Pack Your Bags: Top Day Trips from San Sebastian

With rugged mountain landscapes and stunning sea views, it’s easy to fall in love with San Sebastian and the surrounding region.

We might be biased, but we like to think San Sebastian—or the Basque Country in general—is one of the most beautiful parts of Spain. Plus, the city’s great location along Spain’s northern coast makes it easy to get to other equally stunning smaller towns and villages. You can even go to France for a day—yes, it’s close enough! Here are our favorite day trips from San Sebastian for when you’re in the mood to seek fresh surroundings.

One of our favorite things to do in San Sebastian isn't even in San Sebastian! That's right: we love to escape the city on one of these magical day trips. San Sebastian's privileged location gives you access to beautiful cities and towns in northern Spain—and even in France! Take a look at our guide for the best ones to choose. #bucketlist #destinations #summertravel #donosti #spain #europe

Photo Credit: Emmanuel Dyan, Text Overlay: Devour San Sebastian Food Tours

Bilbao

The de facto capital of the Basque Country, one visit to Bilbao will make it clear why this city was named 2018’s European City of the Year. Art, food, architecture and more make it one of our all-time favorite day trips from San Sebastian. A trip to the world-famous Guggenheim Museum is essential, even if you don’t fancy yourself much of an art buff. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the incredible quality of the works found here, as well as by the jaw-dropping architecture of the building itself! Be sure to sample some of the city’s fabulous cuisine as well. Whether you’re hungry for simple, traditional pintxos or innovative cuisine at one of Bilbao’s several Michelin-starred restaurants, you’re sure to find a delicious meal.

How to get there: Bilbao-bound buses depart San Sebastian’s bus station quite frequently. The trip costs less than seven euros and lasts about an hour and a half.

Regional capital Bilbao is number one on our list of the best day trips from San Sebastian!
Bilbao is a big city, but has a charming old town and lovely laid-back feel. Photo credit: Matt Kieffer

Hondarribia

Looking for a calmer, more tranquil destination? Hondarribia may be calling your name. This charming coastal village is becoming one of the more popular day trips from San Sebastian. However, it manages to retain its old-world charm and traditional Basque soul. Wander along the picturesque cobblestone streets admiring the unique local architecture and check out the only fortified town wall remaining in the province of Guipuzkoa. This is also a great city for foodies, with many exquisite bars and restaurants lining the streets of the charming Marina neighborhood.

How to get there: Buses from San Sebastian take 25 minutes and cost five euros. Hondarribia is a stop along the way to Hendaye (France). Keep in mind that it may be listed under its Spanish name, Fuenterrabía.

Hondarribia is one of the most beautiful day trips from San Sebastian!
Gorgeous painted balconies in Hondarribia! Photo credit: Miguel Ángel García

Getaria

A humble medieval fishing village surrounded by lush green vineyards, Getaria makes for another excellent option when it comes to day trips from San Sebastian for foodies. The seafood here is some of the best in the region, and it’s also home to many of the finest bodegas producing txakoli wine. Take a vineyard tour to try it straight from the source! The town is also the birthplace of fashion icon Cristóbal Balenciaga, and today is home to a museum showcasing some of his best designs as well as information about his life.

How to get there: Take Lurraldebus line UK10 (direction Zumaia) from Askatasuna Hiribidea, 24. The bus stop is in front of La Caixa bank. The journey lasts about 40 minutes on the highway and 1 hour on buses that make stops in towns along the way.

Getaria is a lovely option when considering day trips from San Sebastian!
The quaint, beautiful architecture in Getaria will transport you to a simpler time. Photo credit: Thierry Ben Abed

Biarritz, France

It’s fascinating how two cities can be so close, yet each retains its own unique feel that makes it unlike anywhere else. It won’t take long at all to reach Biarritz from San Sebastian, yet this charming French resort town just across the border feels like another world. Take a seaside stroll and admire the postcard-like views. Pop in and out of gorgeous old churches and modern art galleries. Treat yourself to something from one of the many designer shops (or simply window shop!). When you get hungry, you have no shortage of food choices, from classic tapas and pintxos to exquisite French fare. It’s no wonder why this gorgeous seaside town makes for one of the best day trips from San Sebastian.

How to get there: The bus from San Sebastian takes 40 minutes to one hour and costs just five to seven euros.

Biarritz is one of our favorite day trips from San Sebastian. This charming French town feels like a whole different world!
Biarritz retains a distinctly French feel. Photo credit: Fred Romero

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