Wedged between green hills and a sandy beach, San Sebastian is a hub of Basque culture and cuisine. The historic center’s compact size makes exploring easy, from cruising waterfront bike paths to tasting your way through tapas bars. Here’s how to make the most of a day in San Sebastian.
Take advantage of San Sebastian’s many bike paths, pedestrian-only streets, and quiet byways by checking out the city on a walking tour or bike tour. Options range from energetic hikes up nearby hills to trips by electric bike that do the work for you. Along the way, you might see pretty La Concha beach, spot the landmark San Sebastian Cathedral, and get views of Mount Ulia. If you prefer the flexibility of visiting the city on your own, hop-on hop-off tours offer the best of both worlds; onboard narration fills you in about the passing sites, and you can discover the things that interest you most.
When the weather is good, San Sebastian locals head to the beach for surfing, sunbathing, and swimming. Running along the historic center, La Concha beach is a popular option, with showering and changing facilities on-site. A little farther east is Zurriola Beach, where you can rent a surfboard or take a lesson. A third option is Ondarreta Beach, just west of La Concha. Smaller than the other two, Ondarreta is a family-friendly spot with gentle waves and a lifeguard on duty.
Eating tapas is a San Sebastian essential, a nightly tradition for both visitors and locals—and they’re called pintxos here. Tapas bars are stocked with small plates of food, so you can choose what you want to eat as you go. To join in the fun, check out tours of tapas bars in the historic center; they’re a great way to learn about tapas etiquette and traditions while discovering the very best spots. Many tours offer tapas and drinks, with options that include private experiences, group excursions, and more.