If you plan a trip to the Basque Country, then San Sebastián should be on your travel list! Also known as “Donostia” in the Basque language, it is one of the most visited cities in Northern Spain. And I am not exaggerating if I’d say that San Sebastián should be in your top 10 cities to visit in Spain since it is such a picture-perfect place.

The Basque coastal city is renowned for its excellent cuisine (it holds 19 Michelin stars!) and delicious mouth-watering Pintxos (the Basque version of tapas), which are best enjoyed in the old town. San Sebastián is also famous for an event attracting thousands yearly. Of course, we are talking about the International Film Festival. The 70th edition took place in September 2022.

This travel guide will bring you closer to the city’s top things to do and see its gastronomy, the most notable museums to visit, and places perfect for a day trip.

Perfect place for: Couple Travel / Solo Travel / Family Travel

Best months to visit: May / June / July  / September / October


By Plane: You have direct flights to Bilbao airport from national destinations such as Barcelona, Madrid, Seville, and Santiago de Compostela. Some of the international destinations are Dublin (Ireland), Munich (Germany), Geneva (Switzerland), Amsterdam (The Netherlands), Athens (Greece), and Lisbon (Portugal).

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How To Get From Bilbao Airport To San Sebastián

When leaving Bilbao Airport, you will find the bus stop on the right side. The name of the bus company is PESA. They offer a direct bus service from the airport to the city center of San Sebastián. The journey takes 75 minutes, with only one stop at Zarautz.

Timetable and Prices

By Bus: The most inexpensive option to travel to San Sebastián is by bus. The bus company ALSA offers routes from many of Spain’s top destinations.

Buy your bus ticket

By Train: Getting to San Sebastián by train is the most comfortable option, and the train station is located only a 15-minute walk from the old town. There are direct trains from Madrid (approx. 5 hours) and Barcelona (approx. 6 hours). If you travel from another city, you will likely have to make a stopover. You can check the connections on the official website of RENFE, from where you can also directly purchase your ticket.

Timetable and Prices

By Car: The distance between Bilbao International Airport (BIO) and San Sebastian is 100 km, and the journey takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes if you decide to go by car ➔ Rent a car


On A Budget

Koba Hostel: This wallet-friendly hostel is in the heart of  San Sebastián`s lively Gros district. The establishment has transformed an old urban car workshop into a cozy and comfortable accommodation with dorms from 27€ per night and breakfast included! Popular sights near the hostel include La Concha Beach, Kursaal Congress Center and Auditorium, and Victoria Eugenia Theater.


Hotel Villa Katalina by Intur:  This 3-star hotel is located in a prime location in San Sebastián with Double Rooms starting at 97€ per night. Popular sights near the hotel include La Concha Beach, Zurriola Beach, and Ondarreta Beach.


Hotel Boutique Villa Favorita: This top-rated 4-Star hotel faces the beachfront and features a terrace, restaurant, and bar. Their Classic Double Room with City View is incredibly chic.


#1 Walk The Promenade Of La Concha Bay

Paseo de la Concha

This is one of the most remarkable places to see in San Sebastián, giving you a perfect first impression of the city. And your first impression will be unforgettable, and wanting you to explore more! The promenade (Paseo de la Concha) symbolizes San Sebastián; you will see it on many postcards! The classiness of the perfectly shaped bay framed by a white rail invites you for a pleasant walk.

To get the most out of this incredible site, start your stroll at Cervantes Square (De Cervantes Plaza) and make your way up to Miramar Palace, another famous spot to check out in San Sebastián. You will enjoy beautiful views of Santa Clara island and La Concha Bay during your walk.

Boat Tour with Stop at Santa Clara

Enjoy a 30-minute boat tour around the bay of San Sebastian and visit the island of Santa Clara.

    • See beautiful views of the bay from a different angle
    • Visit Santa Clara island
    • Enjoy a trip that’s perfect for the whole family

➜ Book Boat Tour

#2 Explore The City’s Beaches

La Concha Beach

San Sebastián has three beaches in total that you can visit and explore. 

