San Sebastián

The gem of the Basque region, San Sebastián lies on the stunning bay of Bahia de la Concha and is a retreat for wealthy Spanish. Beaches, food and nightlife are the main attractions of San Sebastián, which is called Donostia in the Basque language.

The town is a haven for Spaniards who don’t want to deal with the hundreds and thousands of tourists who flock to the Costas and the Balearic Islands to find beautiful beaches. The city beaches of San Sebastián are fantastic alternatives.

This northern town is a great base from which to visit the world-class Guggenheim Museum in Balboa and the famous town of Pamplona.

about San Sebastián

San Sebastian is less about big-ticket sites and more about soaking up the atmosphere, enjoying the streets of the old town, and eating as many Pintxos as you can! It’s also home to a vibrant music scene and one of the world’s biggest film festivals held every September.

San Sebastian has the highest number of Michelin stars per square kilometer in the world.

The beaches of San Sebastian and the north coast of Spain are popular for surfing, and there are many surf schools in San Sebastian if you want to give it a go. You can rent beach umbrellas, and sun loungers along the beach and there are plenty of bars and restaurants along the seafront. 

San Sebastián at night

When you start looking for Accommodation in San Sebastian for a short visit consider either the old town (Parte Vieja), Centro or La Conc

If you are visiting during the film festival (Sept) or Semana Grande (August) be sure to have something secured as soon as you have your dates.

Get to San Sebastian by flying into the local airport (SSE) is 22km from the center of town. Regular flights from London, Paris, and Frankfurt and here. You can also fly in from Madrid. Many visitors choose to fly into Bilbao and connect by bus to San Sebastian. Alternatively, you can fly into the French town of Biarritz, which is serviced by budget airlines and is only a short ride to San Sebastian.  

If you prefer a train ride, you can take a fast train from Madrid to Bilbao. Then you can connect to the local train that goes directly to San Sebastian, this trip takes approximately 6 hours. A bus ride from Madrid is only 4 hours.

Getting around San Sebastian is easy, it’s a compact city and best explored on foot. If you prefer wheels why not make use of the city’s 70-plus km of safe bicycle lanes? You can rent regular or electric bikes by the day or week.

Local buses accept credit card payments if your legs get tired and you fancy a ride back to your accommodation.

The average time travelers spend in San Sebastian is between two days and one week, and you will find the best San Sebastian itineraries on this page.


Where to go next

Continue your holiday travels in Spain. After San Sebastián, the most popular destinations are Madrid, Granada, and Barcelona.