A medium-sized city in the Basque region of Spain, San Sebastian is probably most famous for its beach, which happens to sit within the city. San Sebastian is also just a few miles west of the border with France, while it has seemingly innumerate landmarks and places of worship. As you would expect from a Basque city, the San Sebastian experience is a little leftfield and better for it.
In the city, you can dine on some freshly-caught fish from the Bay of Biscay, go see a show, watch a football game, spend time on the beach and learn a little about Basque culture. At night, San Sebastian tends to come alive, as an influx of students has helped to give the city an added edge that makes it a popular destination for many people.
Many of the streets in San Sebastian are narrow and have plenty of turns. This means that a small car is the best possible vehicle for getting around without problems.
By taking a ride on the funicular, you can reach the top of Monte Igueldo to enjoy a panoramic view of San Sebastian. Rides up and down will cost you €2.20 per person, which is worth it for the views of the beach, city and harbour alone.
The city’s local team, Real Sociedad, play in the top division of Spanish football. They play at the Anoeta Stadium, which holds 32,000 people and are widely recognised as one of the best teams to watch in the country.
Both beaches in San Sebastian, La Concha and La Zurriola, offer amazing views of the Bay of Biscay when looking out onto the water as well as the city when in the opposite direction. The former is the bigger of the two and is protected from the sea while the latter is great for surfing.
If visiting with the kids, a good way to explore the town is via the Tourist Land Train. Leaving from Calle Zubieta near La Concha beach, it goes all around the main sights including the city centre and some of its parks.
In many parts of San Sebastian, parking long-term during the day can cost up to 20 euros, however some car parks in the west of the city are free of charge.
Most of the city’s main car parks are underground, some of which aren’t that well-signposted. Having a map handy will help.
It’s rare to see left turns in San Sebastian. When they do happen, they tend to be pretty hard to navigate as local drivers aren’t used to them.
San Sebastian Airport is seven miles east-northeast of the city centre near the town of Irun. It mainly serves domestic flights, principally to Madrid, although some flights to Barcelona are available from time to time.
The airport can be reached from the N-638, which then goes southwest onto the Avenida Letxumborro Hirbidea. Then, take the first exit onto the AP-8 and drive west towards San Sebastian. The GI-20 will take you into the city.