You know that feeling when you arrive to a place and you get that inner feeling of excitement and joy and think wow this is it! This is the feeling you get when you visit San Sebastián, a northern beach and culinary town of Northern Spain. Below we came up with an undisputed list of 10 reasons to visit San Sebastián, though after you visit you can probably list many, many more.
1. Foodie Paradise: Did you know that San Sebastián has more Michelin Star restaurants then Paris and New York? The city is known as the Spanish culinary capital, and it has been experiencing a steep rise in tourism as it frequently tops the lists of the world’s best places to eat.
2. Views: Take the Funicular Railway (an old-world train built in the 1920’s) up to Mount Igueldo to take the perfect scenic photograph of the crescent-shaped bay of La Concha Beach. The views are perfect for a Facebook header photo if you ask us. On the top of Mount Igueldo, you will find a slightly tacky amusement park but it’s all in good fun as well. Another mountain you can get up to is the Urgull. This hill is 123 meters at its highest point and atop this mountain there is a 12 meter Jesus Christ statue which towers over the bay and the Mota Castle.
3. Beaches: The most famous and beautiful beach is La Concha located on the cityside of San Sebastián. This is the perfect spot for sunbathing, swimming and people watching.
4. Surfing: Unknown to most is that San Sebastián is also the perfect spot to surf. We recommend Zurriola/Playa de Gros for their surf scene. For those new to surfing, lessons are often offered as well.
5. Festivals: San Sebastián knows how to put on a show. Numerous festivals happen throughout the year. Some include the Jazz Festival – Jazzaldi (July), Semana Grande, the Summer Festival (August) where there is something for everyone, and Zinemaldia (September) their own international film festival and Gastronomika, a food festival (October).
6. Pintos in the Old Town: The northern Spain’s version of tapas. Many will ask what is the difference? Well Pinxtos is a take on the Spanish word ‘pincho’, which itself comes from the verb ‘pinchar’, which is ‘to pierce’. Pinchos are traditionally pierced with a cocktail stick to attach it to the piece of bread. Sometimes the Pinxtos can be elaborate, which makes it a fun and dynamic meal-hopping culture. Try a couple at one place with a fun cocktail then move on to the next spot!
7. Day Trip to the Isla de Santa Clara: Ferries leave a couple of times an hour in the summer for the picturesque island. Take pictures of the city views from the tiny coves of the Isla de Santa Clara. Relax, picnic and just sit back and enjoy… life!
8. Shopping District: Downtown San Sebastián is adorned with the cutest boutiques where everyone of every style will find something they like. San Sebastián also hosts the largest Zara in the world and hosts a number of international shops like Sephora as well.
9. Hiking Excursions: Starting from Zurriola beach, you can go on a hiking excursion to the neighbouring Pasajes de San Juan, a surprisingly charming fishing village. The walk goes along the sea on the Ulía mountain that borders the east side of the city. Upon arriving in Pasajes de San Juan, you’ll be able to enjoy lunch and the truly picturesque area.
10. Architecture: the Área Romántica, its handsome grid of late-19th-century belle-epoque buildings extending from behind Playa de la Concha to the banks of Río Urumea. Go a little further at the opposite western end of the city is Playa de Ondarreta (essentially a continuation of Playa de la Concha), is a very upmarket district known as a millionaires’ belt due to the lavish holiday homes of the rich and famous.
Shop Looks for San Sebastián
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