San Sebastian is gorgeous at any time of year, but there’s something special about the way the city brightens up in April.
After a dreary, drizzly winter, spring is officially here, and we couldn’t be more excited. It’s still a bit too chilly to enjoy the fabulous beaches in San Sebastian, but with temperatures reaching a pleasant 17°C (63°F), it’s an ideal time of year for experiencing all that this gorgeous destination has to offer without dodging the hordes of holidaymakers that descend upon the city in the summer months. If you’re visiting San Sebastian in April, here are the local activities and events you definitely can’t miss.
1. Enjoy responsible cinema at the Human Rights Film Festival
It’s no secret that some of the top festivals in San Sebastian are film-related. There’s the major international film festival that takes place in San Sebastian in September, of course, but cinephiles who can’t make it to that event have plenty of other options to indulge throughout the rest of the year as well. Especially of note is the Human Rights Film Festival, one of the most important events taking place in San Sebastian in April.
Against a backdrop of dozens of superb films, the event will address some of the most important and heartbreaking realities that burden modern society. Themes presented in films scheduled for the 2019 edition include LGBT conversion therapy, the Cambodian genocide, the ongoing migrant crisis and more. The festival also features plenty of workshops, exhibitions and panels related to the major themes showcased in each film in order to keep the conversation going.
2019 dates: April 5–12
2. Discover your next favorite read on World Book Day
Calling all bookworms—this one’s for you! World Book Day takes place every year on April 23 to honor Shakespeare and Cervantes, who both died on that date in 1616. Here in San Sebastian, we take our reading pretty seriously, and the city transforms into a verifiable book lover’s paradise on that day. Expect a massive book fair in Plaza de Gipuzkoa, storytime hours for kids, book signings by various authors, and plenty of other whimsical literary activities taking place throughout the day. Book lovers visiting San Sebastian in April should definitely save the date.
3. Enjoy a day in the park
As spring begins to bloom across the city, there’s no better place to enjoy this magical time of year than in one of San Sebastian’s myriad green spaces. With its ideal coastal location surrounded by so much natural beauty, it’s one of the most picturesque destinations at this time of year. From popular Cristina Enea Park to the tranquil gardens surrounding Miramar Palace, San Sebastian is full of gorgeous spots to enjoy the nice weather. Pack a picnic lunch and settle in for a relaxing afternoon!
4. Run like the wind at the Donostia Half Marathon
On your marks…get set…go! San Sebastian’s annual half marathon in early April is the perfect way to kick-start spring and get moving. The 13-mile route is absolutely breathtaking, taking you through the Old Town and along the shore. Additionally, the route is completely flat, making it a great option for veteran runners looking to improve their personal bests as well as newbies who are just starting out. Throw in a live DJ performance every five kilometers and you’ve got all the makings of an exciting race!
2019 date: April 7
5. See a fabulous show at the International Day of Dance Gala
Dance has been an integral form of expression since the dawn of human history, and for the past 23 years, San Sebastian has paid tribute to this iconic art form at the International Day of Dance Gala in late April. This year’s event, set to take place at the Victoria Eugenia Theater, will showcase a diverse array of artistic styles, placing a special emphasis on local companies and performers.
2019 date: April 28
We hope you have a fabulous time visiting San Sebastian in April! In the meantime, subscribe to our monthly newsletter for all the insider tips you need to know before you go!
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.