The best time here in Germany to make a city trip is the Easter weekend. Due to two public holidays, we have 4 days off in a row. This way you don’t need to take any of your precious days off from work.
Due to our wedding last year in May we cancelled last year’s Easter trip. But this year it was due again and we headed to beautiful San Sebastián in the Northern part of Spain (it’s called Donostia in Basque Country) with my dear parents-in-law.
Flight, Rental Car and Accommodation in San Sebastián
There are regular flights to Bilbao. From Frankfurt this was no problem at all.
We also booked a rental car to explore a little bit of the Basque Country (Euskal Herria) and be flexible. The car rental agencies are located directly at the airport of Bilbao, so everything worked without a hitch. It wasn’t expensive at all which is why we definitely recommend you to do as well.
We booked our accommodation via Airbnb and rented an apartment in the centre of San Sebastián. It’s called Precios Vistas Apartments; the owner’s name is Alex. From our apartment we had a fabulous view over the beautiful landscaped river bank. From our apartment it was just a short walking distance to the Bay of La Concha.
Around the Bay of La Concha
La Concha in San Sebastián/Donostia
The first thing you will find when googling will be the beautiful Bay of La Concha. La Concha means ‘Shell’ in English and got its name due to its shape.
Shortly after our trip Travelbook just put the Beach of La Concha on their list of Europe’s most beautiful beaches (according to Trip-Advisor reviews). We think it definitely deserves to be on that list.
Next to the huge beach area, there are several sights of the city. That’s why La Concha is also the touristic hotspot of San Sebastián.
There are a few cafés located along the promenade. They’re a bit touristy of course but with a great view. The beach, the Playa de la Concha, is really huge and in sunshine the sea might get that little bit of dreamy turquoise. This beach is totally crowded in summer but we can totally understand why.
Palacio Miramar at the Bay of La Concha
This little palace fits perfectly into the bay’s setting and offers a great view over the city. The garden around the palace is beautifully landscaped and it’s astonishing how quiet it is there. We had been here on two days, one was sunny, one not so much.
It was already pretty without the sun. With a little bit of sunshine it all turns into a painting.
A few meters east of the palace there are two banks on the promenade which are perfect for dreamy pictures and to enjoy a fabulous view.
The Town Hall
It was built in 1897 and was used as a Casino. Since 1947 it’s used as the City Town Hall. The carousel in front of it and the Christ Statue in the background make it a really perfect picture.
The little harbour between Old Town and the Monte Urgull
A beautiful part of the promenade with cute houses looking like they were built into the mountain stones. There’s not a lot happening here but it’s pretty to see and on the way to the Christ Statue anyway.
The Monte Urgull and the Christ Statue
There’s a Christ Statue on the top of the Monte Urgull which is surrounded by the Fortress of Castillo de la Mota. If the weather gods are good, you can see a great sunset from here. Unfortunately they didn’t like us so much that weekend.
The view was totally worth the short but steep hike.
A little bit further down there’s a café at the Batteria de las Damas where you can enjoy the amazing view over the island off the coast named Santa Clara. It’s a bit tacky to say that but without exaggeration, it looks totally like a painting.
View Point at Monte Igueldo
This mountain probably offers you the best view over the Bay of La Concha. If you didn’t know (like us), you’d be really surprised to find an amusement park up there. Which is highly frequented by locals on an Easter Weekend, of course.
We used our rental car to get there. You have to pay an entry fee of a little bit over 2 € per person. The hard-boiled will hike (but still have to pay the fee). You’ll have amazing views during your hike up. But first of all, it’s not a short walk and secondly it’s really steep. For those without a car: There’s a cable railway bringing you up starting from the western end of the promenade.
However you’ll reach the top, just do it. The view over the city is absolutely fantastic.
The Old Town of San Sebastián – Parte Vieja
Beautifull alleys full of life. From young to old, everyone is on the road at any time. Our favourite area maybe was around the Iglesia de Santa Maria. It’s nice to sit on the steps with a something to eat and drink from the Atari Gastroteka opposite to the church.
There are many Tapas bars in the Parte Vieja and you’re really spoilt by choice of Pintxos. There will be an extra post about that.
Artzain Onaren katedrala/Catedral de Buen Pastor
It’s really hard to pronounce the Basque name for me. It was built in the 19th century in neo-gothic style.
We actually didn’t know about it before. It was just on the way from our apartment to the Old Town and is really worth a visit.
Along the river bank
Kursaal of San Sebastián
The city’s Kursaal has an interesting architectonical style and is an event centre. It’s modern and somehow doesn’t fit into the city’s landscape, which makes it great the same time. If you’re lucky, the Kursaal is illuminated by night.
This former tobacco factory is used as a culture centre today. It has a beautiful terrace on the rooftop with a great view over the city silhouette. There’s also a café with delious tapas and drinks at the bottom floor.
To see of San Sebastián what we saw, you’ll need between one and two days. Depending on your priorities.
Is there something we still have to see when returning? What are your experiences in Donostia?
More posts about San Sebastián and the Basque Country: