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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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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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Yes, it really is a fabulous place to visit, Anne.
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!
It really is very pretty.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if a group of us bloggers could do the Camino together? 🙂
That’s a great one to organise!
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
You’ll have a great time 🙂
A dream travel destination. The sea, the vibrant culture, the food, the amazing structure, everything is perfect.
Yes, I think you are right, IT, San Sebastian really IS a dream travel destination 🙂
Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. Much appreciated.
Fab shots! I had heard about the cuisine and so wanted to visit, but we only made it up to Bilbao. Someday…. 🙂
Food in Bilbao was great too.
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 🙂
Beautiful Basque country. The seashore is gorgeous, architecture is beautiful, oh the food… Thank you so much for the wonderful tour!
Glad you enjoyed it, Amy 🙂
I’ve only been there once, sad to say I froze to death there (it was April, I think). But it was still beautiful. Just wish someone in the sky would turn the thermostat up a bit in that city hehe!
….and that from a Canadian girl! lol 😉
This is just lovely! A place I didn’t know about, and now I want to go there.
Oh yes, you should visit if you get chance, Angeline. I’m sure you would enjoy the beauty as well as the food 🙂
Thank you for that lovely visit to San Sebastian. It has been several years since we visited that magnificent city and your photos brought back great memories!
I’m glad you have happy memories of San Sebastian, Patricia 🙂
Thanks for stopping by.
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 🙂
It really was a great place to linger a while …..
That looks gorgeous! The coastline is so pretty, and so green. I’m going with my mum this summer and can’t wait.
You will both love San Sebastián, Jess 🙂
Make sure to take the funicular railway for fantastic views over the bay.
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!
I think you are right, Tanya. It’s amazing that one town can have so many notable restaurants.
Makes my mouth water just thinking about it!
Looks great, ive often thought about getting the santander ferry from Plymouth.
It’s probably a good move, Gilly – as long as the Bay of Biscay is calm 🙂
Wonderful photos, Marianne… 🙂
Been there once, lovely and fascinating place – and the food so good… 😉
Yes, it really is wonderful food!
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!
Ah well, better luck next visit, Andrew. Are there any budget fights to that area from the UK?
Ryanair flies to Biarritz. We flew to Bilbao and drove along the coast. I wanted to see Guernica but it was a bit of a disappointment. Next month (strikes permitting) I fly to Madrid and will be staying in Siguenza on the way to Zaragoza. A very cheap flight – only £46 return!
Excellent – we also went to Bilbao after San Sebastian, so I’ll write about that in a few weeks. Loved the Guggenheim museum 🙂
Such a lovely town and picturesque setting, Marianne. This is such a beautiful area of Spain to visit. Thanks for putting it on my radar. One of these days …
Oh John, being a “foodie” you would adore San Sebastián. It’s a food-lover’s paradise.
I hope you get the chance to visit one day 🙂
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!
I think San Sebastián would go perfectly with a walk along the Camino, Cathy 🙂
You’ll love it!
Great, I hope I can do it, as I wish!
Lovely to see something from the Basque country. Though my family is “Spanish” Basque, and not “French” Basque, I still love to see anything from the land where my grandparents once lived.
We really enjoyed our visit to the Basque country. It is somewhere I would love to return to for a longer visit.
Thanks for your comment – much appreciated 🙂