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Promenade San Sebastián, Spain

Best Area To Stay In San Sebastián, Spain

As by your preferences you’ll find the best area to stay in San Sebastián, Spain, for your visit with my description of seven districts below. I had a wonderful city trip to this Basque town and without doubt, so will you! We had a few special needs as my mother was accompanied by her huge Pyrenean Mountain dog. That’s why you’ll also find dog-friendly recommendations at the end of this post.

How To Get To San Sebastián, Spain

Looking for good weather I thought it might be a good idea to drive from Biarritz on the south-west coast of France around the Pyrenees to continue our road trip through the Basque region of Spain to San Sebastián. The highway led from France to Spain without any interruption of border control. From the border into Spain, the street signs were only in Basque and Spanish. Sorry for the French who just hopped the border – but they might speak Basque anyway. Click here to find more information about how to get to San Sebastián.

Am Fuße Der Pyrenäen Im Baskenland In San Sebastián, Spanien #reisen #städtereisen #spanien

Soon we proceeded down the hills into Donostia which is the Basque name of San Sebastián and found easy parking next to a beautiful boulevard near the Old Town. 

Take these books on your trip to northern Spain!

Am Fuße Der Pyrenäen Im Baskenland In San Sebastián, Spanien #reisen #städtereisen #spanien

My mother’s four-legged best friend Hesper experienced her first time in a lift in the underground parking next to the town’s promenade. Being a most relaxed and trustful dog, no problem at all.

My plan to flee the rain during our southern France trip to the south side of the Pyrenees didn’t work out well. A downpour sent us searching for shelter as with many other visitors. Within a short time, there was a lot of ooooh’s and aaaah’s about Hesper standing in between the international crowd and tolerating many hands from strangers petting her.

As soon as the rain slowed down we headed to a Pintxos bar at the brim of the Old Town of San Sebastián. In my limited Spanish, I ordered some Pintxos which is something like Tapas or small finger food served at bars and taverns.

The Old Town of – let’s use the Basque name – Donostia – is lovely. In the Parte Vieja (Old Town) you’ll find the highest concentration of bars in the world! Surely you will find cheaper ones in other parts of the city, but the atmosphere here is unique.

A bit crowded at times, but not always as we found some empty streets, too.

Choose The Best Area To Stay In San Sebastián, Spain

San Sebastián consists of 17 neighborhoods, of which some are close to the old town and others mark the outskirts. To choose the best area to stay in San Sebastián, you will find here a description of the top 6 neighborhoods with tips for accommodation and highlights.

We generally prefer to stay in the old town of any medieval city but your preferences may be different. Find your favorite area to stay in San Sebastián with our descriptions below. You’ll have a blast of a time in San Sebastián wherever you’ll choose to stay anyway!

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Area 1 – Old Town -Parte Vieja – Parte Zaharra

At the foot of Mount Urgull, overlooked by the Mota castle lies the pretty 12th-century historic center with its narrow alleyways and busy marketplace, in old times encircled by a medieval wall.

Most outstanding at first view is the Constitution Square which is a neo-classical square building around the former City Hall and the Santa María del Coro Church. I found some captivating street art on some iron window shutters of shops as which made a stroll after closing time valuable as well.

Am Fuße Der Pyrenäen Im Baskenland In San Sebastián, Spanien #reisen #städtereisen #spanien

Am Fuße Der Pyrenäen Im Baskenland In San Sebastián, Spanien #reisen #städtereisen #spanien

The old town is lively with La Brexta Market where people negotiating over the local produce. It is one of the most traditional markets in Donostia and was originally built in classicist style, taking its inspirations from ancient Rome and Greece. Of course, the gesticulating market vendor trying to communicate with tourists in another mother tongue is most amusing!

San Sebastian, Spain

Take a food tour in San Sepastian!

Travelers in the Old Town are gaping at the stunning ancient buildings or tasting specialties at the terraces while pigeons try to steal their share from the tables. Not to forget, pay a visit to Monte Urgull and San Telmo Museum.

