Eat pintxos, go to the beach, repeat!   That was basically how hard we spent our days in San Sebastian, the Basques city in northern Spain known for its gastronomic delight and beautiful in-city beaches. But aside from delicious pintxos and pretty playas, there’s a lot  more going in this sexy city – culture, pretty harbor, green mountains, fresh crisp air, bike-friendly, nice locals, quaint old town, etc. What’s not to love? We left our hearts and stomachs in San Sebastian!


Playa Zurriola, San Sebastian, SpainWe were thrilled to arrive in San Sebastian after the few days of madness spent in Pamplona fiesta. The beach beckons,  but we had to resist for now. We had to take care of the first order of business in San Sebastian – to devour on its famous pintxos for lunch!


Old Town, San Sebastian, Spain

We headed to the charming Old Quarter where the narrow streets are deliciously lined with pintxos bars.


Pintxos Bar, San Sebastian, Spain.Finally, a  pintxos bar!  What exactly are pintxos? They are Basque-style tapas. They come bedded on a piece of bread or skewered.  They’re basically eatern by hand and you can down them in two bites.


Pintxos, San Sebastian, Spain Our sumptuous, creative pintos for lunch.  Sky is the limit on how creative they can be on pintxos.


La Concha Beach, San Sebastian, Spain With our stomachs pintxo-satisfied, we headed to San Sebastian’s most well-known beach, the Playa La Concha named after its conch-shaped shore.


People at La Concha Beach, San Sebastian SpainThe stunning La Concha Beach is very popular with both locals and visitors.


Life is a beach at La Concha.


Marina, San Sebastian, Spain

The boats docked on Fishermen’s Harbour.


Mount Urgull, San Sebastian, Spain

Towering over Playa Concha is Mount Urgull. The hike to the summit is supposed to be spectacular. We don’t normally pass up a hiking oppotunity, but we didn’t feel like veering off our “pintxos, beach, repeat!” program.

And beside, it’s snack time…….

Pintxo Bar, Old Quarter, San Sebastian, Spain

Pintxos for snack!

Pintxos, San Sebastian, Spain


After snack time, we went around town to explore and to burn off the pintxos.

Old Quarter, San Sebastian, Spain.Fresh, organic produce for sale in Old Quarter.


16-Old Quarter, San Sebastian, Spain. A street in Old Quarter.


Umerea River, San Sebastian, Spain  Umerea River divides the right and left banks of San Sebastian. It feels like mini-Paris.


Playa dela Zurriola, San Sebastian, Spain Zurriola Beach in late afternoon.


Biking along Playa de la Zurriola, San Sebastian, Spain We love that San Sebastian is a biking city.  Navigating the city by bike helps burn the pintxo calories:)


 Old Quarter, San Sebastian, Spain

For dinner, we happily hopped back to the Old Quarter — for pintxo bar hopping !

Pintxos Bar, San Sebastian, Spain

Our first pintxo bar stop for the night.  This is how it works at a pintxo bar. You tell the bar tender which pintxos you want. You can get several pintxos at a time and go back for as many helpings as you want.  Each pintxo is priced differently. When you’re pintxo-satisfied you can ask the bartender for your bill.  You’d be  amazed that without recording how many or which pintxos you had, the bartenders would remember.


My vegetarian pintxos at our second bar for the night.  Some bars serve all kind of pintxos. Some specialized in certain kind of pintxo like vegetarian or seafood.

After several pintxo helpings, we  enjoyed a strolled around the Old Quarter and to burn off you know what.

Street in the Old Quarter, San Sebastian, Spain

Street in the Old Quarter at night.

Playa Concha at Night, San Sebastian, Spain. Playa Concha at Night


 After some walking, we stopped by at another bar for another pintxo helping:)


We then headed to Zurriola Beach to enjoy the night scene…

 The beautiful horizon at 10:00 p.m.


 The sky was still bright at 10:40 pm in a July night.


 Locals start to gather by the beach for a Friday night social.


Playa de la Zurriola at Night, San Sebastian, Spain Partying under the dramatic night sky.


Villa Soro, San Sebastian, Spain. Fresh new day at Vlilla Soro, a charming boutique hotel that was our home base in San Sebastian.


 A few blocks away from Villa Soro is Playa dela Zurriola.  Playa Concha may be the prettiest and most popular among the SB beaches, but we enjoyed Playa dela Zurriola more for its stronger local vibe.


Surfing School, Playa de la Zurriola, San Sebastian, SpainPlaya dela Zurrrola is a surfing beach. It is where the locals learn to surf from a young age .


Boy Surfing in Zurriola Beach, San Sebastian, SpainSurfing school at Plaza dela Zurriola.


Little Girl running Zurriola Beach, San Sebastian, SpainA little one running away from Grandpa.


Little Girl in Zurriola Beach, San Sebastian, SpainWe admire how the locals, from babies to old ones, have such a beautiful healthy glow. Must be that good dose of sunshine and the delicious fresh air.


Little boy and topless lady in Zurriola Beach, San Sebastian, SpainYoung ones and topless beauties (to Keith’s delight) play side by side on the beaches of San Sebastian.


Old people at Zurriola Beach, San Sebastian, Spain Old people of San Sebastian have very active beach life as well. Grandmothers go topless, too (to Keith’s dismay)!


Pintxo Bar, Old Quarter, San Sebastian, Spain

 It’s lunchtime, guess where we’re heading? Yes, it’s a delicious  cycle.


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10 responses to “San Sebastian: Eat Pintxos, Go to the Beach, Repeat!

  1. Craig Simone

    Everyone I know who has been to San Sebastian raves about it.
    After seeing your photoblog I understand why. Would love to visit it someday and try those famous pintxos. Love the beach photos with the kids and locals hanging out. But topless grandmas??? Yay!

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Craig, glad you enjoyed the photos. You have to be there to experience the spirit of the place. We didn’t capture it enough. I hope you get these soon. Yes, the pintxos are worth trekking for. About the topless Grandma? Ha! Ha! They’re adorably daring, you have to admit!

  2. Kira S.

    After your supercharged time in Pamplona you deserve the easy, delicious time in San Sebastian. I enjoyed your ‘pintxos and beach’ program. The pintxos look yummy and the beaches look like a lot of fun, especially the more local one.

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Kira, thanks. Yes, SB was a perfect antidote to Pamplona.

  3. Danica Moran

    I remember reading in NY Times Travel sometime ago that to visit San San Sebastian was to fall in love. I was intrigued. After seeing your pics I can’t wait to get there myself. Those pintxos make me drool and the beaches look fun and sexy!

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Danica, that’s true. San Sebastian is truly lovable. I hope you get to visit soon!

    • Traveling Solemates

      Hi Pam, thanks! Glad you enjoyed the photos.

  4. Looks awesome! We’re working on sneaking an extra week in to our European getaway in the fall and San Sebastian is #1 on our list. The food looks fabulous, and good to know it’s a bike-friendly city!

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