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Come to San Sebastián / Donostia

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Tradition and modernity combine in this small big city

San Sebastián is set around a white sandy bay between the Urgull and Igeldo hills. A fishing hamlet, a noble suburban development and modern neighbourhoods make this city one of the most attractive on the Cantabrian coast. San Telmo Museum, the Comb of the Winds and the Kursaal are examples of how the city brings together tradition and modernity.

In turn, the province of Guipúzcoa, where San Sebastián is the capital, combines sea and mountain landscapes and offers visitors interesting monuments, natural settings, sports, gastronomy... Basque cuisine is internationally renowned.

The urban layout of San Sebastián is set around the Bay of La Concha. Igeldo Hill marks the border at one side - an unbeatable vantage point to enjoy views over the city.

At the bottom is the Punta Torrepea - home to the “Comb of the Winds” sculptures by the renowned Basque artist Eduardo Chillida. The Playa de Ondarreta beach starts here too, framed by a landscaped area and the Pico del Loro. Queen María Cristina ( 18th century) chose this spot to build the Miramar Palace - her summer residence.

A beautiful promenade with elegant balustrades and lamps runs alongside the Playa de La Concha, where the former royal bathing stand Balneario La Perla del Océano is located.

Heading along the sea front we get to the former Casino, which today is the Town Hall. The old town is located in this area, between the ocean and the Urumea River, alongside the Camino del Monte Urgull which houses the marina and fishing quarter. The top of the Urgull houses the Castle of La Mota and a representation of the Sacred Heart. One path leads to the top while another runs around the hill, taking visitors to the breakwater.

Tradition and modernity come together in this small big city with touches of the Belle Époque. The cultural agenda is top-notch with international film and jazz festivals, as well as top-flight cultural events.

San Sebastián is also the world capital of the 'pintxo'. Gastronomy competes for top spot alongside the natural setting in this city renowned around the world for its cuisine and chefs, being home to restaurants with a combined 16 Michelin stars.

Old City

The oldest part of San Sebastián is home to the churches of San Vicente and Santa María del Coro, the first Gothic in style and the second, Renaissance/Baroque. A former Dominican Order convent is today the home of San Telmo Museum, whose archaeology, ethnography and painting collections a worth a leisurely visit. The lively streets lead visitors to the porticoed Plaza de la Constitución.

The numbered white balconies are a clue to its origin as a bullring and it is home to the old Neoclassical town hall, today a Municipal Library.

The Alameda del Boulevard leads to the romantic city which was built after the old city walls were torn down.

The Victoria Eugenia Theatre and Hotel María Cristina, both neo-Plateresque structures, are located on the banks of the Urumea. The rational layout of this area is also home to the landscaped Plaza de Guipúzcoa, home to the Regional Government building, the Koldo Mitxelena Cultural Centre and the Post Office building.

The neo-Gothic San Sebastián Cathedral - El Buen Pastor - is also nearby.

Back on the banks again, visitors can marvel at the stately homes from the early 20th century, which run down to María Cristina Bridge - the most monumental bridge across the river. Four lamps by the sculptor Mariano Benlliure light the path to the railway station, which was designed by Eiffel himself. The modern neighbourhoods of Eguía and Gros are located on this side of the river.

The modern Kursaal building, designed by the architect Rafael Moneo, is located by the Playa de Gros beach.

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