free tours donostia

We’ve been doing Free Walking Tours in San Sebastian since 2014.

Showing you Donosti is our passion.

You decide the price!

Hour: Every day, at 10:30 am & 4:00 pm

Duration: 2 hours

Price: You decide the price

Meeting place: You will find us everyday at Sarriegi square.

Look for the blue and white striped umbrella, and you will find us under it!

Do you have more questions? Check our FAQs, maybe you have the answer there, and if not,

contact us!

Our Free Tours are a fantastic opportunity to be with a local showing you the city for the first time (or second, or third!) as only a local can.

So don’t hesitate to ask us anything you want to know about the city!

As with all Free Tours, you donate at the end the amount you consider in consideration of the service you have received. We like to think that you give us what you think the tour is worth so that we can continue to grow and offer a quality service.

Free walking tour in san sebastian

Private tours in San Sebastian Donostia

PRIVATE TOUR from 158,18 €

Are you more than 6? Do you feel like having a different experience, on demand for you and your companions? Fill out the form, tell us what you would like to do and we will contact you right away.

More info in FAQs

If you are a group of more than 6 people, or want a tour on demand, this is your chance!

tourist guides San Sebastian

Our team: your local guides in San Sebastian

The team of Free Walking Tour San Sebastian have been showing Donosti since 2014, in fact, we were the first ones doing Free Tours around here. We love our city, that’s why we want to show you our favourite corners so you see everything that San Sebastian has to offer. We are local guides, professionals and very jatorras. If you want to know what this last word means… come to do the tour with us and you will find out!

Our Free Tours are something more than just a walk around Donosti: it’s the perfect way to discover our city and culture in a fun, but mostly sustainable and respectful way with San Sebastian and the donostiarras. We’re part of different networks and platforms that look for a tourism that’s efficient, sustainable and respectful environmentally, socially and economically. Don’t hesitate to visit the websites of these platforms for your next trips, together we can have healthy and quality tourism!

Discover Our Cities

Local Guides

In Free Walking Tour San Sebastian we are local guides, that is, the best company to discover Donosti!

Small groups

Small groups

We offer a tour a day with groups up to 20 people, this way we can offer the best service.

Local business

Local business

We are proud of the fact that we are the only local company offering free walking tours in San Sebastian since 2014.

Responsible Tourism

Responsible Tourism

We want to generate a positive impact on you, our neighbours and the environment.

The best plans for your trip to San Sebastian

Spain Free Tours

Short description of the tour

In which language do you want to do the tour.

free tours donostia

What are we going to see?

We will wait for you next to the statue of Don Quixote and Sancho, in Cervantes Square to start our walking tour through the historic center of the beautiful city of San Sebastian, famous for its Concha beach , its pintxos and we have prepared many more surprises. Ready? Let’s go!

We will start at Paseo de la Concha to admire one of the most beautiful urban beaches in the world, worthy for its incredible views and for its characteristic railing in the background.

Our first stop will be the Alderdi Eder gardens (“beautiful place” in Basque language) to discover the Town Hall , initially built to house the Grand Casino of the city. Admiring it is like  traveling back in time to the Belle Èpoque.

Before we know it, we will arrive at one of the greatest parts of this city: Plaza Guipuzcoa ,  which houses the headquarters of the provincial government. Then, We will walk through Alameda del Boulevard , the shopping area that serves as a connection between the old and the new part of Donostia.

Have you ever wondered what is the most important festival in Donosti? We will go into Plaza de la Constitución to talk about the Tamborrada , while the beauty of its colourful balconies  will leave you speechless. Our guided tour takes us to wonderful buildings such as the Church of San Vicente . Did you know that it is the oldest monument in San Sebastian?

In addition, we will walk through the streets where pintxo bars are the main focus. Did you know that Donosti is the cradle of this culinary art? In fact, it has been chosen as the best gastronomic destination in the world, which will whet your appetite!

We will wander through the cobbled streets of “the old” (as the locals call the historic center of the city) until we reach the baroque basilica Santa María del Coro .

There’s nothing better than walking around this beautiful city next to an authentic local guide, right?!

To finish our free walking tour, we will go to the Port of Donosti where we will finish with a panoramic view of the Cantabrian Sea in its purest state.

Meeting point:

Meeting point, what do they say about our tours in san sebastián, additional information, frequently asked questions, more information.

