By Jennifer Levin
San Sebastián
Spain
Photo gallery
San Sebastián, called Donostia in the native tongue, is the brightest jewel in the Basque region’s crown. One of the most popular tourist destinations in Spain, travelers from all over the world visit the city for the sun, the beaches, the shopping, the food, the people, but above all the relaxed and luxurious atmosphere of San Sebastián.

To get to San Sebastián by air, you will fly through San Sebastián Airport, which is located in Hondarribia on the Spanish-French border. The airport services only domestic flights; EscapeWizard.com recommends flying through Madrid first (and maybe spending a day there to enjoy the capital city!) When you’re ready to book your flight, we make it easy for you: make your plans here (www.escapewizard.com/flight.php). Once you’ve decided when to visit, you’ll need to book a place to stay. You can’t go wrong; San Sebastián has beautiful resorts, luscious hotels, and affordable hostels. Book your lodgings with EscapeWizard.com here (http://www.whatscheaper.com/hotel.php).

Though you will probably spend most of your time enjoying the beaches, the luscious food and the exciting musical and artistic festivals, there are also several attractions you’ll want to be sure to see. Check out the San Sebastián Town Hall, which used to be a casino. The façade is entrancing and the interior architecture stunning. EscapeWizard.com also urges you to visit San Sebastián’s Parte Vieja – the old part or the old quarter – which has numerous bars, restaurants, and clubs in which to take in the food, drink and music of the region. You’ll find travelers vacationing from all over the world in San Sebastián’s streets and shops.

Music festivals, city festivals, theatre and other cultural expression dominate the town, and especially in the summer months. EscapeWizard.com recommends checking out the happenings around town during your visit. In August, the Grande Semana is full of sporting events, fireworks displays and musical performances.

San Sebastián has three main beaches: the Playa de la Concha, Ondaretta and the Playa de Gros. The Playa de la Concha is one of the world’s most beautiful city beaches. The Playa de Gros, also known as Playa de Zurriola, is usually a bit less crowded due to the more intense waves; surfers find a haven here. EscapeWizard.com recommends taking a surfing lesson while in San Sebastián, if you’re an adventurous and athletic person, or at least watching the surfers ride the waves.

San Sebastián is only 20 miles from the French border; if you have the time, plan a day trip to the surrounding country. You can also visit the Pyrenees Mountains, located just two hours away, which offer challenging skiing! If you can’t bear to leave the beautiful San Sebastián, be sure to visit the island of Santa Clara, just offshore of the city’s beaches. The island is accessible by boat and is home to a lovely beach.

The pixto, the Basque region’s tapa, is in the heart of many gourmets, and in San Sebastián they are not disappointed. Fresh fish and seafood are among the specialties you’ll find here. There are several pedestrian-friendly shopping streets in San Sebastián. In some areas shops and restaurants abide in Art Noveau-style architecture.

San Sebastián is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Spain. Bask in the sun, watch the swimmers and sailboats, eat good food and allow yourself to truly relax in this lovely city.
Hotels in San Sebastián
By Gayle M. Cottrill
Hotel Maria Cristina, San Sebastian
Paseo Republica Argentina, 4, San Sebastian
Photo gallery
Located in the historic part of San Sebastián, one of the most popular tourist cities in Spain, Hotel Maria Cristina offers a luxurious and comfortable place to stay. Only sixteen miles from the San Sebastián Airport (EAS), you can arrange for a fee, a pickup through the hotel or order your own taxi. There is parking available at the hotel, for a daily fee. Check-in is at 3 p.m., which is still early enough to visit the theatres and museums within walking distance, or explore the Urumea River and white sand beaches along the Bay of Biscay. For dinner, try one of the on-site dining places or venture out into the town and taste cultural food from all over the world, including local favorites of Basque cuisine.

The rooms at Hotel Maria Cristina offer beautiful views of the Urumea River and San Sebastián cityscape. The 170 guest rooms offer a clean and modern feel with marble baths and heated towel racks and are perfect for the lone traveler or several occupants. There are 29 suites of varying sizes with four different layouts. Each suite includes separate living and sleeping space, and also a dining setup and fireplace. The smaller suites come with a private, outdoor terrace and reception hall. The larger suites include a reception hall, two private terraces, and a large living room. In addition to the guest rooms, there are several meeting spaces ideal for large or small events, and the experienced hotel staff knows how to help create the perfect space for even the most sophisticated event.

Amenities include available Wi-Fi Internet and a flat-screen TV in every room with satellite TV channels. For your convenience, there is a safe for valuables and also a mini bar for a quiet evening beverage. If you're on business and require assistance and materials to prepare for transactions or meetings, use the business center's copying, scanning, faxing, and printing services. There is also a fitness center to help keep you in shape for hikes along the beaches or golfing at one of the many nearby golf courses. For a fee, you can schedule a shuttle service and private city tours to explore historic San Sebastián.

Check-out is at 12 p.m., so enjoy a leisurely morning as you prepare to head home or off to your next adventure. Let EscapeWizard.com help get you started today with booking your stay in San Sebastián. Just click the following link to get started! (www.escapewizard.com/hotels.php?flag=htl)