with what you might be eating for your dinner that night!
This beautiful 19th century building gives you a look into the history, culture and traditions of the city. Situated in the Old Quarter of the town, in the picturesque city garden area.
This baroque limestone palace, constructed in the 1600s, is situated in Fuenterrabía, which is only a few minutes' drive outside of the city.
Playa de la Concha
Playa de la Zurriola
Museo de San Telmo
Getting to San Sebastián
Getting around the city
San Sebastián is a pleasure to walk around, and fairly accessible on foot. However, there are also other modes of transport available:
Driving is a nightmare for people not used to San Sebastián's road system, and parking in one of the underground car parks can cost up to 13€ per day. It is best to take public transport in the city centre