☂️🧡 Remember to look for the ORANGE umbrella , you'll find us as soon as you arrive at the square!

👟👟 We recommend you come to the tour with comfortable shoes and water.

free tours donostia

Free Tour Historic San Sebastián

Data of interest, spain free tours.

If you have any questions please contact us.

At the end of the tour you decide what you pay based on your enjoyment.

All SpainFreeTours guides are professional and ready to make sure you have the best time in the city.

Discover our tours

Free tour essentials tarragona, free tour essentials cáceres, san sebastian pintxo tour.

If you go to another city just look for the orange umbrella.

Copyright © 2022 creado para SPAIN FREE TOURS SL. Todos los derechos reservados

free tours donostia

¿Quieres hacer un Tour con nosotros?

Si estás buscando una experiencia única y emocionante, los  Free Tours son para ti. Si estás en la ciudad y quieres visitarla de un forma diferente sólo tienes que reservar uno de nuestros Free Tours y nosotros nos encargamos del resto

  • Español ( Spanish )

mejores free tours en san sebastian

Best free walking tours in San Sebastian

  • Sofía Pozuelo
  • UPDATED: 31/12/2023

👩🏻‍⚕️ Let me remind you that it's very important to book good international insurance if you are going to a destination where you do not have medical coverage. We always use Heymondo travel insurance . You can get a 5% discount by booking it here .

San Sebastian is a charming city. Every time I visit it, I fall in love with it more and more. If this is your first time visiting this beautiful town in the north of Spain, apart from trying the exquisite pintxos, strolling through the Old Town and taking a dip in La Concha Beach, I recommend you book one of the best free walking tours in San Sebastian.

San Sebastian is not a very big city. You can get to know it on foot in a day. However, I recommend spending at least two days, as there are many activities to enjoy. One of the things that I recommend the most is to book a guided tour in San Sebastian. In this way, you will be able to learn more about the history of the capital of Gipuzkoa. It's totally worth it!

Ready to discover the best free walking tours of San Sebastian? Let's start!

Table of contents

1. free walking tour of san sebastian.

old town

If you are only going to book one free walking tour in San Sebastian, I recommend you joining this one, since it is the best you’ll find and the one that shows the most important places to visit in San Sebastian . Thanks to this two-and-a-half hour tour with a guide, you will get to know the main attractions of the city.

The tour begins in Plaza de Cervantes, located between the Old Town and Playa de la Concha. From here you’ll begin walking towards the historic center of the city, making a first stop at Plaza de Gipuzkoa, where the Provincial Council of Guipúzcoa is located.

Then the group will advance to Alameda del Boulevard, the one that divides the old and new part of San Sebastián. A few minutes later, you will arrive at Plaza de la Constitucion, one of the most beautiful places to visit in San Sebastian. You will also visit the Church of San Vicente, the oldest monument in this Basque town.

In this part of the city you can see the large number of bars where they serve the famous pintxos. You can’t leave town without trying a few! The visit will conclude after visiting Calle Mayor, the Basilica of Our Lady of the Choir and the façade of the Town Hall.

Tour rating: 9.5/10.

🛏️ If you haven’t booked a place to stay yet, I recommend you the hotel I stayed at: Sansebay Hotel . The room was very spacious and beautiful and it is in the old town.

2. Free tour of la Belle Epoque (in Spanish)

free walking tour san sebastian

If you are spending at least 2 days in San Sebastian , I recommend booking a free tour of the Belle Époque. In 1893, Queen Maria Cristina, along with the rest of the court, began to spend the summer in the city. Little by little, several buildings with a marked French style began to be built. Thanks to this visit, you will be able to see some of the most emblematic buildings of the era.

This free tour begins at Alameda del Boulevard. From here you will walk to the Maria Cristina Hotel, where the aristocracy of the Belle Époque used to stay. The guide will tell you interesting stories about this hotel. The Victoria Eugenia Theater is located right next to it. Before continuing along Paseo de la Concha, you will be able to see the exterior of the Kursaal Conference Center and Auditorium.

In Playa de la Concha there is also La Perla spa, which was very popular at the time. The tour ends in front of the facade of the Buen Pastor Cathedral.

Tour rating: 9.6/10.

🏥 Remember it is very important to purchase travel insurance for Spain if you don’t have medical coverage in this country. I always use and recommend the company Heymondo, where I can offer you a 5% discount on your travel insurance .

