Sundays are an important day in Spanish culture, and the same is true in San Sebastian.
All over the country, locals take advantage of the last day of the weekend to relax and spend time with loved ones. Family meals that stretch on for hours and long walks in the park with good friends are not uncommon. While there is plenty to see and do in San Sebastian on Sundays, do as the locals do and take advantage of this day to relax. Here are some great low-stress activities that will get you ready for the week ahead!
1. Relax on the beach
San Sebastian is home to the best urban beach in Europe and then some! With its gorgeous white promenade and curved seashell shape, it’s no wonder why La Concha Beach draws dozens of locals and visitors alike every day of the year. However, its worldwide renown means it can get quite crowded, especially on weekends.
Get off the beaten path and head to one of the beaches that bookend La Concha: Ondarreta to the west or Zurriola to the east. The former is a great starting point for checking out the famous Peine del Viento sculpture, while the latter often hosts a younger, more laid-back crowd that stands in stark contrast to posh, sophisticated La Concha. However, no matter which of the three excellent beaches is calling your name, they all make for the perfect way to relax in San Sebastian on Sundays!
2. Buy a unique souvenir at the craft fair
La Bretxa, San Sebastian’s most iconic market, unfortunately closes for the day on Sunday. However, you can still find some genuine treasures just outside the market building. Every Sunday and public holiday from Easter until December, the Mercado Artesanal de la Bretxa sets up shop at the corner of Calle San Juan and Plaza Sarriegi. Here, local craftsmen proudly show off their hard work and sell their high quality, artisanal products at fair prices.
There’s no shortage of treasures waiting for you to discover them at this one-of-a-kind market. You’ll find gorgeous handmade jewelry, beautiful handcrafted leather goods, and more. If you want to pick up a souvenir you’ll cherish forever while exploring San Sebastian on Sundays, this is the place to do it.
3. Explore San Telmo Museum
San Sebastian is home to dozens of fascinating museums, each more unique and eye-opening than the last. However, if you’re only going to visit one museum while you’re here, be sure to make it the San Telmo Museum (Plaza Zuloaga, 1). You’ll gain a greater appreciation for San Sebastian and the surrounding region at this museum, which is even open on Sundays.
The Basque Country is unlike anywhere else in Spain. This tiny corner of Europe is fiercely proud of its unique identity and independent spirit. The San Telmo museum dedicates itself to showcasing the storied history and unique culture of the Basque people. Once you’re done exploring here, you’ll come away with a greater appreciation and understanding of local life.
4. Take a day trip
San Sebastian’s privileged location on Spain’s emerald northern coast gives it a great advantage as a home base. Not only as the city itself pretty spectacular (as we think we’ve made pretty clear!), but it’s also extremely easy to escape for the day to a nearby city or town and take in some fresh surroundings.
There’s no shortage of incredible day trip locations within an hour or two of San Sebastian. Maybe the hustle and bustle of urban Bilbao is calling your name. Or maybe you’d prefer a quieter, more relaxed escape to a traditional Basque village such as Getaria or Hondarribia. You can even go all the way to France—the gorgeous French resort town of Biarritz is less than two hours away!
5. Experience nature
In case it wasn’t already obvious, San Sebastian and the surrounding regions are true natural gems. With lush, green mountains and vineyards and kilometer after kilometer of stunning shoreline, it’s no wonder why locals are known to be out and about more often than not!
One of the simplest pleasures you can experience in San Sebastian on Sundays is to simply connect with nature. Take a stroll through one of the city’s many beautiful parks, such as the gorgeous Parque Cristina Enea. If you’re feeling more adventurous, hike up one of the hills on either end of the city: Monte Igueldo and Monte Urgull. A bit further west is Monte Ulía, which is quite an easy and pleasant hike despite its larger, seemingly intimidating size.
6. Take a food tour
San Sebastian has earned well-deserved fame as Europe’s top foodie city. From rustic pintxos bars and cider houses to exquisite Michelin-starred fare, there’s no shortage of delicious bites to be had. However, trying to figure out how to navigate the food scene like a local can be quite difficult for visitors (especially when everything is in Spanish, or—even more challenging—Basque!).
We wouldn’t want anyone to miss out on this incredible gastronomic culture. That’s why we created our Ultimate Pintxos & Wine Tour! Running most days of the week, including Sundays, this tour will take you into some of the best-loved, family run pintxos bars locals have frequented for generations. You’ll meet our friends who proudly carry on their families’ culinary traditions, hear their stories, and sample their best bites for yourself!
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.