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San Sebastian

Country
Spain
State
Basque
City
San Sebastian
Type of Location
Multiple
About Location

San Sebastian

San Sebastian, chief town of the Basque province of Guipúzcoa and Spain's most fashionable bathing resort, lies on the Bay of Biscay near the French frontier. It is beautifully situated on alluvial land between the canalized Río Urumea and the crescent-shaped Bahía de la Concha, which is bounded on the east by Monte Urgull and on the west by Monte Igueldo and sheltered on the seaward side by the island of Santa Clara.



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How to Reach

By Air

San Sebastian Airport is located 22kms north of the city near the town of Hondarribia. There are frequent flights from Madrid as well as from Barcelona, Malaga, Seville and Palma de Mallorca. During the summer there are charters from the United Kingdom and you should check with your travel agent for departure airports and schedules.

The airport has a small, modern terminal building with a standard two-level layout. There are ATM machines and a post office, with limited business and conference facilities provided by a VIP lounge. A caf and a restaurant are located on the lower and upper floors respectively, while there is a small but quality selection of both duty-free and regular shopping outlets. There is one large car park situated opposite the terminal building that caters to both short-term and long-term stays with almost 600 spaces.

There are express airport buses running non-stop between the terminal building and Plaza Pio XII in central San Sebastian, with the trip taking about 30 minutes. Buses depart immediately outside the terminal and leave approximately 20 minutes after each arrival. There are also many taxis awaiting each flight to take visitors directly to their accommodation.

Alternatively, it may be more convenient to fly to either Bilbao in northern Spain or Biarritz in southwestern France and travel to San Sebastian by road (a journey of about 2 hours). Both of these airports have regularly scheduled flights to main cities throughout Europe.

By Rail

San Sebastian is on the main railway line that links Madrid with southwestern France (Irun, Biarritz), with trains travelling on to the French capital. There is also a train that runs from Paris right through to Lisbon that stops in the city. There are many San Sebastians in Europe however, so make sure you have the right one when booking your tickets!

By Bus

Buses are a popular means of transport in the Basque region and there are regular and reliable services linking San Sebastian to Bilbao and Vitoria, with less frequent buses to smaller towns and villages in the area. Long distance buses operate between San Sebastian and Madrid and large southern European cities such as Barcelona, Milan and Lisbon.

By Car

Accessing San Sebastian by road is extremely simple, as the city is positioned just off the A8 motorway and has its own clearly marked exit. The A8 motorway provides a very fast, comfortable and safe link between the city and Bilbao to the south as well as Biarritz to the north. The A8 is known as one of the most picturesque motorways in Europe; however, it is a coastal road that can experience reduced visibility due to fog.

Key places to visit
Monte Igueldo, La Concha Beach, Paseo Nuevo, Miramar Palace, The Resort


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Places to Visit

Monte Igueldo

At the far end of the Playa de Ondarreta is the Royal Tennis Club, from which a funicular and a winding road go to the top of Monte Igueldo (184m/604ft). Here there is a terrace restaurant, an amusement park, an observatory and an outlook tower, from which there are magnificent views of the town, the sea and the Basque mountains.

La Concha Beach

Internationally famous and featuring a superb setting, La Concha Beach (Seashell Beach) is one of three beaches in San Sebastian. The magnificent wide stretch of fine sand is framed by the citys two mountains, Urgull and Igeldo, and by the small offshore island of Santa Clara. Lining the shore of the beach are the citys most luxurious hotels, restaurants and shops as well as many of San Sebastians livelier nightspots. Strolling along the beachside promenade is very pleasant and relaxing, passing landmarks such as the Royal Nautical Club on your way around to the end of the beach, which lies below Miramar Palace. You can continue walking past Ondarreta Beach to the Wind Comb statue, where a fantastic view of Concha Bay awaits you.

Paseo Nuevo

From the Aquarium the Paseo Nuevo encircles Monte Urgull, above the rocky shore, to the mouth of the Río Urumea, affording fine views. The river is spanned by the Puente Zurriola, beyond which a seafront promenade runs east to just before Monte Ulía.

Miramar Palace

Built on the site of the former San Sebastian monastery by Queen Maria Cristina in the latter part of the 19th century, Miramar Palace is a royal country house modelled along English lines, but possessing Basque neo-Gothic features. Today, the palace functions as a conference centre, with sections of the building housing meeting facilities and amenities that have been extensively modernised. Other sections of the building and the estate are still in their original condition however, and the magnificent dcor and furnishings are interesting to behold. Outside, there are beautiful gardens to explore and the grounds offer some stunning vistas of the coastline.

The Resort

San Sebastián's rise to become a resort of worldwide reputation began in the 19th Century, when Queen María Cristina chose it as her summer residence. Since then it has developed into an international resort where the boulevards, restaurants and cafesstill preserve something of the fashionable atmosphere of the 19th century, attracting visitors from all over the world with a summer program of major events such as the International Film Festival, the Jazz Festival and the Semana Grande in August. San Sebastián has practically no old buildings, since a great fire in 1813 destroyed much of the town.

Right Time to Visit

Information not available

Temperature

July - August -> 20(°C) - Summer
January - February -> 8(°C) - Winter


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