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About San Sebastian
San Sebastián is a city truly blessed. It has not one, but two, of the few really nice city beaches in Europe - Playa de la Concha, right near some of the city's major historical buildings, and Playa de Gros, where there's also great surfing. Our picks of the best places to stay in San Sebastian are well placed for access to either, but if you'd prefer a self catering apartment we recommend you visit our online partner, Booking.com.
San Sebastian also has the wonderful culinary culture of the Basque country, a lively and beautiful old town, the Parte Vieja, and plenty of interesting local museums, markets and charming old buildings.
The swimming off Playa de la Concha is almost always safe, and there's plenty of sand to share between the thousands of tanned bodies. Playa de la Concha even has its own little isle, sitting neatly in the pretty harbour, just 700metres off shore. At low tide this has its own beach, and you can reach it aboard glass-bottomed boats which leave every half hour or so.
Playa de Gros is a bit more dangerous for swimmers, but that's what makes it a great surf beach, both for beginners and more experienced surfers.
For a good view of the whole town take the old funicular up Monte Igueldo and appreciate the Bahia de la Concha as a panorama. As well as the views you'll also find a slightly kitschy little theme park.
San Sebastián is a stylish city, and it wouldn't get that way without its own collection of high end boutiques.
Famous for its food, San Sebastián has three Michelin star restaurants, but what they're really known for are their pintxos - Basque tapas. Like many of the best places to stay in San Sebastián, you can also find many of the best pintxos bars in Parte Vieja.
For a great central location - and the beach
- The Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra is a wonderfully grand hotel sitting proudly overlooking the beach and San Sebastián’s La Concha Bay. There are 167 generously proportioned rooms in a traditional style, with private balconies and a fantastic restaurant known for its Basque cuisine.
For excellent value
- If you want to be close to the beach and the centre of town, Astoria7 is one of the best places to stay in San Sebastián. Sleek and contemporary, this hotel is themed around the city's Film Festival, with rooms featuring stars of the silver screen, and from behind the camera. And doubles can be booked for as little as €74 per night.
For something special
- For something special, stay at the Hotel Maria Cristina, a magnificent Belle Epoque palace with 136 gorgeously decorated rooms and suites. Each room has glamorous furniture and great art on the walls, and there's two restaurants. It really is like staying in a palace, so if you're planning a honeymoon, this is ideal.
For country house style
If you want to explore more of the Basque country surrounding San Sebastian, maybe a country house hotel style property will suit you better?
- One of the best places to stay in San Sebastián if that's what you're looking for is the Hotel Villa Soro. It is still close to the beach, and some fantastic restaurants, but it also has the peaceful grounds and larger living spaces which make country house hotels such great options if you're looking for a more permanent base.
For an apartment
- If you feel that your needs are better suited to an apartment or holiday villa, then we suggest you visit our online partner, Booking.com, where you'll find a wide range for all tastes and budgets.
- San Sebastian airport (20km from the city centre) has links to all major Spanish airports, but for international flights you'll need to go to either Bilbao (105km) or Biarritz airport, just over the border (47km).
- San Sebastian is a great year round destination, but if you want to enjoy the beach as well as the culture then you should visit between June and September when average high temperatures are around the mid 20s celcius.
- For the best car hire prices, we recommend you visit our online partner Holiday Autos.
Still not sure which to book?
Best Hotels in San Sebastian
Astoria7 102 rooms from $77San Sebastian (Donostia-San Sebastián)
A sleek contemporary hotel in the town centre and close to the beach. Large modern rooms and suites with all the mod cons. Restaurant, library, gym and meeting rooms. A stylish spot with easy access to the city's best restaurants.Value chic - Sleek contemporary rooms and suites with prices from as little as €74 per night.Quirky - The hotel is themed around cinema and the San Sebastian Film FestivalSailing - Can be booked nearby.Local markets - Good for local colour.Recommended by - I Escape
Hotel Villa Soro 25 rooms from $130San Sebastian (Donostia-San Sebastián)
A lovely country house close to the beach. Sophisticated rooms with elegant furniture and private terraces. Beautiful gardens and smart living areas. Walking distance to some fantastic restaurants. A lovely base to explore the city from.Sights nearby - Short walk from the old townGreat walks - Climb Monte Urgull.Sailing - Can be booked nearby.Local markets - Good for local colour.Recommended by - Tablet, I Escape, CN Traveller, Small Luxury Hotels
Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra 167 rooms from $197San Sebastian (Guipúzcoa)
A grand-hotel standing proud over La Concha Bay. Generously proportioned rooms are traditional in style with pretty french windows leading onto private balconies. Enjoy the famed Basque cuisine in the elegant restaurant. Just steps from the beach, it's ideal for an indulgent seaside escape.Local exploring - Ideally located for exploring both San Sebastian and Basque country further afield.Beach Life - Boasting an impressive location overlooking the picture perfect bay of La Concha.Great walks - Take a relaxing stroll along the boulevard and check out the sights and sounds of the Parte Vieja.Sights nearby - You're just five minutes walk from the old town
Hotel Maria Cristina 136 rooms from $211San Sebastian (Donostia)
A truly magnificent hotel with Belle Epoque splendour. Exquisitely decorated rooms and suites have romantic paintings, glamourous furniture and all the mod cons. Two fantastic restaurants, banquet rooms, terraces, and meeting areas. A magical spot.Romantic Break - Beautiful rooms, trendy cocktail bar, luxury and great service....woo your loved one in style!City Style - This is where the A listers stay during the San Sebastian Film FestivalFoodies - San Sebastian is the perfect destination for a gastronomic city break.Sights nearby - Located opposite the Victoria Eugenia Theatre