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


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.

Beach

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.
Beach

La Concha Bay

Nature only a step away

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.
Nature only a step away

Mount Urgull

Pintxos

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.
Pintxos

The Old Town

Palacio del Mar

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.
Palacio del Mar

Aquarium

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.
Spa-Sports Centre

La Perla

Open air art

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.
Open air art

Comb of the Wind

Science Museum

Eureka

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.
Museo de la CIencia

Eureka!

The Cider Museum

Sagardoetxea

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.
The Cider Museum

Sagardoetxea


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.


San Sebastián Airport

The San Sebastián Airport is 20km from the city itself, in the town of Hondarribia, on the border between Spain and France.

Address: Kalea Gabarrari, 22, 20280 Hondarribia, Guipúzcoa
Tel.: 913 21 10 00



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Taxis Donosti – Radio Taxi Donosti

Radio taxis in Donostia-San Sebastián. Perfect for getting around swiftly in and around the city. These taxis offer a 24hr service and generally arrive quickly for pick up.

Address: Aldapeta Galtzada, 16, 20009 San Sebastián, Guipúzcoa
Tel.: 943 46 46 46


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Renfe – San Sebastián suburban trains

The Renfe suburban trains serve the city of San Sebastián, the towns in its eastern metropolitan area and those lying along the River Oria and River Urola valleys as far as Legazpia. It also offers long distance routes.

Address: Estación Del Norte, San Sebastián, Donostia
Tel.: 902 320 320


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Euskotren

Public transport on narrow gauge tracks providing suburban services in Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa.

Address: Amara, Easo Plaza, 20006 San Sebastián, Guipúzcoa
Tel.: 944 333 333


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The San Sebastian station

The new San Sebastián bus station, also known as Atotxa. Long distance bus travel to Bilbao, France, Zarautz, Madrid, Barcelona and other cities in Spain and Europe.

Address: Paseo de Francia, Egia, San Sebastián
Tel.: 943 47 51 50


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Dbus city buses

DonostiaBus or Dbus city transport service. Has had a hybrid fleet of buses since 2011 and has recently incorporated 100% electric buses.

Address: Boulevard,20003 San Sebastián
Tel.: 943 000 200



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