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What to do in Donostia-San Sebastián

We love Donostia and we want you to discover it with us.

Experiences in Donostia-San Sebastián

SANSEbay stands by the entrance to Mount Urgull, a beautiful natural area and formerly home to the last bastion of French resistance during the 1813 siege, where remains and fortifications of the time can still be found. A place not to be missed for anyone visiting Donostia for the first time.

In fact San Sebastián is a city full of corners and experiences just waiting to be lived, with so many indispensable visits that it’s hard to choose only one. Idyllic strolls round La Concha Bay, the charms of the streets of its Old Town and its famous pintxos, or the incredible views of Mount Igeldo are some of the attractions of a city unique in the world.

A city with history

San Sebastián is a city with a long history of almost a thousand years. Founded in 1180 by the King of Navarre, Sancho the Wise, to serve as the kingdom’s maritime port, it takes its name from a monastery ( Izurum ) in the neighbourhood known today as San Sebastián El Antiguo . The name of the city, whether as San Sebastián in Spanish or as Donostia in Basque, has its etymological origin in the term Donestebian , meaning Done or Domine = Saint, and Sebastián.

From the 13th century onwards, San Sebastián became part of the Kingdom of Castile under Alfonso VIII , serving the monarchy as an access to the sea, and significantly increasing the commercial expansion of Donostia. A trading centre which, for the next two centuries, suffered as many as 6 fires which reduced the town to ashes time and again and which finally meant that it had to be rebuilt in stone.

Later, from the 15th century, the town changed from being a commercial zone to become a walled town while Pasajes, its main port, began operating as a naval base, fighting numerous battles against the Dutch, the French and the British .

Mount Urgull, a unique natural landscape

San Sebastián suffered a number of sieges over the years, as can be seen from the remains of the walls still standing on Mount Urgull . In 1719 Donostia was besieged by the French army and, as a result of the subsequent battle between the Gauls and the English-Portuguese army, suffered yet another devastating fire that razed the city to the ground.

La Mota Castle , built in the 12th century and standing at the top of Mount Urgull, still has numerous defensive canons and loopholes, impassable witness of the bloody battles fought over the years. The English Cemetery also bears witness to the time spent in San Sebastián by people from that country.

Also on Mount Urgull is the House of History , an audiovisual museum and exhibition explaining the intricate life of the city’s more than 800 years of existence. And at the top, the iconic sculpture of the Sacred Heart or Christ of La Mota, measuring more than 12 metres in height, made by the artist Federico Coullaut in 1950.

Skirting the hill, you can enjoy a pleasant promenade making its way from the Port to the Calle Salamanca, opened in 1916 and famous for its spectacular views of enormous waves crashing against the walls on days when the sea is rough. All without forgetting the emblematic Aquarium with more than 200 maritime species, or the sculpture Empty Construction (work of Jorge Oteiza), located at the end of the Paseo Nuevo, a benchmark of contemporary art.

La Concha Bay
La Concha Bay is San Sebastián’s most classic and photographed snapshot. With white sand sprawling over 1,500 metres, this beach in La Concha bay is a real icon, recognised as one of the best urban beaches in Europe.
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Mount Urgull
Emblematic hill right in the city centre, which you can climb directly from outside the hotel in around 20-25 minutes. At the top is the building also known as La Mota Castle.
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The Old Town
Built following the fire in 1813, San Sebastián’s Old Town stands at the foot of Mount Urgull, nestling between the Port and the mouth of the River Urumea. Its streets, packed with restaurants and pintxo bars, are an ode to gastronomy.
Aquarium
Famous for its 360º tunnel and the skeleton of a right whale, the San Sebastián Aquarium and its characteristic building built in 1928 is home to more than 200 maritime species along with a wide variety of tropical species.
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Spa-Sports Centre La Perla
Heir of San Sebastián’s Belle Époque spa opened in 1912, La Perla is a Spa and Sports Centre which combines the benefits of the sea with getting into shape thanks to its physical-sports, therapeutic, relaxing and anti-stress programmes.
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Comb of the Wind
Work of art created by the sculptor Eduardo Chillida and the architect Luis Peña Ganchegui. Standing at the end of Ondarreta Beach, with poetic language, the Comb of the Wind inverts the eternal metaphor to comb the wind as it blows into the city.
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Science Museum
Eureka! Zientzia Museoa is an interactive museum, with a new style of communication where visitors are invited to touch objects and participate in experiments. One particularly interesting feature is its state-of-the-art Planetarium, all of an attraction for astronomy lovers.
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The Cider Museum
The Sagardoetxea Cider Museum, with its cider interpretation centre, apple orchard and cider tasting is a must, a place to learn about the past, present and future of apples thanks to the most advanced resources and technologies.
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Transport

Donostia-San Sebastián is the best-communicated city of all Gipuzkoa and has different transport services for getting around inside the city and out. If you want to move around in the centre, we recommend the city buses with their extensive network of lines and routes. The train is also a practical way to visit other towns and cities in Gipuzkoa.

Autobus Urbano DBus

Autobuses de transporte urbano DonostiaBus o DBus. Cuentan en su flota con autobuses híbridos desde 2011 y el autobús 100% eléctrico recientemente incorporado.
Boulevard,20003 San Sebastián
943 000 200

Estación Donostia Geltokia

La nueva estación de autobuses de San Sebastián, o estación de Atocha. Viajes en autobús de largo recorrido a Bilbao, Francia, Zarautz, Madrid, Barcelona y otras ciudades de España y Europa.
Paseo de Francia, Egia, San Sebastián
943 47 51 50

Euskotren

Servicio público de transporte de pasajeros mediante líneas de tren de vía estrecha, que ofrece trayectos de cercanías en Bizkaia y Guipuzkoa.
Amara, Easo Plaza, 20006 San Sebastián, Guipúzcoa
944 333 333

Renfe – Cercanías San Sebastián

La red de tranvías de Renfe da servicio a la ciudad de San Sebastián, los municipios de su área metropolitana este y los municipios situados en el valle del río Oria y del río Urola hasta Legazpia. También cuenta con servicios de largo recorrido.
Estación Del Norte, San Sebastián, Donostia
902 320 320

Taxis Donosti – Radio Taxi Donosti

Servicio de radio taxis en Donostia-San Sebastián. Ideal para moverse rápido por la ciudad y alrededores. Cuentan con servicio 24h y asistencia rápida al lugar de recogida.
Aldapeta Galtzada, 16, 20009 San Sebastián, Guipúzcoa
943 46 46 46

Aeropuerto de San Sebastián

El aeropuerto de San Sebastián está situado a 20 km de la ciudad de San Sebastián, en el municipio de Hondarribia, junto a la frontera entre España y Francia.
Kalea Gabarrari, 22, 20280 Hondarribia, Guipúzcoa
913 21 10 00