San Sebastian’s medieval Old Town is a maze of bar-packed alleys serving the city’s world-famous pintxos and wine. The neighborhood is also home to the wonderfully chaotic Pescadería (fish market), the San Telmo Municipal Museum, Church of San Vicente, and the Basilica of Saint Mary of Coro.
San Sebastian’s Old Town has the highest concentration of bars in the world. While you’re bar-hopping through the neighborhood’s cobblestone alleys, make sure to also visit the docks, where seafood restaurants are housed in old fishing cottages with boats moored out front. Most walking and biking tours of Old Town are food-centric and give you a chance to taste the city’s signature bite-sized morsels, called pintxos, and traditional basque beverages, such as txakoli and cider.
Things to Know Before You Go
- While Old Town is perhaps most famous for its bars and food, the neighborhood also contains plenty of shops and other daytime attractions, and pintxos are served all day.
- The neighborhood’s pintxo bars typically specialize in a single ingredient or small dish, with each one costing about $2–$3.
- The neighborhood hosts a number of festivals throughout the year.
- Old Town is accessible for wheelchairs, though many streets are paved with rough cobblestones.
How to Get There
The best way to explore Old Town is to walk or use the city’s bike-sharing program. You can reach the area via public bus: Take the 8 or 42 to the Boulevard 19 stop; the 9, 29, 31, or B3 to the Boulevard 15 stop; the 21, 29, B4, or B9 to the Boulevard 9 stop; or the 13, 14, B6, or B10 to the Boulevard 3 stop. The 39 bus also runs along the eastern side of the neighborhood. To hail a taxi in San Sebastian, find an official taxi stand; cars won’t stop for riders outside of designated areas.
When to Get There
Individual businesses in Old Town all have their own hours. Typically, local businesses open in mid-morning, close for the siesta from roughly 2pm–4pm, and then reopen for a few hours in the evening. Some restaurants and bars open around 7:30pm, and close in the early hours of the morning, around 2 or 3am, while others are open from lunch through the dinner hour and close before midnight. Check schedules before visiting.
Constitution Square (Plaza de la Constitución)
Constitution Square is the pulsating heart of San Sebastián’s old quarter. Stop here before you head into Old Town’s warren of streets, and enjoy a quiet glass of wine on a café terrace. The dynamic plaza is a great place to soak up the city’s festive atmosphere and do some people watching.