The city sits right on the Gulf of Biscay which has an alias known as Bay of Biscay.
San Sebastian is part of Basque Country in northern Spain.
Incidentally, Basque Country is an autonomous community of Spain. We will soon visiy Bilbao, another large city in Basque Country.
Best Things to Do in San Sebastian
The biggest tourist attraction of San Sebastian is the annual Jazz Festival
Please enlarge the picture to see a sea of people that have come to attend the Jazzaldia (jazz festival). If you are touring Spain and are interested to hear the jazz of the world, plan your trio according. It is one of the ultimate things to do in San Sebastian.
I am a big fan of Jazz music. I am proud to belong to the jazz age.
Beaches in San Sebastian
When I mentioned the Bay of Biscay and when you saw the title image, you might have started visualizing the Spanish beaches.
If you are an American traveler, the first sight of Spanish beaches in the Atlantic Ocean should give you goosebumps.
We all are excited to set afoot on a new beach as if it is our first sight of sand and water. Every new beach commands that expectation from us.
The top three beaches that you need to visit are:
- La Concha
The white sand beach is 1.5 km long and is located in the heart of it. Just walk for three minutes from City Hall and you see the crescent-shaped beach.
As per its official tourism site, the Concha Beach is rated as one of the most beautiful beach in all of Europe.
The last mentioned beach is surrounded by mountains that paint the beach with a wild look.
In addition, the estuary of Urumea River is also close by. This is one of the scenic places to see.
It is a favorite beach for the ardent surfers.
Urumea River is one of the three rivers flowing through this place and all of them mingle with the Gulf of Biscay.
Fishing in Urumea River is one of the fun things to do in San Sebastian.
Two favorite fish species of the Spaniards, Salmom, and Trout are abundantly available in Urumea River.
Basilica of St. Mary
Whenever I see an old building, especially a church in Spain, it somehow resembles Roman architecture to me. Look at this basilica again and let me know your opinion.
I remember reading the Romans ruled this part of Spain in the early millennium.
Victoria Eugenia Theater
What a beauty! I am sure anyone would want to watch a show in this impressive building.
Scenically also, it sits right on the banks of Urumea River. As one of the things to do in San Sebastian, it is an ideal place to take a stroll in the evening.
In spite of its 112 years of age, the theater wears a well-maintained appearance.
Comb of the wind
It is a steel and rock sculpture. You can see it in the Ondarreta Beach, Bay of Biscay.
When the waves crash against the heavy ‘Comb of the Wind” structure,, the noise is thunderous. The spraying of water all over the area with force is a sight to capture in your mind and in your video camera.
Paseo Nuevo Promenade
A promenade is a paved walkway built along a sea. The Paseo Nuevo promenade in San Sebastian is built near the Concha Beach.
The promenade is quite broad with benches to sit and gaze at the horizon and watch the huge reddish-orange ball (Sun) taking a bath in the Atlantic Ocean.
Sitting in the quayside bench, you can see the dramatic waves crash against the promenade’s wall.
I think this capturing of the wave crash is terrific!
Did you notice the small hillock abutting the Bay of Biscay? It is a vantage observation platform. The tourists, who enjoy a stroll on the promenade, also go up the hill and enjoy a panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean.
You can climb up through a series of steps.
Old Town tour
One of the most looking forward things to do in San Sebastian is undertaking a visit to the old quarters of the city.
A guide is a must to tour the old town. This is highly recommended for food lovers. They grab the opportunity to taste authentic Spanish street food.
Moreover, the architecture of the buildings will keep you admiring the creativity.
Remember the name La Bretxa and tell your Spanish guide (he speaks English also) to take you there. It is the most visited food market. Try some dishes that have a special chilly as one of the ingredients. It is the hottest chilly in the world.
This is known as Spanish Naga (Gibralter Naga). Its alternative name is Naga Viper Pepper.
Fun Funicular Train Ride
Become a child and enjoy the fun ride in a funicular train to Mount Igueldo. This is one of the enjoyable things to do in San Sebastian.
As the train starts to climb, the Biscay Gulf dramatically comes into view and also the city. Scream, buddy. Let yourself go.
Santa Clara Island
This tiny island located very close to the city is one of the top places to see. No tourist will give it a miss.
As you take a sea passage, you will see and identify Urgull and Igueldo mountains on either side of your vessel.
You can watch two sea birds namely:
- Common Murre
- European Shag
The distance between the Santa Clara Island and the city is only 3.5 km. Boats ply frequently to the island.
Visit a few small villages and towns around San Sebastian
These quaint fishermen communities are worth visiting. Interacting with the innocent Spaniards is interesting.
Zarautz and Zumaia are recommended sample Spanish villages to visit.
Go to Victoria Gasteiz
Visiting this capital city of Basque Country is one of the worthy things to do.
Go to San Sebastian and live like a true Spaniard for a few days.