It’s crazy to witness how fast the weather can change from one opposite to the other. When we arrived in the city of San Sebastian, or as it is known in Basque language; Donostia, dark gray clouds were not just threatening to drop their load. They did, full force. All evening and night. But then the next morning, we miraculously woke up to bright, blue skies and a sun shining down on us. Hallelujah!
San Sebastian was one of the places I was looking forward to visiting the most on our roadtrip through the North of Spain. The coastal city in the bay of Biscay gets lots of raving comments and gets the stamp of picturesque. Say no more. Count me in!
Just like in Bilbao, we arrived mid-afternoon and first went to our hotel to check in. Once again we chose for a place a bit outside of the city; Pension Tximistarri. A gorgeous home with a lovely host and an amazing sea view from our room. Perfect!
Our car was then dropped of at the parking garage of the casino Kursaal before we made our way to one of the highest points in the city; Mount Urgull. From there you have an amazing view over the bay of Biscay and the city. If the weather is nice, that is. As we were beneath the Sagrado Corazón statue, in the ruins of the Castillo de la Mota which can be found on top of the mountain, we could see the rain clouds rolling in. Uh-oh.
The view is of course still worth it, but I can only imagine it would look a lot more dreamlike with a bright, blue sky in the background. We fought the rain all the way down to the harbor before diving into the old town. We hoped to find shelter in the narrow streets of San Sebastian, but no avail. It was pouring rain by then and nothing much could be done outside without getting soaking wet. Time for some Pintxos and a glass of wine! Yum!
It didn’t look like the weather would clear out anytime soon, so instead of getting frustrated – and majorly wet – we decided to call it a day a lot earlier than planned. We would return to the city in the morning and continue our visit then.
And as I mentioned before, it ended up being the wisest decision. The next morning, the sun was very much present and eager to join us on our exploration. This time, we left our car along the boulevard close to the Miramar Palace. This nineteenth century palace was once the summer house of the Queen of Spain. Not too shabby!
Through the garden of the palace, we made our way down to the promenade along the beach. No morning is better spent than strolling along the coast, watching the city wake up and get ready for the day. Joggers, people walking their dogs, early sunbathers; it’s a lovely mix of people.
And aside from the individuals, as a tourist you also get our fair share of sights. From the modern sculptures in the crashing waves on one end of the boulevard, along the iconic balcony of Paseo de la Concha with gorgeous bay view, to the old picturesque harbor on the other side. Bliss!
Tired of walking? Do not worry, there are a couple of beach bars where you can enjoy a coffee or drink while you’re taking in the beautiful bay in front of you. The atmosphere was amazing and my mood was drastically better than the evening before. Thank you, sunshine!
Without the rain, the small streets of San Sebastian also seemed a lot warmer even though many of the shops and restaurants were still closed. Randomly we walked through the old town, admiring the gorgeous buildings, majestic churches and just the overall ambiance. A complete opposite from the evening before.
I’m extremely grateful that we traveled without a fixed itinerary on this trip because otherwise we might have had other plans for that gorgeous morning that we were now able to stay in San Sebastian. It truly is a beautiful place and more than worth a visit. I hope to go back one day, if just to see the city again from the top of Mount Urgull, this time covered in sunshine.