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Cold ones are displayed on the bar. Just ask the barman for your drink and pick the pintxos yourself. If you need a plate, just ask.  
 
Cold ones are displayed on the bar. Just ask the barman for your drink and pick the pintxos yourself. If you need a plate, just ask.  
Hot ones must be ordered from the barman and they take a short time to be cooked. There is always a hot tapas menu hanging from the wall. When you are done eating your tapas and have finished your drink you ask the barman for the bill, and you have to tell him what you have eaten. It is very important to be honest, as it is a long tradition. Locals will be upset if they find people eating and not paying. Normally you don't eat many pintxos at one bar but move from bar to bar, drinking a beer (caña) or wine and eating one or two tapas. Then you move to another bar. Traditionally residents would have one or two pintxos in the early evening to stave off any hunger before a later sit-down meal, rather than making a meal out of a large number of pintxos.
+
Hot ones must be ordered from the barman and they take a short time to be cooked. There is always a hot tapas menu hanging from the wall.
 +
 
 +
When you are done eating your tapas and have finished your drink you ask the barman for the bill, and you have to tell him what you have eaten. It is very important to be honest, as it is a long tradition. Locals will be upset if they find people eating and not paying. Normally you don't eat many pintxos at one bar but move from bar to bar, drinking a beer (caña) or wine and eating one or two tapas. Then you move to another bar. Traditionally residents would have one or two pintxos in the early evening to stave off any hunger before a later sit-down meal, rather than making a meal out of a large number of pintxos.
  
 
Most pintxo bars are to be found in the old town, particularly on the streets running parallel to Boulevard.  Generally a pintxo will cost €2-3.  At some bars the pintxos are all priced the same, at others the price depends on the pintxo.
 
Most pintxo bars are to be found in the old town, particularly on the streets running parallel to Boulevard.  Generally a pintxo will cost €2-3.  At some bars the pintxos are all priced the same, at others the price depends on the pintxo.
  
Some slightly pricier pintxo bars that do all pintxos to order and have correspondingly higher quality are:
+
Some slightly pricier pintxo bars that don't have pre-cooked pintxos and only cook them on order (correspondingly, their pintxo are of higher quality) are:
 
* <eat name="La Cuchara de San Telmo" alt="" address="Plaza Valle Lersundi" directions="Off Calle 31 de Agosto" phone="" email="" fax="" url="http://www.lacucharadesantelmo.com" hours="" price=""></eat>
 
* <eat name="La Cuchara de San Telmo" alt="" address="Plaza Valle Lersundi" directions="Off Calle 31 de Agosto" phone="" email="" fax="" url="http://www.lacucharadesantelmo.com" hours="" price=""></eat>
 
* <eat name="A fuego negro" alt="" address="Calle 31 de Agosto" directions="" phone="650 135 373" email="" fax="" url="http://www.afuegonegro.com" hours="" price=""></eat>
 
* <eat name="A fuego negro" alt="" address="Calle 31 de Agosto" directions="" phone="650 135 373" email="" fax="" url="http://www.afuegonegro.com" hours="" price=""></eat>

Revision as of 08:21, 22 September 2007

For other places with the same name, see San Sebastian (disambiguation).

San Sebastián [1] (Basque: Donostia; officially: Donostia-San Sebastián) is in the Basque Country in Spain.

San Sebastián

Contents

Get in

By train

Trains arrive from many parts of Spain and nearby France, including an overnight from Paris and Lisbon. Take care when booking from France as there is also a town named Saint Sébastien in France. There are two train stations in San Sebastian: the RENFE station for national trains (at the east end of Puente de Maria Cristina), and the Euskotren station for the local Euskotren network (Plaza Easo).

By plane

San Sebastian is well served by airports:

  • San Sebastian, a small airport 20km from the town centre [2].
  • Biarritz (in France), 50km away with bus and train connections to San Sebastian [3]. Take a french SNCF train to Hendaye, change to the nearby Euskotren station and take a Euskotren [4] to San Sebastian.
  • Bilbao, 100km away with good bus connections [5].
  • Vitoria, also 100km from San Sebastian with good bus connections [6]. A bus from the airport will take you to the central bus station, from where you can take a bus (companies Pesa or La Burundesa) to San Sebastian for around €7.50.

