San Sebastian

San Sebastián is located in the mountainous Basque country of Spain and surrounded by beautiful beaches. It is a surfing and foodie paradise.

San Sebastián has three airports, two are international, within about 100 kilometers of the city. Bilbao Airport has connections all over Europe and is 105 kilometers from the city. Biarritz Airport is about 50 kilometers away and served by French and low-cost international companies. San Sebastián Airport is 20 kilometers from the city centre and has connections to major Spanish cities Madrid and Barcelona.

Before traveling add Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises to your reading list. The novel takes place largely in this region of Spain.

EAT & DRINK

There are many bars and restaurants sprinkled throughout the city, all varying in quality. Take a stroll through Parte Vieja Old Town and try to find your favorite. Our recommendation for exploring the city is to combine both eating with drinking! Have a zurito (mini beer) and a pintxo (tapa) per bar, not sticking to one spot for too long.

Atari Gastroteka Fun, trendy vibe. Great Old Town stop for pintxos.

La Cuchara de San Telmo Still dreaming of this meal. Try the grilled octopus.

La Rampa Seafood lunch at the Port.

Fuego Negro A modern take on pintxos. We went for a full course lunch.

PLAY

Monte Igueldo On a clear day, we recommend taking the funicular to the top of Monte Igueldo for the best viewpoints over the stunning Concha Bay and surrounding mountains.

Monte Ulia Coastal hike from San Sebastian to Pasaia. This 7 kilometer hike starts behind Zurriola beach (look for red and white trail markers and climb up towards Monte Ulia). Follow the signs to Pasaia. Once you arrive, you can take the local bus back to San Sebastian. Proper shoes are essential.

Monte Urgull Easy walking trails in the middle of the city. Burn off some pintxos and enjoy the views.

Playa de la Concha Right in the midst of the city, this urban beach attracts both visitors and locals and is the perfect spot to cool off in the afternoon.

Parte Vieja Explore the Old Town streets and visit the many boutiques, pintxo shops, and bars.  Don’t miss the Santa María and San Vincent churches.

Zurriola Beach The go to spot for surf-lovers.

STAY

We stayed in the Old Town and loved it. We were right in the midst of the food and nightlife scene but, depending on your location, it can be very loud. Looking for something quieter? Try an Airbnb near the beach in the Centro (city center) area.

LOCATIONS NEARBY

Barcelona

The Catalan capital is the second most populous Spanish city and the most beautiful (we think). From its Mediterranean beaches, Iberico ham, tapas, sparkling Cava wines and dreamy, Gothic architecture, it is a European gem well worth a weekend or extended visit.

The Barcelona airport is just 12 kilometers south of the city and an easy and affordable 25 minute taxi ride. Check out the MyTaxi app, an easy way to call rides. It is also possible to take the A1 or A2 bus to Plaça de Catalunya (Pl. Catalunya - Andana Central). It is about a 40 minute trip.

EAT

Bar Castells Casual, late night tapas just off La Ramblas.

Delicious Barcelona Consider hiring a private chef through Delicious to cook dinner at your AirBnb or apartment. This is a great option for a group or family planning a special night.

El Nacional A renovated, 19th century factory with four specialized restaurants and bars. Make a booking.

Pla Restaurant Romantic restaurant in the Gothic Quarter. Go for dinner.

Restaurant Mirabé Food is pricey but the view is amazing and overlooks the entire city. Recommended by a friend.

Sensi Tapas Amazing tapas in the Gothic Quarter. Reservations a must.

DRINK

Alaire Terrace Bar Located on the 8th floor of the Hotel Condes de Barcelona, this bar overlooks La Pedrera and the Sagrada Familia.

Bo Kaap Nice, little spot for beachside drinks.

Carrer de Joaquín Costa Lots of bars on this narrow street west of Las Ramblas and just past the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Penedes Wine Region Organize a day trip wine-tasting in any of the surrounding wine regions with The Wine Colours. We enjoyed Penedes which is well known for its cava production. Definitely request a visit to Pares Balta, a bio-dynamic, family-owned winery with incredible wines!

PLAY

Ciutadella Park The green heart of Barcelona, this park has a small lake and fountain, lovely architecture and the zoo.

FC Barcelona Check out a game at Camp Nou, you won’t regret it!

Gothic Quarter Traverse the winding, medieval streets of the old city. Lots of bars, restaurants and clubs here.

La Rambla It’s touristy but worth a walk down Barcelona’s most famous street.

La Sagrada Familia Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí’s most famous work, this Roman Catholic church is so exquisite that construction started in 1882 and is still unfinished. Book tickets in advance!

Mercado de La Boqueria La Boqueria is one of the most famous markets in the world. Closed on Sundays.

Museu Picasso One of the largest collections of Pablo Picasso’s works.

Park Güell Another Gaudi creation, this park overlooks the city and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Plaça de Catalunya Considered Barcelona’s city center.

Platja de la Barceloneta White, sandy beach. The perfect spot for a siesta.

STAY

Stay within walking distance of Plaça de Catalunya and the Gothic Quarter and you will be just fine. We enjoyed the three-star Hotel HCC MontBlanc.

LOCATIONS NEARBY