3. Free tour of the mysteries and legends (in Spanish)

la bretxa market

Would you like to discover some of the most surprising mysteries of San Sebastian? By booking this free tour about the mysteries and legends of the city, you will discover some of the secrets of Donostia while you walk through its streets. I recommend booking this activity if you are spending at least 3 days in San Sebastian .

The tour begins at the Alameda del Boulevard music kiosk. Then continues through Bretxa Market, where they tell you about some very bloody events that occurred at the beginning of the 19th century. Then, the tour takes you to the Victoria Eugenia Theater and the María Cristina Hotel, where you can discover more facts that will surprise you.

Next to the Kursaal bridge you will be able to find out what happened during the last night before the Grand Casino in the area closed to the public. Once you reach the Old Town, they will tell you about ghosts, miracles, spies and plagues. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it?

On the other hand, in the port of San Sebastian, the guide will tell you stories of love and war. Here they will also tell you mysteries about the Santa Clara Island . The tour finishes at La Concha Beach, one of the best areas to stay in San Sebastian .

Tour rating: 9.4/10.

🚗 Do you need to rent a car for your trip to the Basque Country? I recommend checking out Discover Cars , a highly-rated car rental search platform. I have used it several times and it has always been great!

Check my Spain travel guide to keep planning your trip to this country!

I hope that this article about the best free walking tours in San Sebastian has been very useful to you in planning your trip to this beautiful city in the Basque Country. If you have any doubts or questions, I encourage you to leave a comment or send me an email. Until next time, travelers!

  • PLAN A TRIP STEP BY STEP

↠ Book free tours and guided visits on Civitatis or GetYourGuide . I always use these platforms to check what organized activities there are at my destination.

↠ To pay with card in foreign currency or withdraw money from ATMs, I always use this card (there are free and paid plans). It works the best!

↠ Traveling with travel insurance to a destination where you don’t have healthcare coverage is a must. Get your insurance 5% cheaper with this link .

↠ If you want to have cellphone data at your destination from the moment you land and don’t want to waste time, there is nothing like this eSIM . Use the code “comeamaviaja” for a 5% discount.

↠ Check out Booking’s offers , a platform I always use, as I always find very good options thanks to its search engine with filters.

↠ For destinations where I need to rent a car, I always check Discover Cars and Auto Europe search engines. I recommend them!

↠ If you still need to buy flights for your trip, there is no better search engine than Skyscanner (although I always recommend booking the flight on the company’s website).

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  • Destinations
  • Tours in San Sebastian

The Best Free Tour of the History of San Sebastián

The Best Free Tour of the History of San Sebastián Spain — #1

Overview of the tour in San Sebastian

Would you like to delve into the essence and history of San Sebastian and have a great time? This free tour will take you with laughter and anecdotes to the heart of the incredible capacity for transformation that San Sebastián has had over time: from being the most important harbor of the kingdom of Castilla to pirate stories, battles, and wars that lead us to understand the aristocratic and bourgeois San Sebastián and the beautiful polifacetic and cosmopolitan city that we have today. We will also delve into the essence of Basque culture, its symbols, and codes to find out how to learn more about the Basque people. Do not miss this tour because we will go through the streets, the monuments and the most essential points of interest of San Sebastian. You will also receive guidance on how to make a meaningful visit to the city and on how to have the best pintxos in the world. Book with us and get a list of the best places and tricks so you can live the best possible experience in San Sebastian and its surroundings!

This activity includes:

  • Victoria Eugenia Antzokia
  • Hotel Maria Cristina, a Luxury Collection Hotel, San Sebastian
  • Gipuzkoa Plaza
  • Parte Vieja
  • Avenida del Bouelvard
  • Ayuntamiento
  • Paseo de la Concha

Lamia FreeTours — Guide of The Best Free Tour of the History of San Sebastián, Spain

Meeting point

Club Náutico de San Sebastián

See you at the Club Náutico de San Sebastián, near the port.

Things to note

Tours that do not reach the minimum number of attendees (4 adults) are liable to be canceled.

Free Cancellation

You are free to cancel a booking anytime. We kindly remind you to cancel bookings you cannot arrive for. Being reported as absent decreases your customer level points and the benefits you can enjoy.

