San Sebastián. Spain.

San Sebastián.

I’ve been looking forward to visiting Spain for a long time now. San Sebastian was our first stop, a 45 minute train from Biarritz, France, and absolutely amazing. I’m already in love!


San Sebastian is famous for their Pintxos (Spanish tapas), and this was the first “Must Do” on my list. Wandering through the Old City is the perfect place to begin your Spanish education, get lost in the streets, or pop into a bar for some traditional fare and sangria. We didn’t eat a real meal the entire time we were here. But pintxos are nice because you just indulge until you’re full.

Our top Pintxos Bar choices:

  • Gardarina – Order the Russian Salad and Sirloin
  • Tamboril – Order the Mushrooms and Stuffed peppers
  • La Vino – Good for cheesecake. Same street as Cuchara de San Telmo (another famous bar/restaurant to check out)
  • Atari (by the Cathedral) – Great for drinks on the steps and people watching
  •  Zeruko – Order the lobster (“Rosa de Bogarante”), Cod that you cook yourself (“Bacalao la Hoguera”), and Hamburguesa de Chuleta – I could have 8 more of those

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We continued our week of relaxation on the beach, dinners with new friends, and a very mellow 4th of July. To my surprise, there were a lot of Americans walking around the streets wearing American flag apparel. Some being the typical loud, proud, and drunk. Nothing special going on, but a nice crowded beach day to make us feel more at home 🙂  IMG_4058 IMG_3889

Watch the tide and how quickly it moves up the beach. Just be prepared to grab your stuff at any moment, and definitely don’t leave it unattended to go swimming if it’s creeping up.

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The city is easily walkable. The Old town is the best. All tight walking streets, tables and people pour out into them at night time. Everyone walks around with drinks. Sits on the sidewalks and enjoys the conversation and people watching.

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Be sure to take a quick hike up to Monte Urgull for views of Zurriola (surf beach), the Statue of Jesus and the iconic view of the cove at La Concha.

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Our AirBnb host ended up becoming a good friend and invited us to a secret dining club or Gastronomy Club. Fun fact: Women aren’t allowed in the kitchen. Oh darn, guess I’ll just drink wine while the men cook. I could get used to this 🙂

Gastronomy Clubs are private clubs where, historically, men would cook for themselves and enjoy a meal with  friends. Membership could be inherited from father to son, or bought if the candidate got the approval of all the club members. Nowadays, San Sebastian has over 100 of these places, and even if some of them keep to the old traditions, like not accepting women as members, others are changing these strict rules and adapting to the changes of society. (

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San Sebastian, you hold a special place in my heart. I can’t wait to swim in your warm water and eat your delicious food again!

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  • Eat Pintxos from 6-10pm then go to dinner, then go to the bars (they stay open until 4am, sometimes 6am)

2015 Bucket List Complete:

  • Pintxos crawl
  • Hiked to the Statue of Jesus – Gorgeous view of the beach
  • Secret society dinner

Next time:

  • Bar Nestro – Great steak restaurant, but was closed when we were there
  • Walk along the path by the point and see the sculptures
  • Hike to the other bay view top by the old roller coaster
  • Take the ferry or kayak over to the island in the center of the bay


  • Old city is amazing! Spend as much time there as you can and eat every meal there


  • Packed beaches
  • Don’t fill beer all the way – Lots of foam
  • Lots of bread/carbs


  • The Pintxos seem super cheap but it adds up quick so just be aware
  • Google “Best Pintxos Bars” and order the best ones – Some are off menu
  • Only grab one or two from each bar then move to the next
  • Holly Burger has great burgers if you need more substance

Fun fact:

  • Calimocho – Red wine and coke. Sounds gross but is actually quite good! Tip: use cheap wine. Don’t waste good wine on this. Very classic local drink
  • One of the cities in the world to hold the Highest number of Michelin stars per square mile

2 Comments on “San Sebastián. Spain.

  1. I loved San Sebastian when I was there 2 years ago. It’s such a great city and the food is really top notch. Glad this was a stop on your world tour!

    • Jen – I’m totally obsessed! Such a fun town. Perhaps we should have a Eurotrip reunion here with all the kids from the 2002 Granite Hills Europe trip 🙂