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San Sebastián Culture & history

Our most recommended San Sebastián Culture & history

From Bilbao: Loyola, Getaria, Zarauz and San Sebastian Tour

1. From Bilbao: Loyola, Getaria, Zarauz and San Sebastian Tour

See villages trapped in between mountains like the villages of Durango, Eibar and Elgoibar! Arrive at the core of the province, and after the industrial village of Azkoitia, you will arrive at your first stop, the Sanctuary of Loyola, hometown of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits. Here you will visit the Basilica and the tower house where he was born and lived. Depending on the time, you may wish to attend a ceremony. Next you follow the route towards the coast on the north, passing through Azpeitia. You will also pass through Zestoa, a famous natural spa village with healing waters that attracted the royalty of Europe during the 19th and 20th centuries. Later you will arrive to the coast at Zumaia, a beautiful village very much appreciated by Basque summer tourists. Following the coastal road you will arrive at your next stop, Getaria. A unique medieval fishing village and hometown of famous figures like captain Juan Sebastian Elcano (the first man to travel around the world by sea), and Cristobal Balenciaga, the famous designer. Then you will pass by Zarauz, a beautiful tourist spot with the largest beach in the province of Gipuzkoa. You will arrive finally to San Sebastian (or Donostia) where you will do a panoramic tour of the city. After lunch, you will do a walking tour into the old quarter visiting the most interesting streets and locations before returning to Bilbao in the evening. Follow the highway towards the east, into the province of Gipuzkoa. On the way to the Sanctuary of Loyola, you will be able to admire the areas of inner Basque Country, combined with rural valleys and industrial

From San Sebastian: Lourdes Private Full-Day Tour

2. From San Sebastian: Lourdes Private Full-Day Tour

Departing from Donostia-San Sebastian, you'll visit the Sanctuary of Lourdes in France. You'll have time for the principal mass in the basilica, time to pray, go to see the cave, get some water, walk around the sanctuary and visit Bernadette's house. It will be an exclusive and complete private guided tour and you will be the only people on the tour. Thr driving time is roughly 2 hours in each drection and you'll have around 4.5 hours to spend exploring Lourdes. Departure times can be arranged and adjusted as you wish due to this being a private tour.

From San Sebastian: Bilbao & Guggenheim Museum Private Tour

3. From San Sebastian: Bilbao & Guggenheim Museum Private Tour

Discover the highlights of Bilbao on a private tour of major attractions such as the Guggenheim Museum and Ribera Market. Explore the Old Town quarter to see beautiful architecture and charming streets, and get a sense of how the locals live. Admire monuments such as City Hall and Santiago Cathedral, consecrated in honor of the apostle Saint James the Great. Look at the Gothic façade of the Church of San Antón, and discover off-the-beaten-path locations known only to the locals. Stroll through an old train station and window shop the fancy stores of the Gran Vía de Don Diego López de Haro avenue. Reach the magnificent Guggenheim Museum on the banks of the Nervion River, and take a fully guided tour outside to see the permanent collections of contemporary art. Take your time inside to enjoy the temporary exhibits.

Zarautz, Getaria And Zumaia From San Sebastian

4. Zarautz, Getaria And Zumaia From San Sebastian

The delights of the coast of Gipuzkoa can be found beyond than the astonishing beaches of San Sebastian: nice villages on the beach such as Zarautz can be discovered, where tourists from all over the world spend their summer enjoying Basque culture, gastronomy and environment at its best. On the other hand, Getaria, with her tiny marina and txakoli vineyards, offers the visitor a wide variety of landscapes. The tour is topped by a stop at the top of Itzurun beach, at Zumaia, where the 7th season of Game of Thrones was shot as a location for Dragonstone.

From San Sebastian: Gaztelugatxe and Guggenheim Museum Tour

5. From San Sebastian: Gaztelugatxe and Guggenheim Museum Tour

Discover Biscay, the Basque region that surrounds Bilbao, on a full-day trip from San Sebastian. Fall in love with the charming 10th-century fortress of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe and climb its 241 stairs to get to the top. Explore the world-famous Guggenheim Museum with included tickets. Depart from San Sebastian after being picked up from your hotel. Arrive at San Juan de Gaztelugatxe and find yourself at Dragonstone, as the seventh season of Game of Thrones was shot here. Embark on a steep climb and be rewarded with fascinating views of nature. After recovering from the steep path, head to Bilbao, the financial capital of the Basque Country. Get a glimpse of the architectural and traditional beauties of this wonderful city, including the Guggenheim Museum. Step into the iconic museum and discover its exhibit before returning to San Sebastian.

San Sebastián: Private Walking Historic & Cultural Tour

6. San Sebastián: Private Walking Historic & Cultural Tour

Dress in comfortable clothes and meet youre guide at the kiosk of Alameda del boulevard at 11 a.m. or 5 p.m. if you prefer an evening tour. During these three hours you will visit more than 15 points of interest that have been significant in the history of the city and have shaped Donostiarras way of being. Your guide will tell you everything you need to know about the city's history over the years and he will answer all your questions about other things you might want to learn about. At the end of the tour finish by tasting a traditional pintxo in the old town where the locals like to enjoy themselves every weekend. Do not hesitate and joint this tour to learn everything you need to know about this amazing city!