Parks of Donostia: San Sebastian Walking Tour

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free tours donostia

Guided eBike Tours to enjoy the city in a comfortable and ecological way

free tours donostia

Guided Walking Tours to discover San Sebastian like a local

San Sebastian by bike is cool

Electric Bike Rental with possibility of self-guided tour

free tours donostia

Discover San Sebastian with our Electric Bike Tour

Discover the essential San Sebastian, from the most emblematic places to the most unknown neighbourhoods. Enjoy San Sebastian in a sustainable way and like a real local. Join us on a tour of the city's coastline, but also the neighbourhoods surrounding the city centre, where the people of San Sebastian live and go about their daily lives. Follow us through Antiguo, Amara or Egia, and you will see that San Sebastian is much more than the pintxos of the Old Town.

essential tour san sebastian

Essential San Sebastian Tour

Is this your first time in San Sebastian and you want to get to know our culture and history in the most enjoyable way? This guided tour will help you better understand who we are and what San Sebastian is all about. A tour full of anecdotes, fun facts and recommendations from our team of local guides.

free tours donostia

Personalised Electric Bike Tour

If our guided group tours don't suit your needs, or you prefer to do something different, don't hesitate to contact us so that we can design a tailor-made tour in San Sebastian or the surrounding area that is exactly what you are looking for.

Amazing guide, great knowledge of the area and history. Tour was fun and had all my questions answered.

sarah okoon

Highly recommend. Guide was knowledgeable on many subjects and answered questions fully. His history background was very valuable. Very personable fellow.

Stavros Vlachos

We really enjoyed our bike tour of San Sebastian! We got to see the best the city has to offer and also check out parts that are a little outside of what you’ll see as a tourist.

Kristian Eklund

We did a guided bike tour and it was absolutely amazing. Our tour guide knew everything there is to know about San Sebastián.

Gabo Domínguez

The guys at Go Local San Sebastián do a great job, they good historical knowledge and excellent advice on how to properly enjoy Basque cuisine, the ebikes are in excellent condition and it is very practical for the mountainous parts, so it doesn't matter if you haven't pedaled for years, at Go Local you won't need it, a great option.

THE GO LOCAL SAN SEBASTIAN TEAM

The best tours can only be made with the best guides

free tours donostia

Full name: Iñigo Ansa Rodríguez

How long have you been in Go Local: Longest stable relationship (2014 foundation).

Level of donostiarrismo: Pro ñoñostiarra.

free tours donostia

Alain Larraya

Full name: Alain Larraya Las Heras 

How long have you been in Go Local: Since 2014.

Level of donostiarrismo: Not much, as I’m actually from Oiartzun.

free tours donostia

Pelayo Lasa

Full name: Completely full? Pelayo Francisco Andrés Lasa Hulin. Better just Pelayo…

How long have you been in Go Local: Since 2018, almost nothing.

Level of donostiarrismo: According to my friends, 95%. All my father’s family have been from here for generations, but I was born abroad.

free tours donostia

Hegoi Iparraguirre

Full name: Hegoi Iparraguirre Tapia

How long have you been in Go Local: Since we opened the office in Sarriegi square, 7 years!

Level of donostiarrismo: Not much, in the end I’m from the “nicest” town in Gipuzkoa, Lasarte. Although I have been fascinated by Donosti since childhood.

free tours donostia

Alba Irazabalbeitia

Full name: Alba Irazabalbeitia Benito

How long have you been in Go Local: This year it’s going to be 6 years, it doesn’t seem like it’s been that long though!

Level of donostiarrismo: My family has lived here for at least 8 generations, and counting!

Free Walking Tours by Locals

Free Walking Tours by Locals

Barcelona | granada | lisbon | london | malaga | madrid | prague | san sebastian, san sebastian, go local san sebastian.

Go Local San Sebastian is a tour guiding company created by Iñigo & Iñigo based in Donostia/San Sebastian . Rather than being another company in the sector, we want to lead the way for tour guiding, not only for our hometown, but also for the whole province (Gipuzkoa). From the very start of our project we wanted to offer a more exciting way of guiding compared to the more traditional ones, and nowadays it is our sign of identity.

This is reflected on our tours, from the free tour , in which the customer decides the value of the tour based on their satisfaction, to our pintxos tour , where we challenge our visitors to push their way through the busy bars and give their orders to the waiter… What we seek is interaction with the customers to make it more fun. We think that being just a spectator is not as fulfilling as participating. By the end of your experience we will all be great mates for sure.

