Guide to San Sebastian
San Sebastian, or Donostia in Basque, is the capital of the province of Guipuzcoa and cultural centre of the Paìs Vasco.
The city lies along a white sandy bay between the Urgull and Igeldo hills. Blending sea and mountains, it offers the traveller landscape, sports and gastronomy as well as interesting monuments. It is a cosmopolitan city with a strong Basque character and is one of the most attractive cities on the Cantabrian coast.
Cosmopolitan is an understatement when it comes to this city which possesses more Michelin Stars than any other province in Spain, it is the epicentre of Vasca gastronomy, where food is a major contribution to the social life of the Vascos people and to share and enjoy it with them is a truly unique experience.
San Sebastian struggled to hold onto its monumental historical landmarks as cosmetically it repeatedly suffered through the many battles that took place here. However, In the oldest part of San Sebastian, the churches of San Vicente and Santa Maria del Coro await you, as well as the old Neoclassical City Hall, which was originally a bullring but is now converted into the Municipal Library and the old Casino, nowadays the City Hall. The Museum of San Telmo, the Peine de los Vientos (Comb of the Winds) and the Kursaal are examples of how this municipality fuses together modern and traditional features.
One of the most famous places in San Sebastian is its Bay. This is not really surprising, as it’s considered to be as one of the most beautiful bays in the world.
The town centre streets unfold overlooking the Bay making it the main focal point in San Sebastian. La Concha, the Shell is a beautiful and famous urban beach that boasts a fantastic promenade, with elegant railings and street lamps, it extends along the whole length of the bay, and travels along the beach of Ondarreta. Monte Igeldo and Santa Clara Island can also be appreciated from this vantage point. The Peine de los Vientos, a sculpture by the famous Basque artist Eduardo Chillida, marks the beginning of Ondarreta beach which is framed by a garden area and by the Pico del Loro. The waters here are quiet and it is perfect for practising beach sports, especially body-boarding.
Cultural events such as The ‘tamborrada’ or ‘Semana Grande’, tells us something of the traditions of this area, while its prestigious film and jazz festivals say a great deal about its international vocation The modern San Sebastian as we know it today is also proud to host the premier film festival in Spain. Started during Franco’s era, the top prize on offer is the Concha de Oro (Golden Seashell). All of these occasions and attractions combine to make any visit an unforgettable experience.
Places of interest in San Sebastian
Real Palace of Miramar
The palace was designed by the English architect Selden Wornun in 1888, and was the summer residence of the Spanish court.
Cathedral Of The Good Shepard – ‘El Buen Pastor’
The biggest temple in the town and the work of the San Sebastian architect Manuel de Echave.
Church Of Santa Maria
Built with a very large vaulted niche, this church is flanked by two towers.
Museum of San Telmo
Previously an old Dominican convent, the museum was inaugurated in 1932 and consists of three floors.