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- 14 Nov 2019, 3 nights
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San Sebastián is the culinary capital of Spain – it's the birthplace of molecular gastronomy and the home of pintxos (delicious bite-sized morsels). Called Donostia in the region's Basque language, it sits 25km from the French border on Spain’s northern coast. You’ll find a curved bay with golden sands, one of the country’s best surfing beaches and a cosmopolitan vibe with world-class shopping. Join locals on the boardwalk as the sun sets behind Santa Clara Island to fall under this magical city’s spell.
You can stay in a San Sebastián hostel converted from an old car workshop, 200m from the main surf beach. Or choose a place in the city centre with its own terrace, bar and restaurant for an introduction to the famous Basque cuisine. Mix with fellow travellers in shared kitchens – find fresh ingredients at the city's markets. Most San Sebastián hostels have shared laundry facilities and space to store your surfboard or bike.
La Concha’s crescent-shaped bay with an islet in the middle has been named one of the best beaches in Europe. You can wander along the promenade lined with white railings or stop for an aperitif in one of the beachfront bars. At the end of the promenade, you’ll find the old town and its numerous bars leading off Plaza de la Constitución. Cross Kursaal Bridge to reach surfing beach Playa de la Zurriola and the youthful neighbourhood of Gros with cool cafés and artisan shops.
Foodies can join a pintxos crawl and there are plenty of tour guides on offer, or you can go it alone. If you want to treat yourself to a once-in-a-lifetime gastronomic experience, San Sebastián has 16 Michelin stars spread across 9 restaurants, including two 3-star spots. To burn off some energy, climb Monte Urgull to look out over the bay and explore the ruins of a military fortress. There are a few places to stop along the way, like a hidden bar with ocean views.
You can make your way around San Sebastián by foot or by bike and catch the local bus for longer distances. San Sebastián Airport is 22km out of town, but most international visitors arrive in Biarritz or Bilbao. Both airports have direct bus connections to San Sebastián taking just over an hour. The bus station is 1km southeast of the old town, just across from the San Sebastián-Donostia train station.