The Complete Travel Guide to San Sebastian

May 22, 2017
Every year for our anniversary my fiance and I go on a short trip. Last year we visited the fascinating Seville and two years ago the cosmopolitan city of London. This year we went to San Sebastian, a coastal city in the north of Spain. Today I want to take you on a tour through this city, which is a foodie dream destination.

San Sebastian's great splendor took place in the 19th century when the Royal Family and aristocracy used to summer there. This provided the city with many of its majestic buildings. 

La Concha
It's the main beach of San Sebastian, it's named after its shape: la concha which means "the shell".
Palacio de Miramar
The name literally means "looking at the sea" which is what this 19th century palace does. It used to be the summer house of the Spanish Royal Family. Currently, the Palace and its gardens are open to the public in fixed opening hours. Parties are conducted in the palace's gardens and noble areas, particularly in the context of the San Sebastian International Film Festival.
palacio miramar san sebastian
Mount Igueldo
To get the best views of the city you have to go to Mount Igueldo. The best way to get there is via the old funicular railway that will take you to the top. You can also find there a tiny amusement park.
casa típica san sebastián
monte igueldo san sebastian
monte igueldo san sebastian
The Comb of the Wind
In Spanish Peine del Viento, is a collection of three sculptures by Eduardo Chillida.
peine del viento comb of the wind san sebastian
The seminary 
Surprisingly the seminary doesn't appear in the tourist map as one of San Sebastian's landmarks. We saw it from the beach raising majestically among houses and apartments that surround it and wondered what it was. We wandered the streets until we found it. Sadly, it looked abandoned except for an scaffold that shows that there are some restoration works going on. It saddens me to see buildings like this go to waste. They should give them some use instead of building new ones that will never have the robustness and grandeur that the old ones have.seminario san sebastian
The City Hall
A former casino turned into city council. It's nice to walk around the beautiful gardens opposite which are home to this carousel from 1900.
ayuntamiento city council san sebastian

This is Spain’s – if not, the world’s – culinary capital. San Sebastian frequently tops lists of the world's best places to eat. Its world-famous cuisine is the reason why many people visit this city. San Sebastian houses some of the best Michelin-starred restaurants on the planet. However, this is a city of dinning contrasts since you could either eat comfortably at one of the Michelin-starred restaurants or standing up in a pintxos bar. Pintxos are the name that this part of Spain gives to tapas. There is no such thing as bad food in San Sebastian.

Café de la Concha
On our second night in San Sebastian we had dinner at this cafe with magnificent views. We had booked a table by the window to see the sunset at the beach while enjoying a delicious meal. We started by sharing a plate of fried squid, a dish you must try if you visit Spain. You'll find it in any city. That was followed by a copious but equally delicious salad. I liked it so much I'm planning to do it home. It consists of a base of lettuce, a layer of tagliatelle and then salmon, shrimp, tuna and txangurro -a type of crab that you'll find in every restaurant. Once we learnt the name we asked for txangurro everytime we saw it on a menu.
cafe de la concha san sebastian
cafe de la concha san sebastian
cafe de la concha san sebastian

The Old Town (Parte Vieja) houses the best pintxos bars. The procedure is easy: you get into a bar, ask for a drink and a plate, and grab as many pintxos as you want. Then you show it to the bartender who will charge you. Finally, enjoy. The toughest part is deciding what you want to eat. The endless plates of pintxos on the counter will make your mouth water and you won't know what to pick. The bartenders are really nice and will explain the ingredients if you have any questions. The idea is to visit a few places so if you fear you are going to get tipsy, I recommend you ask for a zurito which is a smaller glass of wine or beer.
These were our favorite places:

Atari Gastroteka
Address: C/Mayor, 18
atari gastroteka pintxos san sebastian
Address: C/31 Agosto, 23
gandarias pintxos san sebastian
Nagusia Lau
Address: C/Mayor, 4
Nagusia Lau pintxos san sebastian
Nagusia Lau pintxos san sebastian
Nagusia Lau pintxos san sebastian
As far as shopping is concerned, I feel quite disappointed when I travel since I hardly find any craftsmanship shops anymore. Since San Sebastian is foodies' paradise we looked for gourmet stores to take some of the delicious taste back home with us. In Hotel Maria Cristina (the most luxurious hotel in the city) we found Mimo a store which offers food tours as well as delicacies and other products from the region.

We stayed at Melia Orly, at a stone's throw from La Concha beach. It offers good value for your money and the location allows you to walk everywhere.

If you have some spare time, visit the picturesque seaside towns of Zarautz and Hondarribia. In the next few weeks I'll publish posts about both so stay tuned!

xo Cristina


English conrner
copious - abundant in quantity
tipsy - slightly drunk
a stone's throw - a short distance
good value for your money - it's worth what you pay for it


  1. This looks fantastic! Thanks for the recommendations.

  2. San Sebastian looks like a really beautiful place - and the food looks so good! I would just love to one day to take a road trip for a month or so around Spain. I have visited quite a few of the Canary Islands and I am going to Fuerteventura in August but I have only ever been to Barcelona in the mainland (and I absolutely loved Barcelona!) but I would really like to see more of your beautiful country. You have really got me quite interested in Spain!
    Have a lovely day.

  3. Your trip looks so dreamy and I love this tradition you have!


  4. Perfect guide ;) Thanks for sharing!

  5. Loved this post! It's made me want to visit San Sebastian!

  6. Looks like the perfect place for a getaway. I love your military jacket to go with this look!

    Jessica |

  7. La guía turística que has hecho de San Sebástian me ha parecido maravillosa , tomo nota porque cuando vaya quiero ir a esos sitios . Las fotos son de revista y tu look ideal .

  8. San Sebastian looks so beautiful! Gorgeous photos!

    xx, Elise

  9. Your photos are all so gorgeous -Hanna Lei

  10. Love this guide! The photos are amazing and the place your outfit! XXX

  11. These photos are so beautiful and I love the guide! Will be visiting Spain next month

  12. Love it. Amazing style!
    The food looks delish too.

    Dimito Michiyo

  13. Nice sharing :) The way you edit your photos...I'm obsessed! :) Edward Gelber, M.D., Board-Certified Suboxone Doctor

  14. The food look delish and the sites are just beautiful!

  15. I mean, it was already on our list to see, but you've just bumped it up a few notches! that boat canal along the ridge looks super cool!

  16. The boat canal it's actually part of the amusement park on the top of the mountain. It's a silly ride but we had so much fun on it :)

  17. These pics are breathtaking! And the food looks so yummy. It sounds like you had a great time away with your honey! Thank you for linking up with Weekend Wear


  18. I am going to Seville in the next few days, I cannot wait!


  19. That's great! Seville is one of the most beautiful cities in Spain. I have a couple of posts about Seville. Here they are in case you want to read them :)

  20. Besides of the great article, i appreciate your fashion style. You look really stylish, your clothes create some special drama in every city and you make this beautiful atmosphere!


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