San Sebastian

Definitely one of the most adored places in all Spain and particularly a favourite of Madrileños who used to retreat here to escape the intense summer heat in their own city. Much of the town was destroyed by the great fire of 1813, but as it was rebuilt it became a fashionable resort that was stimulated in the 19th century by Queen Maria Cristina who chose it for her summer residence. Since then it has developed into an international aristocratic resort and Festival venue that still preserves something of the fashionable atmosphere of all those years ago.

San Sebastian [Donostia in Basque] is on the coast by the River Urumea not far short of the French border. Perhaps it most significant physical feature is the Playa de la Concha, [shell] an almost symmetrically curved beach, protected by the Isla de la Clara at the sheltered bay's entrance and overlooked by a promenade of the same name with stylish hotels. Nearby are the administrative offices of the province of Guipuzcoa, the neo Gothic Cathedral with its 75 metre [250 feet] tower, and the shady Alameda del Boulevard that joins the fishing harbour on the Urumea with the Yacht Club that overlooks the Concha beach. Around this area is an abundance of superb Basque style Tapas Bars whose reputation has spread far and wide.

This is the centre of the Basque Country's superb Gastronomy with 15 restaurants having 3, 2 or 1 Michelin Stars in the city or close by. San Sebastian also has a number of Gastronomic Societies where the men cook for social occasions to entertain their male friends and, be sure, what they serve is of outstanding quality. With its proximity to Bilbao and Saint Jean de Luz and Biarritz just over the border, San Sebastian is a great magnet for those wishing to enjoy a pleasant holiday.