WELCOME TO SAN SEBASTIAN
This city offers a wide variety of attractions including beautiful scenery, sun-kissed beaches, enthusiastic and lively people, a diversity of entertainments, rich cultural activities, internationally renowned cuisine, major music and film festivals, heart-stopping ski races, interesting folklore, and outstanding customs and traditions.
San Sebastian (Donostia in the Basque language) in the Basque country of Northern Spain is the true treasure of Basque resorts, setting itself apart from the mainstream beach resorts. A summer capital of Spain, it is here where the Belle Epoque ( beautiful era ) lives on.
Ideally situated on an excellent spot on the Bay of Biscay , it's surrounded by verdant mountains. From June to September, the population swells as droves of Spanish bureaucrats head to this elegant resort to escape the heat. It is a bustling city with a population of 185,000 inhabitants, some 16,500 of whom are university students, being the cultural capital of the Basque country as well. San Sebastian is an ideal first-stop for trips to some of the Basque country's most captivating towns.
With its blend of cosmopolitan style and old-world ambience, San Sebastian is the perfect summer getaway. The smell, taste, sight, sound and feel of rural life is still fresh in San Sebastián, where one can experience the perfect relaxation that is craved for, especially by those used to a hectic lifestyle. The area attracts tourists with its three lovely beaches: the laid-back Ondaretta , the casual and friendly Playa de Gros, and the popular Playa de la Concha.
Playa de la Concha is San Sebastián's most popular beach and the largest for summertime swimming and sunbathing. Playa de la Concha looks out onto a sparkling bay and is surrounded by a lush, rolling countryside. As evening strikes, the beach is bejeweled with white lights, including along the path that lines the beach and the statue of Jesus that stands high above the city, overlooking everything. Reflecting off the water, the beach has an enchanting mood at night. During the day, water sports, including canoeing, kayaking, and sail boating, are the popular activity. La Concha also has a lovely promenade where you can take relaxing strolls after a hearty meal.
Ondarreta means "little beach" in Euskera , the language of Pais Vasco (Basque country). Connected to the larger, more popular Playa de la Concha, this is a great place to observe the sailboats. You can also stroll along the walkway and relax in the small park area overlooking the beach. You can also enjoy traditional fare like olives and calamari at the Ondarreta rooftop café.
To complement the beaches, San Sebastian charming old quarter is bursting with cafés, bars, clubs, and restaurants where you can try their tasty tapas. Other attractions include the Baroque Church of Santa Maria , the Gothic Church of San Vicente, and the Museo de San Telemo , a former 16 th century convent. For spectacular views of the bay and town, climb atop Mount Urgull and Mount Igueldo . At the base of Mount Igeldo is a beach where visitors can take a ride to the peak to witness the breathtaking view, or go for a spin at the neighboring family fun fair.
Miramar Palace, also known as the Royal Country House of Miramar , is another attraction in San Sebastián. It is located above the " Pico del Loro", marking the strategic junction of La Concha Beach and Ondarreta Beach, and also the dividing point in the long promenade between two city districts: " El Antiguo " and " Miraconcha ". The Palace marks the city's historical origin, because it is based on the plan of the old church of San Sebastián, the original urban center of the town. The magnificent palace complex, with its park, gardens, several buildings and outbuildings, is a quintessential summer place.
At present, the heart of the city is Constitution Square. One of the first things you'll notice upon visiting is the numbers on the balconies that date back to the Middle Ages when the Square was used for bullfighting. These numbered rooms were rented by spectators to get a bird's eye view of the action.