San Sebastián is a small Basque city in Northern Spain, celebrated by food bloggers as one of the foodie capitals of Europe. Tapas culture is at its height in the city of Donostia (its Basque name), which boasts more Michelin Stars per capita than any other place in the world. The city is charming by day, and cool and vivacious by night.
Sao Sebastián’s most famous beach, La Concha, is considered Europe’s best beach by TripAdvisor. “Concha” translates as shell, and refers to the long and curved shape of the beach, which is surrounded by mountains and faced by the little island of Santa Clara. Because the beach is protected by the bay, its waters are always peaceful.
Surfers gather at Zurriola beach, in the surfing neighbourhood of Gros. Zurriola is frequented by a younger crowd and sports several beach bars, some of which play loud music. This is definitely the place to be if your ideal holiday entails riding wave or mingling with a cool crowd over some beers at sunset.
From the small beach of Ondarreta, next to La Concha, you can quickly reach the island of Santa Clara by swimming, canoeing or by boat. The island is definitely worth a visit as it offers a different view of San Sebastián’s beaches and the greenery that surrounds the city.
Where to Eat
Both the iconic Michelin starred restaurants and the new alternative spots popping up across town share a passion for fresh, authentic ingredients. Pintxo, or authentic Basque tapas, take center-stage in the region.
- Narru – Behind La Concha beach, this is the perfect spot for those in search of simple genuine ingredients and freshly caught fish.
- Saltxipi – Known for its fresh spider crabs, kept in the basement.
- Ni Neu: Famous for offering a selection of several contemporary Basque dishes for a very affordable price (3-course menu from £25). Try the Torrija for dessert.
- Arzak – A San Sebastián institution, Arzak has 3 Michelin stars and offers traditional Basque cuisine with a touch of contemporary. Try the pigeon with hibiscus flowers.
- Akelaré – Famous for its beautiful terrace on Igueldo hill with views of the ocean and the city. A bit on the pricier side but worth every penny.
- Mugaritz – Located in a farmhouse outside town, Mugaritz is known as the temple of modern Basque cuisine. The 20-course menu degustación is a must-try.
- Txubillo – Once an old bodega, this restaurant now offers modern Japano-Basque fusion tapas. Try the foie gras with teriyaki sauce.
@arzakrestaurant, @mugaritz, @saltxipi
Where to Stay
Airbnb offers a range of apartments for every budget and necessity. We’re particularly in love with this avant-garde luxury loft in the heart of the old town. Rent from £86 per night.
Hotel María Cristina has been a San Sebastián institution for over 100 years. Think stretches of marble, thick curtains, intricate decorations and art everywhere. The Hotel has also recently opened a cooking school. Doubles from £170 per night.
What to Pack
You'll need at least one swimsuit that can take you from sunrise to sundet, a light summer dress and a smarter evening outfit. We've picked our favourites!