The spontaneity, closeness and pride of our history & culture is the key to achieving these goals. This philosophy is reflected in the name of the company: “ Go Local San Sebastian ” whose name has not been randomly picked. During each tour we try to make our our customers feel like people born in San Sebastian/Donostia: a donostiarra.

Please feel free to browse around these pages or visit our company’s website if you need any more information.

We all know that the arrival of multinationals can push the small man out of business and the walking tour industry is no different. This is why a few of us, local companies with a like-minded vision, got together to be sure that you can still hear about us. This website is our meeting point where we can introduce ourselves and tell you what we do. We strongly believe that keeping it small and local is the only way to achieve great quality . Read more

Because we, as guides, live and breathe our city's everyday life, a great inside knowledge is something that already comes in the package. With professional, knowledgeable, enthusiastic and fun guides , the tours on offer have been highly recommended through guidebooks, internet sites and mouth to mouth (our favourite one!). Our walking tours are not about selling other products, it is about offering a great product in itself. Hard selling is just not our style. Read more

If you have had enough of manufactured tourism and you enjoy discovering and learning about the places you visit from a more local point of view, maybe we are what you are looking for. Each of the walking tour companies in the network is individually listed only in their own cities so their incomes generate within their communities. A big plus: walking and taking public transport when necessary is also a great way to protect the environment. Read more

TripAnthropologist

A Guide to Free Tours in San Sebastian 2024

Free tours in San Sebastian are in good supply, so how do you choose a good one? We asked our expert local writer, Leo McPartland, to give us a detailed rundown of the options so you can choose the right one for your interests.

San Sebastian is a small, eminently walkable city – but it’s also easy to miss some of the finer details.

For that reason, free tours with a local San Sebastian tour guide can be a godsend, whether to show you the place with the perfect pintxos or to give you a native’s perspective on Donostia’s history.

Free tours are a tip-based system, meaning you pay what you think the tip is worth. The average tip is €10 per person. If you’re more comfortable paying a set fee and would like to book in advance and online, check out the best walking tours of San Sebastian here .

Let’s take a look at your options for this fantastic way to tour San Sebastian with local guides.

Las Gildas Free Tours in San Sebastian

Lamia free tours, free tour essential san sebastian, discover san sebastián – escape the city, instagrammable donosti free tour, free tour donostia noir, besarkada. an aesthetic itinerary through donostia.

The idea behind the tour is to give you an overview of San Sebastian’s history, and how its past and present knit together.

San Sebastian's old harbor on a beautiful summer day in Spain

The meeting point is near the beach at the Real Club Naútico (Ijentea Kalea, 9) and the tour begins with stops at the local port and aquarium.

This means taking in the views from Mount Urgull and learning about the foundation of some of San Sebastian’s most famous buildings.

A nice touch here is that as soon as you make a reservation, you will receive a list of local hotspots and tips allowing you to get around San Sebastian a little, even before joining the tour.

Perfect for: people who want a good, general tour

This two-hour tour takes a similar route to the Gildas’ tour, but with a heavier emphasis on history.

Cloudy sky and beautiful view of the San Sebastian port

Here you will learn how San Sebastian was transformed from an inconsequential town to becoming Castille’s most important seaport, with stories of pirates and wars along the way.

It’s also a tour that tries to teach you about the Basque Country’s culture, and what elements make up the identity of these proud people.

Finally, the tour will give you some tips and tricks on where to find the best local pintxos!

As with the Gildas, the meeting point is Real Club Naútico (Ijentea Kalea, 9).

Perfect for: people who want a little more history

This free walking tour , given by Spain Free Tours, meets at Kiosco de Prensa del Boulevard – with the local guides holding distinctive orange umbrellas (often a useful accessory in San Sebastian!)

A replica of the 1900 Belle Epoque carousel

While hitting many of the same spots as the tours above, this tour has a special love for San Sebastian’s belle epoque – its moment as the “Paris of the South”, which led to all kinds of 19th-century extravagance, from the creation of glamorous casinos to visiting royalty and aviation races.

This tour also takes in the origins of the San Sebastian International Film Festival, filling you in on decades of gossip from one of Europe’s premier film festivals.

It also gives you the lowdown on Donostiako Jazzaldia, the city’s jazz festival, which is also of international renown.

Perfect for: people who want the glitz and glamor

This walking tour is a street escape room, offering a totally different way to explore and learn about the city: solving a mystery.