This neighborhood is the perfect place to make the most of the cultural and historical offerings in the city. It’s home to natural monuments like Monte Urgull, the fascinating San Telmo Museum and the La Brexta Market, one of our favorite markets in the city. With so much to see and do, Parte Vieja is a hub of activity day and night.

There is beautiful architecture around every corner. Keep in mind that it can be noisy with the hustle and bustle of the Parte Vieja in this part of the city when you search for accommodation. It’s full of character but surely not the quietest of places.

Where to stay in the Historic Center


Pension Balerdi, San Sebastiàn, Spain

Set in a historic building, Pensión Balerdi is on the edge of San Sebastián’s old town, 50 m from Alameda Boulevard. Fully renovated in 2015 with bright, heated rooms.

Infos and Booking

Lasala Plaza Hotel

Lasala Plaza Hotel, San Sebastiàn, Spain

Lasa Plaza Hotel is a 1-minute walk from the beach, 80 m from Calle Mayor, within the Old Town, and 500 m away from Victoria Eugenia Theatre. It offers spacious and bright rooms, featuring modern décor.

Infos + Booking

Oldtown San Sebastián Apartments

Oldtown San Sebastián Apartments, San Sebastiàn, Spain

Set in a pedestrian-only street 4-minutes from the beach, Oldtown San Sebastiàn Apartments are fitted with a seating and a dining area. Some units feature a balcony and/or patio with river views. All units have a kitchen fitted with a dishwasher and oven.

Infos + Booking

Oteiza Apartment by FeelFree Rentals

Oteiza Apartment by FeelFree Rentals

Located in San Sebastián, within 300 m of Old Town, Oteiza Apartment by FeelFree Rentals is an accommodation offering city views. This apartment is 400 m from Kursaal Congress Centre and Auditorium, 6 minutes from the beach.

Infos + Booking

Ku by Oldtown San Sebastian apartments

Ku by Oldtown San Sebastian apartments

Set 200 m from Old Town and 300 m from Kursaal Congress Centre and Auditorium in San Sebastián, Ku by Oldtown San Sebastian apartments offers accommodation with a kitchen. This property offers access to a balcony.

Infos + Booking

The Parte Vieja opens with the port to the sea which is a testimony of the strong European maritime role which this town played for centuries.

The Old Town boasts of old stories from the past as an important shipping port for explorations to the ‘New World’ in medieval times, told by little architectural details and imposing buildings.

Of course – as it’s right and proper for any port – plenty small boats, yachts and impressive automobiles for the enjoyment for the rich and wealthy.

Area 2 – Ategorrieta-Ulia

Wealthy San Sebastián’s built their grand villas at the hill in the east side of the town at the foot of Mount Ulia in the 60’s, some of them turned into boutique hotels. Its tranquil surroundings with 20-30 minutes’ walk to the Old Town and beaches are ideal for families or people who like it quieter.

There are beautiful parks to visit in this area, like Mount Ulia Park with its old military watchtower facilities, whale watching posts, and an old mill. Some of the most impressive views of the city and surrounding areas you’ll find if you trek along the Camino de Santiago on the way from Mount Ulia to Pasajes.

If you are a gourmet, you shouldn’t miss Restaurant Arzak, renowned for its three Michelin stars. In recent years San Sebastián gained most Michelin stars per capita of all towns in the world with seven restaurants, with Mugaritz and Arzak ranked 6th and 17th in the world. Find here your gourmet adventure!

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Where to stay in Ategorrieta-Ulia

Hotel Villa Soro

Hotel Villa Soro

Hotel Villa Soro occupies 2 classical buildings, one of which was built in 1898 and is a Historical Heritage Building of San Sebastián.

Photos + Prices

Arbos House

Arbos House, San Sebastiàn, Spain

This rustic decorated house offers different rooms with a private bathroom. Arbos House features a garden.

