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The city itself has four main centres – the old town, the south, the eastern headland and the Area Romantica, where the beautiful old 19th century buildings are found. Living in San Sebastian, you are only a short walk from the beach, so when your studies are over, you can sunbathe and swim before you head out for tapas and beer.
The city is small and cosy, so it’s easy to explore on foot and discover its attractions without too much planning.
There is plenty to keep you busy when you study in San Sebastian. Take a stroll down the promenade and enjoy the views across the beautiful turquoise waters of the bay. The most scenic area is perhaps La Concha Beach, a truly picturesque strip of sand. You can also take the 10-minute boat ride to the port of Isla Santa Clara. There are two main beaches in the city, each on either side of the river. La Zurriola is the better beach if you enjoy surfing and other wave sports. La Concha is the larger beach and better for lounging, sunbathing and swimming.
It is complete with lounge chairs, umbrellas, showers, lifeguards and changing rooms. It’s worth checking out the San Telmo Museo, which has a stunning refurbished 16th century Dominican convent. Within this gorgeous historic building you will find an impressive collection of artefacts and Basque artwork. You can also take the funicular up to the top of Monte Igueldo, where you can see the amazing views of the harbour, town and lighthouse. Or take the short and relatively easy hike up to the statue of Christ on top of the mountain between the two beaches.
It takes about an hour but there’s a bar along the way if you need to stop and take a break. If you love to shop, you’ll be right at home in San Sebastian, as it’s a very stylish city. The old town, known as La Parte Vieja, is filled with cool boutiques that offer elegant designer fashions and unique items of clothing and shoes. No experience in San Sebastian would be complete without trying the tapas, which are known as “pintxos” here. Enjoy each small dish with a glass or wine or a small beer, then move on to the next bar.