Call it “San Sebastian” like the Spanish and the rest of the world, or call it “Donostia” like the folk from the Basque Country (Pais Vasco/Euskal Herria). We can argue about its name all day long, but what it really is is the most beautiful city in Spain.
Getting to Donostia / San Sebastián
Located in the north of Spain, San Sebastián is easily accessible by air, car or train. If you happen to be in Barcelona, I would recommend taking the train (or driving to) San Sebastián.
The journey into the Basque Country from Barcelona is simply breathtaking with views of lush green hills, and deep valleys with flowing streams. The scenery changed quite often, from windmills to plains, and finally mountains. By the time we arrived in San Sebastián, I felt like I was transported into another world.
The Most Beautiful City in Spain
When I arrived at the San Sebastián station, I decided to walk to my accommodation instead of taking the bus (I stayed at the Olarain – I can recommend it highly as it’s very economical, and relatively close to the centre). As I made my way through the city, I noticed how bright and saturated all the colours felt…the greens were greener, the blues was bluer, the whites were sparkling. Every colour was accentuated, and it felt surreal!
Not just that, the sun was as bright as it could be but the weather was a mild 24 degrees Celsius. At that time, it just struck me how all the elements of nature were in perfect harmony. I immediately fell in love with San Sebastián.
Tourists come to the city for two things, it’s beautiful beaches, and it’s delicious food!
The city has two beautiful beaches – Playa de la Concha and La playa de Zurriola – which are very different from one another.
Playa de la Concha
Playa de la Concha is the longer of the two beaches. Because of it’s size, I often found it to be relatively less crowded than La playa de Zurriola.
It’s also more peaceful because there are hardly any waves on this beach. The Isla de Santa Clara breaks the waves before they reach the shore. The little islet also gives the beach a very unique character.
La playa de Zurriola
Basque Food = Pintxos
Pintxos (pronounced pinchos) are the local “tapas”. In fact, it’s better than tapas! Like tapas, pintxos are also finger food, except they look classier.
A typical pintxo consists of a piece of meat on top of a bite-size piece of bread. There were literally hundreds of different combinations of pintxos that you can try at any one of the many bars in the city.
I fell in love with San Sebastián – Donostia the moment I stepped foot into it. If I ever had the opportunity, I’d love to just come back here, sit on the beach, and vegetate! It’s simply that mesmerising and captivating.
In my books, it definitely is the most beautiful city in Spain!