The Basque Country is a place that has always interested me. Officially part of the Kingdom of Spain, however this is a country with its own language, flag and ways of life. I decided to head to the city of Donostia to check it out. Donostia is the name in the local language, to the rest of the world it is known as San Sebastian.
I stayed in the cool Urban House Hostel and from there was able to tour all the main sights of the city. It’s a city of real charm and character and there is nothing not to like about dreamy Donostia. I loved it.
1. La Concha Beach
Sparkling in the April sun, this beach is pure golden sands and fresh blue waters. A dream beach to walk on, swim at or chill out in.
2. Plaza Gipuzkoa
This square has the proud Basque flag flying and some leafy gardens. The County Council offices are here too.
3. Estadio de Anoeta
Having visited Everton’s Goodison Park in March 2015, it felt like a weird coincidence that I was now visiting Estadio de Anoeta. Donostia is the home of the famous Real Soceidad football team. Their manager is now David Moyes, who spent ten years managing Everton FC. You can get the local metro out to the stadium, but I was able to get a lift there with the girls who were travelling to Bilbao with me.
4. Zurriola Surf Beach
For surfers, head to the beach on the east side, which is Zurriola.
5. Mount Urgull
For me, if you only have time to do one sight in Donostia, this is the one you should do! Mount Urgull is a hill with amazing views and it’s right by the sea as well. And of course it’s also free entry!
There’s a statue of Jesus at the top and I was quite simply inspired on a hot day walking to the top and thinking what a wonderful world it is. The weird thing was it was exactly a year to the day when I hiked to the top of the Christ Statue at CapeFatucama in Dili, East Timor.
6. Parte Vieja
The Old Town of Donostia is stunning. Here in the poky streets of the old town are some of the finest bars and restaurants I’ve ever been in. I love the culture of food here. Every bar and restaurant has a range of pinchos (local snacks) available and you can buy as many or as few as you want.
7. Igelsia San Maria
This church is in the Old Town and the only negative thing is that you have to pay to get inside unless you are attending a service.
8. Hotel de Ville/Town Hall
Right by the seafront sits the impressive Town Hall building facing onto frontal gardens and near the beach.
9. Cathedral Buen Pastor
For me, the most impressive church in Donostia is the main cathedral, on the new town side.
10. Isla Santa Clara
Now this is a bit of a fantasy like experience. An island within the harbour, accessible by boat.
Also if you are wondering why the photos on this post are low quality, don’t blame me, please blame Tunis Air (one of the world’s sh*tlist for airlines) and remember never to use them. They stole my backpack in Tunis and this meant I couldn’t charge my camera, so I resorted to using a Smart Phone for the first time on this trip and didn’t particularly enjoy having to turn it on, type in codes and then take average photos on what is a beautiful city.
Here are some videos from my time backpacking in the Basque Country touring Donostia: