The 9 best day trips from San Sebastian

San Sebastian, in my opinion, is one of the most beautiful cities in Spain. Its history, beaches, mountains, gastronomy...It's spectacular! In addition, not only is the city itself full of attractions, but there are incredible day trips from San Sebastian as well.

If you're visiting the capital of Gipuzkoa for several days or you have already been before, you can take advantage of your trip and plan a one of the day trips from San Sebastian that you will find in this article. Charming towns, natural wonders, walks, getaways to the neighboring country… There is something for everyone!

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9 day trips from San Sebastian

Ready to discover the best getaways from the capital of this Basque province? Let’s start!

1. San Juan de Gaztelugatxe

san juan de gaztelugatxe
San Juan de Gaztelugatxe

This place is one of the most popular places in the Basque Country that you can visit during your stay. This famous islet located between Bakio and Bermeo provides one of the most picturesque images in the Basque coast. It is connected to the mainland by a stone bridge with two arches. This place was featured in Game of Thrones as dragonstone.

241 steps will separate you from the highest point on the small island, located 150 meters above sea level. It is a hermitage dedicated to Saint John the Baptiste. The incredible views of the cliffs, the wild beaches and the zigzag stairway make every effort worthwhile.

This incredible place is located 120 km from San Sebastian. It is a very cool day trip to do, especially if you have a car, since you will have the freedom to make more stops on the way there or on the way back.

You can also get there using public transportation. You must take the Euskotren line E4 and get off at Bermeo. From there, take the bus to Gaztelugatxe. Admission is free but you must book a ticket on this website to enter. I recommend you do it as soon as possible.

2. Flysch of Zumaia and Sakoneta Beach

flysch de zumaia
Flysch of Zumaia

If you want to get to know one of the most beautiful natural landscapes in Spain, I recommend you make a trip to Zumaia Flysch, a place that will leave you speechless. If you’ve never been to such place, you’re probably wondering what a flysch is. It is a sequence of sedimentary rock layers (limestone, slate or sandstone) and other soft friable rocks (marl or shale). The best way to understand it will be to see it with your own eyes.

If you want to visit this natural wonder, you will have to travel to Zumaia, located 35 km from San Sebastian. You can get there by car, bus or by booking a tour to Zumaia by train. If you go on your own, once in Zumaia, you can book a boat ride through the Zumaia Flysch. Not far from this town, you can visit Sakoneta Beach, a place where you can see this same formation.

3. Day trip from San Sebastian to Biarritz

day trips from san sebastian
Day trip to Biarritz from San Sebastian

San Sebastian is very close to the border with France, therefore it’s not a bad idea to visit the neighboring country if you have some extra time. If you think it’s a good idea, I recommend visiting Biarritz. I have been to this coastal town many times I am in love with it. Biarritz mixes classic French elegance with a very surfer vibe, a very cool combination.

Make sure to take a walk through the old town or along the seafront, eat oysters at the local market, enjoy the sea on one of its beaches or book a private tour of Biarritz to get to know it better.

If you opt for this tour, I recommend you take a look at my post about what to see in Biarritz (coming soon). Here you can find the essential places to visit, my favorite restaurants and hotel recommendations, in case you want to stay more than one day. Another option is to book a tour of Biarritz and other towns on the French coast from San Sebastian.

If you want to spend the night in this beautiful French town, take a look at all the hotels in Biarritz that are still available.

4. Butrón Castle, day trips from San Sebastian

san sebastian in 3 days
Butrón Castle

A spectacular place that I was able to visit a year ago is Butrón Castle. This castle is located in Vizcaya, not far from San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, so you can take the opportunity to visit both places. It is of neogothic style and of medieval origin. It is surrounded by an extensive park with 35,000 square meters of space. After belonging to the Butrón family, it was abandoned for 3 centuries, until the Marquis of Cubas was in charge of remodeling it using other European castles as a reference.

Currently, this charming castle does not have an owner. Its interior remains closed but you can visit the outside. It is very worth it. It is located 109 km from San Sebastian.

