Maybe it isn’t surprising Nobu Hotels has chosen San Sebastián for its latest launch. This gastronomic El Dorado boasts more Michelin-starred restaurants per capita than any city in Europe (and second only to Tokyo in the world). Stroll around its old town to find buzzing pintxos (Basque tapas) bars where counters overflow with delicacies for you to try as waiters pour sparkling txakoli wine into tiny tumblers from gravity-defying heights. There’s more to San Sebastián – Donostia to the locals – than sheer gourmandizing though. The Spanish city is blessed with golden beaches perfect for sun-seekers and surfers alike, its elegant promenades and belle époque buildings summon the resort’s past as the favored getaway for Spanish royals, while the calendar of cultural events – including September’s film festival – delights visitors all year long.


Parte Vieja

Temptation runs deep in San Sebastián’s old town. With boisterous pintxos bars beckoning you inside, it won’t be long before you find yourself on a spontaneous txikiteo (pintxos bar crawl). The fascinating San Telmo Museoa and the ecclesiastical charms of Basílica de Santa Maria and Iglesia de San Vicente offer a great break between meals.

Catedral del Buen Pastor de San Sebastián

It’s hard to miss the Good Shepherd Cathedral in San Sebastián’s new town with its 75m-high bell tower glimpsed from just about everywhere. Built from slate and stone quarried from nearby Monte Igueldo, this 1897 gem has one of Europe’s largest organs (10,000 whistles) too.

Playa de Ondarreta

These custard-colored sands were popular with the Spanish royal family; their former palace Miramar faces the beach. With its blue-and-white-striped cabanas and umbrellas, Playa de Ondarreta retains a refined air to this day.

Monte Igueldo

Catch the bright red funicular up this mountain for sweeping views over the city and surrounding rugged Bay of Biscay coastline. Traveling with children? Check out Parque de Atracciones, a turn-of-the-century amusement park with bumper cars, retro carousels, haunted house and the world’s oldest steel rollercoaster still in operation.

Plaza de la Constitución

Built in 1817, this handsome square in San Sebastián’s old town was initially used as a bullring – with the balconies of bordering houses rented to spectators. Today it hosts regular festivals such as January’s Danborrada/Tamborrada, where locals march in Napoleonic costumes and dressed as cooks.

Puente de María Cristina

It was Queen María Cristina who popularized San Sebastián’s reputation as a tourist destination in the early-20th century. She lends her name to this majestic belle époque bridge from 1905, which spans the narrow Río Urumea and is bookended by four striking statue-crowned obelisks.

Playa de la Concha

San Sebastián’s answer to Copacabana, Bondi or Waikiki, Playa de la Concha is one of the world’s finest city beaches. The crescent-shaped sweep of sand is understandably popular with locals enjoying an afternoon siesta or swimming in its tranquil waters. Be sure to check out Playa de la Concha at night when the lights glimmering on the bay make a spellbinding experience.

Peine del Viento

There are few more mesmerizing experiences in San Sebastián than watching waves crash into this trio of rusty iron sculptures, which peer pincer-like from behind rocks and emit eerie sounds from its anchor-like pipes. Peine del Viento (“Comb of the Wind”) were created by celebrated Basque sculptor Eduardo Chillida and architect Luis Peña Ganchegui; they can be found at the western end of Bahía de la Concha.

Playa de Zurriola

Surfers from across Europe are drawn to the big waves which slam onto this 800m stretch of sand. ‘Zurri’ (as locals call it) can also be enjoyed even if you don’t have to be a surf supremo. Meanwhile, the surrounding bohemian enclave of Gros has some brilliant boutiques and bars.

Michelin Walk of Fame

There are over 10 Michelin-starred restaurants within San Sebastián and its surrounding area. Here are some of Nobu San Sebastián’s favorites…





Mirador de Ulía

Martín Berasategui