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Located in the Basque Country in northern Spain, just 13 miles from France sits San Sebastián, Spain. While San Sebastián is best known for having some of the best restaurants in the world, it has plenty of other things to do if 3 star Michelin restaurants aren’t in your budget. There are also some of the best pintxos, or tapas, in the world here, and although they’re pricier than in other parts of Spain, they are extraordinarily delicious. San Sebastián is worth the visit in you’re traveling in northern Spain. It’s also easily accessible from Barcelona, Bilbao, or even the Basque Country in southern France, so spending a day in San Sebastián is definitely worth it. You could also spend a lot more time there too!
Where we stayed in San Sebastián:
San Sebastián is pretty hilly when you get away from the casco viejo, so you’re best bet is to find a place to stay close to the the beach (La Concha) or the casco viejo. Obviously, the prices go up the closer you get to these areas, but if walking is a concern, it’s probably worth it. We stayed at a nice Airbnb a little further away, but it was quite a hilly walk to get there. It would have been nicer had we stayed closer to La concha or the casco viejo in San Sebastián.
If you’ve never used Airbnb before we highly recommend it! Here’s a code for first-time users where you can get $30 in travel credit when you book a place.
What we did in San Sebastían:
La Concha – San Sebastián is right on the coast of northern Spain and has a beautiful beach called La Concha. If the weather is nice, the beach is usually packed full of people soaking up the sun and taking advantage of the cool water in San Sebastián’s bay.
Casco Viejo – The casco viejo is the old town or old part of the city. All the pintxo (pronounced “peen-cho”), or tapas, bars and restaurants are located in San Sebastián’s casco viejo. We’ll get into what we recommend eating and drinking in the next section.
Monte Urgull – Just between the casco viejo and the Bay of Biscay sits Monte Urgull. It’s a big hill that overlooks the San Sebastían Bay of La Concha (Bahía de La Concha) and the city. There are also still the remains of the castle and military fortress that used to be there. Nowadays it’s a park where you can walk around and explore the old fortress and enjoy the beautiful overlooks of the city.
Where we ate and drank in San Sebastián:
San Sebastián is a foodie capital and is famous for having a number of Michelin star restaurants. It also has two of the top 10 restaurants in the world. However, San Sebastián also has a wide range of delicious food, that come in the form of pintxos,for us commoners traveling on a budget
You can’t go wrong stopping in any of these pintxo bars as they all have their own specialties, but here are some of our favorites:
Ganbara – They have a huge selection of pintxos to choose from. We had a couple different types, but our favorite was the small croissants with jamón, a must-eat food in Spain.
Borda Berri – This little pintxo bar was packed when we were there, and they had quite a few different food options to choose from too. We opted for the risotto and carillera.
Zeruko – Another delicious pintxo bar. Here we got goat cheese, eggplant with ham and cheese, and champis (mushrooms). At Zeruko, you pick out what you want and they’ll heat it up or quickly prepare it for you.
La Viña – La Viña is where we stopped for dessert on our pintxo tour of San Sebastían. They’re famous for their cheesecake which is a little different, but probably more delicious, than what we think as typical cheesecake. We got two pieces of this absolutely delicious Basque cheesecake and still talk about how we crave it to this day. If you’re going to San Sebastián, La Viña is the number one place we’d recommend eating, especially if you’re looking for a local dessert.