Photos + Prices

Area 3 – Antiguo, the Old One

Antiguo is located in the West of San Sebastiàn at the foot of Mount Igueldo and is one of the earliest local settlements, before the foundation of the city of San Sebastián in 1180. In Xth century a monastery dedicated to Saint Sebastian was built in the middle of the bay and gave later the city’s name. In place of the destroyed monastery is the Royal Palace of Miramar, built in 1893.

With the university, the area has a young and fresh vibe. From here you can take the funicular for breathtaking views of La Concha and you will find here the beautiful Miramar Palace with its adjoining park, too.

This tranquil old neighborhood area borders one of the most popular beaches of San Sebastián, Ondarreta. Close to the beach are mansions of wealthier families, whereas further back the simpler buildings of the 19th Century working class line the roads. With only a few minutes walk to the beach of Ondarreta, 10 minutes by bus to the old town, a great walking, and biking path along the coast, it’s a great area to stay.

Insider’s tip: Traveling with kids? The Ondarreta Beach in Antiguo has a weaker current, meaning it’s safer for young kids. You also have a theme park in the summer for all the family to enjoy.

Where to Stay in Antiguo

Hotel Ezeiza

Hotel Ezeiza, San Sebastiàn, Spain

This property is set at San Sebastián’s Ondarreta Beach. Hotel Ezeiza is the ideal base for doing some sightseeing in this beautiful Basque city. It features a restaurant, café, on-site parking.

Photos + Prices

San Sebastian-Antiguo Apartment

San Sebastian-Antiguo Apartment, San Sebastiàn, Spain

The San Sebastian-Antiguo Apartment is 10 minutes from the beach and a 14-minute walk from Monte Igueldo. The 2-bedroom apartment is fitted with a kitchen with a dishwasher and a bathroom with a shower.

Photos + Prices

Area 4 – Centro – San Martin, The Elegant District

On the place where in earlier centuries old artisans gathered outside of the original city walls, architecturally homogenous buildings of high quality replaced the original constructions. This area is a vibrant shopping area. Avenida de Libertad is home to all favorite Spanish brands. If you want a bit of everything stay in the Centro, as La Concha, Gros, and Parte Vieja and the beach are within walking distance. This part of the town is rather quiet at night.

San Sebastián lies at a beautiful bay where surfers enjoy the waves in front of the medieval town. A lovely contrast of ancient and modern times.

Where to Stay in Centro – San Martin District

Pensión Urkia, San Sebastiàn, Spain

Pensión Urkia has an ideal location in the center of San Sebastián, just 200 m from La Concha Beach. Free coffee and rooms with a microwave and fridge are available.

Photos and Prices

Am Fuße Der Pyrenäen Im Baskenland In San Sebastián, Spanien #reisen #städtereisen #spanien

Area 5 – The Surfing Neighborhood of Gros

If you are a young couple or an adventure traveler, this neighborhood is for you. With Zurriola Beach in its center, it’s a surfer’s paradise. If surfing is not for you, exploring the Basque landscape by bicycle from here is great, too. Enjoy the evenings at one of the many bars with a vibrant atmosphere.

Book a San Sebastian Bike Tour with guide and e-bike included here!

Self-Catering Apartments

BetiJai - Basque Stay

BetiJai - Basque Stay

Situated 200 m from Zurriola Beach, BetiJai – Basque Stay is 300 m from the Kursaal Congress Centre and Auditorium. This 3-bedroom apartment comes with a kitchen, a seating area, and a flat-screen TV.

Photos + Prices

Gerezi - Basque Stay

Gerezi - Basque Stay

This property is 3 minutes walk from the beach. Gerezi – Basque Stay is situated in the Gros district of San Sebastián, 600 m from Old Town, 800 m from Victoria Eugenia Theatre and 900 m from Kursaal Congress Centre and Auditorium. The property features city views and is 900 m from Calle Mayor.

