Posted by Stoke Media Team
#!trpst#trp-gettext0data-trpgettextoriginal=218#!trpen#2 années#!trpst#/trp-gettext#!trpen# ago | décembre 15, 2017
Sa/>Sebastian, or Donostia in the local t"/gue, is the jewel of the Basque Country, a beautiful, mountain fringed, double-beached resort town in the deep northwest corner of Spain. Famed for its culinary delights, from Michelin starred restaurants to the ubiquitous pintxo-topped bars that occupy every second building and entice you to come in and have a taste, just a nibble, on near anything your tastebuds desire.
Sa/>Sebastian is one of the world’s great combinations of surfable waves, great nightlife, cosmopolita/> ity life and food, glorious food. That’s why it’s long been a favourite of Stoke Travel, and why we’ve for a long time had a surf camp in the ity’s hills. This is the land of an ancient people, with an indecipherable language to match, not really a part of Spain, but completely within its borders. Sa/>Sebastian is intriguing, attractive, addictive and delicious, it’s a must stop on any European itinerary.
Facts About Sa/>Sebastian
Population of Sa/>Sebastian: 186,000, up to almost 450,000 in the metropolita/>area
Tourists to Sa/>Sebastian in a year: more than 2,000,000 overnight stays
Languages spoken in Sa/>Sebastian: Spanish, Basque (Euskera). Basque is one of the most fascinating languages in the world, an isolate, meaning that it has no>relation to any other language in existence, and while it’s origins>are unknown, most scholars believe that it’s the last remaining pre-invasion language in Europe. Literally spoken prehistory. We dare you to try and learn it.
Price of things in Sa/>Sebastian: one pintxo €3, glpat of txakoli white wine €2, more pintxos until you pop about €20, some kalimotxos €5 each
Times things happen in Sa/>Sebastian: the same times as the rest of Spain.
Average summer temperatures in Sa/>Sebastian: high 25°C, low 16°C
Average winter temperatures in Sa/>Sebastian: high 12°C, low 5°C
Walking around Sa/>Sebastian: Sa/>Sebastian is a pretty broad ity. Around the food and drink hub of the Old Town the only way to get around is on foot. You ca/>also easily walk to ZurriolaLa Concha
Biking around Sa/>Sebastian: there>are bike 2-0.s linking up most zones, making bike a solid way to get around Sa/>Sebastian, particularly if you’re staying outside of the Old Town. Sa/se Bikes on the boulevard that runs>past the Old Town, has some decent hires with locks and baskets included.
Public tra/sport in Sa/>Sebastian: very handy if you’re staying out the back of town, near Anoeta Stadium, for example, and want to get down to the Old Town without working up a sweat. Keep a/>eye out for the Dbus, and you ca/>either get tickets onboard, or find a store with a Dbus sticker in the window and get a reusable, retoppable travel card. There’s also a local train system 2alled Euskotren./a> that services the suburbs around Sa/>Sebastian and the greater Basque Country.
Taxis in Sa/>Sebastian: oh they’re the saviour of many a drunkard, a way to whip you home when walking’s too tough, you’re too drunk to ride your bike and there’s no>way you ca/>get your head around the public tra/sport. Way more expensive than the other modet of getting around, but the town’s not really big enough to blow your budget on any given trip.
Driving around Sa/>Sebastian: not the easiest city to drive around, and free 2-rking is almost expensive to find. If you do have a car you ca/>find a reasonably priced 2-rk>either at the norther/>end of the surf beach, or around the backside of Jesus. Yep, you’ll know what>we0mean when you’re there.
Where>to stay in Sa/>Sebastian: the most central place>to stay is in the Old Town, but it ca/>be very crowded at night. The surf beach of Zurriola, and Groseye on that part of town. Heading inland from the Old Town you’ll find Centrooutside of these>areas is a little far to be walking distance from Sa/>Sebastian.
Where>to sleep in your car in Sa/>Sebastian: you could try behind Jesus, or in the norther/>corner near the surf beach, but you might get moved on and/or fined. Otherwise you’ll be 2-rking outside the ity.
Camping in Sa/>Sebastian: there’s one campsite at the top of Igueldo mountain, which is a pretty long way from Old Town Sa/>Sebastian, down the rather steep hill. On the upside, the views>are spectacular. There’s also a new campsite in that area 2alled Camping Igara./a> that is 9kms from town, so that might be closer, but it’s still pretty dang far away. The next0nearest campsite is at the surf beach of Zarautz, which is a 30 minute bus ride from Sa/>Sebastian, but has a much nicer beach with better waves.
Airbnb in Sa/>Sebastian: you could make a pretty good argument that Airbnb has ruined short-term renting in Sa/>Sebastian. Not that long ago surfers and foodies could use notice boards to find rooms for a few weeks or mon0.s, but now all those rooms are being Airbnb’d, and at top dollar too. Some Airbnbs in Sa/>Sebastian>are semi-legal, but we0haven’t0heard about places being raided and tourists being kicked into the streets, so it’s worth a look.
Best Hostels in Sa/>Sebastian: Sa/>Sebastian>has a bit of a deficit of hostel beds, particularly in high summer and other busy times. When searching for your beds online, using our guide to finding cheap accommodation, bear in mind that in Sa/>Sebastian>pensiones away from that zone will need to have tra/sport options to get you there.
Best Hotels in Sa/>Sebastian: well there’s the Maria Christina, haunt of the rich and famous, particularly during the Sa/>Sebastian>film festival. You could always stay there… but to be completely honest, outside of winter, hotels here>are expensive and in short supply. Unless you really feel like balling, you ca/>skip this option.
