The city of San Sebastian is just over 20km from the French border and is in the Basque Region of Spain. It is a coastal city with fabulous bays of sand backed up by rolling hills and mountains. It is almost as if one got out one’s design board to create the perfect location to build a city.
Food and drink are two very good reasons to come to this city, a city known for the best tapas in Spain, or perhaps I should say ‘pintxos’ as it is in the Basque country. Being on the coast there is plenty of seafood and fish on the menus and for the first time I tried some very spiny looking sea urchins. The interior in this part of Spain is rich and green, a far cry from the parched lands that border much of the Mediterranean Coast of Spain. So there are plenty of fresh food sources to satisfy all manner of tastes.
But don’t stop there when thinking of tickling the taste buds. The region has its own refreshing white wine (Txakoli), cider is made in the locale and the world renowned Rioja wine region is just a short trip away. Personally I consider many of the Rioja red wines to be some of the best value for money wines around, a standard go to wine for me in Ireland. So the prices in this region of the Basque Country really are worth raising a glass to.
With all this food and drink to sample it is a good job that San Sebastian is a great City to walk around, including its beaches and ‘mounts’ to climb (though when it comes to Mount Igeldo at the western end of the City it is possible to cheat a little and take the funicular railway). The biggest problem with San Sebastian is taking a single shot to cover the city is impossible, unless one has a drone I dare say.
Hopefully the panoramic shot below, taken overlooking La Concha Beach, provides as good a perspective as any, though it is not possible to highlight Zurriola Beach. The image was taken on the compact, quality is not as good, but at least it has captured the main bay.
The above image was taken near high tide and hence there is little showing of La Concha Beach, but it depicts the horseshoe like bay with the Isle of Santa Clara in the centre and Mount Urgull at the right tip of the horseshoe and Mount Igeldo on the left tip of the horseshoe. Beyond the small outcrop on the left lies Onderatta Beach, golden sand once more. The old town lies at the foot of Mount Urgull.
The next panoramic shot is taken from near the foot of Mount Urgull. The beach which is situated beyond Isle of Santa Clara is Onderatta Beach and moving to the left one can see the bright sand of La Concha Beach. We walked up Mount Urgull from behind the old town and then made our way back via the marina, this path being clearly visible in the foreground of the image. As can be seen by these handful of images, walking around San Sebastian is a delight and a great way to work off the pintxos.
The above encapsulates the main bay of La Concha, but San Sebastian isn’t done yet, another sparkling beach lies beyond Mount Urgull, over the mouth of the River Urumea. This is Zurriola beach.
It almost seems unfair that one city can have so much in the way of beautiful natural resources. While the weather was not at its best on the day that we visited, that cannot blunt the feeling that San Sebastian really is a gem of a City.
And after all that walking around, time to pop back into a bar and try a few more pintxos, after all there are a lot to choose from.
Have you been to San Sebastian? Any thoughts you’d like to share? Feel free to add comment.