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Escape The City || Escape Room (@escapethecityx)

The mystery centers around the disappearance of a couple, Clara and Tomás. Clara was once a renowned painter much favored by the city’s great and good, while Tomás was one of San Sebastian’s most important fishing magnates.

You will play games, solve clues, and work as a team to find your way to the end of the route, learning about San Sebastian as you go.

The tour meets at the Duque de Mandas Palace, inside the park, where the guide will be wearing an Escape the City T-shirt. They’ve recently released a new San Sebastian tour as well!

Perfect for: people who want an escape room vibe

As the name suggests, this free walking tour is all about San Sebastian’s most photogenic spots.

The tour meets in front of the terrace of the Swing Bar of the Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra and from then on focuses more on the coast compared to some of the other tours.

Beautiful sunset over Zurriola beach in San Sebastian

Photo opportunities here include the Bahía de la Concha, Eduardo Chillida’s Wind Comb sculpture, and the Miramar palace.

The tour guide Gabriel not only leads you to the most idyllic spots for that super snap, but he is also open to taking photos for you.

As well as this rather personal service, he gives you advice and tips on what to do for the rest of your stay.

Perfect for: people who want killer snaps

This free walking tour, given by a local named Maider, is something different. Instead of your typical tour around the old town, the aim of Free Tour Donostia Noir is to show you San Sebastian through the films and novels set here.

The tour meets at Plaza de Bilbao and lasts two hours. Maider is multilingual and a real traveler, so you are sure to find a kindred spirit with her.

If you have seen Patria on HBO (or read the book that inspired it by Fernando Aramburu), if you have read La Jaula de Sal by Ibon Martín, or if you familiar with Xabier Gutiérrez’s El Aroma del Crimen, this is the tour for you.

The tour is free, although a donation is requested. There needs to be a minimum number of attendees for the tour to take place, but large group bookings are not accepted. Dogs are welcome!

Perfect for: people who know a little about Basque culture already

The Comb of the Wind sculpture on rocky shore

Ramuntxo is a local art critic who takes you through San Sebastian, showing you the most notable works of art in public spaces.

This means that as well as Chillida’s Wind Comb and Besarkada (“The Hug”, which gives the tour its name), you will be given a bespoke tour of some of the city’s other masterpieces, including Néstor Basterretxea’s “The Dove of Peace” and “Empty Construction”, by Jorge de Oteiza.

As well as all this food for the soul, the walk also stops at several spots where you can try some of San Sebastian’s famed cuisine.

You are encouraged to upload any photos you take to Ramuntxo’s blog, to expand the appeal of San Sebastian’s art to future visitors.

Perfect for: people who want to see the best public art

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SAN SEBASTIÁN HISTÓRICO

Casco viejo de San Sebastían

free tours donostia

SAN SEBASTIÁN ESENCIAL

Hotel María Cristina, Teatro Victoria Eugenia, Catedral ¡y mucho más!

free tours donostia

Guías oficiales

Todos nuestros guías tienen una amplia experiencia como guías de turismo y conocen la ciudad al ser nativos.

free tours donostia

Precio libre

Al finalizar la visita guiada, eres LIBRE de decidir el precio que quieres pagar

free tours donostia

Lee lo que otros clientes opinan de nosotros.

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Don't know where to start, tours and things to do in donostia - san sebastián, best day trips from donostia - san sebastián.

Discover Donosti

The Ultimate San Sebastian Itinerary (1-3 Days)

Does the perfect 2 or 3 day San Sebastian itinerary exist? Well, after a few years of showing family and friends around, I think I’ve given it a pretty good shot!

There are endless things to do in San Sebastian and the nearby area, yet a thought out itinerary will help you make the most of your time in the city. 

The aim of this guide is to show you how to best spend 24-hours, 48-hours, 72-hours or more in Donostia, regardless of the time of year you’re planning to visit. 

Things to know before spending a day in San Sebastian

Before we dive into the best way to spend your time, there are a few things that are worth considering first. 

1. How many days in San Sebastian?

Donostia is a fairly small, compact city. However, there’s a lot to see, crammed into the small space. 

To see all of the best that San Sebastian has to offer, we recommend a stay of 3 days.  

You can, of course, see this in a more condensed trip, which we’ll run through below. If you choose to stay a little longer, you won’t run out of things to do either. There’s plenty this city (and wider area) has to offer.

