The Beautiful and Cozy San Sebastian

San Sebastian is one of Spain’s most picturesque cities in the Basque Country. Some of the major reasons of its irresistable appeal is its historic structures and beautiful coastline. This lovely coastal city exudes a very cozy vibe, and it’s quite difficult not to like it with its seafood restaurants, pintxos bars, fishermen houses and quaint shops. San Sebastian is divided into major sections, which are the Old Town, Centro and Gros.

San Sebastian’s in-city beaches are some of the most beautiful in Europe. The most popular of them all, and is also regarded to be one of the world’s best is La Concha Bay. Situated on the west side of the city, the bay’s clear turquoise waters are decorated with boats and an island called Isla Santa Clara. Aside from swimming, sunbathing and relaxing on the sand of La Concha, you can also take a 10-minute boat ride to the island, which also has its own stretch of sand during low tide. Just beside La Concha is Ondarreta Bay, which is only separated by a rock headland, called El Pico del Loro.  These sandy beaches offer visitors lounge chairs, umbrellas, showers, changing rooms and daytime lifeguard supervision.  On the east of the old town and river lies another popular beach named La Zurriola.  This beach possesses the perfect conditions for surfing and other water sports.

Because of the size of the city, it is easy to explore it on foot or riding a bicycle. The downtown area is designed with plenty of bicycle lanes. The Tourist Information Center offers bike cards to tourists.  Bus and taxi services are also available. However, taxis can only take passengers at designated taxi stands. Most of the streets at San Sebastian’s center overlook this gorgeous bay. However, if you’re one of those people who love to get spectacular vantage views of the city, the harbor and the ocean; hop on a funicular or walk up to Monte Igeldo. The area at the foot of this mountain is called Torrepea Point, and this is where you can find the Peine de los Vientos sculpture, the masterpiece of a famous Basque artist Eduardo Chillida.

The Old Town is home to the oldest structures in the city. Here, grand churches like the Renaissance Santa Maria del Coro and the Gothic San Vicente that are waiting to be explored. Another prime attraction is the area is the San Telmo Museum. This former Dominican convent features fine collections of paintings as well as precious ethnographic and archaeological items.  The main square that unites all the streets in this area is the Plaza de la Constitución. This plaza is now home to important buildings including the Neoclassical Municipal Library, but during the old days, it used to be a bullring.  Other must-see architectural attractions are  Victoria Eugenia Theatre, Koldo Mitxeleria Cultural Centre, Plaza de Guipúzcoa and San Sebastian Cathedral.

A number of people come to San Sebastian not only for its natural beauty but also for its superb local cuisine, which is considered to be one of the best in the country. San Sebastian is home to many world-class restaurants including those awarded with Michelin stars. Another option is  to dine in one of its mid-range eateries that serve the famous Basque-style tapas, also called pintxos.

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