By Bus

Basque country is generally easier to get around by bus than by train. Buses arrive and depart at the San Sebastian bus station, at Plaza de Pio XII in Amara Nuevo. A number of bus companies operate services to San Sebastian, including:

  • Pesa [7]
  • La Burundesa [8]
  • Continental Autos
  • ATCRB
  • Roncalesa (for connection with Pamplona).

By bus

Buses are the only way to get to some areas of the Basque region, and often run more often (and cheaper!) than trains. Vitoria, capital of the Basque Country, is a 2-hour ride away. Bilbao, the travel hub and biggest city in the region (1-hour ride), and Pamplona (1-hour ride) are other popular destinations, but longer-range buses do overnights to Madrid, Milan and even Barcelona.

Get around

You can see San Sebastián on foot and by taxi.

See

San Sebastián, Paseo de la Concha

Do

  • Beach - there are two main beaches, one on either side of the river. La Concha, on the west side is the larger, is protected from the sea and has an island and boats in the bay. La Zurriola to the east of the old town and river is a surf beach, clearly better if you want waves or beach sports. A third beach, Ondarreta, is in the same bay as La Concha, but split by El pico del Loro (a rocky outcropping).
  • Surfing - surfboards and bodyboards can be rented on Zurriola beach. You'll probably want to spring for a wetsuit as well. The surf shop also offers surf lessons (around €65 for five one-hour lessons in a small group)[9].
  • Hiking - for a short easy hike visit the statue of Christ on top of the mountain between the beaches. It takes around an hour to walk up at a leisurely pace, and there's a bar on the way up if you need to stop for refreshments or admire the view. The park officially closes at 9pm in summer (in reality, gates close bit later), and the bar closes before sunset in summer time--and definitely before park is closed.
    For a longer hike head up the hill from Zurriola and follow the red & white markings to San Pedro, around 2.5 hours, from which you can take a local bus back (for approx €1.50).
  • Tourist Land Train - a tourist land train leaves from the Calle Zubieta in front of La Concha Beach.
  • Aquarium - by the Paseo de Kaiko, at the far right of La Concha Beach.
  • Kayak - kayaks can be hired on Ondaretta beach, for about €7 per hour.
  • Amusement Park - an ageing amusement park with quaint rides can be found at the top of Mount Igeldo, at the West end of La Concha bay. A funicular (cable-car) will take you up and down the mountain (approx €1.20 each way). Note that if you use your own transport to get up (including walking) you'll have to pay a €1.50 per person toll at the top! As well as the rides, the top of the mountain provides a great view of the town.

Buy

San Sebastian is known as a stylish city and an image-conscious one, so it is stuffed with high-end shops. There are the ever-popular chains Mango and Zara, as well as H&M and the gorgeous Massimo Dutti. Peruse La Parte Vieja (the old part of town) for cool boutiques filled with quirky designer gear. There are fantastic shoe stores--I remember one in particular whose rainbow of amazing women's shoes in the window changed daily--and sources for that inimitable bold Spanish fashion. For gorgeous, one-of-a-kind women's shoes and accessories (bags and jewelry), try Hakei--it's tiny, and its displays are stunning, with walls lined in delicate shoes and silk scarves arranged by color. Most shops are freestanding, but there is an enclosed shopping mall that has the cineplex (as well as the city's lone McDonald's).

Clothes and shoes

There's considerable amount of designer shops in the city. Some of them worthful visiting are:

  • Dam, Narrika 23, (943)422-567.