The first beach, located west of the famous La Concha beach, is Ondarreta Beach, which extends from Mount Igueldo to Miramar Palace. It’s the most petite beach and is well-liked among the locals.

The biggest and most popular La Concha beach is in the middle. From here, you have fantastic views of Santa Clara Island. It’s an islet right in the middle of La Concha Bay. The islet, together with La Concha Bay and La Concha promenade, is one of the city’s jewels and provides you with that picture-perfect postcard image that we immediately relate to when hearing San Sebastián.

How to get from Ondarreta beach to La Concha beach?

Walk through the tunnel that is located under the Miramar Palace Gardens.

The third beach is located on the city’s eastern side. We are talking about Zurriola Beach, also known as “Gros Beach”, as its location is in the Gros neighborhood. This beach is popular among surfers, as this is the place where we can find big waves. For those interested in surfing, consider visiting Zurriola Beach, where you will find several surfing schools and rental shops. 

Ondarreta Beach

ⓘ Explore San Sebastian on an electric bike tour

Join a local guide and explore San Sebastian on an electric bike tour. See all the main sights and go off the beaten path to discover the attractions not listed in tourist guides.

    • Feel like a local as you explore San Sebastian on an electric bike
    • Hop onto your bike and discover the city’s network of bicycle lanes
    • Follow your guide as you visit the city’s best neighborhoods
    • Go off the beaten path and see places loved by locals
    • Enjoy a form of sustainable tourism that supports the local economy

➜ Book E-Bike Tour

#3 Sample Pintxos While Exploring The Old Town

Plaza de la Constitución

Plaza de la Constitución

The old town of a city continuously transmits us directly to its past. Therefore, it is the perfect place to soak up the authentic atmosphere and history. Exploring the narrow streets of San Sebastián’s old town and getting lost is, without a doubt, one of the best things you can do.

Places worth checking out:

Plaza de la Constitución

Church of Santa María del Coro

Calle Mayor

Church of San Vicente

San Telmo Museum

While strolling through the old town, don’t forget to make a few stops in one of the many bars. Order some of the region’s famous Pintxos and accompany them with a “Zurrito,” a small beer. It’s the best way to enjoy the rich Basque gastronomy.

#4 Take The Funicular Up To Monte Igueldo

Monte Igueldo

Did you know that from Mount Igueldo, you can enjoy the best panoramic views of San Sebastián? From here, you will have the perfect scenery of La Concha Bay, providing you with that stunning postcard picture. Mount Igueldo is located on the western side of San Sebastián, between Ondarreta Beach and Peine del Viento (another exciting city site). However, you will find its main attraction on top of it, an old amusement park!

How to get to Mount Igueldo?

The best way to get to the top is using the funicular, which has been operating since 1912. It is the oldest funicular in the Basque Country and going up will be another highlight of your trip. The access to the funicular is at Plaza del Funicular, at the end of Ondarreta beach.

General Entrance: 4,00 € (Return Ticket)

Opening Hours: 

Monday to Friday from 11.00 to 18.00

Weekends from 11.00 to 20.00

*Note: Entrance fees and opening hours may change. For updated information, please check the official website of the Monte Igueldo

#5 Visit The Wind Comb

Peine del Viento

The Peine del Viento, or Wind Comb, is an attractive site to visit, and I recommend you take advantage of it during your time in the city. It is a beautiful artwork by local sculptor Eduardo Chillida, comprising three oxidized steel sculptures. You will find it at the very end of Ondarreta beach.

This place is fascinating because of the sculptures from a captivating and iconic image of San Sebastián. Furthermore, you will be able to listen to the beautiful sound of waves crashing against the rocks while, at the same time, the sculptures comb the wind. You will also see several holes in the ground that allow the waves to pass underneath them and then be forced into the sky.

#6 Explore The Port Area, Mount Urgull, And The Aquarium

Mount Urgull

Another area that I recommend visiting is the port of San Sebastián. It’s a very charming place on the western side of Mount Urgull. You can enjoy a pleasant walk paired with lovely views of La Concha and Monte Igueldo.

