Beach & Food Guide to San Sebastian in Basque Country
When people want to go to Spain, they typically go to popular areas like Madrid and Andalucia. But if you go to the Basque Country, you see a unique culture that’s just in this one little area. It's a mix of French and Spanish culture, but is its own, distinct culture. You can base yourself in San Sebastian, the food capital of the Basque region, for this trip that covers the best of the surrounding areas.
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Where to stay
Villa Magalean Hotel and Spa
Small and stylish, you’ll find a spa, elegant library and must-try restaurant at this eight-room villa.
This crowd pleaser in the central Gros neighborhood is a favorite for its individually designed rooms and rich history.
Hotel Maria Cristina
The city’s grande dame, with a heart-of-the-action location on the banks of River Urumea.
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Things to do
Enjoy the beaches
There are three beaches in San Sebastian: Ondarreta, La Concha and Zurriola. Ondarreta Beach is to the west of San Sebastian and is surrounded by two mountains. It has the Monte Igueldo that you can go up for incredible views of the city. (You can also take the funicular up.) Rent a "toldo" for a beach day on Ondarreta Beach. These are little tents for rent on the beach. Go early in the morning and you can rent them for the day. You can leave it and you can come back anytime you want to.
In the middle of La Concha Beach is an island. The beauty of this island is that it stops the waves so the beaches are beautiful, calm and serene.
El Camino de Santiago
I also recommend doing a walking tour along the El Camino de Santiago with a guide so that you can immerse yourself in the history of the destination; you’ll have a much richer experience. There are a ton of walking tours to choose from, and I’m happy to chat with you to find one that’s the right fit for your style. Typically, they last about three hours, and you’ll see ancient aqueducts and an incredible forest as you learn the history of the pilgrimage.
Places to eat & drink
Visit the Mercado la Bretxa and Mercado de San Martin to taste test local Basque delicacies. You’ll find everything from fruits and vegetables to delicious pastries. They're always willing to give you samples of things.
I highly recommend taking a self-guided Pintxos-hopping tour: Each place specializes in a dish. This is why people "pintxo-hop" to try all the different specialties.
Arzak: A famous Michelin-starred restaurant where reservations are often needed up to six months in advance.
Akelarre: A fish-forward Michelin-starred restaurant that serves creative plates. Reservations needed.
Casa Nicolasa: A place to have pintxo-like dishes as meals.
Txakoli: This is a local white sparkling wine made in the Basque hill country about 30 minutes from San Sebastian. Go for a wine tasting.
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