...HELLO- KAIXO... GOODBYE- AGUR... PLEASE- MESEDEZ... THANK YOU- ESKERRIK ASKO...
WHERE TO SLEEP
A quaint 5 room guesthouse on a great block in the Gros neighborhood. It is ideally located, just blocks from Playa Zurriola and less than a 10-minute walk from Parte Vieja. Request a room with a balcony!
Also located in the Gros, this newer. chic boutique hotel is equipped with a gym as well as buffet breakfast. So if you are looking for a hotel that offers a little bit more but is still hip and affordable this may be the spot for you.
Rent an apartment
This is a great way to feel like you are at home in a new city. Most apartments are equipped with full kitchens and some even have laundry services.
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK
A Fuego Negro
A modern, more playful take on pintxos with menu items like Basque fried chicken, black squid croquetas, and a delicious razor clam with almonds and melon. I personally love coming here for pintxos and their house-made Beltza vermouth, but if it seems intriguing enough stay for the tasting menu.
A great place to dine after txikiteo-ing aka pintxo bar hopping. Located in the Parte Vieja, or old town, this restaurant has refined Basque cuisine.
A three Michelin starred restaurant focused on "new Basque" cuisine set in a beautiful San Sebastián house built in 1897 by the chef/owner's grandparents. This is definitely a not-to-miss, extravagant meal and worth every penny.
A small menu but all incredibly delicious. Get the ribeye and tomato salad for sure and order a bottle from their wonderful wine list.
A great selection of pintxos available all day, every day. Definitely grab some snacks off the bar but don't miss out on some of the chalkboard items, they are known for the arroz del dia.
The newly opened sister restaurant to Atari with a focus on cocktails. Pintxo hour here looks much like Atari with most of the same bar items but their chalkboard menu items differ, one of the best being the baby squid croquetas.
A hip, new eatery in the Gros with a fun, surfer vibe, great pintxos and an even better playlist. Their chalkboard menu is separated into portion size so depending on how big your party is or just how hungry you are you can pick from N° 1 all the way up to EPICA.
★La Cuchara de San Telmo
Known for their foie gras with apple compote and their suckling pig dishes, this "nueva cocina vasca" or new Basque cuisine bar is worth elbowing your way into. My personal fave at this sardine can of a restaurant? the morcilla!
The bacalao pil-pil here is everything! I know everyone says order the risotto, and yes it is great too, but don't muscle your way up to the bar here and NOT treat yourself to some of the best bacalao in town.
I was introduced to this Gros area restaurant by a few locals who happen to be my friends. An always packed patio is usually a good sign but don't take their words for it, pop in and order the tortilla with chorizo, the ensaladilla Rusa, tomate del bueno con bonito, and the pastel de merluza- a fish mousse that is to die for. Rumor has it, this is where all the chefs in San Sebastian eat.
Unfortunately the day I went they were out of what they are most famous for, their cheesecake. Thankfully the pintxos selection did not disappoint, check out the yummy tortilla as well as fresh boquerones.
Located in a quiet neighborhood overlooking San Sebastian lies this unassuming yet incredible restaurant. At about 1/3 of the price of the more well known restaurants in town you can have a delicious meal of jamon de bellota, anchovies with red pepper ice cream and my favorite, kokotxas (hake cheeks) in pil-pil. You can't be dissapointed by the food or wine here. Request a spot on the balcony for the best views!
Need a green juice after all the salt, vinegar and txakoli you have been consuming? Try this smoothie/juice shop across from Zurriola beach for a mid-vacation health snack.
Ready to move on from your typical café con leche to some third wave coffee? Sakona is your place, offering only their own house roasted beans, you can get anything from a pour over to a flat white. They also have a pretty great food menu.
You can smell this bakery from blocks away and boy, does it call your name. This very simple bread bakery carries a variety of freshly baked loaves as well as pastries and a pretty good coffee. Stop off on your way to the beach for a baguette to go with your picnic.
After hiking Mount Ulia from San Sebastian to Pasaiako Portua, or the Puerto de Pasajes, you come upon a ferry landing that transports you from Pasai San Pedro to Pasai Donibane. In this little town you will find one of the best grilled whole fishes of your life. The turbot here is incredibly prepared with shrimp and clams, garlic and olive oil. Also try the pulpo and stuffed piquillo peppers. It is worth the 2.5 hr hike!
Set in idyllic Axpe about an hour outside of San Sebastián. This meal is one I continue to go back to in my head and have had the pleasure of eating twice. The chef cooks everything over open flame and mostly with tools he crafted himself. Worth the drive!!!
In the Gros neighborhood lies this amazing bar. If you have never had a Spanish G&T, this is the place to try one. Pick your gin, pick your tonic and watch the magic happen! They are open on a limited part of the week so check out their new spot across the street if the original location is closed that day.
WHERE TO SHOP
Basque country's most famous fashion line that started in 1995 is now an international sensation. Specializing in Spanish designs for men and women, including clothing and shoes.
This shop carries locally designed shirts and tanks as well as international brands for accessories and shoes.
The internationally known Spanish shoe company has a small, nicely curated shop. You won't find quite as many options as the Barcelona or Madrid locations might offer but if this is your only opportunity to stop in, don't skip it.
★Pas si simple
This small boutique in the Gros neighborhood is a mix of new and vintage finds for women including clothing, shoes and accessories. Most of the items here are very feminine and chic.
Definitely more retro than vintage but they still have some amazing finds at affordable prices. Thankfully this shop is fairly small so you don't have to worry about doing a days worth of digging to find a gem.
An incredible all-things-Basque gourmet food market. You can pick up local ciders and wines as well as cheeses, cured meats, foie gras, tinned seafood, chocolate and spices- all of which are the best Basque commodities. You can also sign up for a food tour or cooking class as well!
The best and biggest traditional food market of San Sebastian. Aside from
being able to do your daily shopping here, you can also find locally made
cheese, charcuterie and other gourmet Basque food items.
An awesome t-shirt and print shop on the edge of Parte Vieja that employs local Basque artists to do all their designing. Stop here for a one-of-a-kind souvenir from your favorite Basque city!
WHAT TO DO
If you want to do some wine tasting, this is the place to go. Getaria is best known for Txakolina, a crisp, salty white wine that pairs so well with the freshly grilled seafood. This little seaside town is also know for its anchovies so check out Maisor for a tasting. The bus from SS to Getaria is only about 30 minutes. If you are looking to stay overnight, check into the lovely Saiaz Getaria Hotel and have a seafood feast at Kaia-Kaipe or Elkano.
Hike or take the funicular up to the top of this hill adjacent to Playa Concha for sweeping panoramic city views and a bonus amusement park!
Hike a stunning section of the El Camino de Santiago from San Sebastian to the Pasaias on the other side. On your roughly 2.5 hour walk you will encounter gorgeous stretches of the coast, local farmers, and inns catering to the weary walkers. Once you reach the other side, stop at a seafood restaurant in the port for a well-deserved meal. For less than 2 euros and only 15 minutes, the E9 bus is an easy and affordable way to get there or back.
All over SS before dinner time (9pm) you will find locals hopping from pintxo bar to pintxo bar snacking and drinking txakolina. Consider it happy hour and join in the fun!
Sunbathing and swimming
For a calmer, more family friendly beach check out Playa Concha near Parte Vieja.