48 hours in San Sebastian: Where gastronomy meets culture and coastal beauty

ByAndrea Thompson

May 29, 2024

San Sebastian, nestled along the Bay of Biscay in Spain’s Basque Country, is a city that effortlessly blends history, modernity, and culinary excellence. Whether you’re a food enthusiast, a culture seeker, or simply in search of stunning views, this 48-hour itinerary will immerse you in the essence of San Sebastian.

Day 1: A Taste of Tradition and Scenic Heights

Morning: Breakfast Like a Local

Start your day with a quintessential San Sebastian breakfast. Whether you crave a tostada (toasted bread with toppings), sweet churros con chocolate, or something in between, local cafés have you covered. Pair it with a strong coffee or freshly squeezed orange juice – the perfect fuel for your adventure.

Hike Monte Urgull

After breakfast, lace up your walking shoes and head to Monte Urgull. This forested hill, once a 12th-century military fortress, now offers breath taking views of the city. The shaded paths lead to the Castillo de la Mota, where you can explore the city’s history and enjoy the balcony with its lofty Christ statue overlooking San Sebastian and the surrounding mountains.

Afternoon: Old Town delights and Basque culture

Lunch in the Old Town (Parte Vieja)

Your morning hike will surely work up an appetite. Wander into the historic Parte Vieja, San Sebastian’s Old Town. Here, narrow streets are lined with pintxos bars, each offering a delightful array of small, flavourful bites. From fresh seafood to local meats and colourful produce, the Old Town is a food lover’s paradise.

Learn About Basque history & culture

Explore the city’s cultural side by visiting museums like the Urgulleko Historiaren Etxea (which details the region’s maritime heritage) or the San Telmo Museoa (showcasing Basque culture). Dive into the stories that shaped San Sebastian and its resilient spirit.

Evening: Pintxos and wine tour

As evening descends, join a guided pintxos and wine tour. Sample these Basque-style tapas, each a work of culinary art. Sip local wines and engage in lively conversations with fellow food enthusiasts. The camaraderie and flavours will leave an indelible mark on your San Sebastian experience.

Day 2: Market Visits, Parks, and Art

Morning: Market exploration

Visit the bustling La Bretxa Market or the San Martin Market. Here, locals gather to buy fresh produce, cheeses, and cured meats. Immerse yourself in the vibrant market atmosphere and perhaps grab a quick breakfast bite.

Plaza Gipuzkoa and Playa de la Concha

Stroll through Plaza Gipuzkoa, a charming square surrounded by elegant buildings. Then, head to Playa de la Concha, San Sebastian’s iconic crescent-shaped beach. Dip your toes in the water or simply admire the view—the perfect blend of green hills and golden sands.

Afternoon: Lunch in Gros and art at Tabakalera

Cross the Urumea River to the Gros neighbourhood. Enjoy lunch at local eateries, where even the simplest dishes burst with flavour. Afterward, explore Cristina Enea Park, a serene oasis with lush greenery.

Wrap up your 48 hours by checking out Tabakalera, a contemporary cultural centre. Exhibitions, workshops, and film screenings await, providing a glimpse into San Sebastian’s artistic soul.

A city of flavours

San Sebastian isn’t just a destination; it’s an immersion into a world where history whispers through cobblestone streets, where culinary delights tantalize your taste buds, and where the spirit of resilience prevails. In 48 hours, you’ll savour the essence of this coastal gem – a place where every moment feels like a celebration.