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San Sebastian Off the Beaten Path

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Avoid the tourist traps with this guide to San Sebastian. From quiet sandy beaches to unusual museums, this is a city full of hidden gems.

Good for
  • History Buff
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Nature Lover
  • Peace and Quiet Seeker
  • Beach Goer

10 Places

3 City Tips

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Map

10 Places

Museo del Whisky

Bars & Clubs

Victoria Eugenia Theatre

Theatres

Parque Aiete

Playgrounds, Parks, Bodies of Water

Ondarreta Beach

Beach & Pool Clubs, Beaches

Penas de Aia

Other Outdoor Activities

Iglesia de San Vicente

Churches & Cathedrals, Sacred & Religious Sites

Monte Urgull

Mountains, Lookouts

Cristina Enea Park

Parks

San Telmo Museoa

Art Museums

Miramar Palace

Castles

Jessica B's City Tips

  • San Sebastian is quite hilly, so bring some sensible shoes as well as your flip-flops
  • Tipping is not expected in restaurants, but feel free to leave a couple of euros on the table if the service was exceptional.
  • It rains quite a lot in the Basque Country, remember to bring a jacket and an umbrella with you.
  • Museo del Whisky
    Bars & Clubs
    See more photos
    Jessica B Says:

    Whiskey might not be the first thing you think about when you think of San Sebastian, but this Museum-Bar does not disappoint. Even the most seasoned whiskey connoisseur will be impressed with the selection available; there’s whiskey from every corner of the world on sale here.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Trendsetter
    • Hidden Gems
    Tips
    • Just as much a bar as it is a museum, you feel like you’re in an old tavern here. (Not suitable for families with young children.)
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 67 Nightlife in San Sebastian - Donostia
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Pop in! Even if you don’t do whisky 20/01/2019
    • Unique “Museum” for adults in San Sebastián 18/08/2018
    • Museo del Whisky
    Address:
    Alameda del Boulevard
    20003 San Sebastian - Donostia
    Spain
    Phone:
    +34 943 42 64 78
    Other:
  • Victoria Eugenia Theatre
    Theatres
    See more photos
    Jessica B Says:

    This beautiful historic building, inaugurated in 1912, has recently undergone a 21 million euro renovation turning it into an innovate, top-class arts venue. With shows and concerts programmed throughout the year, there’s sure to be something worthwhile on during your visit.

    Good for
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • You can purchase tickets for any show from the box office, but be warned that the box office closes in the early afternoon for lunch/siesta (between 1.30-5pm.)
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #29 of 72 things to do in San Sebastian - Donostia
    • Soft part in my heart for a love story 12/10/2018
    • it went through hard times--and survived 20/07/2017
    • Victoria Eugenia Theatre
    Address:
    Po. de la Republica Argentina 2
    20004 San Sebastian - Donostia
    Spain
    Phone:
    +34 943 48 11 60
    Other:
  • Parque Aiete
    Playgrounds, Parks, Bodies of Water
    See more photos
    Jessica B Says:

    This family-friendly park is located about 30 minutes out of the city center. With a beautiful mansion house, enchanting grottos, and waterfalls, it's the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • The park is located on a hillside, so be prepared for some steep ascents and descents.
    • The park is served well by buses; lines 19 and 31 go directly there.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #4 of 72 things to do in San Sebastian - Donostia
    • Park for everyone: runners, families, and singles! 02/11/2018
    • A hidden corner of donosti 17/06/2018
    • Parque Aiete
    Address:
    Paseo Aiete, s/n
    20009 San Sebastian - Donostia
    Spain
    Phone:
    +34 943 48 10 00
    Other:
  • Ondarreta Beach
    Beach & Pool Clubs, Beaches
    See more photos
    Jessica B Says:

    This small beach, located next to La Concha beach, is usually quieter yet just as beautiful.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Beach Goer
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • There are some nice rock pools here, where you’ll see young children looking for crabs and fish.
    • There are toilet and changing facilities here.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #8 of 72 things to do in San Sebastian - Donostia
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Beautiful beach 13/03/2019
    • Great beach to take the family 13/01/2019
    • Ondarreta Beach
    Address:
    Avenida de Satrustegui
    San Sebastian - Donostia
    Spain
  • Penas de Aia
    Other Outdoor Activities
    Jessica B Says:

