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San Sebastián

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Travel Guide Europe Spain Basque Country San Sebastián

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Introduction

San Sebastian 2

San Sebastian 2

© All Rights Reserved Porpol

San Sebastián, or "Donostia" (as it is known by the local Basque population), is a popular coastal city in the north of Spain. A picturesque location along the Bay of Biscay has made it a favourite amongst travellers looking for a relaxed holiday on the beach. Whether you want to surf, swim, or tan, San Sebastián's two main beaches, La Concha and La Zurriola, will indulge you. Of course, the city itself has plenty of places where you can further indulge, especially at the expensive shops in Old Town.

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Sights and Activities

Donostia-2

Donostia-2

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  • La Concha
  • La Zurriola

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Events and Festivals

Clasica San Sebastian

The Clasica San Sebastian is a cycling event that takes place in August, just after the Tour de France. Since the first race in 1981, the race has been moved around on the cycling calender and for now has landed in August. It is part of the UCI World Cup. As the region is mountainous, the race is suited for climbers and the list of winners has some big names, including Miguel Indurain, Gianni Bugno and Paolo Bettini. More than once the race was decided on climb of the Jaizkibel, which lies about 27 kilometres from the finish line.

Jazzaldia

Jazzaldia is a 5 day jazz festival that takes place in San Sebastian in the second part of July. The festival takes place at different venues, including the Teater Vitoria Eugenia, the Auditorium of the Kursaal and on the Plaza de la Trinidad, but also in smaller clubs and bars. Besides jazz there is also room for some other genres of music.

Other Events and Festivals

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Weather

It's location in the central north of Spain means that the weather here is not as warm, sunny and dry compared to places further south in the country. Summers last from June to September when daytime temperatures average between 21 °C and 24 °C degrees Celsius and nights are around 14 °C to 16 °C. Winters last from December to February with mild days of around 12 °C to 14 °C degrees Celsius and nights around 8 °C. San Sebastian is quite rainy, with 15 to 20 days of some rain each month! February and September are the driest months, the only ones with less than 100mm. November is the wettest with 21 rainy days and about 250mm during that month.

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Getting There

By Plane

San Sebastian Airport currently only has scheduled flights to and from Madrid and Barcelona.

By Train

RENFE, Spain's national railway company, has trains to Madrid, (seven daily services, 6 hours) and Barcelona (two a day, 8 hours). There is one daily train to Paris, but with the private company Eusko Tren/Ferrocarril Vasco there are more trains to the border town of Hendaye every half hour or so, also stopping in Irun. It also has hourly trains to Bilbao (2,5 hours) stopping en route in a number of smaller towns.

By Car

The A8 highway runs westwards towards Bilbao and France, while the A1 is the main corridor to Madrid.

By Bus

Buses go up to 12 times daily to Madrid (almost 6 hours), via Vitoria (1.5 hours) or Burgos (3.5 hours).
Up to 10 buses to daily to Pamplona (1 hour) and there are half-hourly services to Bilbao (1 hour). Several buses also go to Biarritz and Bayonne in France.

Eurolines has buses to San Sebastian from a number of Spanish and other European cities.

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Getting Around

By Public Transport

San Sebastian's bus service provides a proper public service for moving around. Several bus lines connect every corner of the city with each other, and buses are clean & safe. Detailed and updated information about the bus service can be found at DBus. There is an interesting app for smartphones available for free that shows next bus arrival time, for free.

By Bike

The city is very suitable to be visited by bike. Bike lanes are all throughout the city, and more and more are being build on the recent years. And hopefully most of the city is flat. Bike rentals are available in touristic points of the city.