Eat

The Basque cuisine is famous within Spain and many believe it is the Basque Country where you can find the best food. Much of this fame comes from San Sebastian and its bars and restaurants. Although tapas were invented in Andalucia they became perfected in San Sebastian and a walk through the old town before lunch time with its many bars shows why. Each bar is bursting with tapas and they look very delicate. Tapas are generally enjoyed together with a glass of wine or a small beer, and the Spanish tradition suggests to have one tapa and a wine in one bar and move on to the next bar. Tapas can be used as a good substitute for a meal - you pay for each one you eat (about 1-2 euro each) so you can have as many as you want. If you want 'real' food then that is where San Sebastian can be very very good. You can find several different cuisines such Chinese, German, Galicien, Italian and of course the obvious Basque cuisine. In and around the harbour you can have the freshest seafood and if you don’t enjoy the simple harbour taverns go and enjoy San Sebastian restaurants with Michelin stars if you have some money to spare.

Pintxos

The way to eat pintxos, (tapas in the Basque Country whether speaking Spanish or Basque) in San Sebastian is quite different from other cities in Spain. There are two kinds of tapas: cold and hot ones.

Cold ones are displayed on the bar. Just ask the barman for your drink and pick the pintxos yourself. If you need a plate, just ask. Hot ones must be ordered from the barman and they take a short time to be cooked. There is always a hot tapas menu hanging from the wall.

When you are done eating your tapas and have finished your drink you ask the barman for the bill, and you have to tell him what you have eaten. It is very important to be honest, as it is a long tradition. Locals will be upset if they find people eating and not paying. Normally you don't eat many pintxos at one bar but move from bar to bar, drinking a beer (caña) or wine and eating one or two tapas. Then you move to another bar. Traditionally residents would have one or two pintxos in the early evening to stave off any hunger before a later sit-down meal, rather than making a meal out of a large number of pintxos.

Most pintxo bars are to be found in the old town, particularly on the streets running parallel to Boulevard. Generally a pintxo will cost €2-3. At some bars the pintxos are all priced the same, at others the price depends on the pintxo.

Some slightly pricier pintxo bars that don't have pre-cooked pintxos and only cook them on order (correspondingly, their pintxo are of higher quality) are:

  • La Cuchara de San Telmo, Plaza Valle Lersundi (Off Calle 31 de Agosto), [11].
  • A fuego negro, Calle 31 de Agosto, 650 135 373, [12].

Budget

Pintxos (tapas) bars are thick in the Parte Vieja (Old Town), but there are masses of other places nearby in the Gros and Centro areas. Most bars charge by the toothpick or plate from 1-5 Euros.

  • Tamboril (in the corner of the main square in the Old Town)
  • Goiz Argi Fermín Calbetón. Pintxos bar with the delicious brocheta de gambas (fried prawns with a special vinaigrette), bola de carne (meat ball with red pepper)a nd a lot of cold pintxos with anchovies, fungi, cod, salmon, etc.
  • Ganbara Parte Vieja
  • Martinez Parte Vieja
  • La Cepa Parte Vieja
  • Hidalgo 56 Gros
  • Bergara Gros
  • Casa Senra Gros
  • Iturrioz Centro.
  • Bar Alex Centro
  • Bar Alustiza Centro
  • Bar Zazpi Centro

Mid-range

San Sebastian, Puente del Kursaal
  • Cafes and bakeries along the waterfront.
  • Urola Calle Fermin Calbeton, Old Town
  • Juanito Kojua Calle Puerto, Old Town
  • Avenida XXI Avda de la Libertad - excellent three course set lunches for Euro 12, including wine (Euro 12.75 on Saturday).

Splurge

  • Urepel Restaurant, Paseo Salamanca 3, 943 424040. Closed on Sunday and Tuesday
  • Zuberoa Restaurant
  • Akelarre Restaurant, Pedro Orcaloga 56 (Igueldo), 943 311209 fax: 943 21 92 68, [13]
  • Martin Berasategui, Calle Loidi 4, Lasarte-Oria (Guipúzcoa), 943 36 64 71. A 3 Michelin star restaurant close to San Sebastian with other outlets at Kursaal and in Bilbao at the Guggenheim. Price: €140 for the degustation menu (about 12 courses) plus wine and service.
  • Arzak Restaurant, Avda. Alcalde Jose Elosegui,73, 943 278 465 / 943 285 593, (fax: 943 272 753, email: restaurante@arzak.es), [14] Open From January to June: Closed Sunday evening, Monday and Tuesday. From July to December: Closed Sunday evening and Monday. Vacations: June 15 to July 2 and November 2 to November 26. Avg. Price: 80-100 € plus drinks and V.A.T. All credit cards accepted. About £80-£100 per head by the time you've added the wine etc., but well worth it!