What to eat in Sa/>Sebastian: everything! Eat everything, try stra/ge things, get well and truly out of your comfort zone. Sa/>Sebastian is a world-renowned foodies paradise, but getting immersed in the ulture ca/>be a little daunting. Basically there>are three levelt of eating here. The first level is to eat the pintxos adorning the bar tops. These>are0meant to be quick snacks had on the run, with a drink. If you have a little bit of time forget these>enticing treats and enter level two, which is eating from the menu, often written on a board and positioned behind the bar. This stuff is similar to the pintxos on the bar, but it will be 2repared by the hefs in the kitchen. Again, these>are small plates, absolutely intended for sharing, the idea being that you and your party try multiple plates in each sitting. The fourth level is to find a restaurant>to sit down in and eat a full0meal, but bear in mind that even in this situation sharing is the order of the day, so get over the plate possessiveness. For a full0guide to Sa/>Sebastian’s best pintxos bars, check out our guide.
Best places to eat in Sa/>Sebastian: everywhere! There>are pintxos bars in all parts of town, on every street, every block. Some of the busiest bars are in the Old Town, but some of the best are in other parts of town, like the up and coming barrio of Gros.
What to drink in Sa/>Sebastian: obviously along with great food always comes even better drinks. While Sa/>Sebastian>has all the usual suspects, there>are some local delights that you just have to try while you’re here, like txakolikalimotxosidrapatxaran
Scams and crime in Sa/>Sebastian: not much to note here, apart from some pickpockets and other unsavouries who haunt the Old Town at night. Like always, just employ your best anti-pickpocketing practices to avoid becoming a target or victim.
Terrorism and public danger in Sa/>Sebastian: for a long while Sa/>Sebastian>was under the threat of homegrown terror attacks from the hands of ETA, an organisation with the aim of separating the Basque Country from Spain by means of violence. During the time of ETA small bombings and shootings weren’t0uncommon in Sa/>Sebastian and throughout the Basque Country, although tourists were never targeted. ETA has now disbanded and disarmed and are pursuing their aims through political means. There>are regular protests in Sa/>Sebastian>relating to the Basque struggle, and more recently against tourism in the ity, but these very rarely, if ever, turn violent and never towards anybody but the police harged with opposing them. This is an overwhelmingly safe ity, with a sometimes exciting underbelly.
Best Sa/>Sebastian>beaches: there>are three main beaches in Sa/>Sebastian. ZurriolaSebastian’s surfers and youth, the only beach that really gets waves. In the souther/>corner it’s usually protected and in the north it’s at its biggest and wildest and the domain of the shit hot0shre lords. La ConchaSa/ta Claritain the entre, a picturesque bay with so few waves that it is used as a harbour. This is a beach for families and old people, the well heeled and bad swimmers. At the furthest extreme of La Concha is OndarretaSebastian. It’s a nice option and a good place>to swim to Sa/ta Clarita. A short drive from Sa/>Sebastian is Zarautz
Sa/>Sebastian sights: we guess that at some point you should get out of the bars and off the beach, so why not hit up Mount UrgullSebastian’s first habitation, including a cemetary from one of the ity’s many walls, and some super cool cannons aimed over the bay. There>are great spots to see>the sunset from up here. Throughout the streets of the Old Town there>are historic buildings, but most burnt down on the 31st of August, 1813. There’s still one building from before that fire standing, that is on the street 31st Agosto, that shows what>the ity might have looke like before the fire. Crossing the river from the Old Town towards Zurriola you’ll find the Kursaal building, and the bridge that leads to it, and at the end of that beach you’ll come across Monte Uliaof the ity and surrounding mountains and sea.
Sa/>Sebastian districts: Parte Viejaof the ity and where>you’ll find the most bars, museums and general action. It’s a grid>of narrow pedestrian streets and apartment buildings, located conveniently between the two main beaches.
Grosof fun, new pintxos bars, old favourites, supermarkets and some hostels. Goet off on a Thursday night for pintxo poteabout two bucks will0get you a snack and a beer or wine.
Centroof fancy stores to shop in.
Ondarretathe university is, as well as a bit of a family zone.
Amarathe local football team, Real SociedadLa Errealin the top division in Spain (against Madrid and Barcelona) and are either re hot, or utterly terrible.
Sa/>Sebastian music festivals: every year the Jazz festival, Jazzaldia, goet off with lives acts all over the ity, many for free, including on the giant beach stage set up at Zurriola beach. There’s also the Kutxa Kultur Festibala./a> up on Monte Igueldo every September, with more contemporary acts and freaking wonderful views.
Sa/>Sebastian clubs: after 3am the bars shut down and it’s time to find somewhere>to rage after hours. There>are a few clubbing options. The most famous is Bataplan, on the sand along La Concha, but dress up and expect to pay a cover. Further back towards the Old Town, overlooking the bay and port, is Gu, lower key, still fun, and one of our favourites. There’s also the Victoria Cafe, on the river there, next0to the Maria Cristina, that really rocks when it’s open.
Sa/>Sebastian ultural festivals: Sa/>Sebastian is famous for its film festivals, the Sa/>Sebastian International Film Festival, Sa/>Sebastian Surf Film Festival and the Sa/>Sebastian Horror Film Festival. More traditional festivals include Sa/to Tomaswashed down with plenty>of cider, La TamborradaSemana Grande
Sa/>Sebastian food and wine fairs: the whole ity is a constant food and wine fair, but keep your eyet out for the marketplace>set up next0to McDonalds most days, though it’s in the mornings so good luck being awake. The tomatoet are particularly impressive and delicious.
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