Where to Stay in San Sebastian in Our Expert Opinion
Finding somewhere Belle in San Sebastian
From the majestic buildings of the Centro area to the bohemian flair of the Gros district, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to where to stay in San Sebastian, Spain. In this journal post, we’ll take you through the differences between the areas, stopping in at the Parte Vieja (Old Town) and the Antiguo districts. Along the way, we’ll help you locate the best cultural highlights, from the pintxos (Basque tapas) bars to designer stores and fine-dining restaurants. You’ll delve into museums and see old-world crumbling buildings in this historic area, all the while staying in the luxurious surroundings of one of our homes. Here at Plum Guide, we've gone above and beyond to ensure that your stay is memorable for all the right reasons, with both our accommodation and our advice guaranteeing you a trip to write home about. And who knows, you may even pick up a word or two of Basque on this holiday, which is a bit like if you took Spanish and added a lot of x’s at random. So without further ado, here are our best spots in the city.
Admire the regal towers and chic atmosphere in the Centro part of San Sebastian. As its name might suggest, it makes up the central area of the city. Head out for dinner in the fashionable Reyes Católicos area, and soak up the atmosphere around the bars. If you’re looking for pintxos (a word you may have only seen for the first time in this article), you’ll find some of the best of this Basque tapas in the traditional Casa Valles, known for its anchovies. Centro is also the district that contains the famous La Concha Beach, a wide sandy stretch in view of picturesque mountains and an island. Stroll along the Kontxa Pasealekua boardwalk and take in the sights.
La Parte Vieja
Literally translating as 'The Old Part', this is…well, the old part. It juts out into the sea at Spain’s northern tip, spiralling up to a peak overlooking the water. It’s packed full of those aforementioned pintxo spots, with Txepetxa one of the highlights. Just don’t ask us how to pronounce it. Climb up to the top of the cone-shaped Mount Urgull for the beautiful Castillo de la Mota fortress.
It’s name may sound like something gross, but it simply means large (or fat) in French. It’s only a name, so try not to feel too self-conscious as you frequent its trendy cafés. The district brings in younger crowds, with its cool bars and restaurants. We think you’re cool, so you’ll fit right in here. Enjoy an afternoon on the Zurriola Beach, which is known as the surfer’s hub. In keeping with the district’s youthful ambiance, the beach has all sorts of sports and fun activities for young people (just like you) going on.
Stroll across the eye-catching La Concha Bay to reach the Antiguo neighbourhood, which sits behind the Ondarreta Beach. This affluent clifftop district is a little quieter and more residential, making for an excellent stay for those who like to escape the crowds and noise at the end of the day. Try some of the top restaurants on the Calle Matia, which hosts Drinka, the Bodega Donostiarra and the Albitzur, among others.
A little inland and off the beaten path, Amara gives you a taste of authentic Basque living (for those that desire it) when looking at where to stay in San Sebastian. Here, you can join the chanting fans of football team Real Sociedad at the Anoeta Stadium, and find low-key bars frequented by locals. The district, which wraps around the southern part of the bend in the Urumea Itsasadarra river, is also home to the vast Arcco shopping centre. If it’s authenticity you’re looking for, then Amara is your go-to location.
Finally, rounding off our guide to where to stay in San Sebastian, we have Zarautz. If you’re searching for a bit of an escape from city life, drive west along the coast for around 20 minutes to reach Zarautz, which has the longest beach in the area. Visit the Txakoli vineyards and try some of the local wine. Then, drunk from a few bottles, it’s the perfect time to join the surfers that regularly flock to this beach (do be careful).