Incredible culture and cuisine await you in this stunning Basque city!
San Sebastian has long been considered one of the most incredible gastronomic scenes in the world. Throw in the fact that it also earned the designation as the 2016 European Capital of Culture, and you’ll start to understand why this incredible seaside city is worth a visit. Spending 48 hours in San Sebastian is perfect for learning your way around and getting a feel for the local culture. The city is made for wandering and visiting at a relaxed pace, so you won’t feel nearly as much overwhelming pressure to see and do it all. Ready to go? Here’s your itinerary for an unforgettable 48 hours in San Sebastian!
Morning, Day 1: Breakfast like a local
Start your 48 hours in San Sebastian off right with the most important meal of the day! Whether you prefer a traditional tostada, sinfully sweet churros con chocolate or anything in between, you’ll be able to find something to start your day off on a delicious note. Try one of our favorite picks for breakfast in San Sebastian. Don’t forget coffee or freshly squeezed orange juice to wash it down!
Hike Monte Urgull
Walk off your breakfast and catch some of the most spectacular views of the city! 20 minutes is all you need to hike Monte Urgull, once a 12th-century military fortress and now a peaceful public park. The small mountain is easily accessible from the city center, but once you’re at the top, it feels like you’re a whole world away. To get back down, walk along Paseo Nuevo, which will take you past the city’s incredible aquarium and into the Old Town.
Afternoon, Day 1: Lunch in the Old Town
Lots of walking in the morning is sure to make you hungry! Grab something to eat in San Sebastian’s most iconic neighborhood, the Parte Vieja (Old Town). The historic buildings and picturesque streets are filled with amazing bites! From irresistibly fresh seafood to meats from local farms to colorful seasonal produce, the Old Town is foodie heaven and the perfect place to grab lunch during your 48 hours in San Sebastian.
Learn about Basque history & culture
As you’ve probably noticed, San Sebastian is quite different than what you might expect from Spain. As part of the Basque Country, its people have developed a completely unique language, culture and way of life. Learn more about the Basque people and their fascinating society at the San Telmo Museum. This amazing local history museum—one of the best in a city full of great museums—is a living testament to the story of the Basque Country. After your visit, you’re sure to have a deeper appreciation for San Sebastian’s unique culture.
Address: Plaza Zuloaga, 1
Evening, Day 1: Ultimate Pintxos & Wine Tour
The first day of your 48 hours in San Sebastian is drawing to a close. What better way to end it than with our Ultimate Pintxos & Wine Tour? With your exclusive small group and expert local guide, you’ll eat and drink your way across 6 of our favorite pintxos bars in San Sebastian’s historic center. Along the way, you’ll learn how to eat like a local and pick up useful tidbits of information regarding Basque culture and cuisine. This one-of-a-kind experience is essential during your 48 hours in San Sebastian!
Morning, Day 2: Market visit
The second day of your 48 hours in San Sebastian is here! Join the locals at a vibrant neighborhood market to start things off. An integral part of local culture all across Europe, fresh food markets give you a peek into a day in the life of a resident. Grab coffee and breakfast at one of the market bars, then take some time to simply wander the stalls. Head to Mercado La Bretxa (Alameda del Bourlevard, 3) for a more traditional, old-world feel, or Mercado San Martín (Calle Urbieta, 9) for a taste of the city’s modern vibe.
Visit Plaza Gipuzkoa and Playa de la Concha
Not too far from either of the markets lies San Sebastian’s main square, Plaza Gipuzkoa. A beautiful green space with lush gardens and walking paths, locals love to come here to relax and feed the ducks in the small pond. The plaza also hosts many cultural events such as a book fair and concerts throughout the year.
From there, you’re just a stone’s throw from one of Europe’s most iconic beaches! Playa de la Concha, famous for its unique arch shape and gorgeous promenade, is absolutely worth checking out during your 48 hours in San Sebastian.
Afternoon, Day 2: Lunch in Gros
Head east of the city center to the unique Gros neighborhood, a relaxed and laid-back barrio where fewer tourists tend to wander. This is the perfect place to grab lunch! Here, you’ll find more authentic options and less tourist traps than in the city center. From pintxos to paella, you’ll find it all in this chilled-out neighborhood.
Take a walk in Cristina Enea Park
Despite its prime location nestled between Gros and the Old Town, peaceful Cristina Enea Park will transport you to another world. Seemingly miles away from the hustle and bustle of the city, this beautiful green space is the perfect place to relax as your 48 hours in San Sebastian draw to a close. As you take a stroll along the verdant pathways, you might even catch a glimpse of local wildlife!
Address: Mandasko Dukearen Pasealekua, 66
See what’s on at Tabakalera
Once an important tobacco factory, today, Tabakalera is the most innovative contemporary cultural center in San Sebastian. The massive space is home to a movie screening room, art exhibitions, a cultural library, shops and so much more. There’s always something going on—check the event schedule or just pop in and check it out!
Address: Andre Zigarrogileak Plaza, 1
Evening, Day 2: Self-guided pintxos crawl
Ready to end your 48 hours in San Sebastian with a bang? Use the knowledge you gleaned on your food tour (and the Devouring San Sebastian guide you received) to make your way around some of the city’s best pintxos bars by yourself! We can’t think of a more delicious way to end your 48 hours in San Sebastian. Don’t be intimidated—just jump right in with the locals! And remember not to stay in one place for too long. There’s always another bar waiting to be discovered!
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Life is too short to speak one language and stay in one place. In 2015, this philosophy took her from familiar Ohio to sunny southern Spain. Usually drinking tinto de verano, reading Lorca, or attempting to dance flamenco (not all at once). Follow her blog, Viatic Couture, for more.