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San Sebastián Culture & history

Our most recommended San Sebastián Culture & history

From San Sebastian: Lourdes Private Full-Day Tour

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

2. 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: 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.

San Sebastián: Private Walking Historic & Cultural Tour

4. 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: Pamplona & Olite Royal Palace Tour

5. From San Sebastian: Pamplona & Olite Royal Palace Tour

Your tour begins with pickup at your hotel in San Sebastian. After a short 1.5-hour drive, you will arrive at the Royal Palace of Olite, where you will have 2 hours to explore this fascinating site. Following the castle visit, you will head to Pamplona where you will first sit down for a 2-course meal for lunch. Following this, you will begin sightseeing to some of the most famous spots of the city, including the running of the bulls path (where the world wide famous San Fermin festivities take place, the city hall square and the cathedral. After a day full of activities, your tour will return back to San Sebastian where you will be dropped off at your hotel or any other spot of your convenience.

Zarautz, Getaria And Zumaia From San Sebastian

6. 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: Bilbao Tour with Guggenheim Museum

7. From San Sebastian: Bilbao Tour with Guggenheim Museum

Enjoy a perfect morning in Bilbao city, the economical capital of the Basque Country, in a small-group tour to avoid the crowds. You will receive an accurate view of this historic city guided by a local guide, who will explain all you need to know, from history to gastronomy and other details. Your tour begins with pick-up in your hotel. After driving for about an hour, you will arrive to Bilbao and go sightseeing, where your tour guide will explain to you all the details and history of the biggest city of the Basque country. You will see the Ria de Bilbao, the Casco Viejo area with the 7 streets, the Arriaga Theater and many more. Later you will enjoy the modern art at the Guggenheim Bilbao museum, where the building itself is pure art (total time located for museum visit is around 2-3 hours). Following this, you will head back to San Sebastian where your guide will drop you off at your hotel or any other place of your convenience, and you still have the afternoon to spend in town. This is a half-day trip perfect for art lovers or anyone who wants to expand their knowledge about the Basque Country history.

From San Sebastian: Gaztelugatxe and Guggenheim Museum Tour

8. 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.

From San Sebastián: Sanctuary of Lourdes Private Day Trip

9. 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 San Sebastian: Guggenheim and Basque Coast Day Trip

10. From San Sebastian: Guggenheim and Basque Coast Day Trip

A day trip in a van through back roads of the Basque coast, visiting historic town and unique natural landscapes, ending up in the most cosmopolitan city in the Basque Country. The road has curves (a few) but there will be plenty of stops to breathe the sea air and contemplate the horizon. The French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote: “Gernika is the happiest town in the world. Their affairs are governed by a board of peasants that meets under an oak tree and always makes the fairest decisions ”. And here we go, to the city bombed by Nazi planes in 1937 that inspired one of the most well-known paintings in the world, Picasso’s mural-sized “Guernica”. We will visit the city and, of course, the tree under which the (we hope) “fairer decisions” are made. Memorize this name: ‘Urdaibai’ and try to pronounce it well (it’s not easy, we know) because you won’t forget it. Declared a Biosphere Reserve by Unesco, Urdaibai is a large estuary at which mountains, rivers, the sea and large stretches of sand come together. Depending on the tide and time of day, the landscape (and the dozens of birds that inhabit it) may be radically different. We’ll also stop at Mundaka, a hot spot on the world's ‘surfaris’ routes: its beach has one of the most (possibly the most) perfect waves on the planet, with a left-hand break. Some call it “Dragonstone,” but its name is San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, an islet connected to the ground by a line of 241 stairs and crowned by a hermitage. Gaztelugatxe became ultra-famous after appearing in the Games Of Thrones series disguised as Dragonstone: Though the 'castle' is a cgi effect, everything else (dizzying cliffs, sharp rocks, flocks of birds, the noise of the sea ...) is rabidly real . The people of Bilbao have always claimed that their city was the capital of the world. When the Guggenheim museum opened in 1997, that prophecy came true and the building became an architectural phenomenon whose influence has spilled over into the rest of the city. The people of Bilbao say that the museum is actually the “doghouse” of Puppy, the iconic statue that welcomes you at the entrance (Basque ironic mode on). We’ll get to know the building and its main works of contemporary art.

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The best day trips and excursions from San Sebastián are:

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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.