San Sebastian

San Sebastian Hero

Whether you're soaking up the sun on one of San Sebastian's beautiful beaches, sipping txakoli and nibbling on pintxos in the picturesque old town, partying with locals late into the night, or exploring the city's diverse cultural scene, we're sure you won't regret your trip. To help you get the most out of your trip to San Sebastian, check out this guide to everything you need to know before you leave and when you arrive.

Remember that Basque cities have two names, one in Basque and one in Spanish. In Basque, San Sebastian is also called Donostia.

Best time to travel

Accommodation in San Sebastian

restaurants & bars

Gastronomic highlights

Sights & Attractions in San Sebastian

Travel tips & tricks

Your trip to San Sebastian in Spain

Getting there and choosing the airport

Bilbao Airport is served by connections all over Europe and is the largest airport in the Basque Country. If you fly to BIO, you can take a bus from the airport to San Sebastian for approx. 17 euros. The journey time is 75 minutes.

You can also fly into Biarritz Airport (BIQ) in France, which is about 47 kilometers from the city center. Buses run six to eight times a day to San Sebastian, and the 45-minute ride costs 7 EUR.

If you fly into San Sebastian's domestic airport (EAS), the easiest way to get to the city is by bus. Bus E21 goes to the center every hour and stops at Plaza de Gipuzkoa. A one-way ticket costs EUR 2.45 and the trip takes about 30 minutes.

San Sebastian sights and attractions

San Sebastian Old Town

Photo: slava17 / Shutterstock

Although San Sebastian locals are very passionate about their local soccer team, it's not the only sport known here. The city is known in the region for being a great surfing destination and a great place to combine beautiful landscapes with water sports. If you've never surfed before, you can take a lesson here. If you prefer not to ride a wave but still want to be on the water, you can rent a kayak or go SUP boarding.

Day trips from San Sebastian

A visit to San Sebastian wouldn't be complete without a day trip. If you're in San Sebastian for several days, it's a good idea to plan a day to travel out of town. Here are a few suggestions.

Getting around San Sebastian

Getting around San Sebastian

Photo by DeymosHR / Shutterstock

San Sebastian is well connected by the local bus service, which can easily take you to the city's main attractions. A one-way trip costs EUR 1.70 and buses run approximately from 7.30 to 22.30 h. After that, there are a limited number of night buses that run until approx. 4 o'clock in the morning ride. Note that drivers will not accept more than a 20 euro bill for a one-way ticket, so it is best to have coins on hand.

If you are in San Sebastian for more than a few days, there is the option to buy a multiple ticket. Options with a duration of 10 days or 6- or 12-ride ticket are offered. In addition to transportation, with the card you can enjoy discounts on museums, restaurants and stores.

It's relatively easy to explore the city on foot, as many of the attractions are fairly close together, making strolling around a good sightseeing option.

Things to know about San Sebastian

The city in music

Bruce Springsteen is a big fan of Spanish culture, and he also feels a great affection for San Sebastian and its people. Every time Springsteen sets foot in the Basque Country, he stays in the same room at the Hotel Maria Cristina and walks around town with his wife and daughter.

San Sebastian in books

Fiesta by Ernest Hemingway is a great book to read before or during your trip because San Sebastian was the setting for the last chapter and because Hemingway finished his book somewhere along the route between the city and Hendaye, France. Hemingway was in love with Spain, and he always came to the city in the Basque Country.

Stay up to date

Donostia Kultura is a great source to keep up to date with what's happening in the city. From cultural activities, to art festivals, to exhibitions – you'll find it all on this website.