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How to Enjoy San Sebastian in August 2019

When it comes to festivals in San Sebastian, Semana Grande is a must!
The ceremonial firing of the cannon means that Semana Grande has officially begun! Photo credit: Donostiako Festak

This blog post was originally posted on July 6, 2018 and was updated on July 1, 2019.

If you plan on coming to San Sebastian in August, good choice—you couldn’t have picked a better time of year to visit.

Gorgeous weather: check. Beaches: check. Lots going on: check.

Suffice it to say that if you plan on visiting San Sebastian in August, you’ll be very glad you did. Don’t believe us? You will after checking out the jam-packed itinerary of things to do throughout the month.

One of the Basque Country's biggest and most exciting festivals takes place in San Sebastian in August, but that's not all. Here are even more ideas for making the most of this fabulous city in the thick of summer.

Photo Credit: Donostiako Festak, Text Overlay: Devour San Sebastian Food Tours

1. Immerse yourself in Basque culture at Semana Grande

One of the best reasons to visit San Sebastian in August: the city’s annual Semana Grande. This weeklong celebration will sweep you up in authentic traditions and make you feel like a born-and-bred San Sebastian local.

For one week in mid-August, the city becomes a buzzing epicenter of live music, traditional Basque sporting competitions, parades, and more. There’s even an international fireworks competition taking place on the beach! This is one event you definitely don’t want to miss, so save the date and get ready for a full week of fun.

2019 dates: August 17–25

READ MORE: The Complete Guide to Semana Grande in San Sebastian

When it comes to festivals in San Sebastian, Semana Grande is a must!
The ceremonial firing of the cannon means that Semana Grande has officially begun! Photo credit: Donostiako Festak

2. Enjoy a month’s worth of live music at the Quincena Musical

If you speak Spanish, you might have noticed that the name of San Sebastian’s unique classical music festival actually means “Musical Fortnight.” So why did we say it lasts for a month?

While the annual Quincena Musical originally lasted for two weeks, the festival became so popular that it now extends throughout the whole month of August. Enjoy lovely classical music performances every day at venues scattered throughout the city. They even offer children’s programming, film screenings, and music workshops to complete the experience.

2019 dates: August 1–31

3. Put your swimming skills to the test

We all know that there are some pretty spectacular beaches in San Sebastian. But if you’re looking to up your game a little bit, skip working on your tan for the day and join hundreds of locals in one of the region’s most unique swimming events.

The annual Swim Around the Island event is exactly what it sounds like. The 3-kilometer course will take you from the shores of La Concha, out and around Santa Clara Island, and back. There’s even a shorter (600-meter) course for kids, if your little ones want to get in on the fun.

2019 date: August 25

One of the most fun ways to enjoy San Sebastian in August is by swimming out to Santa Clara Island!
Think you can manage the 3-kilometer course out around the island and back?

4. Get out and about in nature

With gorgeous green mountains and a stunning coastline, it’s no wonder why San Sebastian locals love to spend so much time outside! If you’ll be in San Sebastian in August, take some time to explore the natural beauty in and around the city.

Hike one of the three mountains flanking the town (Monte Igueldo, Monte Urgull or Monte Ulía) to enjoy spectacular views of the city and the bay. Alternatively, you could grab your board and head to Zurriola Beach, home of some of Spain’s best waves for surfing. Take advantage of the beautiful weather and get moving!

One of the best beaches in San Sebastian for surfers is Zurriola Beach, a fun and youthful hangout with great waves.
Surfers from near and far come to Zurriola Beach for the best waves in the city.

5. Eat your way around town

We’re pretty proud of the fact that San Sebastian is considered one of the best foodie cities in the world. That’s why one of our favorite things to do in San Sebastian in August—or at any time of year!—is to enjoy an evening pintxos crawl. Going out for pintxos is an art form in and of itself, best enjoyed in good company and with plenty of txakoli

SEE ALSO: How to Eat Like a Local in San Sebastian

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