Venturing further afield: San Sebastián in the heart of Basque country

We love to travel not only locally, but throughout Spain, so I will also include information, from time to time, about where we have visited.  Usually these places can either be driven to within a few hours of our home, east of Málaga, or we will have flown there from Málaga (AGP) airport.

Overlooking La Concha Bay, San Sebastian, Spain

You might remember, a while ago, I told you about a trip we had taken to Santander, on the northern coast of Spain.  In that post, I promised to tell you more about the rest of our journey, so here it is!

After a great overnight stay at a little gem of a hotel (the Jardin Secreto in Santander), we hired a car and travelled along the northern coast of Spain to San Sebastián, only 20 kilometres from the French border.

On the way to San Sebastian, Spain

There is much more rainfall here than where we live on the south coast of Spain, making the landscape generally much greener.

San Sebastián, also known as Donostia, lies along a white, sandy bay in the heart of Basque Country.   It’s easy to fall in love with San Sebastián as the streets unfold to overlook La Concha Bay, with Monte Igeldo offering a wonderful vantage point for enjoying views over the city, as you can see in the first photograph.

San Sebastian

San Sebastian

San Sebastian

San Sebastian

San Sebastian

There is a lovely promenade with elegant railings and street lamps, as well as wonderful bridges crossing the Rio Urumea as it meanders along to the Bay of Biscay.

San Sebastián is a cosmopolitan city with a strong Basque character, which is as evident in cultural events as well as in cuisine.      The city is renowned for its Basque cuisine with a trio of 3-starred Michelin restaurants to be found nearby – compare that to only four be found in the whole of the UK!

Tapas in a San Sebastian bar, Spain

The city is the epicentre of Basque gastronomy, where food makes a major contribution to the social life of the Basque people.  To share and to enjoy it with them is a truly unique experience.  Just take a look at all the tapas set out on the counter in the photograph, and this was just a little bar down a side street!

Funicular railway, San Sebastian, Spain

We caught the funicular railway to the peak of Monte Igeldo for magnificent views across the city and the scallop-shaped bay complete with golden sand and sparkling turquoise water.

In June of last year, San Sebastián was chosen to be the European Capital of Culture in 2016, so maybe I will get another chance to continue my love affair with this beautiful city, which has more than a whiff of Monaco about it.

Do you know of an area renowned for it’s fabulous cuisine?  Why not share it below, so we can all come and visit!

You might also enjoy:

A weekend in Santiago de Compostela

The heart of Cómpeta: El Paseo de las Tradiciones


46 thoughts on “Venturing further afield: San Sebastián in the heart of Basque country

  1. Pingback: Photos from 35,000 feet: Approaching Málaga | East of Málaga

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  3. Great pictures- you really captured the essence of San Sebastian with these lovely shots. I studied abroad there 10 years ago and have returned each year since then to visit. San Sebastian is definitely my favorite place to recharge my batteries. The picture of the pintxos (tapas) on the bar is so inviting, I feel like I could almost pick one up and take a bite! Thanks for sharing these 🙂

    • Thanks for saying so, Carla – that means a lot with you knowing the area so well.

      As you know, I mainly blog about the south of Spain, but if I can just inject a flavour of other areas of the country to tempt people, then I’m more than glad to do so. Besides – it gives me the chance to travel around and see it for myself, too!

      Scrummy pintxos, too 😉

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  5. I’ll have to sign on for that Camino walk with Cathy! I always think it looks beautiful as we fly over the northern coast of Spain. Got the message though- don’t go in April!

  6. Brilliant! I’m going to Bilbao, San Sebastian and Santander for semana santa. I’m trying to gather as many tips as possible. Can’t wait to sample all those pintxos! :p

    • OH – and you were SO close, Madhu!

      Yes, the food is great in Bilbao, too. Actually, Bilbao was the final destination on our trip, so I’ll be covering that sometime over the next few weeks 🙂

  7. Sadly my only visit to the Basque country has been courtesy of Rick Stein… I much prefer your images at which I can gaze and gaze… the perspectives draw me in. It feels like I could sit at a table under that huge shady tree forever 🙂

  8. It’s a wonderful place – I think I read somewhere that it has more michelin starred restaurants per head of population than anywhere else in the world! We often stop there on our trips to and from the UK by car, fabulous tapas or pintxos, I should say!

  9. I like the sunny pictures. I visited on a dreary wet day in April 2010. The place was really busy because I had inadvertently timed our visit to coincide with Mother’s Day and a European Rugby Cup match between Biarritz and Muster. The whole town was heaving with people and cars!

  10. I’ve heard San Sebastián is wonderful, especially the food. I think I will miss it on my planned trip to Spain, but hopefully I can save it for when I can do the Camino de Santiago. Your photos are beautiful!

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