San Sebastian’s sophistication and glamour often give it the untrue reputation of being an expensive destination, but it doesn’t have to be!
Some of our favorite things to do in San Sebastian are absolutely free! The city’s laid-back atmosphere and easy walkability mean that it was practically made for wandering and admiring the beauty without spending a dime. Want to make your wallet happy? Here are our all-time favorite free things to do in San Sebastian that are just as enjoyable as any paid attraction.
1. See the city from up above
Our top pick for the best free things to do in San Sebastian is to take a walk up one of the many lush hillsides surrounding the city! From there, you’ll be rewarded with jaw-dropping views of San Sebastian and the sea from up above. One of the most famous viewpoints, Monte Igeldo, offers a cable car service, but if you don’t mind stretching your legs, save your euros and hike to the top instead. Another great option is Monte Urgull, which is easily accessible from the Old Town.
2. Relax on the beach
San Sebastian is home to one of the best urban beaches in Europe! Playa de la Concha looks like something you might see on a postcard, with its beautiful promenade and unique shell shape surrounded by lush greenery. Locals and tourists alike love coming here to beat the heat on a hot summer day, or simply to stroll along the walkway when it’s too cold for swimming.
Want something a little more action packed? San Sebastian’s other impressive beach, Playa Zurriola, is a surfer’s paradise. The waves here are unbeatable, making it the perfect place to practice all kinds of water sports. No matter which beach you choose, both are among our favorite free things to do in San Sebastian!
3. Visit a museum
San Sebastian is home to several fascinating museums. The majority will set you back an entrance fee, but many offer free entry on selected days. For an exclusive look at Basque history and culture, visit the San Telmo Museum (Plaza Zuloaga, 1), with free entry every Tuesday. You can also learn about the city’s rich seafaring history at the Naval Museum (Del Muelle Ibilbidea, 24), which offers free admission on Thursdays. If you’re more of an art fan, the Kubo Hall art gallery at the Kursaal Convention Center (Avenida de Zurriola, 1) is free any day, any time!
4. Take a peaceful walk in the park
One of our favorite free things to do in San Sebastian is to simply escape the hustle and bustle of the city. There’s no better place to do this than Cristina Enea Park, a beautiful green space in the laid back Gros neighborhood. Enjoy the peace and quiet as you stroll along the wooded paths. You might even catch a glimpse of some unique local wildlife!
Address: Mandasko Dukearen Pasealekua, 66
5. Check out the “Comb of the Wind”
One of the most especially unique free things to do in San Sebastian will take you down to the seaside again. Head to the end Ondarreta Beach to find Peine del Viento (“Comb of the Wind”), a collection of 3 unique sculptures by the Basque sculptor Eduardo Chillida. As can be seen, the metal sculptures have been amazingly cemented into the rocks, where nature takes over and the sea salt slowly rusts them over time. In addition to these unique works of art, the area also offers incredible views of the sea.
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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.