San Sebastian’s rugged green landscape may be different than the sun-drenched image of Spain you may have in mind.
As a result, knowing what to pack is key! Even if San Sebastian is just one stop along the way on your Spanish adventure, it’s important to remember that northern Spain tends to be cooler (and yes, rainier) than the rest of the country. However, temperatures are pleasant and bearable for most of the year, especially in the summer when the southern regions of the country are dealing with scorching heat! This guide to what to pack for San Sebastian will keep you stylish and comfortable no matter what time of year you visit.
With cool, mild temperatures and less tourism than summer, spring is one of the best times to visit San Sebastian. Total rainfall during the spring is less than in the winter, but February through April tend to have more rainy days, on average, than any other time of year. However, sunny days are also plentiful and while it may not be warm enough to swim, it’s still pleasant enough to enjoy a walk on the beach. As a bonus for foodies: spring is prime season for txakoli and cider! Here’s what to pack for San Sebastian in spring.
- Light jacket: Make sure it’s waterproof so you won’t get soaked on rainy days! You don’t need a huge, heavy coat when visiting San Sebastian in spring, but a lighter leather or denim jacket will keep you warm and stylish.
- Good walking shoes: Spring is one of the best times of year to explore San Sebastian’s gorgeous landscape! A pair of comfortable shoes or boots for hiking is a must.
- Maxi skirt or dress: These are excellent options for women who don’t want to sacrifice style for comfort while exploring the city. You’ll fit right in with San Sebastian’s chic, polished aesthetic!
San Sebastian is one of Spain’s hottest destinations in summer—and no, we don’t mean temperature-wise! In fact, summer temperatures are very mild and incredibly pleasant. However, it’s a very popular time of year to visit the city, especially as many Spaniards from the southern part of the country flock north for the season to escape the broiling heat back home. Despite the crowds, summer in San Sebastian is lovely, with little rainfall and perfect weather for swimming.
- Swimsuit: Get ready to hit up San Sebastian’s iconic beaches! Water temperatures in the summer hang out around 20°C (68°F), so swimming and sunbathing are definitely on the agenda.
- Espadrilles: These stylish shoes will provide you with the comfort you need for walking around sightseeing all day. Plus, they’re lightweight and breathable, so you won’t need to worry about sweaty feet.
- Sunscreen: While San Sebastian may be blessed with milder summer temperatures than southern regions of the country, don’t forget sun protection. Slather some on before heading to the beach or out and about in the city, and you’ll be good to go.
As the summer tourists clear out, San Sebastian begins to retain a more authentic aspect. Hotel prices drop dramatically and the weather gets chillier every day. Fall is one of the rainiest times of year in San Sebastian, and sunny days are less common. However, the crisp autumn air here is a pleasant contrast to other parts of Spain, which may still be battling heat well into October! Here’s what to pack for San Sebastian in the fall.
- Small umbrella: Don’t get caught without one! San Sebastian sees quite a bit of rain in the fall, so an umbrella that can easily fit into your purse or backpack is essential.
- Cozy cardigan: This time of year, it’s all about the layers! It’s not uncommon for mornings and evenings to be quite chilly, but temperatures can be more mild during the day. A cardigan with a lighter top underneath can keep you comfortable no matter what the temperature may be.
- Scarf: Another great addition to your layers. Scarves are very popular in Spain and don’t take up much room in your suitcase. Pack several to switch up your look!
As the winter holidays draw near, San Sebastian welcomes its chilliest temperatures of the year. However, its coastal location means that even the “coldest” temperatures are quite pleasant, especially when compared to northern Europe! Rainfall is still quite common, but you won’t need to worry about snow. (Head to the Pyrenees for a day trip if you’re hoping for a white Christmas). Here are some essentials if you’re wondering what to pack for San Sebastian in winter!
- Trench coat or peacoat: San Sebastian locals are all about looking stylish, no matter what the temperature may be. You’ll see plenty of people out and about wearing trench coats or peacoats in the winter months, which will keep you fashionable and warm.
- Boots: Whether you prefer a cute pair of ankle boots or taller riding-style boots, they’re the perfect option for footwear! Boots are stylish, comfortable, and will keep your feet warm all day long.
- Layers: The weather in San Sebastian can be quite unpredictable, especially in the cooler months. Dressing in layers will help you stay comfortable all day long.
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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.