San Sebastian, located in Spain’s Basque Country, is AWESOME. The food, the drink, the people, the beach… it’s wonderful. There are tons of little restaurants that all serve pintxos (traditional small tapas-like snacks), which you can enjoy with a glass of txikito (a delicious white wine). It’s easy to restaurant hop, grabbing a drink and a small bite to eat as you explore the streets.
Aside from the delicious food and drink, San Sebastian is a gorgeous surf town. Even in November you can walk in the sand and watch dozens of people surfing while others stroll barefoot with their dogs. The weather is oceanic, and so the summers aren’t too hot nor the winters too cold. It’s perfect tourist weather, since you’ll be set with a light sweater or jacket even in the winter months. I learned in Italy that weather can drastically affect your travel agenda, but in San Sebastian you don’t need to worry!
As you stroll the streets the architecture varies. You’ll find cathedrals and churches, castles, squares, and bridges. But my favorite view was found on a rather easy hike just steps away from the city center.
Starting the hike
Begin by walking along the main beach road until you get to the gas station. Just to the left you’ll see stairs. Take the stairway up alongside some houses and gardens, if you’re lucky there might be a few animals hanging out. When we went a woman was feeing her chickens and it was the perfect Spanish scene. Be aware that these stairs are killer! Once you make it up all the stairs turn left at the little road and continue to follow the signs. You’re now hiking along Monte Ulia! If you want to go all the way to the next town, Pasaia, it’s about 7 km (or a couple of hours). There’s a bus you can take back to San Sebastian.
The trails run parallel to the water with amazing cliff views and ruins littered about. I was very curious what the buildings used to be used for, you’ll see that some of them are quite off the path! I can’t imagine how the community would get out near the edge of the cliffs so long ago. There are a few mini trails that are worth taking, you’ll get a little closer to the water and have better views of the beaches. Even if you decide not to go all the way to Pasaia you’ll be happy with the stunning scenery. There are great spots to stop and have a quick bite if you bring snacks, otherwise just enjoy the fresh air!
I didn’t know much about the hike before arriving in San Sebastian but it was one of my favorite things that I did. I’ll jump on any chance to add some extra activity to travel and this was a perfect way to do so. Afterwards we rested for a bit and then went out to celebrate our hike with some sangria and txikito. It was an experience that I’ll never forget and left me excited to get off the beaten path in my future travels!