From San Sebastian: Sanctuary of Lourdes

7. From San Sebastian: Sanctuary of Lourdes

You’ll have to get up early, as a comfortable two-hour trip on the motorway awaits us. We’ll take advantage of the time to introduce you to the history of the region and local traditions. Miracle in 1858 Lourdes is a charming medieval town whose history changed radically when, in the summer of 1858, the Virgin Mary appeared several times to a girl named Bernadette Soubirous, in a grotto near the River Ouse. The city became an international destination, making it the second most-visited Catholic sanctuary in the world, and the city in France with the greatest number of hotel beds besides Paris. Land of basilicas In Lourdes we’ll visit the most emblematic sites such as the Crypt (the original sanctuary, decorated with numerous votive offerings from the visiting faithful), the Basilica of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception (with its beautiful stained glass windows depicting the story of the apparitions), the Basilica of Our The Lady of the Rosary (a Romanesque-Byzantine design full of luminous works of art, gold and Venetian mosaics) and the underground basilica of Saint Pius X, in a Brutalist style and spacious enough to host more than 25,000 people. Sacred water Of course, we will also visit the Grotto of Massabielle, where Bernadette exeprienced the apparitions that went around the world and turned the water of Lourdes into a desired object of faith with pilgrims who, annually, come from the five continents. F.Y.I. The visit with Ikusnahi lasts for 4 hours, during which it is possible to visit the complex, or attend prayers and masses. Although the sanctuary is open all year round, it’s best to know the schedule of celebrations, which we at Ikusnahi will take care of.

From San Sebastián: Sanctuary of Lourdes Private Day Trip

8. From San Sebastián: Sanctuary of Lourdes Private Day Trip

Do not miss the opportunity of being in one of the holiest place in the world since the apparitions in 1858 of the Virgin Mary to Bernadette Soubirous and feel the spiritual experience of being embraced by the love of the Lady of Lourdes. Learn about the signs of Lourdes: the rock, the light, the water, the crowds, the sick people, . . . You will learn about the life and story of Bernadette Soubirous and the apparitions around the town of Lourdes. We also will visit the whole sanctuary itself and a few more places. This tour is very especial to me because my mom and brother were volunteering for about 20 years helping sick people from San Sebastian visit the place, and they passed me their experiences.

From Bilbao: Day Trip to San Sebastián with Guided Tour

9. From Bilbao: Day Trip to San Sebastián with Guided Tour

Discover the town of San Sebastián on this full-day trip from Bilbao. Ride in a comfortable car, van, or bus that suits the size of your private group. Uncover why this area attracted the European high-class tourism during the Belle Epoque period on a guided tour. Enjoy being picked up from the comfort of your accommodation in the city of Bilbao. Kick back and relax on the scenic drive through the countryside on the way to San Sebastian in Basque Country. Meet your guide and begin your tour of the town. Capture pictures of the smooth curve of the bay of La Concha and of the island of Santa Clara. See Ondarreta beach which is located next to the Peine del Viento sculptural ensemble. View the modernist architectural development. Make your way to the city center to see the Gothic Revival architecture of the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd and appreciate the Eclecticism of City Hall. Travel through the Old Town to see the  baroque Roman Catholic parish of Santa Maria and the San Telmo Museum. Have the chance to savor local flavors with access to the bars in the Old Town where you can purchase some pintxos (small dishes) before heading back to your accommodation in Bilbao.

San Sebastián: Electric Scooter Tour

10. San Sebastián: Electric Scooter Tour

Explore the stunning city of San Sebastián, riding an electric scooter. Discover five neighborhoods, four sculptures, three beaches, two emblematic plazas, and a picturesque river.  Start at the foot of Mount Ulia, in the trendy neighborhood of Sagües, which is popular with surfers. Stop next to el muro (the wall) to see the sculpture of La Paloma de la Paz (the Dove of Peace) by Nestor Basterretxea, an emblem of the importance of peace, freedom, and coexistence.  After catching some views of Zurriola beach, arrive at the Urumea River to see the main architectural trends in San Sebastián. Travel en route to Urgull, an old military fort that has protected the city for centuries. From here, take in the fantastic views of the bay of La Concha.  Go to the port and the access gates to the Old Town. Enjoy the 2.5 kilometers that separate the Town Hall from the sculpture of the Wind Comb by Eduardo Chillida, at the other end of the Bay. See a bay in the perfect shape of a shell, a spa, old trees twisted by the maritime winds, and a palace that was the summer resort of Spanish Royalty for several years. Start at the top of Mount Igueldo and get the most amazing views of the city. Learn about the history of the Basque Country, the Bay of Biscay, and the role of San Sebastián. Stop at Plaza Easo and Plaza Gipuzkoa. Return to Gros to finish the tour in the purest Ikusnahi style, with a pintxo, a glass of wine, and a toast on the trendiest street in the neighborhood.

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What people are saying about San Sebastián

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 30 reviews

Iker is a superb guide and an excellent driver. He has great knowledge of both the history of the region, the architecture and contents of the Guggenheim museum and the nooks and crannies of Bilbao. I would heartily recommend him and hope to travel back to San Sebastián and use his services again!

This was a highlight of my trip to Basque Country! Our guide was super knowledgeable and told us all the quirky history about the sights we walked to in Bilbao. Visiting the hermitage is a must do! It's so picturesque and the walk is very panoramic. Highly recommend!

We had a fantastic time. Juan Lou was an outstanding guide. He was personable and fun to be with. He was also thoughtful of the various needs of some group members. Our group hopes to come back to experience other tours with him.

Excellent excursion program. Everything is done clearly and punctually. The guide Stefan perfectly organized the trip. Many thanks for a wonderful day.

Great Experience, excellent service and attention received.