General information

San Sebastian is located to on the North Coast of the Basque country, in the Bay of Biscay, where foreigners and locals alike want to be seen. Known as Donostia in the Basque language, the layout of the city is focused around the Bahia de la Concha, a semi circled bay, famous for its sandy beaches. It is considered an upmarket resort of Spain, where house prices are booming and it boasts thousands of bars in the Old Town. It is considered that there is 3 main parts of San Sebastian – the modern part surrounding the Cathedral of Buen Pastor, the Parte Vieja and Gros, where you will find a good beach, the train station and plenty accommodation options.

There is evidence that San Sebastian dates back to 1014 but it was only a fishing village for centuries after. It was declared to be self governed in 1174 by the Kingdom of Navarra. Due to the importance of the bay, the main industry of the town was fishing, most notably whale and cod. The exportation to other European ports also became a significant part of the town’s income. The town took a turn for the worse during the Peninsular War when the Anglo Portuguese razed the city in 1813. After this, the Parte Vieja was built and the city now is a product of the post Napoleonic years. The 19th century was when it started to become popular for the Spanish royals and higher classed society.


Monuments of San Sebastian

There are several museums of interest in San Sebastian, some of which include the Aquarium (Paseo del Muelle 34) which has a museum about the Bay of Biscay and a vast collection of tropical fish. There is an underwater tunnel where you will come across several types of sharks and rays. The Museo Naval (Paseo de Muelle 24) has good explanations of Basque seafaring, while the Museo de San Telmo has a collection of Baroque and Renaissance paintings and is housed in a magnificent 16th century monastery. There are two hills you can walk to the top of, the first, Monte Urgull which has a statue of Christ at the top and low castle walls. The second, Monte Igueldo offers a fabulous view across the Bahia de la Concha and there is a funicular that takes you to the top. It is possible to see San Sebastian by bus, of which you can get on and off when you wish and it includes a headphone commentary. On top of the culture, there are plenty of beaches to relax on, or surf at. The two best beaches are Playa de la Concha and Playa de Ondarreta. Popular festivals in San Sebastian are the International Jazz Festival, in July, and the film festival in the second half of September. There is also a regatta on the first two Sundays of September.