#7 Explore The Miramar Palace And Its Gardens

Miramar Palace

Designed by architect Selden Womum, The Miramar Palace is an English-style villa located in one of the most beautiful parts of San Sebastián, on the hill that separates the beaches of La Concha and Ondaretta.

From here, you can enjoy five city jewels: La Concha beach, Ondarreta beach, Monte Igueldo, Santa Clara island, and Mount Urgull.

The mansion was built at the end of the 19th century by queen regent María Cristina as the summer residence of the Spanish monarchy. But since 1972, it has belonged to the San Sebastián City Council. Unfortunately, it is not permitted to visit he building, but its gardens are open to the public.


Pintxos: The most famous and popular food you can find in San Sebastián is Pintxos. They are small snacks and the equivalent of tapas in the Basque Country. Pintxos are served on a small slice of white bread, topped with various food and a creamy sauce, and stabbed with a toothpick through the middle. The idea is to go to a bar, choose the pintxos most appealing to you, and accompany them with a beer, a glass of wine, or the region’s typical Txakoli.

Queso Idiazábal: This cheese, famous in the Basque Country, is made with sheep milk and tastes intense. You can accompany it with Txakoli.

Txakoli: Try the Basque Country’s traditional, slightly sparkling wine made from white grapes. Perfect to accompany the region’s popular Pintxos or Idiazábal cheese.

ⓘ Guided Food Tour with Pintxo Tasting and Wines

Discover the flavors of San Sebastian on a foodie walking tour and try five pintxos paired with regional wines. Navigate the scenic Old Town and learn the history behind each turn from your guide. 

    • Savor the traditional flavors of San Sebastian with 5 delicious pintxos
    • Navigate the winding streets of the city’s picturesque Parte Vieja
    • Wash down your tasty pintxos with regional wines and a cider
    • Listen to insightful commentary about the area from your guide
    • Choose between a shared tour or a private tour just for your group

➜ Book Pintxo Tasting & Wine Tour


Browse through the list below for some of the most notable museums in San Sebastián, and check entrance fees, opening hours, and location.

San Telmo Museum

Find various Archaeology, Ethnography, Fine Art, Photography, and History collections in the San Telmo Museum.

General Entrance:

6,00 €

Free entrance on Tuesdays and on May 18

Opening Hours:

November-March: Tuesday to Sunday from 10.00 to 19.00

April-October: Tuesday to Sunday from 10.00 to 20.00

December 24 and 31 from 10.00 to 14.00

Address: Plaza Zuloaga, 1

*Note: Entrance fees and opening hours may change. For updated information, please check the official website of San Telmo Museoa


Also known as the “Palace of the Sea”, the Aquarium is one of the most popular attractions to visit in the Basque Country. It’s also an ideal visit with children.

General Entrance:

14,00 €

Opening Hours:

October-December from 11.00 to 19.00

September weekdays from 11.00 to 19.00

September weekends and public holidays from 11.00 to 20.00

Closed on: December 25, January 1 and 20

Address: 1 Plaza de Carlos Blasco Imaz

*Note: Entrance fees and opening hours may change. For updated information, please check the official website of Aquarium SS


If you have time for a day trip, I recommend visiting at least one of the villages listed below. They are only about 30 minutes from San Sebastián, which makes them an ideal day trip destination.

  • Visit Hondarribia, a famous and charming seaside town whose houses have colorful wooden balconies
  • Visit the fishing village Getaria and enjoy fresh seafood right at the port

Hondarribia, San Pedro & San Juan Tour: Step back in time as you explore some charming fishing villages surrounding San Sebastian. Visit medieval Hondarribia, San Juan, and San Pedro and enjoy views of the area from Mount Jaizkibel.

Highlights of this tour include: 

  • Seeing many of the highlights surrounding San Sebastian, including Hondarribia
  • Enjoying a small group tour with both private and group tour options
  • Visiting the charming villages of San Juan and San Pedro
  • Take in the beautiful views from Mount Jaizkibel and see the Bidasoa River
  • Admiring the scenery on a 2-minute boat ride crossing the Bay of Pasaia

Are you planning a trip to San Sebastian?

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