Weekend trip to San Sebastián

San Sebastián is the first city after the French border in the Basque country. In just three hours you can enjoy real Spanish lifestyle, the Atlantic sea, amazing food and a great nightlife. Here are some personal tips on what to do during one weekend.

Day time

Visit the old town

Take a stroll through the little streets in the old town and get a flavour of the vibe of the city.

Take a walk up the hill “Monte Urgull” to enjoy a great view over the bay. You will soon realise how amazingly located San Sebastián is.

Eat pintxos (tapas)

Pintxos is really THE thing about San Sebastián. You think Toulouse already has quite a lot of tapas bars, San Sebastián is heaven. You walk through the old town and have one tapas bar next to the other. Our favourite ones are the following:

Atari: get a cerveza (beer) and some pintxos and take a seat outside on the stairs in front of the church. Enjoy the flair of the many people walking by the streets of the town.
Calle Mayor, 18, 20013 San Sebastián

Txepetxa: this pintxos bar doesn’t look special, but the pintxos are amazing. Have a look on the wall and you will see that a lot of celebrities have already been here.
c/ pescadería, 5, 20003 San Sebastián

There are of course so many more, so have fun trying them all out.

Enjoy the sea

There are different ways to enjoy the sea. You can either go to the beach in town or go for a long walk if you want to stay close or enjoy the sea from a different perspective.

Hire a kayak or stand up paddle and discover the Concha bay and the Santa Clara island that is located just close by. This tour gives you a great view on the bay while enjoying the sea and refreshing. My friends and I rented our kayaks/canoe with alo kayak. The stuff is friendly and speaks English and French.

You can also take the boat shuttle over to the Santa Clara island that offers a great view on the bay. Tip: take a picnic with you (there are many picnic tables around town) or enjoy a drink at the only bar.

Do you want to leave a special message for someone on the beach? Write you message in the sand and let the person be surprised by it walking along the promenade. You will understand what I talk about once you walk along the beach closest to the old town.

Visit the Aquarium

San Sebastián has one of the biggest Aquarium’s in Europe right in town at the bottom of the Monte Urgull. Not only this Aquarium is well situated in a very pretty spot, but it also offers some highlights like the skeleton of a Northern right whale or the 360° tunnel where you can enjoy fish all around you.

Go shopping

The old town has a lot of little boutiques that are nice to shop for your next summer dress.

If you look for bigger and international brands, you will need to go into centre, not far from the old town neither.

All information here.

Eat an ice cream

You will certainly like something sweet during the day. Why not a nice ice cream – you are definitely in a summer city. Here are two tips of ice cream makers I really liked:

Carlos Arribas
Portu Kalea, 20, 20003 San Sebastián

Oiartzun
Calle de Ijentea, 2, 20003 San Sebastián 

Nightlife

Enjoy a drink

Spain has a great drinking culture and in my opinion the best Gin Tonics. They serve them in really big glasses.

For Gin Tonic lovers: La Gintonería Donostiarra
This gin bar offers more than 100 different type of gin.
Zabaleta Kalea, 6, 20002 San Sebastián

Nice cocktail bar: Cote Bar
Fermin Calbeton, 48, 20003 San Sebastián

There are so many more bars around town, so just go for a walk and you will bump into one of the many crowded bars. Enjoy!

Discover a sidrería

Most of the sidrería (cider houses) are a bit out-of-town. The amazing thing about them: take your glass and serve yourself at one of the many barrels. Careful: take a step back as the cider needs at least a meter before arriving in your glass. Quite a fun thing to do.
Here is a good selection of different sidrería around town.

Go clubbing

San Sebastián has quite a lot of clubs to go out for different styles. We tried the club Friend’s in June which is quite Spanish mainstream music, so get ready to hear Despacito at least four times during the night.

One of the best known clubs is Le Bukowski which offers music from electro, rock to soul and also has live gigs from time to time.

You can find a great selection of different clubs on the Lonely Planet website.

Have a great trip to San Sebastián and let me know if you discover any other great places that me and my friends should try next time we are there. Thanks to my friend Marianne who organised her amazing birthday weekend in San Sebastian. I had a lot of fun discovering the city a bit differently then all the times I’ve been before. 

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