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Sleep

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
3Bears Aussie HostalCalle de Segundo Izpizua 5Guesthouse-
Adore PlazaConstitucion Square 6Hostel81
Balboas HostalC/ Urbieta 30, 2ºDGuesthouse-
Beti AnayakLegazpi, 8 - 1ºGuesthouse62
Casa BasqueElgoibar 10Guesthouse77
Enjoy San SebastianTreinta y Uno de Agosto 16, 1ºHostel72
EnjoyEU - Urban HouseLolo Urban House Boulevard 26 - 1º izqda.Hostel73
Ernie's HouseEscolta real nº 38 3ºBGuesthouse-
GurtxuSan juan nº11 - 2drechaGuesthouse-
Hospedaje Donosti@ B&BCalle San Marcial, 33 5AGuesthouse88
Hospedaje Ibaic/ 31 de Agosto 16-2Guesthouse-
Hospedaje Ibai 2Zabaleta Nª36, Principal drchaGuesthouse-
Hospedaje KatiC/Fermín Calbetón Nº21 - 5 °CGuesthouse81
Hostal TxindokiPaseo de la Fe Nº 12 -1Guesthouse-
Hotel IbiltzeAntxota 3-4Hotel-
Husa EuropaSan Martin 52Hotel-
Kaixo Backpackers HostelSan Juan 9, 2ºGuesthouse83
Lagunak B&BSan Lorenzo, 2 3º- Dcha.Guesthouse73
Lau BuruMiramar , 5 5º IzGuesthouse-
Lera31 de agosto 24 3 derechaGuesthouse80
Ocean ViewZurriola 22BIS 2º DGuesthouse-
Old City LucaFermin Calbeton nº11- 3ºDGuesthouse80
Olga's PlaceC/ Zabaleta 49 - 4º izqHostel-
Ongi EtorriSan Juan, 8, 3º-izdaGuesthouse-
Pensión AldamarAldamar 2-1ºGuesthouse-
Pension AmalurSan Martin 43 - 2iz 20003Guesthouse88
Pension AriesSan Jeronimo 22-2Guesthouse-
Pension Atxiki SurfZemoría, 9Guesthouse-
Pension AussieSan Jeronimo 23-2º floor,Guesthouse77
Pension BalerdiSan juan 1-2ºGuesthouse-
Pension EasoSan Bartolome 24/ 1ºGuesthouse-
Pension GarateSan Martín 54 - 1º DGuesthouse-
Pension GoikoCalle Puerto 6, 2bGuesthouse83
Pensión Gran Bahía 2Embeltrán 16 2 dcha.izda.Guesthouse-
Pension Gran Bahia BernardoEmbeltran, 16-1º dchaGuesthouse82
Pension JoakinaCamino street, 4-4. rightGuesthouse-
Pension Loinazc/san Lorenzo 17-2ºHostel87
Pension San JeronimoSan Jeronimo 25 - 2cGuesthouse-
Pensión San JuanC/San Juan 13, 3º IzdaGuesthouse83
Pension San TelmoSan Juan 13 1st floor San SebastianGuesthouse-
Residencia Manuel Agud QuerolPaseo de Berio, 3Hostel77
Roger's HouseJuan de Bilbao 13 3ºGuesthouse80
San FerminCalle Fermin Calbeton 23Guesthouse84
SM31 BackpackersSan Marcial 31 4DGuesthouse-
Students GuesthouseAv. de Navarra 46- 2Guesthouse-
Surf BackpackersNarrika, 23 - 2º dchaGuesthouse75
Surf Zurriola ApartmentCalle Zabaleta nº 53Guesthouse82
Umore Ona BiSan Jerónimo, 14 - 2ºGuesthouse83
UzturreBoulevard, 26 Entlo-izGuesthouse-

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet is widely available within Spain. Most airports have wifi-zones and in most towns there are internet cafés or shops where you can use internet for a fixed price. Wi-Fi points in bars and cafeterias are available after ordering, and most hotels offer Wi-Fi connection in common areas for their guests.

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The international access code for Spain is +34. The emergency number for police, ambulance and the fire brigade is 112.

In cities you can find plenty of public phones, and 'locutorios'. The latter are small shops where you can use the phone and use internet. Most of them also sell prepaid cards for mobile telephones. These shops are used a lot by foreigners to call to their mother country.

The main mobile network operators in Spain are Yoigo, Vodafone, Movistar and Orange, as in most of Europe voice and data coverage is generally good in urban areas however it can be patchy in rural locations. Cheap mobile phones (less than €50) with some pre-paid minutes are sold at FNAC or any phone operator's shop (Vodafone, Movistar, Orange). Topping-up is then done by buying scratch cards from the small stores, supermarkets, vending points (often found in tobacco shops) or kiosks.

Post

If you want to post a card, you can head to the post office (Correos). The Spanish post is not yet as efficient as colleagues in other countries so receiving a card can take a bit longer than the number of days that it should take. On the website of Correos, you can find the locations of nearby post offices.
Post offices are generally open from 8:30am to 2:00pm, although times will vary according to the size of the city/town and the main post offices might be open until the early evening. Most will also open again on Saturday mornings, but in the smaller towns will close as early as 12 noon. When posting a letter, look for a yellow box and, if possible, post at the post office itself where there will also be divisions for local, national and international mail. Be prepared for long queues at the post office. This is why tobacco shops sell stamps and many will also have the facility to weigh packages. Standard letters/postcards of up to 20 grams sent within Spain are €0.34. However, non-standard letters/postcards of up to 20g are €0.39. Letters/postcards of 20 to 50 grams are €0.45. In the case of international shipping, the price is €0.64 to most countries within Europe for standard envelopes (letters/postcards) up to 20g, for a few European countries and outside Europe it is €0.78. If you want to send a package you are probably better off with a private courier company like TNT, DHL or UPS, as they offer quick and reliable services against competitive prices.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 43.320725
  • Longitude: -1.984449

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This is version 19. Last edited at 8:52 on Jul 10, 13 by Utrecht. 2 articles link to this page.

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