Where to stay in San Sebastian
The city of San Sebastian is not very big. However, it is important to choose a hotel that is well located to be close to the main tourist attractions in the city. I recommend staying in the downtown area or in the Gros neighborhood.
On my last trip to San Sebastian, I stayed at the Sansebay Hotel. This hotel is located in the Old Town, right next to the port. The location is perfect as it is in the center but the street it’s on is very quiet. You won’t have to worry about noise. Also, the views from the room are splendid.
If you are still undecided about accommodation in San Sebastian, I recommend reading my post about where to stay in San Sebastian. Below, you can find several hotels for different budgets:
- Hostels: Surfing Etxea, Koba Hostel.
- $: Pensión San Jerónimo.
- $$: Pensión Ondarra.
- $$$: Boulevart Donostia.
- $$$$: Maria Cristina.
3-day San Sebastian (Spain) itinerary
Ready to discover the best things to do in San Sebastian in 3 days? Let’s start!
Day 1: Old Town and Mount Igueldo
On the first day in San Sebastian, it is time to walk along Paseo de la Concha until you get to Mount Igueldo, passing through the Miramar Palace and first approaching Peine del Viento. Then I recommend going up to Mount Igueldo by cable car. On the summit you can appreciate beautiful views of the city.
Return to the old part of the city to walk around and taste the famous pintxos. At sunset, go up to Mount Urgull for a pleasant walk and enjoy the views of the sea.
Concha Beach and Paseo Maritimo of San Sebastian
Paseo de La Concha, an avenue that borders the Concha Bay, is one of the most famous places in the city and one of the best things to do in San Sebastian. Apart from passing by Miramar Palace, where I recommend stopping, you will also pass by the Hotel Londres and La Perla building. All this while you enjoy a pleasant walk with views of the sea along Paseo Maritimo of San Sebastian.
The Miramar Palace is located in front of Concha Bay, between Concha Beach and Ondarreta Beach. Although you cannot visit the interior, it is highly advisable to go to the palace and take a walk in the surrounding gardens. There are benches and the views are very nice. You will also find information panels, where can learn about the history of this English-style palace.
Peine del Viento
Once you pass Ondarreta Beach completely, continue along Paseo de Eduardo Chillida until you reach the end of it, where Peine del Viento is located. It is a group of three sculptures designed by Eduardo Chillida, a Gipuzkoan sculptor. Here, nature and the hand of man come together to create a unique place.
Mount Igueldo, a must-visit place in San Sebastian in 3 days
If you are going to visit Mount Igueldo by cable car, I remind you that it opens at 11:00 a.m. from Monday to Friday and at 10:30 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. After having breakfast and taking a quick walk around the city, surely the time will have come. If you are going hike to the top, you can go even earlier.
The cable car runs every 15 minutes and costs €2.55 (one-way) or €4 (roundtrip). If you go up by funicular, access to the viewpoint is included in the price of the ticket. If you hike to the top, you will have to pay €2.50 per person to access the viewpoint. As you can see, it is worth going up using the cable car. However, to head down, I do recommend walking.
Apart from enjoying the views, you can have a drink at the bar with a terrace or dare to go up one of the attractions in the Mount Igueldo Amusement Park, built in 1912.
Old Town of San Sebastian
It’s time to return to the center of San Sebastián to explore the most beautiful part of the city, the Old Town. Here you will find many of the attractions to see in this city.
The places that you can not miss during your walk through this area are the Alameda del Boulevard, the Donostia City Hall, Plaza de la Constitución, the Basilica of Santa María del Coro, San Vicente Church and San Telmo Museum.
While you visit places, be sure to enjoy some of the most famous pintxos in San Sebastián. I recommend you go to Paco Bueno, Atari Gastroleku, La Mejillonera, Borda Berri, Bar Sport, Txuleta and Bar Néstor. For dessert, don’t miss the opportunity to try La Viña’s cheesecake.
Another way to visit this part of the city is by booking a free tour of San Sebastian. It is a guided tour in which you pay a donation at the end of the tour. It is very good to know the history of the city and some interesting facts. If you like walking tours, you may want to check the best free tours in San Sebastian.
To end your first day in San Sebastián in the best possible way, I recommend you take a pleasant walk through Mount Urgull. You can go around it through Paseo Nuevo or visit the interior thanks to the different paths.
I accessed Mount Urgull through the entrance located very close to San Telmo Museum. I visited several areas of the mountain, such as Baluarte del Mirador, the English Cemetery and La Mota Castle, and I rapped the day up by watching the sunset from the bar located on the same mountain. The name is Urgulleko Polboriña.
Day 2: City Center and Gros
On the second day in San Sebastian, it is time to visit several places in the City Center and in Gros neighborhood.
Gipuzkoa Square, the first public park in San Sebastian
The first stop will be in Gipuzkoa Square, where the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa headquarters are located. It is also the first public park in the city. The square, apart from being full of plants and flowers, houses a pond with ducks, a marble hour table and a monument dedicated to the musician from San Sebastian, José María Usandizaga.
