Things to see and do - San Sebastian
The seigneuriale towns :
Nearby tourist sites
La Galería from55 €Book
Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra from74 €Book
Palacio de Aiete from50 €Book
The seigneuriale towns
The seigneuriale townsBy car, 419 km, 6 days
A note for fans of urban architecture: are you a fan of seigneurial towns, walks by the sea, art and eating well? Why not explore the charm of some one of the most beautiful cities of the north of Spain.Customise this route and add it to My travel book
Donostia-San Sebastián (Spain)
San Sebastián owes its nickname, "pearl of the Cantábrica", to its scallop-shaped bay, La Concha. Partially closed by the islet of Santa Clara, it stretches from Monte Urgull to Monte Igueldo. Two vast sand beaches follow the curve of the bay: La Concha, and beyond the promontory, the fashionable Ondarreta, offering a choice of pleasant strolls along the beach lined by luxury apartment blocks. Beyond the beach, at the foot of Monte Iguelo, is the Peine de los Vientos, the work of sculptor Eduardo Chillida.
The summit is occupied by an amusement park and hotel-restaurant. Here you will discover a splendid panorama over the sea, the Isle of Santa Clara, San Sebastián in its circlle of mountains. In the evening, the illuminated town is a fine spectacle.
The ancient art section of the Fine Arts Museum is as much dedicated to spanish painters from 12-17C as it is to Flemish painters from 15 to 17C. Works by some of the worlds most prestogious works are contained here, with the likes of Morales, Le Greco, Ribeira and Goya representing the Iberian peninsular, and the likes of Metsys, Benson, Gossaert representing Northern Europe. The Basque art section (Regoyos, Zuloaga...) and Modern art section (Solana, Tapiès...) are almost as lavish.
Inaugurated in October 1997, the Guggenheim museum is considered as a symbol of Bilbao. Blessing the quays with its curves, this immense sculpture is stunningly beautiful. The monument by Frank O Gehry passes under the Salve bridge, one of the main entrances to the town, and re-emerges on the beneath an immense tower on the other side. The monument is very modern yet blends in beautifully with the surrounding area. Its sides of yellow limestone, glass and bits of titanium are reflected in the water and produce many dynamic lighting effects. The huge entangled piece is a miracle of balance and positively dynamic. It is not only architects that will be bedazzled by the marvel of the museum. Once inside you will be enthralled by its prestigious collection of 20C art, a collection owned by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. All artistic genres are represented in this museum, including the latest avant-garde trends pioneered recently by Basque artists, abstract impressionism, Pop Art, conceptual art and minimalism. The exhibition hall has 19 galleries spread over three levels, situated around a monumental atrium. It is all lit up by spotlights, and the lighting intensity is controlled by a special material stuck to the glass. As much attention has been given to the inside as to the outside. This is a place where time never passes you by and is always looking to move on. Each month different cultural events are organised. This place is a «must».
Santander's seaside resort hs four beaches, the largest two of which, the Primera Playa El Sardinero and the Segunda Playa El Sardinero (separated by the Piquio Gardens), extend over 3km of golden sand, in a bay running from the Magdalena peninsula to the south to Cape Menor to the north. The seafront is bordered by characteristic early 20C resort architecture: the all-white casino, the Grand Hotel and numerous other establishments.
The beauty of the landscape, and the sublime views it offers, have made this peninsula one of the town's most sought-after districts. Take a stroll through the park, an oasis of greenery, as far as El Sardinero where there is a small zoo and replicas of the galleons in which Francisco de Orellana explored the Amazon. In the rear of the park stands a palace built by the town for Alfonso XIII (1886-1941), today an annexe of the Menéndez Pelayo International University.
Built between the 14C and the 16C, the cathedral, with its often undulating shapes, has all the features of the flamboyant Gothic style. Inside, the very open nave opens up the view of the high altar and its impressive 16C altarpiece in carved wood. Above the short side aisles is the triforium, a raised gallery, topped by high stained glass windows. Among the various side chapels, the best known are those of the Rey Chasto, in the north transept, the place where the first church was established and the 17C chapel of Saint Eulalia, patron saint of the Asturias, sheltered here under an enormous baroque shrine. The building also houses a reconstruction of the Holy Chamber, made in the 9C under Alfonso II to house reliquaries brought back from Toledo. Here you will find, among other things, an astonishing collection of column-statues representing six groups of stylised Apostles, a major 12C work, and also the Treasury, with remarkable items of gold and silver work (9C-12C): the Angels' Cross (cedar and precious stones from 8O8), the Victory Cross (908), the Agate Shrine (910) and others. Set back slightly, the 14C cloister has less impact but is just as beautiful, with its cross-ribbed roof and very slender windows. It is next to the Chapel of Saint Leocadia, which is in fact the crypt of the Holy Chamber. The Chapter House houses several 15C statues.
This former audience chamber turned into a sanctuary was part of the summer residence built by Ramiro I of Asturias in the 9C on the south side of Mount Naranco. The harmonious quadrangular edifice is lit by vast bays. On the upper floor, two loggias open off the main chamber. The interior decoration has been cleverly adapted to architectural necessity with clusters of slender colonnettes, as well as Corinthian and polygonal capitals. Equal attention has been paid to appearances outside.
The Catedral was built in the 11C but from the outside has all the characteristics of a baroque building.The Façade of the Obradoiro is a baroque masterpiece by Fernando Casas y Novoa dating back to 1750. The central building has some magnificent sculptures surrounded by high towers. In the narthex, the Portico de la Gloria is exceptionally beautiful and harmonious. It was made by Master Mateo at the end of the 12C. Many other delights await you inside. Typical of pilgrimage churches, this houses some sumptuous objects, such as the botafumeiro, an immense censer, the main altar with a statue of Saint Jacques, and the crypt and treasury that has a monstrance by Antonio de Arfe. Via a little lateral doorway, you can enter the rooms devoted to archaeological digs, the library, the capitulary room and the rooms in the upper gallery where tapestries designed by Goya, Bayeu, Rubens and Teniers hang. On leaving the museum, you will discover the Renaissance cloister designed by Juan de Alava. Finally, admire the Puerta de las Platerias, surrounded by the Torre del Reloj (clocktower) and the treasury tower. Opposite, the Casa del Cabildo is only baroque décor.