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San Sebastion or Donostia has it is known locally is a lovely place around a small bay and river. San Sebastion is served by the narrow gauge Euskotren railway along the north coast of Spain. and there is the RENFE main line trains to places like Madrid and Segovia. Their stations are in seperate parts of town.
Updated Feb 12, 2013
The Santa Clara island sitting in the middle of the bay has a beach that can be reached by a small ferry. At the equinox tides in March and September it can even be reached on foot. It was also used by the city in the 16th century for victims of the plague that was ravaging the population. Other views are over the sea and around the bay of La Concha and the Miramar "palacio".
Written Aug 7, 2012
Fortified from the 12th century to protect its trade and fishing industry Mont Urgull, the original small castle built by Sancho of Navarre, was further strengthened in 1530 and more walls added. The castle was taken in the early 1700's by the British but surrendered in 1794 to the French, who stayed there right through the Napoleonic wars until 1813 when they were finally evicted by the British/Portuguese allies. The castle is topped out with three chapels with one supporting the statue of Christ and the "Sagrado Corazon", 12 metres high. It is a fair walk up to the top with a choice of routes. Behind the Santa Maria church is a cobbled path leading up and you just follow the signs, but this is very steep and hard. The other way is round the other side of the Mont close to the modern statue "Construccion Vacia - Empty Construction" which takes you up a ramp then through an outdoor bar and past the English cemetery. This way is longer but far easier.
The gates for the access paths normally close at 18h30.
I haven't mentioned the Museum of History as quite frankly, I didn't see it nor any signs to present it. There is also an aquarium and Naval museum situated at the bottom of the hill in front of the port.
Written Aug 7, 2012
Nestled beneath the Mont Urgull lies the Santa Maria del Coro church originally a Romanesque structure. Refurbished and extended in the 1500's it was actually blown up in the late 1600's and rebuilt around 1740 in a superb baroque style, witness the wonderful entrance into the church. Right next to the church is Plaza Trinidad where you might be lucky enough to catch a concert during the summer.
Written Aug 6, 2012
Address: Calle del 31 de Agosto.
For a city that has such an attraction for tourists, the centre of the old town doesn't really show this. Much attached to its Basque traditions the city has managed to retain much of the old gothic and baroque styles in its churches and buildings. Constitution square is also typical Basque but very Spanish in its styling. This is the place where most of the citys fiestas are held, namely 20th January, day of Saint Sebastian and St Thomas's day the 21st December. The windows are adorned with numbers that date from the years when the square was a bullring and spectators rented out the balconies. Of course San Sebastian is very much still a fishing port with its own fleet and auction hall for the fish, to be found in the corner between La Concha beach and the old town.
Written Aug 6, 2012
The crescent-shaped beach La Conche is the most popular beach in San Sebastian. Located directly in the city centre, one can hardly think of a more beautiful place for a beach. In summer, it is always crowded despite the fact that the water didn't look too appealing with many algae drifting in it. However, you can also just lie down in the fine sand and get a tan while watching the other people and enjoying the superb panoramic view over the harbour, the buildings of the old town and the local mountain, Monte Urgull. There are a few places to buy refreshments and food, and you can also hire beach chairs and beach tents and screens against the sun.
Written Sep 13, 2011
Address: Paseo de la Concha
Charming museum in the old town. The former Dominican convent of San Telmo, the museum was moved there in 1932. It had also been used as an artillery barracks. The museum exhibits fine arts, archeology, ethnography and history. Of particular interest is the replica of a Basque farmhouse complete with cows in the kitchen. In the fine art section there were paintings of El Greco and Rubens. There is also a section of local artists from different time periods. And it is free.
Updated Apr 4, 2011
Address: Plaza de Zuluoga 1
After lots of controversy, San Sebastian finally completed their new auditorium and congress hall in 1999. Designed by Pritzker award winner Rafael Moneo, the Kursaal Center is one of the current cornerstones of the city cultural scene. The center is shaped out of sea-green glass in curved panels that appear to float above the Bay of Biscay. It has two auditoriums, a gargantuan banquet hall, meeting rooms, exhibition space, and a sibling set of terraces across the estuary. Martín Berasategui, chef at the Guggenheim Bilbao and director of his own restaurant in nearby Lasarte, oversees the dining room. Guided tours daily at 11:30, 12:30, and 1:30.
Updated Apr 4, 2011
Address: Avda. de Zurriola 1. 20002 Donostia-San Sebastián
Phone: 943 00 30 00
La Bretxa is the main market in the centre of Donostia. It actually consists of two separate shopping areas: one, towards La Concha, that contains what you would traditionally expect from a market in a Spanish or Basque city; and another one, closer to the Teatro Victoria Eugenia, that is essentially a shopping mall. The market building and structure is all quite interesting, as it is fairly odd and well preserved, but, given that it is still a functioning commercial venue, don’t expect it to be too touristy or filled with various unique Basque traditions. The shopping mall side of La Bretxa holds absolutely no surprises, but it is a good place to go if there is something that you desperately need and don’t want to waste hours and hours looking for the right shop.
Written Jan 7, 2009
Address: Plaza Bretxa, 1
The Ensanche Cortazar is one of the two extensions that San Sebastian underwent in the latter part of the 19th century. The other one is now called Gros, after the architect who designed it, and is located on the opposite side of the Urumea. It was intended to incorporate many of the same sorts of Modernist characteristics that have made Barcelona so famous, and are also found in the Ensanche in Bilbao. Today, the Ensanche is a chic shopping and residential area with a good number of pensions and hotels, as well as more modern stores. Indeed, it is likely in this area, rather than in the older areas, that you are to feel truly immersed in the Belle Époque splendor for which San Sebastian is so famous.
Written Jan 6, 2009
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