Hotels in San Sebastián, Spain
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San Sebastian: Love at First Sight
Sizzling San Sebastian isn’t your average beach getaway. It’s an easy front-runner for having some of the best beaches in Europe, but its laid back seaside vibe is just the icing on the cake. With a sophisticated nightlife, a fascinating Basque history, show-stopping Belle Époque architecture, and more world renowned restaurants than you can shake a stick at, it’s the kind of destination that vacation dreams are made of. Whether you stay in a lavish all-inclusive hotel overlooking the seductive Bay of Biscay, or opt for less expensive lodging in Old Town, San Sebastian exudes a down to earth appeal that will constantly surprise.
A Beach for the Memory Books
The focal point of this lively city is La Concha Beach. It’s the largest and most visited of the three beaches in San Sebastian, and it blends in seamlessly with its urban environs. Ayuntamiento de San Sebastián, San Sebastian’s City Hall - an obligatory stop on your visit, is accessible from the shores, and La Concha’s position in the heart of the city makes it easy to spend some time frolicking in the surf and sun, followed by a walk to nearby sights. Other attractions that are close to the beach include Cristina Enea Park, a vast parkland with a serene lake and scenic trails that is great for a picnic or a leisurely stroll, as well as San Telmo Museoa, the place to go for learning about Basque culture old and new. Hotel Maria Cristina is also in the vicinity of La Concha, and even if the price of a room is a little hard to handle, it’s a worthwhile stop to appreciate the grandiose façade. Built in 1912 by the same architect responsible for the opulent Ritz-Carlton hotels in Paris and Milan, it’s the preferred hotel of celebrities visiting during the San Sebastian Film Festival, and is known to be one of the best hotels in the region.
Dine and Dash
Tapas culture is alive and well in San Sebastian, and you’ll be spoiled for choice with the amount of outstanding options available to you. Dining establishments here take Spanish bar food to a whole new level, and in a city with a large concentration of Michelin star restaurants, the messy, frenetic feel of a tapas bar is sometimes a welcome sight. Each restaurant specialises in a particular kind of tapas, and it’s a good idea to check the chalkboard behind the bar to avoid looking like a disoriented tourist. Or if you aren’t comfortable elbowing your way up to the counter, there are many tours that will show you just how much of a food Mecca San Sebastian really is.
When you’ve eaten your weight in small plates, head for the hills - Monte Urgull to be exact. This small mountain is a great place to walk off some calories, and you’ll get the extra benefit of being able to soak up the commanding views. You can reach Mount Urgull by taking the convenient path from Plaza de Zuloaga. When you arrive at the top, you can admire the grand statue of Christ, as well as the low castle walls of Castillo de la Mota. Afterward, if all of that eating and walking has you feeling kind of tired, San Sebastian has a number of hotels that offer luxurious beachfront spa treatments. A massage is the perfect treat for a weary traveler, and one of the best places to get a rub down is at the Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra, another historic, perennial favourite amongst tourists in the know.
The Fun Has Only Just Begun
Monte Igueldo has the same panoramic views as Monte Urgull, but if you’re interested in exercise, it will have to wait until you complete the ascent. A funicular railway takes you to the top, where, instead of greenspace and a lookout, a full scale amusement park is waiting to be explored. The park has everything from bumper cars and pony rides to a dramatic hillside rollercoaster - just in case you didn’t get enough of the views. And if you decide that you’d like to stay awhile, Monte Igueldo even has its own hotel. The hotel makes the most of its hilltop position, and you’ll have to tear yourself away from the unending ocean panorama.
When you’re back in San Sebastian, other notable sights include stunning churches like Iglesia de San Vicente and Iglesia de Santa Maria del Coro, or one of the many picturesque plazas and parks such as Parque de Alderdi Eider and Plaza de la Constitucion. As far as attractiveness goes, Parque de Alderdi Eider just might win the beauty contest for its good looks. It has amazing views over La Concha Beach, and is a fantastic place to people watch with lots of benches and trees for shade. While you’re there, take a ride on the carousel and plot your return to beautiful San Sebastian.