What You Need to Know About San Sebastián
A small but buzzing city characterized by its Belle Époque architecture and dramatic coastline, San Sebastián (or Donostia, as it’s known in the Basque language) is the capital of Gipuzkoa, a historic Spanish province and home to the autonomous Basque community.
A Michelin-Starred Mecca
It’s no secret that San Sebastián is a foodie haven; boasting more Michelin stars than anywhere else in the world and the exquisite La Bretxa Market, eating can be as affordable or high-end as you want. One thing is for sure, from the local pintxos bars to Michelin starred gastronomic places, you’ll never go hungry in this food Mecca!
Sights to Behold
Within a stone’s throw of each other sit the beautiful Concha Beach and the atmospheric Parte Vieja (Old Town), said to have the highest density of bars in the world (much to the chagrin of Las Vegas, I’m sure). Salud!
In terms of the sights, San Sebastián pretty much has it all. Sun, sea, sand and beautiful architecture? Check! The good news is that due to the city’s compact size, it’s perfectly possible to explore large chunks of the city on foot or by bike.
One sight worth walking to is El Peine del Viento (Comb of Winds), a beautiful sculpture embedded in solid rock; a joint project between artist Eduardo Chillida and architect Luis Peña Ganchegui, it is located in the Bay of Conchas, along the coast.
A stroll along San Sebastián’s Centro Romántic, with its pedestrianized shopping streets and handsome Art Nouveau façades, is also a real treat.
The Capital of Culture (Literally)
San Sebastián’s status as a cultural hub extends back to well before it was selected as the 2016 European Capital of Culture. Home to the world-famous San Sebastián International Film Festival since 1953, the glitterati of the film world descend on the city each summer.
But it isn’t just the film festival that gets the locals talking; the city hosts many annual celebrations, including San Sebastián day in January, Caldereros and Carnival in February, Semana Grande (“Big Week”) in August, Basque Week in September and both Santo Tomas Festival and Olentzero celebrations in December.
Essentially, every day is a party in this city—and with one visit, you’ll quickly come to understand why.