Good Shepherd of San Sebastian Cathedral
Not far from the Gipuzkoa Square, you will find the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd of San Sebastián. It was inaugurated in 1897 and is neoclassical in style. Its tower is 75 meters high. The cathedral is located just one kilometer from the Basilica of Santa María del Coro and there is no building in between.
María Cristina Bridge
Once you have finished walking through the center of San Sebastian, cross the María Cristina Bridge and head to the other side of the Urumea River. This bridge is one of the most beautiful ones in the city. It was built in 1904 and designed by José Eugenio Ribera and Julio María Zapata.
La Tabakalera, if you enjoy cultural activities
If you like cultural activities, I recommend you take a look at the agenda of La Tabakalera, an international center for contemporary culture. If you prefer other types of plans, you can get closer to simply see the building from the outside, which was a tobacco factory for 90 years.
Cristina Enea Park
Cristina Enea Park is not usually included in many San Sebastian itineraries. It seems to me like it’s the ideal place to take a pleasant walk and take a break. You will find gardens with many trees, several paths, a pond and the Cristina Enea Fundazioa Foundation.
Gros y la Playa de Zurriola, one of the best places to visit in San Sebastian in 3 days
Once you finish visiting the park, it’s time to walk towards Gros, one of the most popular neighborhoods in San Sebastian. It is a fairly modern area with a more youthful atmosphere. In Gros, you will find many bars, cafes and shops. I recommend walking around, losing yourself in its streets and discovering some of its most interesting corners.
The main tourist attraction in Gros is Zurriola Beach, where there are usually many surfers. If you travel to San Sebastian in the summer, you can take advantage of the afternoon to stay on this beach. I also recommend you walk along the promenade until you reach the sculpture of the Paloma de la Paz.
La Zurriola Bridge
Now it’s time to return to the center of San Sebastián crossing the Zurriola Bridge, built in 1915. It draws attention for its white and green streetlights. Once you cross this famous bridge, on your left, you will have on the Victoria Eugenia Theater and the María Cristina Hotel, two of the most emblematic buildings in San Sebastian.
Santa Clara Island Boat Cruise
This activity is completely optional, but if you have time and if you feel like it, you can book this boat trip to Santa Clara Island, located in La Concha Bay. Apart from seeing this island up close, you will be able to enjoy the pleasant archway. The visit lasts half an hour and costs €7 per person.
Day 3: Outskirts of San Sebastian
There is much to see in San Sebastian and even more if we take into account the incredible places in the outskirts of the city. On the third day in San Sebastian, I am going to recommend several places. Choose the ones you most want to visit and end your visit in the capital of Gipuzkoa in the best way possible.
Hike in Mount Ulia until you get to Pasajes
Something that I really enjoyed on my visit to San Sebastian was hiking in Mount Ulia until I reached the town of Pasajes. Even if you don’t have time to complete the entire route, I do recommend that you don’t miss out on hiking Mount Ulia to see the views of the city from there.
If you’re like and want to walk to Pasajes, you should know that the route lasts 2 hours. Once you get to Pasajes, you can take the boat that takes you from San Pedro to San Juan and take a walk there. It’s very pretty. I recommend you return to San Sebastian by bus.
Bathe in La Concha Beach
If on your third day in San Sebastian you feel like doing something more relaxing, I recommend spending the morning or afternoon at Concha Beach. Did you know that it is listed as one of the best urban beaches in the world?
Tour of the outskirts of San Sebastian
In the surroundings of San Sebastian, you will find many places worth visiting. Since you are going to spend 3 days in San Sebastian, it is not a bad idea to visit places like Hondarribia, Zarautz, Getaria or Zumaia. All of them are very charming places.
If you want to know other places to visit near San Sebastian, I recommend my article on the best day trips from San Sebastian.
If you have your own vehicle, I encourage to use it because it’s the most comfortable option. You can opt for public transportation or booking an organized tour if you don’t have a vehicle:
- Hondarribia, San Juan & San Pedro Tour.
- Zumaia, Zarautz & Getaria Day Trip.
- Biarritz & French Coast Day Trip.
- Traditional Cider House Tour.
Visit Chillida Leku
A few kilometers from San Sebastian, you’ll find Chillida Leku museum, founded by Eduardo Chillida, the creator of the Peine del Viento. The museum is housed in a farmhouse located in the town of Hernani. It is a landscaped space full of several varieties of trees and steel and granite sculptures. If you are interested in art, it can be a very interesting visit.
Map to visit San Sebastian in 3 days
In the following map of San Sebastian, you can see all the places that I have mentioned in this article and the hotel I recommend:
I hope that this post about how to visit San Sebastian in 3 days has been very useful for you in planning your trip to this beautiful city and its surroundings. If you want to tell me about your experience in the city or have any questions, I encourage you to leave a comment. Until next time, traveler!