San Sebastian, Spain ~ Surprise on the Atlantic Coast!

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San Sebastian, Spain, Jewel of Northern Spain


san sebastian scene peace love travel light

We went to San Sebastian on a whim as we had decided to go back to France to visit La Rochelle, a place I lived as a child, on our way to Ireland, and it was sort of half way there, plus it’s on the Atlantic coast and we wanted to see how that climate is in the winter. In a few words, it’s cold and rainy! I think it rained every day while we were there. But it didn’t subtract from the charm at all.

Where to Say in San Sebastian

We stayed in the Zenit hotel which was one of our favortite hotels in Europe, and we stayed in lots of 4 star hotels on this trip because we were traveling in the off season so they were less expensive than usual. But anyway, the Zenit is almost new, and very modern, and fantastic in every possible way. The rooms are spotless, large, and beautiful, and the wifi was fast and very reliable.

San Sebastian, Spain scene

The restaurant had incredible food, and the waiters and waitresses are the nicest anywhere, and the prices are very reasonable. In general the food prices in Spain are much lower than France or Italy either one anyway, but the food at the Zenit was exceptional. They even give free coffee, tea, and hot chocolate all day long.

There are other hotels down closer to the bay, and closer to town, but there is a bus stop very close to our hotel so we didn’t mind the location at all. If you want to be closer to the bay, I recommend using to find some. The city is very clean and walkable so I think any of them would do, seriously!

san sebastian

So we loved the Zenit! But the hotel was not the only thing we loved. San Sebastian is full of charm, and it turns out it is the most expensive in Spain in regards to real estate prices because everyone loves it! Rich French and rich Spanish people both have summer houses there because in the summer the weather is perfect. It’s a cultural hot spot of the Basque region and Spain itself.

San Sebastian, Spain architecture

What to Do in San Sebastian, Spain


It was very cold when we were there though, as it was January. Still, it’s a wonderful place to visit. Beautiful architecture, beautiful harbor, great food, and it’s not very big, so easy to get around. We took the bus down to the main part of the town and to see the cathedrals. Yes I have to visit all the cathedrals in every town we visit. Thank goodness my husband is tolerant of my obsession. Here is  Iglesia de San Vicente. It’s a Gothic masterpiece.

San Sebastian, Spain cathedral

The Zumardia boulevard has beautiful lamp posts.
Coming into the city at night we saw many beautiful ones from the train…as we were leaving my husband took a few for me. Notice the sea gull on the lamp post.

San Sebastian, Spain lamp posts

Close up of  lamp post.
San Sebastian lamp post


There’s also a magnificent statue of Jesus on a hill overlooking the harbor which reminded me of the one in Rio de Janeiro. From the pictures I’ve seen they are similar. It gave me goose bumps when I saw it. It’s as if He is standing guard over the little city.

san sebastian jesus

Here is a close up of the statue.

jesus king of kings San Sebastian, Spain

More Things to Do in San Sebastian

La Concha Beach


Ondarreta Beach

Igueldo Mountain~Ride the train up to the top from the end of Ondarreta Beach. Gorgeous views and a theme park.

Old Town

Be sure to try some of the restaurants. Basque cooking is world renowned!

We were definitely glad we stopped in San Sebastian!

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