    If you’re looking to get out of the city for an afternoon, try Penas de Aia National Park. Full of mountainous forests and impressive peaks that can be seen for hundreds of miles around, Penas de Aia is any nature-lovers dream. These peaks also feature heavily in Basque mythology.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • The hiking trails here are very well sign-posted, but it's advisable to always take a map with you.
    • There is a Tourism Office at the Oiartzun entrance to the park.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #24 of 44 Outdoor Activities in San Sebastian - Donostia
    • Gigante 26/11/2018
    • Gran opción de subida de montaña ⛰ si dispones de poco tiempo 07/11/2018
    Address:
    Parque Natural Aiako Harria
    (Irun, Gipuzkoa)
    San Sebastian - Donostia
    Spain
    Other:
  • Iglesia de San Vicente
    Churches & Cathedrals, Sacred & Religious Sites
    See more photos
    Jessica B Says:

    This is the oldest building in San Sebastian. Completed in 1509 in the Gothic style, the church is dramatically beautiful both inside and out.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • There are leaflets available from inside the church, which give you a more detailed history of the building.
    • The church may be closed to the public during services.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #24 of 72 things to do in San Sebastian - Donostia
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Beautiful Gold Altarpiece 06/03/2019
    • Worth a short visit - and free 18/02/2019
    • Iglesia de San Vicente
    Address:
    San Juan Kalea 15
    20003 San Sebastian - Donostia
    Spain
    Phone:
    +34 943 43 35 96
    Other:
  • Monte Urgull
    Mountains, Lookouts
    See more photos
    Jessica B Says:

    This hill offers spectacular views over the beach and old town. It is topped by an old military stronghold which was used during the Carlist Civil Wars of the 19th century, as well as a 12-meter tall statue of Jesus Christ.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • The walk up to the top of the hill is pleasant and takes about 30 minutes. It is not a hard ascent, but I still recommend sensible shoes.
    • Stay for sunset, the views over the beach at this time are breathtaking.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 72 things to do in San Sebastian - Donostia
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Spectacular views after a climb 18/03/2019
    • Breathtaking views of city. . .. 12/03/2019
    • Monte Urgull
    Address:
    Subida Al Castillo
    San Sebastian - Donostia
    Spain
    Other:
  • Cristina Enea Park
    Parks
    See more photos
    Jessica B Says:

    The largest park in the city is well worth a visit. The long winding paths are a great place for a relaxing stroll. You won't believe you’re in the middle of a city!

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • There’s a nice observation deck here which looks out over the bay.
    • Many concerts are held here throughout the year. Check what’s on before you go.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #7 of 72 things to do in San Sebastian - Donostia
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • NICE PARK 18/09/2018
    • Nice walk 21/07/2018
    • Cristina Enea Park
    Address:
    Paseo Duque de Mandas
    20012 San Sebastian - Donostia
    Spain
    Phone:
    +34 943 48 10 00
    Other:
  • San Telmo Museoa
    Art Museums
    See more photos
    Jessica B Says:

    This museum explores the fascinating history and culture of the Basque Country and is the oldest museum in the region. A must-see if you’re interested in learning more about the Basque Country.

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    Tips
    • If you don’t speak Spanish, I recommend getting the English audio guide, it’ll give you a deeper insight into what you are seeing.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #6 of 72 things to do in San Sebastian - Donostia
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Great place 05/02/2019
    • beautiful building average content 08/01/2019
    • San Telmo Museoa
    Address:
    Plaza Zuloaga 1
    20003 San Sebastian - Donostia
    Spain
    Phone:
    +34 943 48 15 80
    Other:
  • Miramar Palace
    Castles
    See more photos
    Jessica B Says:

    This royal country house was built in the 19th century when the Spanish royal family started spending their summer holidays in San Sebastian. The building itself is not open very often to the public, but the gardens and surrounding park are always accessible to visitors.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • There are great views from the gardens over the bay.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #18 of 72 things to do in San Sebastian - Donostia
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • English country house with a view 02/11/2018
    • Fantastic view 27/10/2018
    • Miramar Palace
    Address:
    Paseo de Miraconcha, 48
    San Sebastian - Donostia
    Spain
    Phone:
    +34 943 21 90 22
    Other:
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