Top 10 things to do in San Sebastian

Saint-Sébastien
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Wondering why go to San Sebastian for your next vacation? What to do and what to see in this seaside resort on the Basque coast? What are the must-see sites to discover the city? Whether you want to party, walk, visit or relax with your family, we've rounded up the activities to do in Donostia... Let's go for a Top 10 with our best ideas for outings in San Sebastián!


Photos of the article © Guide to the Basque Country


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N°1: Take a tour of the old town, the Parte Vieja

San Sebastian is a city steeped in history and very rich culturally. Its origins are ancient but somewhat mysterious since few documents have come down to us. It is also called "Donostia" in Basque, from the contraction of "Don Sebastian", its patron saint... If you like old stones, you will be charmed by this city:

  • The Maria Cristina Bridge, with its ornate columns and sculptures, has a majestic and romantic side, which may surprise for this type of building.
  • The Basilica of Saint Mary is a jewel of Baroque architecture from the 18th century.
  • The Place de la Constitucion occupies an old bullring, since the beginning of the 19th century. It is the heart of the old town.

Learn more? We tested for you a cultural and gourmet walk in the heart of the Spanish Basque Country.


Constitution Square  St. Mary's Basilica

n°2: Party in San Sebastian

San Sebastian is also a friendly, lively and festive city. In the middle of the night, it wakes up to offer you crazy evenings... Each district has its own universe and all year round, the atmosphere is there. Here is a city tour to party in San Sebastian:

  • To start the evening, it is in the old town, the Parte Vieja, that you will find chic restaurants, friendly brasseries, tapas bars, the famous “Pintxos bars”…
  • In the Gros district, you can extend it to trendy bars to listen to alternative music, in jazz bars or in pubs.
  • On the port of this seaside resort, nightclubs line the beaches. This is an opportunity to dance under the stars and party until the end of the night, by the ocean!

San-Sebastian  San-Sebastian

    N°3: Bathe and bask on the beaches of San Sebastian

    The beaches bordering downtown San Sebastian are mostly located in La Concha Bay. They offer you an exceptional panorama on the island of Santa Clara and the Port of San Sebastian. They are clean, well maintained and have all the necessary services. On the other hand, they are very popular during the summer and there are a lot of people.

    • La Concha beach is the most central and liveliest.
    • Ondarreta beach is a little more remote and therefore quieter in summer.
    • Zurriola Beach is in the Gros district. It is very popular with surfers.

    San Sebastián beach

    n°4: Family fun in San Sebastian

    San Sebastian offers many tourist activities that will appeal to the whole family. Whether you have young children or teenagers, everything is very well thought out in the city to please you and make your holidays easier. We advise you :

    • Mount Igueldo Funicular: It is very convenient to climb to the top of Mount Igueldo and enjoy the magnificent view of Concha Bay.
    • The Donostia Aquarium: This is a fun and educational activity to introduce children to the underwater world.
    • The Eureka Museum is the ideal place to have fun while learning. This science museum offers more than 170 science modules!

    San-Sebastian

    N°5: Culture in museums

    Do you want to discover Donostia history? Its artistic and cultural heritage? We tell you our favorite museums:

    • The Maritime Museum reveals San Sebastian's special connection with the sea.
    • The San Telmo Museum is a space dedicated to fine arts, archeology and ethnography.
    • The House of History of San Sebastian will allow you to penetrate the soul of this city.

    San-Sebastian

      N°6: Do a thalasso

      Vacations are for relaxing. What could be better than taking advantage of this time to take care of yourself. Here are some thalasso establishments in San Sebastian:

      • La Perla is a comfortable thalassotherapy center with a restaurant.
      • The Masajes Kamali Spa is a wellness area that offers you a moment of relaxation in its spa, massages and treatments.
      • The Hotel Catalonia Donosti has a sauna and an indoor swimming pool for a relaxing wellness stay.

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        N°7: Practice an unusual sport in San Sebastian

        To combine discovery of the Spanish Basque culture and sporting activity, we suggest you initiate yourself to one of these sports:

        • Surfing in Zurriola: This is THE beach for surfers! If you are more of an observer than a surfer, competitions take place there regularly.
        • Take part in a regatta at La Concha: For more than 130 years, regattas have enlivened La Concha Bay! Much more than a sport, it is part of the history of San Sebastian that you will discover.

        San-Sebastian

          N°8: Get some fresh air in the middle of nature on the outskirts of the city

          San Sebastian is a dynamic city, where you never get bored. But it also has the advantage of being surrounded by nature. Its surroundings are calm and pleasant natural spaces for family outings.

          • A hike on Mount Urgull: It is crossed by 4 paths to vary the pleasures. You will see the Château de la Mota, the Sacré-Coeur statue or the English Cemetery. At the top of the mountain, the view of the sea is magnificent.
          • A boat trip around Santa Clara Island: This is a 30-minute boat trip to admire San Sebastian, Santa Clara Island and La Concha Bay.
          • A walk in Cristina-Enea Park: This park is one of the largest in Spain. Located in the district of Egia, it is in the heart of the city, on the banks of the river.

          San-Sebastian  Mount Urgull

            N°9: Test an unusual activity

            Do you want to have fun and get off the beaten track? We came up with two original and yet very traditional ideas from the region:

            • Basque pelota: Basque pelota is a tradition deeply rooted in Basque culture.
            • La Trontza, tree trunk cutting: As surprising as it may seem, cutting tree trunks is indeed a sport! It's a very physical game where you will have to combine strength and dexterity in order to cut logs as quickly as possible.

            San-Sebastian

              No. 10: Go shopping to bring back souvenirs

              San Sebastian has many local specialties. Chocolates, spices, pintxos and tapas, crafts… There is no doubt that you will find unusual objects and products to bring home or to offer to your loved ones. We reveal our good addresses:

              • The San Martin market is covered, which comes in handy when it rains. It is the ideal place to find local products.
              • Garrarte has been a confectioner since 1880. The products are made from natural ingredients, you will find specialties of pralines, turrones, sweets and chocolates.
              • The Brexta is a large shopping center. You will find both large brands and small shops.

              San-Sebastian
              San-Sebastian

                Here is this top 10 of the coolest activities to do in San Sebastian which is coming to an end, but there are many others to discover on site.


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