A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY ...
San Sebastian is a small city of 188,000 inhabitants, with a remarkably high level of cultural activity for its size. The beauty of its Bay, known as the Pearl of the Cantabrian Sea; its situation in a natural amphitheatre facing the sea and protected by mountains; its quality of life, and its famous gastronomy have turned it during the past two centuries into a world-class tourist destination.
Shaped by history, it started out as a fishing village; grew as a market town and military fort, with the invasion by Napoleon’s troops; and after being almost completely destroyed in 1813 by the garrison’s battle against the Anglo-Portuguese, it was chosen by Queen Isabel II as the Royal Family’s summer residence and began to flourish as a services city.
It was in the late 19th and early 20th century that San Sebastian emerged as a city of culture, full of amenities and Northern Spain’s tourist destination par excellence. Its majestic buildings and their eclectic style, which reflected the contemporary tastes of the Royal Family and bourgeoisie, give it a stately character that has adapted well to changing times.
Cultural activity grew at the same pace as tourist activity, so that today the city boasts a top quality performing arts and cultural programme. The International Film Festival, The ‘Jazzaldia’ Jazz Festival and Music Fortnight are the highlights of its year-round programme, which also includes themed film festivals such as the ‘Surfilm’ Surfing Film Festival and the Film and Human Rights Festival, and performing arts events such as the ‘dFeria’ Theatre Festival.
San Sebastian is world famous as a food tourism destination, since it’s collected more Michelin stars per square metre of its territory than anywhere else in the world; and, as the birthplace of the “new Basque cuisine” movement, it’s nurtured the renaissance of Basque gastronomy. The quality of its ingredients and its world famous “pintxos” give much pleasure to both local people and visitors all year round.
Because of its gastronomy, culture, beauty and maturity as a tourist destination, along with accommodation and tourist resources of great variety and exceptional quality, San Sebastian is one of Spain’s principal tourist destinations, welcoming over 400,000 visitors per year.
► Video of San Sebastian
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• 6 WAYS TO DISCOVER SAN SEBASTIAN •
• CITY TOUR TRAIN •
Come aboard the Donostia-San Sebastián Sightseeing Train and you will discover everything that makes this city a unique and special place. The departure point is located in the heart of the historic city centre next to the Cantabrian sea, on Paseo de Salamanca, and the train route goes around the historic centre, along the bay of La Concha and we see the Santa Clara Island, Mount Urgull, the Miramar Palace, the Buen Pastor Cathedral, the Victoria Eugenia Theatre, etc.
You can buy your tickets directly at the gateway or online.
Tour takes about 35-40 minutes.
April, May, June, 1-14th July, September, October.
Everyday from Monday to Sunday. 11:00 - 21:00 h (11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 h)
15th July to 31st August
Everyday from Monday to Sunday.
Departures: 10:00, 10:45, 11:30, 12:15, 13:00, 13:45, 14:30, 15:15, 16:00, 16:45, 17:30, 18:15, 19:00, 19:45, 20:30.
Adults - 5,00 €
Kids 5-12 - 3,00 €
Buy your tickets here
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• CITY TOUR BUS •
Donostia-San Sebastián City Tour is the official bus of the city. You will enjoy the beautiful views of the city on board. Hop-on Hop-off service alows you to stop/get in whereever and whenever you want. 8 languages audioguide.
Schedules, map, prices and tickets here
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• BOAT TRANSFER & TRIP TO SANTA CLARA ISLAND •
From the Port of Donosti you can visit the island of Santa Clara and enjoy the place and a very different view of the bay of Donostia - San Sebastian.
Small Santa Clara Island is located in the middle of la Concha Bay, and its little and lovely beach can only be seen when the tides are low.
Direct transfers from 10am to 8pm 20:00 (every 30 or 60' depending on the forecast) - Transfer in boat with underwater windows, including a 25´ bay tour: 12:00 / 13:00 / 14:00 / 15:30 / 16:30 / 17:30 / 18:30 / 19:30
4,00 € round trip
Transfer + tour 6,00 € round trip
Free for children under 4
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• CATAMARAN BOAT TRIP AROUND SAN SEBASTIAN'S COAST •
Ciudad de San Sebastián boat offers the possibility to have a very different perspective of the city. It has been recently renovated and offers an underwater view and a sea trip of about 40 minutes.
Spring & Autumn
12:00, 13:00, 16:00, 17:00, 18:00, 19:00
12:00, 13:00, 14:00, 16:00, 17:00, 18:00, 19:00
Adults............................. 10.00 €
Children (3 to10 years old) ...... 5.50 €
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• MOUNT IGUELDO AND ITS BREATHTAKING VIEWS ON BOARD OF A RAILTRAIN •
The 18th century Torreón de Igeldo, the former lighthouse turned viewpoint, presides over Monte Igeldo with its pretty amusement park.
We recommend that you take the funicular railway, the oldest in the Basque Country, running since 1912, to observe and photograph the city from a spectacular angle.
To the west of the hill you can see the lighthouse built in 1855 by the civil engineer, Manuel Pieroncely. This is the perfect spot to enjoy the beauty of the sea and the cliffs of Monte Igeldo.
Schedules and prices here
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• DISCOVER SAN SEBASTIAN BY BYCICLE •
Bycicle is an excellent option to discover the city (San Sebastian is mostly flat) since the bycicle path is wide extended and it will allow you to visit the whole city while cycling. The path is red coloured, and it goes through the most beautiful areas in town.
Detailed information here
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