Photos + Prices

Zurriola Suites by Forever Apartments

Zurriola Suites by Forever Apartments, San Sebastiàn, Spain

Zurriola Suites is a new self-catering accommodation located in San Sebastián. FreeWi-Fi access is available and there is a reception. The property is 700 m from Playa de la Concha and 100 m from Kursaal. Accommodation will provide you with a tv, a balcony and patio. There is a full kitchenette with a dishwasher and a microwave.

Photos + Prices

Soroa Apartment

Soroa Apartment, San Sebastiàn, Spain

Soroa Apartment is 5 minutes walk from the beach. Located in the Gros district in San Sebastián, this apartment is 400 m from Zurriola Beach. Guests benefit from a terrace, 3 bedrooms and an air-conditioned living space, dining area, and a kitchenette, as well as a private bathroom. Towels and bed linen are available in this self-catering accommodation.

Photos + Prices

Area 6 – Egia, former food supply farms

On the hills where old farms supplied food to the city slumbers one of the oldest neighborhoods in San Sebastiàn. Originally apart from the town center, it’s now part of it with streets which reflect the names of the old farmhouses, providing attractive and affordable housing for families.

In 2016 San Sebastiàn became European Captial of Culture and many cultural activities were carried out in this family-friendly neighborhood which is only a 20 minutes’ walk from the beaches and the city center. A very special place to stay is the Hotel One Shot Tabakalera House in the refurbished 1913 old tobacco factory.

One Shot Tabakalera House, Donostia, Spain

One Shot Tabakalera House offers accommodation in the new International Centre for Contemporary Culture and former refurbished 1913 old tobacco factory (see above) of San Sebastián with only a 12 minutes walk to the beach.

Photos + Prices

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Area 7 – Amara, Stay with the Locals

If you look for an authentic experience you should stay in the area of Amara, where most Donostiarras choose to live. Within 15 minutes walk, you are at the Center but you can also take the bus as Amara is well connected by public transport. If you like football, you’ll find the football stadium in this area.

Take a Food and Wine Tour in San Sebastiàn!

Football Stadium Amara San Sebastian

Accommodation in Amara

Apartment Balea San Sebastian

Balea is a property with a terrace within an 18-minute walk of La Concha promenade and 1.9 km of Victoria Eugenia Theatre. The Old Town is within 2 km of the apartment.

Photos + Prices

Dog-friendly Accommodation in San Sebastián

Selfspeakingly it’s much more convenient to stay in an apartment with a dog than in a hotel as hotel rooms tend to be rather small. Obviously, it depends on the size of your dog and your budget. You’ll find a vast amount of dog-friendly accommodation in San Sebastián to choose from.

Check here for dog-friendly accommodation

Dog-Friendly Restaurants in San Sebastián

In general, it’s not a problem to take a dog in a restaurant or bar outside. Inside it’s another story. Make sure to check with the restaurant when you book a table that your dog is allowed into the restaurant and that you get a table with enough room for your dog to lie down, like for example in a corner.

Restaurants in San Sebastian

Hesper had a fest “reading newspapers”, sents which other dogs had left behind all around town. Taking her time she strained my mothers’ nerves a little bit. Not sure who was the most tired after the city trip with all the impressions, owner or dog. Dogs are not allowed on the beach but out of season, you might get away with it.

I had a great time and I’d love to return for some more explorations, especially for my taste buds!

Which Pintxos do you like most?

pintxos in san sebastian

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Best place to stay in San Sebastian Spain, things to do. Travel. San Sebastian Spain Beach Holidays. San Sebastian Spain Beach Food. San Sebastian Spain Beach Country. San Sebastian Spain Photography. San Sebastian Spain Food. San Sebastian Spain Tapas Bar. San Sebastian Spain Travel. San Sebastian Spain Food Cities. San Sebastian Donostia. San Sebastian Donostia Dibujo. San Sebastián Spain. San Sebastián España. San Sebastian España. #sansebastian #donostia #sansebastián #spain #espagne #espana #pintxos #SanSebastian #paisvasco #turismoespaña #turismocultural #turismo #spana #paysbasque


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