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Discover Spain’s culinary and cultural capital
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Head to San Sebastian for an alluring coastal break and overwhelm your taste buds with acclaimed gastronomical delights. The best way to arrive in this captivating city is to book a direct flight to San Sebastian. After a short two-hour flight, you could touch down in this ultra-charming city of culture.
Located in Spain’s mountainous Basque Country, this timeless city is surrounded by soaring, lush vegetation and a spectacular crescent coastline on the Bay of Biscay. San Sebastian’s diverse food scene and culinary traditions are world-renowned – vibrant Pintxos (Basque tapas) bars pervade the characterful streets and there are more award-winning Michelin-starred restaurants per square metre than anywhere else in the world. If that’s not enough, you can nourish mind and body thanks to San Sebastian’s rich cultural heritage. Browse the iconic Kursaal, the historic Teatro Victoria Eugenia or Tabakalera – the city’s contemporary arts centre. From the International Film Festival to the Semana Grande, there’s always plenty going on. Book your San Sebastian holiday with British Airways, you’ll enjoy award-winning service and arrive refreshed, ready to explore this enchanting Spanish location.
How long does it take to fly to San Sebastian from London?
You can fly from London City (LCY) to San Sebastian Airport (EAS) in just two hours. With two flights operating every week, getting to San Sebastian couldn’t be easier. Make the most of the high-quality British Airways service.
British Airways also fly to the nearby city of Bilbao, which is the de facto capital of Basque Country. Choose daily flights to Bilbao (BIO) from London Gatwick (LGW).
How many bags can I check in on my flight to San Sebastian?
You can book a hand baggage only fare or make the most of our generous luggage allowance. With standard economy or our package holidays, you’ll be able to check-in one bag each, weighing up to 23g – in addition to a handbag, laptop case or one other carry-on bag. Families with younger children can also check-in one car seat and one fully collapsible pushchair – no matter what cabin they are travelling in.
If you’re travelling business class, you can check-in two bags weighing up to 32kg each. Read our baggage guide for further luggage information.
Do I need a visa for San Sebastian?
Travel restrictions will be the same in San Sebastian as that of mainland Spain. At present, citizens of the UK, Ireland and other EU countries (who hold an EU passport) do not require a visa to visit Spain. If you’re from a non-EU country, you may need to apply for a visa before you travel. You can find out more about visa requirements on our visa information page.
Where is San Sebastian Airport and how do I get to the city centre?
San Sebastian Airport is located close to the Spanish-French border and is just over a 12-mile drive to the city centre. There are several convenient transport options for this journey. Take a taxi from the main stand when exiting the airport or you can easily reserve a private car or shuttle service. There are plenty of car hire options so that you can fully explore the beautiful Basque Country throughout your stay.
Our San Sebastian hints and tips will have you feeling like a local in no time.
Basque is the official language in San Sebastian. Although many residents are bilingual, it has the highest number of Basque speakers in the whole province. Whilst you won’t need to worry about being a fluent Basque speaker, you can expect to hear Spanish, Catalan, Basque and Galician during your stay at this tourist-friendly city.
If you feel like exploring, head for the heights of Mont Urgall. Enjoy a scenic walk through verdant woodlands and on your way pass the large statue of Christ and a peaceful English cemetery. You’ll reach La Mota castle which offers sweeping, panoramic views overlooking San Sebastian and the La Concha bay. Take the funicular railway ride up Monte Igueldo to gaze over more breathtaking scenery. Here you’ll find the quirky, belle epoque fairground.
Due to San Sebastian’s unique mountainous geography, the weather is often pleasant but surprisingly changeable. The best time to visit is from May to September, when you’ll find warmer temperatures and the least likelihood of rain. August is generally the hottest month, with temperatures reaching highs of 24 degrees Celsius. October through to March are quieter but wetter months of the year so be sure to pack a raincoat if you’re visiting then.
Where to stay
As you’d expect, the centre is the chicest area to stay. Buen Pastor Cathedral lies here, encompassed by high-end boutiques, attractive cafes and formal stone buildings. Alternatively, stay in the old town with its lively pintxo bars, leafy boulevards and cobblestoned streets. The De Londres y De Inglaterra enjoys a prime location – close to the city’s old town and La Concha Beach – as does the iconic Maria Cristina Hotel, where you’ll experience luxury and palatial vibes. There’s also Gros, the laid-back hipster area, which is close to Zurriola beach and then Amara, the elegant business district of the city. On the outskirts of the city, the Arima hotel promises a peaceful and eco-friendly stay in San Sebastian’s leafiest suburb.
What to eat
San Sebastian is frequently hailed as the world’s top food destination. It boasts some of the finest eateries and is home to the innovative Basque Culinary Centre. Yet what makes San Sebastian cuisine even more appealing is its lively pintox bars. Soak up the cosy atmosphere and savour authentic local tastes for an affordable price. Don’t miss the traditional fresh, whole-roasted seafood, salted cod, anchovies, Idiazabal cheese and Txuleta – not forgetting the excellent regional wines and ciders. Pintox bar-hopping is the best way to truly enjoy small rustic and gourmet dishes, which are cooked to perfection.
Things to do
Few visit San Sebastian without spending a day at the city’s stunning beachfront, Playa de la Concha. This sandy stretch, and Playa de la Zurriola – which lies just behind the city’s trendy neighbourhood of Gros – are a surfer’s haven. From here, take a short boat trip to the intriguing little island of Santa Clara, admiring the green mountains as you pass. There’s also plenty to see away from the seaside. Admire masterpieces at the San Telmo Museum and amble through the impeccably manicured Parque de Cristina Enea, looking out for local wildlife. Compare the eclectic architectural mix which is so distinctive to San Sebastian – with its Grand plazas, medieval streets, elegant art nouveau buildings, contemporary structures and neo-gothic cathedral.