During my stay in Bilbao, I took a day trip to San Sebastian also known as Donostia. This amazing city has been on my list for a long time. San Sebastian is known for being the culinary capital of Spain and given how much I love Spanish cuisine, you should know how amazing this place is going to be. San Sebastian is another must-visit if you are in the northern part of Spain. It is roughly about 1hr plus away from Bilbao. San Sebastian is a resort town by the Bay of Biscay in the Basque Country. It is renowned for its beach and bayfront promenade as well as the old town which is known for numerous pintxo bars. Follow me in checking out this new city. Seeing The World In Steps always like to visit a new place.
Bilbao to San Sebastian
I was conflicted between staying in Bilbao or San Sebastian at first but decided to go with Bilbao to make things easier since I will be flying in and out from Bilbao. I figures that will be a safer option and Bilbao is a rather good base to explore from. A day trip to San Sebastian it shall be. In stark contrast to other European Cities, the train system is not that well developed in Spain, especially out of the central area. The bus is more reliable and faster. The only bad part is that there isn’t a standard bus company like Flixbus over here and there are tons of operators. Alsa buses are also separated into three different categories, Comfort, Premium and Supra.
The prices are affordable and I paid just 15 Euros for a return ticket. The seats are normal and decent for the short distance. They even come with some tv screens. The bus departs from Bilbao Intermodel, the central bus station to the west of the city centre, a short walk away. The bus then arrives at San Sebastian Train Station right in the city centre.
Parte Vieja or the Old Town is the main attraction in this city. You can easily reach it on foot from the train station. On the way there, you can find all sorts of shops and restaurants and soon you will reach the old town which is made up of narrow alleyways and bars. Look how cute this place is.
I will also recommend taking a stroll around Urgull and near the ocean. This amazing route brings you around the Urgull hill and you are treated to the spectacular view of the ocean and the splendour of San Sebastian. It is a lovely stroll and you get up really close to the mighty waves crashing onto the coast. I love the view of the Isla de Santa Clara, the bay and the beaches too.
San Sebastian is well known for its beaches and there are three of them just around. Sadly, the weather is a little too cold for the beach during my time there in December but that still does not stop the people from heading there. I was there around sunset and the view of the sun setting into the bay from the Beach of La Concha was spectacular. I love that some buskers are doing some displays on the beach too.
Waterfront Promenade is packed full of people at this hour. Everyone was out, soaking in the vibes of the upcoming holiday period and gazing at the sunset. It is so pretty for pictures here. What a gorgeous sight this is! It is as if the buildings are glowing under the setting sun. I love it so much. I have seen a couple of amazing sunsets around the world and this is certainly one of the more memorable ones I ever experienced.
San Sebastian can be known as the culinary capital of Spain. There is numerous restaurants and pintxos bar in the city, especially around the old town area. There is more than what I can ever eat in a day or in a week too. You should go on a pintxos bar-hopping tour. Do take note that pintxos are not an affordable food item and they aren’t the most filling one either. They can soon add up after a while. Here are some of the worthy mentions!
Bar Nestor for their tortillas! You simply have to make this place on your list but that does not mean that you will be able to get what you want. Bar Nestor is famous for its tortillas and they are so popular, after all, they only make 2 pies each day. There is 100x more demand than supply! I was there right on time at noon but still did not manage to reserve a portion of them. All I had is getting to have a look and a smell of it! Life’s greatest torture! You can’t even get this simply with money rather you need to have patience and even a little luck. First, you need to add your name to the waiting list and then come back at noon or 7pm to have it.
Goiz-Argi for their prawns’ skewers which are freshly grilled on the griddle upon order. They serve a couple of other classic pintxos as well. We probably over ordered after the disappointment at Nestor. Everything was excellent, especially the grilled prawns.
We also stopped by Ubarrechena for some paella. They specialise in rice dishes and have a lot of options on the menu from the typical paella to other creations. The food is very good here but on the expensive side.
I had an amazing time in San Sebastian and will recommend everyone to visit this city. It is a gem. I wish I had more time here to explore the little alleyways and pintxos bar. More time and more stomach capacity are needed when you are in San Sebastian. I won’t mind coming back again when I am passing by the region. San Sebastian is good for both a day trip or 2 nights or so. There are several places that I didn’t manage to check out in the city. You have to come here for the food and the sunset by the promenade is another amazing thing that you shouldn’t miss. It is a good shopping city as well. Next up, I am heading down to the south of Spain.