2. A well planned itinerary is key

Whilst the city is very walkable, you can rack up the miles on foot if you’re not sure where you’re going or don’t have a clear plan in mind. 

Our 1 -3 day itinerary options below are designed to keep everything fairly close together so you don’t have to consistently walk from one end of the city to the other. 

3. Pick a good base to stay

If you’ve read our guide on where to stay in San Sebastian , you’ll know that most of the main attractions are reachable on foot from certain areas. 

We recommend choosing a hotel in the Area Romantica (Centre), Old Town, Gros or Antiguo, depending on your personal preferences. If you’re travelling to San Sebastian on the budget, there are also some great hostels in these areas. 

The ultimate San Sebastian itinerary

OK, so we’ve built our itinerary based on the number of days in the city. 

If you only have 24 hours in the city, then we recommend the “day 1” activities. If you’re here for 48 hours, then you should look to cover day 1 and day 2. Finally, if you’re staying for 72 hours or more, then you can cover all 3 days.

Day 1: Parte Vieja and La Concha Highlights

After a spot of breakfast, we recommend getting stuck into arguably San Sebastian’s crown jewel, La Concha beach.

1. La Concha Beach

La Concha beach has been voted as one of the best beaches in the whole of Europe, and it’s not hard to see why. A picture-perfect setting, the view from the promenade is probably the most iconic image of San Sebastian. 

No matter what time of year you visit the city, the first thing we recommend is to take a stroll on the promenade, the Paseo de La Concha . 

Given the beach is right in the centre of Donostia, you don’t really have an excuse either!

If you’re visiting San Sebastian in the summer , it’s worth actually heading down to walk the beach. If you’re here in the winter, the promenade is the ideal location for a seaside stroll where you can admire the views of Santa Clara Island. 

Either way, make your way from the Town hall round to Miramar Palace. 

2. Miramar Palace

In the middle of the La Concha promenade is the Miramar Palace . 

The palace dates back to 1893 when Queen Maria Christina purchased the land between La Concha beach and Ondarreta beach. She ordered that her summer retreat be built on the land in the style of an English cottage. 

It covers a total of 3 and a half hectares and includes the main palace building, a number of outbuildings and the large gardens.

It’s one of the most iconic buildings in the city. On a nice day, the gardens are the perfect place to recharge your batteries with a view.

3. The Parte Vieja (Old Town)

From the Miramar Palace you can head back towards the Town Hall to explore the Parte Vieja a little bit. 

Previously, the Old Town of San Sebastian was completely surrounded by a city wall, before it was demolished in 1863 to make way for the new town.

Today, the Parte Viejas’s narrow streets are packed with pintxo bars, restaurants, bakeries and bars. The result is a thriving atmosphere full of different noises and smells. 

If you’re up for it, I’d recommend taking one of the free walking tours that cover the Old Town and a little bit of the centre . They’ll take you to most of the highlights of these areas and explain a little bit about the city’s history. 

If not, you can also cover the Old Town highlights off yourself. 

The area contains some of the most important buildings and spaces in Donostia. You can check out what’s worth visiting in our guide to the Old Town here . 

4. Pintxo Crawl

After a full-on day of walking around and visiting the city, it’s likely you’ll have worked up a bit of an appetite. 

The good news is, San Sebastian has a worldwide reputation for the quality of its food . And one of things that set’s the city apart from others, are the pintxos.

Pintxos are small, appetiser-sized portions of food served in bars (they are ordered separately to your drink which is the main difference to the typical Spanish tapas). 

The best way to get a taste for the best pintxos is to go from bar to bar in the Parte Vieja ordering a couple in each place. It’s quite a unique experience, and something a little different to other European cities.

Given its popularity, we’ve pulled together a whole separate guide on our recommended pintxo bars here .

Day 2: Monte Igueldo and Gros

Now, these two districts may sit at opposite ends of the city, but we promise you that they are both worth visiting for different reasons. 

1. Peine del Viento

Located at the bottom of Monte Igueldo, El Peine del Viento is an intriguing piece of art.

The huge steel sculptures sit on the rocks at the end of Ondarreta Beach and live in harmony with the waves. 

When the sea is rough, the sculpture is at its most impressive. Water crashes against the rocks and blasts from the number of blow holes on the viewing platform. 

2. Monte Igueldo

After visiting El Peine del Viento, it’s time to head up the mountain to the top of Monte Igueldo . 

