I loved San Sebastian- Donostia in Basque, both names meaning San Sebastian in their own language. The city was brought to people's attention in the book The Sun Also Rises- Hemingway. He spent a lot of time there as a journalist reporting on the Spanish Civil War and returned several times with his wife and friends- giving him the material to write his famous novel. The architecture of the city gives it the air of being a stylish resort.
|a selection of pintxos|
San Sebastian boasts two beaches La Concha, and La Zurriola. La Concha is the larger of the two and the most beautiful. It's the one you see on postcards, overlooked by a statue of Jesus on Monte Igueldo. In the summer the shell- shaped cove is crowded with people sunbathing and taking a dip in it's deep blue waters. The cove is protected, partly by its shape and by the island Santa Clara just 500 metres from the shore. You can visit this island, also.
|A busy afternoon at La Concha|
La Zurriola is a surfer's beach- even the Aussie's I was with admitted it had great waves for surfing. You can rent surfboards, wetsuits and even get surfing lessons here. It is a much smaller beach on the eastern side of San Sebastian. You can watch the waves, and surfers all through the night from the bar People.
If you're feeling active, you could attempt hiking up some of the hills, the more difficult of the two is from Zurriola beach where you head up the hill to some steps which you can follow a red, green and white trail. The green trail diverts halfway, but the red and white one is around 5 miles long and takes around 2 and a half hours- unsurprisingly I didn't attempt this trail!
|The view from La Concha to Monte Igueldo with Jesus at the top|
The one we did attempt was up Monte Igueldo, the mountain between the two beaches. It is a walk up to the statue of Jesus overlooking the city. You can get to this from the edge of La Concha. This trail takes around an hour each way, and there is a bar halfway up if you need refreshments (more on this Friday!).
San Sebastian was a great start to my trip, reminding me to slow down and relax- as life in Spain is always much slower.