Three days in San Sebastian give you chance to sample flavors of the Basque country, hit the beach, and visit historic landmarks in the city center. San Sebastian also serves as a gateway to the Basque country and France, and is a jumping off point for hiking the iconic Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail. Here’s how to make the most of your time.
Day 1: Discover the Historic Center
Home to highlights such as San Sebastian Cathedral to La Concha Beach, San Sebastian’s compact historic center is the perfect place to start exploring. A hop-on hop-off bus tour offers a flexible mix of handpicked stops and time to explore on your own, while other sightseeing options include walking tours, electric bike excursions, and tours by private vehicle. Before you break for lunch, pick a must-see San Sebastian museum to visit. Highlights include San Telmo Museum, Museo Naval, and Casa de la Historia; save time waiting at each by booking your admission ticket in advance.
Now that you’ve taken in a day’s worth of culture and history, trade your walking shoes for bare feet at La Concha Beach. San Sebastian’s most popular swimming and surfing spot is just steps away from the historic center and has changing rooms onsite, so you can linger here until the sun sets on the water.
Day 2: Hike the Camino de Santiago
The famous Camino de Santiago, a hiking trail and pilgrimage route that stretches hundreds of miles across France and Spain, passes close to San Sebastian. However, you don’t need to spend weeks on the trail to experience the famous route. Hiking tours of the Camino de Santiago, which is sometimes called the Way of St. James, take care of transport and get you equipped for a day on the trail.
If you’re not a hiker, consider a day trip across the border to southwest France, where you’ll encounter French-accented Basque culture in Saint Jean de Luz, Biarritz, and Guethary. Even the wine-making powerhouses of Bordeaux and St. Emilion are within reach; compare and contrast their flavors with Spanish wines on a food tour that reveals local favorites.
Day 3: Flavors of Basque Country
Today, take a deep dive into the flavors that make San Sebastian distinctive and sample local wine and food. Wine tours of San Sebastian typically feature the region’s unique Txakoli, a dry and acidic white wine, and leave you free to indulge without having to worry about driving.
Next, go gourmet. San Sebastian’s most beloved snacks are pintxos, small plates similar to Spanish tapas. To learn which are the must-try pintxos —as well as the do’s and don’ts of visiting pintxos bars—join a guide for a tasting tour of the city. Options for San Sebastian tapas tours range from private excursions to group outings that are a great way to meet fellow food-loving travelers.