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San Sebastián Travel Guide

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This beach town, in the Basque country of northern Spain, first got its A-list appeal when Queen Isabella came here for the waters in the mid 1800s. Ever since, San Sebastian has been Spain’s answer to Monte Carlo—with an aristocratic lineage but upped the ante with a rich sense of Basque history and culture. Today, the three main areas of the city include the Parte Vieja—or Old Town—lying across Monte Urgull, and where you find most of the nightlife; the Centro, or city center around the cathedral; and the Gros (named after a portly French general), which today has a mellow, surfer culture. When you visit San Sebastian, you can lounge on the beach, wander the grounds of old palaces and maintain a steady diet of pintxos, the Basque version of tapas. Read on in this San Sebastian travel guide to help you make the most of this Spanish beach town:

Things Not to Miss in San Sebastian

• Join the sunbathers on La Concha Beach, one of the best city beaches in Europe
 • Visit Catedral Buen Pastor (Cathedral of the Good Shepherd)
 • See the Comb of the Winds sculpture
 • Explore Museo de San Telmo to see the best of Basque art
 • Ride the funicular railway to the top of Monte Igueldo, for sweeping views of the city, mountains and coastline

When to Go to San Sebastian

The coast of Spain has appeal year-round, but the peak San Sebastian travel season comes during the summer, from June to September. Winters here can be rainy, but prices and crowds go way down as well. If you travel to San Sebastian in August, your trip may coincide with Aste Nagusia, the annual festival of traditional Basque music and dance. The crowds spike again in San Sebastian in September, when the town hosts its international film festival.

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