Our best suggestions to do in the city if you want to feel like a local
It will come as no surprise to learn that weather in the capital of Gipuzkoa is as unpredictable as the lottery. Locals keep an array of plans to make the most of the city in the event of adverse weather. Indeed, statistics bestow upon San Sebastian the honour of being one of the rainiest cities in Spain, raining an average of 1 in 3 days. This can affect the planning of your visit to the city. That’s why we, at OH MY WALK, want to give you some suggestions to improve your stay in San Sebastian with a series of plans locals make depending on the atmospheric conditions.
But first, let’s give you a taste of what you will find.
San Sebastian, a trendy tourist destination
Did you know Donostia has been nominated to be best European tourist destination? After a 420,000 people poll, San Sebastian obtained a prestigious fifth place in the European Best Destination 2017 award ranking. This year’s winner was Porto, in Portugal.
These good reviews have probably boosted the amount of visitors we have had this past year. In fact, the amount of tourists in San Sebastian increased by a 10% in 2016, reaching the 2 million overnight stays mark. Such a big visitor attendance can make one feel more of a tourist than a traveller in San Sebastian. Have you ever felt that way? How do you define yourselves?
Tourists vs. Travellers
Alone or in group? With a suitcase or a backpack? According to Holidify, these are some of the issues that mark the difference between a tourist and a traveller. Just in case you don’t have a clear picture of yourselves in this regard, here you have some ideas that can help you define yourselves.
San Sebastian is the perfect medium size city to allow yourself to get lost.
You are visiting a new place, a wonderful sight, one out of a movie. You can’t possibly leave without taking a picture (or many). Here’s the test: would you rather take a picture of the landscape, or a selfie with the landscape in the background? If you’d rather take the selfie, we believe you’re closer to a tourist.
Second test. You’re planning your next trip. You choose the destination and buy the tickets. At this point, a bona fide tourist would devote his/her time to finding a hotel that meets his needs, be it with or without a swimming pool or wifi… but with a comfortable bed to have a rest. However, a traveller would not find it necessary to book accommodation before the trip. He’d face the adventure of seeking accommodation once there, so that the story of his trip would not be written beforehand.
In short, the big difference between tourists and travellers is the intention of the trip. Although they both wish to know new places, the traveller is more curious to find the most hidden nooks. He seeks to find cultural disparity, talk to the locals and discover the unknown with neither schedule nor route.
Our OH MY WALK! bag is definitively a Traveller!
Do you already know what side you’re on? Whichever traveling mode you choose, in Donostia you’ll find both tourists and travellers depending on the time of the year you decide to visit. The following plans work for either of them, and are devised to make you feel like a local when coming to San Sebastian.
Top 10 things locals do in San Sebastian
If you search for information on what to visit in San Sebastian, any source will suggest you visit Monte Igueldo, the La Concha bay, the Parte Vieja, the Miramar Palace, the Peine del Viento… all of which are great sites, and compulsory if you come visit Donostia. However, in OH MY WALK we want to go beyond that, and tell you about the plans we locals make, taking into account the aforementioned climatic instability.
So here you have the perfect plans for whatever weather conditions you come across. Take note!
1. Have some pintxos in Gros, instead of the Parte Vieja
As you may know, gastronomy is one of the main courses of our culture. That’s why a pintxo tour is a must for anyone visiting San Sebastian, rain or shine. The pintxo is a small Basque recipe, whose origin goes back to Donostia itself, in the 30s. At the time San Sebastian was sought by vacationers, thanks to the fame of the aristocracy in the city. Legend tells that the “La Espiga” tavern (which is still open nowadays), created the pintxo as an enticement for the La Concha passers-by. The reason for the name, you might ask? It essentially refers to its composition: a bit of food on top of a piece of bread, bound to it with a toothpick or “pintxo”.
You should preferably try the warm pintxos and the specialities
Although pintxos are usually associated with the Parte Vieja, we recommend you some taverns in the Gros district. It so happens that, being away from the most typical tourist areas, Gros boasts a youthful and disperse atmosphere, where pintxos are as good as those in the Parte Vieja. On top of that, prices will be even more affordable if you don’t miss an appointment with the weekly “pintxopote”, held on Thursdays in the taverns of Gros, in which with your drink you are offered a free pintxo. We will soon give you some recommendations on our “ideal pintxo tour” in our Blog, were you to decide to take it.
2. Eating outdoors
Following the gastronomic theme, and as an option for sunny days, we find it highly recommendable to buy some take away food and eat it in any of the following places. The Paseo de los Curas in Mount Urgull, the pier next to the Club Náutico, or the port are perfect places to have lunch while enjoying the views.
The pier is a very nice place to eat your food by the sea.
Don’t know where to find take away food? No problem. A burger from Vabene, a sandwich from the famous Juantxo tavern, or vegan food from Maiatza To Go are tasty options to carry out this plan.
3. Escape from the city centre
Depending on the time of the year of your visit to San Sebastian, you could find yourself surrounded by waves of tourists. This could leave a bad taste in your mouth, and we do not want that. We locals know the feeling in high tourist season, so here we present you a few tricks to avoid the crowds and enjoy a terrace.
To reach this objective, you must opt for the districts away from the city centre. Having a beer or eating something in a nice terrace bar can turn into the perfect plan. The Etxe-Nagusi tavern in Igueldo is an ideal choice for that (Bus Nº16). If you do not wish to take public transport the Mandrágora pub in the Antiguo district also has a great terrace, suitable for a nice cold beer. If you find yourselves in Gros, Kelly’s Irish Pub or the Tabakalera Terrace (national center of contemporary culture), will not disappoint you. Moreover, the latter offers a great deal of activities in the summer time. And what better to round off a moment in a terrace than a craft beer? If you are fans of beer and like craft beer, you can’t leave San Sebastian without having a Gross, brewed in Donostia, or a Mala Gissona, produced in Oiartzun.
The amount of locally crafted beers in San Sebastian is increasing every year.
4. Practice sports in the Bay
If gastronomic tourism is taking a toll on your shape, fear not, because not everything is food-related in Donostia. The La Concha Bay is an outstanding place to practice sports, mostly in good weather. Swimming to the Santa Clara Island, walking the 2 beaches (Ondarreta and La Concha) in ebb tide, or practicing Paddle Surf are good options for fans of aquatic sports. If you love the sea, but not so much sports, you can access Santa Clara Island on boat.
Did you know that Santa Clara Island has its own beach?
Another sustainable way of getting to know the city is that of dBizi. It is the first public system of 100% electric bicycles. This project strives to boost mobility in the city, offering 16 stations scattered all around San Sebastian, with a total of 125 electric bicycles.
5. Go hiking
Hiking is also a great sports-related plan if you come to Donostia, taking advantage of having both beaches and mountains. The route from San Sebastian to Orio, through Mount Igueldo and Kukuarri, is a wonderful one, and delivers incredible views, walking along the coast.
Going in an opposite direction, we have the route from Mount Ulia to Pasajes. It is a truly lovely one, a real must for hikers. Along with the aforementioned one, they are both part of the Northern Way of the Camino de Santiago.
Remember to bring with you your hiking essentials.
6. Enjoy the sunset
Since good weather is not guaranteed in San Sebastian, locals make sure of enjoying every bit of light in sunny days. If a beautiful sunset gives you energy for a couple of days, you can enjoy one at the port, while you have a beer in the Ostertz tavern, or in one of the terraces of the Zurriola beach. And if you do so, don’t forget to take a picture. We leave it up to you whether it be one of the landscape, or a selfie ;)
Amazing sunset in San Sebastian from Zurriola Beach.
The Aiete Park is a quiet and beautiful secret place in the city
8. Indoor activities
In the event of rain, you can visit the Txuri-Urdin. This is the ice palace of San Sebastian, with a skating rink of 1625 m2, where international ice hockey, figure skating and curling competitions are held.
Ice skating is the perfect fun activity for rainy days in San Sebastian.
9. Cultural activities
If you are looking for culture-related activities, you can always get information about the expositions held in the San Telmo Museum or the Tabakalera International Center of Contemporary Culture. The Altxerri tavern is a great option for jazz lovers, as they offer jazz concerts frequently.
Check all available cultural activities in San Sebastian here
10. A walking tour with OH MY WALK!
Feeling like a local requires you to walk the streets of the city and know its secrets, its past and the curiosities it hides in every corner. And we are the best choice to show them to you, and to escape the hassle of the crowds and the purely commercial offers you’ll find elsewhere. The locals themselves choose our walking tours to know the other face of the city.
Over 75% of our WalkerSS are locals!
Would you like to join us for a tour? Our offer changes with the seasons, so we recommend you to take a look at the route section at OH MY WALK!
https://ohmywalk.com/conte/uploads/2017/05/To-do-SS-OMW-e1494926116112.png8721424Oh My Walk!https://ohmywalk.com/conte/uploads/2016/05/omw-1.pngOh My Walk!2017-05-16 10:00:192021-02-18 08:45:15Top things locals do in San Sebastian depending on the weather
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