Donostia – San Sebastián is a beautiful coastal city home to one of the most beautiful beaches in Spain; La Concha. Its active culture and important gastronomy made San Sebastián the best Spanish Touristic Destination in 2011.
We suggest starting your visit in the Easo square, which is in the city centre and many of the modern looking buildings date back to the 19th century. Walking through this square to the beach of La Concha, you should visit Koldo Mitxelena Kulturunea, a cultural centre with many events, exhibitions and activities. Also near here is a neogothic cathedral of Buen Pastor.
From the cathedral, walking by the Urumea River, you will see the beautiful building of the María Cristina Hotel next to the Okendo Park. This is also the location for the San Sebastián Film Festival that has housed audiences like Alfred Hitchcock, Woody Allen, Meryl Streep, and Richard Gere.
There are also many bridges from different epochs. Some of the most important are: the María Cristina Bridge (1903-1904), the Santa Catalina Bridge (reconstructed in 1872); and the Puente de Zurriola (1921) which will bring you to the Palacio de Congresos del Kursaal(1999).
The old town of San Sebastián is one the liveliest place of the city, and it contains the most Michelin restaurants. Some remarkable remarkable places to visit in the old town are: the Constitución square, the San Vicente Parish Church, and the Santa María del Coro Basilica (18th century).
If you have time to visit a museum, you should go to the Museo de San Telmo, open to the Zuloaga Square, and sheltering works of authors like Jorge Oteiza and Ignacio Zuloaga.
In the walk near the port there is the Acuario and the Museo Naval, located in the old house-tower of the Consulate (18th century).
A trip to Urgul Hill will allow you to see the whole city of San Sebastián. On it you can visit the Mota Castle, occupied today by the Casa de la Historia; the English’ cemetery and the Baterías de las Damas y del Gobernador. On your way down, make sure to check out some of the bars and try their delicious pintxos.
After regaining your strength, you should continue for a nice walk along the beautiful beaches of La Concha and Ondarreta, the latter of which has been long regarded as one of the most aristocratic in the city. The small beach of Isla de Santa Clara, in the center of the bay, is yet another spectacular place that makes San Sebastián an amazing tourist destination especially in the summer.
Buen Pastor Cathedral
La Concha is one of the most famous beaches in Spain and an unmistakeable symbol of San Sebastián. There you can find the beautiful railing, classical streetlights, two clocks from the 19th century, and the Balneario de la Perla del Océano, an old wooden bathhouse constructed during the belle époque that is now used as a thalassotherapy center with restaurants and a popular nightclub. Begin exploring at the end of the beach, next to Bulevar, where you can find the City Council (1887, with active function since 1947), an old casino with a modern style, the Gardens of Alberdi Eder, and Real Club Náutico (1930), an example of rationalist architecture which style resembles that of a ship. Continuing, you will find the Hotel de Londres, another building representative of the belle époque in San Sebastián, with an elegant facade reminiscent of French and English style with a domed top.
La Concha beach ends at Pico del Loro, a rocky cliff on which the Palacio de Miramar stands. The English-style building was constructed by Queen María Cristina of Hapsburg and now hosts summer courses through the Universidad del País Vasco. It is surrounded by a beautiful public park designed by Pierre Duchase. After Pico del Loro, you will find Ondarreta beach and the Barrio de El Antiguo, which is full of magnificent villas and reflects the purchasing power of older vacationers in this town. At the other end, you will see Monte Igueldo topped with an anachronistic Parque de Atracciones (a theme park constructed in the early 20th century) which will bring a smile to anyone arriving by foot or funicular. If you ascend the mountain, you will be treated to a breathtaking panorama of the entire city, especially if it coincides with the sunset when the lamps that illuminate the beaches reflect in the sea.
Finally, this journey through San Sebastián will end at the steps of the Igueldo, which is home to one of the most emblematic and visited spots in the city: the famous group sculptures of Peine del Viento (1977), from sculptor Eduardo Chillida, which depict three iron structures emerging from the rock, constantly fighting against air and sea.