San Sebastian

Overview

Introduction

Also known by its Basque name of Donostia, the beautiful city of San Sebastian, Spain, is picturesque, expensive and one of the most fashionable spots to spend the summer.

Long the chosen summer escape for kings, dictators and celebrities (especially during its international movie festival week in September), San Sebastian is by far the most elegant coastal town in Spain. Belle epoque mansions, palaces and stylish apartments line the waterfront, placing it more on a level with Biarritz and Cannes than mass-market Benidorm or Torremolinos.

It's not cheap, but considering what it offers, you wouldn't expect it to be. Basque cuisine is considered the best in the whole peninsula. In the pintxo bars of the narrow-laned Parte Vieja (Old Quarter) and intimate harbor area, you can sample local fare—especially seafood—at its finest and most inventive. But San Sebastian is also a homely, relaxing, pedestrian-friendly town where you can bike along trails beside the Urumea River and take leisurely walks along the verdant coast overlooking the scenic Bay of Biscay.

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