5. Tour of coastal towns in Gipuzkoa

day trips from san sebastian
Excursiones desde San sebastián

The coast of Gipuzkoa is home to many charming little fishing villages. Among them are Guetaria, Orio, Zarauz, Zumaia, etc. If you have your own vehicle, I highly recommended to make a route by car making stops in all these towns and in natural viewpoints with incredible views of the sea.

If you don’t have a vehicle, I recommend this tour along the coast of Gipuzkoa. The tour starts in San Sebastian and takes you to Orio, Antilla beach, Orizabar beach, Getaria, Malkorbe beach and San Telmo beach, in Zumaia.

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6. Tour to Hondarribia from San Sebastian

day trips from san sebastian
Hondarribia

Hondarribia is one of the most beautiful towns in Spain. Its proximity to the Gipuzkoan capital, just 23 km away, makes visiting this town one of the best day trips from San Sebastian. It is a coastal town with a walled historic quarter that radiates magic and beauty from every corner. Be sure to get lost in its picturesque streets and try its exquisite cuisine.

Some places to see in Hondarribia are the Castle of Carlos V, Puerta de Santa María, the Wall of Hondarribia, Gipuzkoa Square, the Port of San Nicolas, Plaza del Obispo, Kale Nagusia (main street), the Arma Plaza and the Church of Santa María de la Asunción y del Manzano. You can go by car, bus or book this organized tour to Hondarribia, San Juan and San Pedro.

If you want to enjoy this beautiful Gipuzkoan town in a calmer way, take a look at all the hotels in Hondarribia that are still available.

7. Hiking Camino del Norte until you get to Pasajes

day trips from san sebastian
Pasajes, Basque Country

One of the activities that I enjoyed the most during my trip to San Sebastian was the walk from the city to Pasajes San Juan. This route is part of Camino del Norte to Santiago. The walk begins at Mount Ulía, located next to Zurriola Beach. There are different paths, some closer to the coast and with views of the sea and other paths further inland, crossing the forests and mountain. The journey from San Sebastian to Pasajes is approximately 7 km. I recommend you do the outward walk and return by bus.

Once you arrive at Pasajes San Pedro, you will have to take a boat to cross the bay and get to Pasajes San Juan, a charming little town. Walk through its little streets and regain some energy in one of its restaurants. After so much walking, you will want some food and something to drink.

8. Day trip from San Sebastian to San Juan de Luz

san juan de luz
San Juan de Luz

If you want to plan a day trip to France but have already been to Biarritz, another very good option is to visit Saint-Jean-de-Luz. This charming French seaside town will make you enjoy the little pleasures in life. You can spend the day on the beach, try exquisite dishes, take a walk through the charming historic center or visit the central market to try some of the local products. It is a small but very pretty town, full of very picturesque streets and charming shops.

Do not miss the fishing port, the seafront, the old Grand Hôtel and Casino La Pergola, Place Louis XIV, Gambetta Street, Church of Saint John the Baptist and the Paul Jovet Littoral Botanical Garden. Saint-Jean-de-Luz is located 33 km by car from San Sebastian. If you don’t have a car, you can book a tour to Biarritz, Bayonne and Saint-Jean-de-Luz.

Do you want to stay more than one day in this charming French town? Take a look at all the hotels in Saint-Jean-de-Luz still available.

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9. Traditional Cider House Tour

day trips from san sebastian
Tours in Gipuzkoa

Do you like cider? If your answer is yes, I recommend you take a look at this tour of a Gipuzkoan cider house. You will be able to know all the secrets of this famous drink and enjoy a tasting. After a 20-minute drive, you will start with a visit to the cider house: you will get to know the apple orchards, the cellars, the production and the history of cider in the Basque Country.

The excursion also includes a meal consisting of an appetizer, cod omelette, fried cod with peppers, grilled steak and cheese with walnuts and quince. The tour lasts 4 hours and costs €59 per person.

I hope that this article about the best day trips from San Sebastian has been very useful to you in planning your trip to this beautiful city in the Basque Country. If you want to tell me about your experience or have any questions, I encourage you to leave a comment. Until next time, traveler!

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