San Sebastian

Photo of San Sebastian

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.

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 many 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 be reached 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 a collection of high end boutiques.

Famous for 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.

What not to miss:

  • Surf the waves on the Playa de Gros, well known for great breaks.
  • Bask under the sun on the picturesque Playa de la Concha.
  • Visit San Sebastian’s city hall regarded as an architectural masterpiece.
  • View the fantastic displays of Basque history from prehistoric times to modernity at Museo de San Telmo.
  • Stop by as many pintxos bars as possible which offer delectable traditional Basque dishes and wines.

With so much on offer many of the best places to stay in San Sebastian and quickly snapped up so be sure of your booking and and start planning.

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 traditional style, with private balconies and a fantastic restaurant known for superb Basque cuisine.
    • Casa Nicolasa guesthouse is situated just a short distance from the sea in coastal San Sebastián. It offers chic and contemporary accommodation with parquet floors and all rooms come with a TV.

    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. 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 are 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. Still close to the beach and some fantastic restaurants, 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.

          Travel Information

          • San Sebastian airport (20km from the city centre) has links to all major Spanish airports. 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 C.
          • For the best car hire prices, we recommend you visit our online partner Rentalcars.

              Still not sure?

              Best Hotels in San Sebastian

              • Astoria7 San Sebastian (Donostia-San Sebastián) 102 rooms from £64

                Value chic  -  Sleek contemporary rooms and suites with prices from as little as €74 per night
                City Style  -  A modern property with individually designed rooms right in the centre of town
                Quirky  -  The hotel is themed around cinema and the San Sebastian Film Festival
                Surfing  -  Zurriola beach has perfect breaks for surfers and a local shop hires out all the kit
                Recommended by  -  I Escape

                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. See More

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              • Zenit San Sebastian San Sebastian 78 rooms from £65

                Local exploring  -  Set in the charming Amara neighbourhood of San Sebastián, book this hotel as a base for your local exploring
                Families  -  Families are well-catered to at this hotel, with spacious, interconnecting family rooms available
                City Style  -  With modern interior design and a central location, this hotel has lots of chic city charm
                Great walks  -  Explore the old town on a long walk through cobbled streets, stopping at the vibrant pintxo bars for drinks on the way

                This four-star hotel offers bright, contemporary accommodation in the heart of San Sebastián, on the coast of the Basque Country. With a variety of suites, including spacious family rooms, this hotel caters to all types of guests. Sample regional dishes at the restaurant before a dip in the hot tub. See More

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              • Casa Nicolasa San Sebastian (San Sebastián) 11 rooms from £90

                Beach Life  -  Casa Nicolasa is just a minute from La Concha beach so you can easily spend your days lounging by the sea
                Local exploring  -  This is a great option for those wanting to get to know beautiful San Sabastián
                City Style  -  A chic little guesthouse ideally located on the Pinxto route
                Sights nearby  -  The historic Palacio Goikoa is well worth a visit

                Casa Nicolasa guesthouse is situated just a short distance from the sea in coastal San Sebastián. It offers chic and contemporary accommodation with parquet floors and all rooms also come with a TV. Whether you fancy city exploring or beach dwelling, this great value spot is ideal for you! See More

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              • Hotel Villa Soro San Sebastian (Donostia-San Sebastián) 25 rooms from £108

                Foodies  -  Michelin restaurants dot the city and the hotel is just 500m from the world famous Arzak restaurant
                City Style  -  A country-house hotel in the heart of the city offering classic style and exemplary service
                Great walks  -  Climb Monte Urgull and admire the city views
                Sights nearby  -  Located just a short walk from the old town
                Recommended by  -  Tablet, I Escape, CN Traveller, Small Luxury Hotels

                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. See More

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              • Lasala Plaza Hotel San Sebastian (San Sebastián) 48 rooms from £122

                Romantic Break  -  The rooftop terrace has panoramic views of La Concha Bay and is the perfect spot to enjoy a cocktail with your significant other
                Beach Life  -  Located right on La Concha Bay, this is a great choice for a summer city beach break
                Local exploring  -  Located in the Old Town, many of the city's main attractions are just a stroll away
                Great walks  -  Enjoy a stroll through picturesque San Sebastian Old Town
                Recommended by  -  Tablet

                A smart 4-star hotel set in historic San Sebastian offering bright contemporary accommodation. Boasting a fabulous rooftop with panoramic views of La Concha Bay and the Old Town and a modern restaurant serving Basque cuisine. With easy access to the Old Town this comes highly recommended. See More

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              • Arima Hotel San Sebastian 73 rooms from £142

                Back to Nature  -  Set in the verdant Miramon Forest, with interiors inspired by the landscape, book this hotel for a chic back-to-nature retreat
                Eco break  -  This hotel was designed to run on sustainable energy, meaning you can enjoy your holiday knowing it won't cost the earth
                Foodies  -  The hotel's gourmet health-food restaurant Misura and deli café Tilia make it a great choice for foodies
                Great walks  -  Explore the beautiful landscape of the Basque Country on long walks; ask at the hotel for recommended itineraries
                Recommended by  -  Tablet, Mr & Mrs Smith

                This eco-friendly luxury hotel has a privileged location in the heart of the Basque Country. The custom-designed guestrooms draw on the landscape for inspiration, using a soft palette of natural hues and emphasizing natural light. Dine at the hotel's innovative and organic Misura restaurant. See More

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              • Hotel Arrizul Congress San Sebastian (Gros) 46 rooms from £147

                Local exploring  -  Located in the heart of the city centre, close to pintxos (tapas) bars and shops, book this hotel as a base for local exploring
                City Style  -  With sophisticated interiors and an unbeatable location, this hotel has lots of contemporary city charm
                Surfing  -  Go surfing at nearby Zurriola beach, one of the best spots in the Basque Country
                Great walks  -  Explore the picturesque old town on a long walk; use the hotel's guide to find the best pintxos (tapas) bars on the way
                Recommended by  -  Fodors

                This contemporary, four-star hotel is located in the heart of San Sebastián, next to the Donostia surfing beach. Set just steps from the main shopping district, pintxos bars and restaurants, this hotel makes the perfect base for local exploring on the coast of the Basque Country. See More

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              • Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra San Sebastian (Guipúzcoa) 167 rooms from £164

                Local exploring  -  Ideally located in the city centre great for exploring both San Sebastian and Basque country further afield
                City Style  -  A four-star offering set in a historic building featuring elegant traditional interiors. A grand stay
                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

                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. See More

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              • Hotel Maria Cristina San Sebastian (Donostia) 136 rooms from £175

                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 Festival
                Foodies  -  San Sebastian is the perfect destination for a gastronomic city break.
                Sights nearby  -  Located opposite the Victoria Eugenia Theatre

                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. See More

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              • Akelarre San Sebastian (Monte Igueldo (San Sebastián)) 22 rooms from £312

                Foodies  -  The real draw, beyond the 5 star boutique hotel, is Pedro Subijana’s Akelarre restaurant holding 3 Michelin stars.
                Sights nearby  -  Visit the magnificent San Sebastián Cathedral.
                Great walks  -  Take long walks along the scenic coastline.
                Secluded setting  -  For escaping.

                A beautifully designed 5 star boutique hotel offering glorious views over the sea. Minimalist rooms feature large expanses of glass letting the outside in. The three star Michelin restaurant is undeniably the draw serving innovative cuisine at its very finest. There is an indulgent spa too. See More

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