Drink

  • The Kalimotxo (pronounced "calimotcho") is a local drink that is made with 50% wine (normally an inexpensive red wine) and 50% Coca-Cola. You will see a very large proportion of young people drink this near the harbour at playa La Concha and later on, in bars or clubs. It is definitely something to try out while you are there.
  • Cider at a Sidreria: A purely Guipuzcoan experience, sidrerias dot the countryside and offer all you can drink sidra (a mildly alcholic apple flavored cider) shooting straight from the barrel. Sidrerias usually offer a traditional set menu of cod omlette , cod with vegetables, steak, and then cheese. A couple of traditional sidrerias that are open all year (you'll need to get a car, bus or taxi from town) are:

Aginaga, Aginaga, 943 36 67 10. €22. Petritegi, Astigarraga, 943 45 71 88 (fax: 943 45 24 69), [15]. €22.

  • Clubbing - Bataplán is definitely the hottest club in San Sebastian. All the beautiful people go there. However, be careful not to arrive too early; the club never opens before 2 AM. People normally start arriving at 3 AM, and the club closes around 7 AM. The entry fee is normally 12 euros (including one drink) but you can get in for free before 3 AM if you ask for a VIP pass at a bar beforehand (Bar Tas Tas is a good place for that). This club has an amazing terrace out back to relax after you've had one drink too many (drinks cost around 6-7 euros a pop, by the way). All year round, the club is filled with local people, tourists and exchange students.

Sleep

Budget

  • Camping Igeldo open all year Paseo Padre Orkolaga 69. Igeldo (San Sebastián), Phone: 943-280490 Fax: 943-280411, [16].
  • Hostel Aida 9 Iztueta st. 1º floor,("Gros" Quarter), Phone: 943-327800 Fax: 943-326707

Mid-range

  • Hotel Anoeta, 60 Anoeta Avenue(Amara), Phone: 943-451499 Fax: 943-452036. Prices from 80 -100 Euro
  • Hotel Avenida, 55 Road to Igeldo(Igeldo), Phone: 943-212022, Fax: 943-212887. Prices from 78-125 Euro
  • Hotel Europa, 55 San Martín st.(Centre). Prices range from 100- 160 Euros Phone: 943-470880 Fax: 943-471730
  • Hotel Niza, 56 Zubieta st.(Centre), Phone 943-426663, Fax: 943-441251. Prices range from 48-118 Euros
  • Pension Urkia, Calle Urbieta 12-3 (Centre), Phone: 943-424436. Rooms with en-suite bathroom Euro 30-47 depending on season. Clean and friendly. Her sister runs the nearby La Perla.
  • Pension La Perla Calle Loiola 10-1 (Centre), Phone: 943-428123. Rooms with en-suite bathroom Euro 30-47 depending on season. Clean and friendly. Her sister runs the nearby Urkia.

Splurge

  • Hotel Mercure Monte Igueldo Pº del Faro 134(Igeldo), tel: 943-210211 Fax: 943-215028, ([17]) Prices range from 96-130 Euros. The Hotel sites on top of Mountain Igeldo and has scenic view over San Sebastian and the best beach in San Sebastian "La Concha" Phone:
San Sebastian: La Concha bay

Get out

  • Bilbao - home of the famous Guggenheim Modern Art, travel hub of the Basque country
  • Hondarribia - beautiful fishing town
  • Vitoria - capital of the Basque country
  • Zarauz - summer getaway of the rich Basque




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