Discovering Donostia: San Sebastian

Welcome to our first post about our adventures in Europe! We’ve gone right back to day one, our first ever weekend trip outside London to Donostia (San Sebastian, Spain). We’ve got the low down on where to go, what to do, and most importantly… what to eat!!!

The beautiful town of Donostia is located on the North coast of Spain. You can fly there directly but to get there for much cheaper, you need to catch a plane to Bilbao airport and then get the D001 Pesa bus for approximately an hour. The bus will drop you off in the city center, at the cross roads of Christina Bridge and Calle De Federico Garcia Lorca. If the place you’re staying at isn’t walking distance, it is easy to grab a cheap ride from one of the cabs in the rank across the road, even if you arrive late at night. The main commercial beach is Playa la Concha, but we would recommend going to the Playa la Zurriola (pictured). Not only is it much less crowded, but as you can see, it is one of the only beaches in Europe with soft sand and yes, actual surf!!! Something that us Aussies and Kiwis miss dearly.


So you’ve gone for a dip and now your tummy is rumbling. Well you’re in luck because Donostia is home to arguably some of the best and cheapest Pintxos (Basque region tapas, often pinched together with a cocktail stick) in Spain. It’s basically the main reason we went there. Remember that in Spain they have a Siesta around 2pm until 6pm, where most of the restaurants and shops shut. It can be annoying but the bonus is that they can stay open until as late as midnight! Head down to the  Old Town, there is food literally everywhere! The seafood is incredibly fresh given you are on the coast.


You can choose between some pre-prepared options or order hot tapas off the menu. The cold options are self service from the bar and the people who work there can often remember what you ate without writing it down. To avoid falling into a tourist trap, we advise paying for your food before you sit down if it is busy. Some of our favourite Pintxos included marinated crab meat on a slice of crusty bread, braised beef cheeks, and anything with prosciutto or prawns. The sangria is also quite cheap – we challenge you to go on a treasure hunt for the best Sangria. Generally the darker the sangria, the better it tasted (and the stronger it was!).


After you’ve stuffed yourself silly and you’re ready to walk it off, there are a number of areas you can wander to in this seemingly small town. If you’re into interesting buildings and architecture, Artzaine Onaren Katedrala is the most famous church in Donostia. The old town itself is quite beautiful and is worth just having a walk through and losing yourself in, and the usual over the top fountains are all over the place. There are of course some touristy type shops you can buy some souvenirs from if you wish.  Alternatively, the serious shoppers should make their way down to the main shopping district, about a 15 minute walk south of the old town. Here you can find all the major designers and brands including Zara (my personal favourite). A good tip I have learned is to google where Zara or H&M in any new place and usually that will help you find the main shopping district anywhere in Europe!


If nature is more your thing, Playa la Concha is definitely worth a look. There are a few beach side bars and clubs that come alive at night if you feel the need to dance off your Pintxos. You can walk alongside the promenade, and in front of the Art Gallery there are some cute little gardens and the best gelato we’ve ever had in Spain, located just across the road. They have an amazing blackberry and dark chocolate sorbet for the dairy intolerant! If you’re like Blair and you are obsessed with finding the best view in every city you’ve been to, you can walk around the paths of the Castia de la Mota for multiple different views across the bays, old town and beaches that make up the beautiful town of San Sebastian.

Have you been to Donostia? What were your favourite pinxtos? Did you find the ultimate sangria? Do you know of any other places in Spain we should add to our bucket list? Send us a message below! 


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