san sebastian in spanish/donostia in basque. a beautiful seaside town, 50 km away from biarritz, 100 km away from bilbao.

the best way to get around? just rent a bike and start pedaling: this is the perfect place for that!

here you have my main 5 highlights:

5.  in the summer, take a boat to santa clara island. if you don’t have enough time, at least take a walk on paseo nuevo, around mount urgull, so that you can get a good look at the sea. unmissable!

sculpture by jorge oteiza

4. casco viejo. the old town is a rather irregular grid of pedestrian-only streets full of pictures waiting to be taken. saturated with pintxos bars, quaint churches and little stores. go there when you’re not in a hurry, with friends and just sample the best it has to offer. i guarantee a great time!

3. gastronomy. they say that san sebastian has the highest number of michelin stars per square meter. it sounds delicious, right? and it’s not only the fancy eateries that are interesting and tasty, it’s actually most of the places where you can get a bite. we had  pintxos at the wrong hour, in the afternoon. on the plus side: it was not crowded so we could take our time picking and choosing. downside: the little snacks looked like they they weren’t a picture of freshness (i will not get too deep into any of that, a post about pintxos/tapas is coming up).

tiny marisco restaurants

we also tried a local artesanal heladeria, oiartzunnice service, wide range of flavours including the expected as well as the wild – kinder ice cream, anybody? we tried walnuts – very good, chocolate – great, dulce de leche – yummy and cheese! don’t cringe: it was great! just imagine the taste of sweet cheese and you’re there.

the many flavours of icecream

2. the film festival 21-29.09.2012 and the jazz festival 21-26.07.2012. the perfect pretext for booking a flight: attending a world famous festival and socializing while getting your culture fix.

1. beaches. there are at least three: concha, ondaretta and zurriola. people gather on the beach when the sun rises and pretty much spend their day there. imagine taking a midday break and having lunch on the beach. or hanging out, surfing, walking, reading, working out, etc. wow!

oh, i heard an urban legend: in san sebastian people swim in the sea every day of the year! i admit that i was totally envious of the guy swimming in the shallow bay when i was there but i was still in my winter coat even if it  was a sunny march day.

concha, the downtown beach

at the end of my visit, i went back to bilbao with a minor tan, exhausted and happy.

photo credits: lilaesthete, google search