San Sebastian: A foodie’s paradise

Beach view of San Sebastian, Spain
Beach view of San Sebastian, Spain

San Sebastian: A foodie’s paradise

by Jessica Zen
Stripes Europe

Surrounded by the perfect combination of golden beaches and lush mountains, the city of San Sebastian is a foodie’s paradise and a nature lover’s dream. It is located in the northwestern Basque region of Spain on the Bay of Biscay and is home to an Old Town that is brimming with pintxo bars. Known as Donostia in Basque, this city has more Michelin Stars per capita than any other city — 18 in fact. The combination of quick eats and top of the line restaurants makes for the perfect food-driven getaway.

Delicious Pintxos can be found throughout the city. 

Pintxos, the local word for tapas, are bite size dishes that are more than just food; they are works of art created by the avant-garde. To get a sample of all the best foods, go on a txikiteo, the local term for a bar crawl where you eat pintxos and drink wine, beer or Basque cider. The Old Town is best for this type of activity.

Look for places like A Fuego Negro, which serves pintxos like greens beans ajoblanco of potato and salted tuna or tomato puree with mussels and béchamel. For a taste of the local Basque cider, head to Sidreria Gurutzeta. This natural cider producer offers lunch on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and provides the history of the cider with a tasting and bar food workshop. Sakona Coffee Roasters is a local coffee roaster, as the name obviously implies, that sits on the river and is fantastic for your morning caffeine pick-me-up. Here the coffee is lovingly roasted, and the quality captures delicious flavors, while avoiding bitter and burnt tones. For a taste of something truly spectacular, head to Restaurante Akelarre, which boasts three Michelin Stars. Enjoy gazing out at the sea while dining on haute cuisine such as seaweed hake, plankton and oyster leaf.

A gorgeous view of the city and Zurriola Beach. 

When you aren’t spoiling your taste buds, go on an adventure. The area offers the Monte Igueldo Funicular, which will take you to the top of the mountain for an incredible view of the city. Here you’ll find an old amusement park and a cafe. Other activities in the area include relaxing at the beach, surfing at Zurriola Beach or visiting Miramar Palace for a tour of the gardens. To learn more about the Basque culture, visit the San Telmo Museum.

To get to San Sebastian, fly into the city of Bilbao, which is just over an hour away. From there you can rent a car, take the train or hop on a bus. Once there, if you want to treat the rest of your body like you are treating your taste buds, stay at the luxurious Maria Cristina Hotel or the elegant Hotel Akelarre. However, if you’d rather not blow your entire savings account, there are plenty of other moderately priced accommodations in the city, allowing you to spend more money on all the delicious food!

If you love trying new foods, exploring new cities and enjoying jaw-dropping landscapes, San Sebastian is for you. Try a Michelin Star restaurant for the first time and let your taste buds dance at the bold combinations of flavors. Later you can lounge on the beach and soak up the sun while your belly digests all the goodness from the day.

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