But don’t worry, we’re not going to make you walk. 

The best way to reach the peak is actually via the funicular. It dates back to 1912, and its old equipment and wooden carriages have been expertly preserved. They are still in use today, which makes the funicular an attraction in its own right.

Once you reach the top, you’re treated with some of the best views of San Sebastian.

But this special mountain has another surprise, The Monte Igueldo Amusement Park . Opening in 1912, it’s been a prominent feature in San Sebastian for over 100 years. 

The park is a mix of history and fun. You can ride some of the old wooden roller coasters from previous generations – which are still just as fun today!

There aren’t many theme parks in the world with as good views as those from Monte Suzia and Rio Misterioso.

After the morning on the West side of town, it’s time to head East to the Gros District. 

This area has become known as the cool, hipster district of San Sebastian thanks to the Zurriola Beach , which sits at the heart of the barrio (area). 

The waves here are the best for surfing, and hundreds of surfers flock from all over the world to spend the summer months in Gros. And all the young, cool surfers have brought a chilled-out, alternative vibe to Gros.

In the afternoon and at night, the area comes alive. There are plenty of bars and terraces to enjoy a drink and a bite to eat. 

Check out our guide to the district to discover more about the things to see and do in Gros . 

4. Take in the sunset

After a long couple of days of visiting the city, it’s time to take a bit of a rest. Sit back, relax and enjoy one of San Sebastian’s spectacular shows of nature. 

Given the northern orientation of the city, the sun actually rises behind the beaches. You may notice that most of the sunbathers face away from the sea for this reason. 

But what that does mean is that the sun sets in the city are incredible. Looking out over La Concha bay or La Zurriola beach, you’re treated to some beautiful skies as the sun hides behind Monte Igueldo or Santa Clara Island late in the day.

My favourite spot to watch the sunset has to be from the port, Paseo Nuevo or Sagüés. 

Day 3: Monte Urgull, The River and The Island

Day three of our itinerary is dedicated to one of the other mountains in San Sebastian, Urgull, and the water. 

1. Monte Urgull

Standing high behind the Old Town, Monte Urgull is San Sebastian’s natural fortress.

The Castillo de la Mota (Mota Castle) sits on top of the mountain and acted as the city’s first defence. Since becoming a military base in the 12th century, Monte Urgull bears the scars of a number of sieges that have taken place in the city over the centuries. 

Much like Monte Iguelso, there are impressive viewpoints on the way to the top. For anyone who manages the hike, El Polvorín (an open terrace bar) awaits with refreshments.

2. River Urumea

Heading back down to sea level, the River Urumea is a prominent feature that divides Donosti, splitting the city centre from the Gros and Egia barrios. 

Traditionally the river was used as a means of transporting goods (mainly Basque cider) from the nearby local villages. Today however, you’re more likely to find kayakers – and even surfers! 

The riverside has a number of landmarks along the way and some beautiful walkways making it a quiet, peaceful place to escape the city. If you want to rent a bike in San Sebastian, it’s also one of the best cycle routes around.

3. Boat Trip to Santa Clara Island

At the heart of La Concha Bay, Santa Clara Island is more than just a pretty thing to look at. 

It measures just 400 metres wide, but there’s a lot packed into this small island with plenty of character. 

It’s home to a lighthouse, Hondalea (an impressive geographical sculpture), San Sebastian’s fourth beach (with its own natural swimming pool), alongside plenty of chill out spots!

During the summer months (June – September) a boat taxi runs from the port in San Sebastian to Santa Clara Island. 

The blue taxi line is a glass bottomed boat that will also give you a tour of La Concha Bay where you can get some unique views of the city and the impressive “flysch style” rock formations of Santa Clara Island. 

A late afternoon, early evening trip is the perfect way to cap off 3 days in San Sebastian. You can find out more about the taxi boat here.

FAQs about San Sebastian Itineraries

In the section below, we’ve responded to the most FAQs that we haven’t covered in our itinerary. 

If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below and we’ll get back to you!

San Sebastian is 100% worth visiting. The city has it all; an interesting history, culture, events throughout the year, beautiful architecture, beaches, mountains and not to mention the food.

San Sebastian is a compact city, so you can cover off all the main attractions in 2 days. A full thought out itinerary will help you make the most of your time, however, to get a full flavour of Donostia, we’d recommend a trip of 3 days.

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