The origins of San Sebastian
San Sebastian, also known as “Donostia” in Basque, is a city located in the province of Guipuzcoa, in the autonomous community of the Basque Country in Spain. It is located on the Spanish north coast, near the French border. The history of San Sebastian goes back to Antiquity, but the city experienced its real boom from the 19th century.
Throughout its history, San Sebastián has known several periods of glory. First as an export port for whaling, then as a center of privateering operations and headquarters of the Guipuscoan Company of Caracas. Due to its strategic position facing the Kingdom of France since 1451, the city became a military stronghold, which finally led to its destruction in 1813. From 1863, Saint-Sébastien followed the trend initiated by Biarritz in 1854 and turned into a tourist town. However, she was often at the center of events that shook the Basque Country, Spain and even Europe. Currently, San Sebastian is the capital of the province of Guipúzcoa (Gipuzkoa), Basque Autonomous Community, in Spain.
Since the democratic transition in Spain at the end of the 1970s, San Sebastian has become a prosperous and dynamic city. It is famous for its cuisine, especially its pintxos (Basque tapas), and hosts the San Sebastian International Film Festival, one of Europe's most prestigious film events.
Today, San Sebastian is a top tourist destination, attracting visitors from all over the world with its unique blend of Basque tradition, natural beauty and vibrant cultural life. The city also retains a strong Basque identity, with the Basque language (Euskara) still spoken and a vibrant and proud regional culture.
The must-sees of San Sebastian
Bathed by the waters of the Cantabrian Sea, at the mouth of the Urumea River, San Sebastian owes much of its fame to its harbour, La Concha Bay, framed by two rocky eminences, the Igeldo and Urgull mountains, veritable natural balconies from which you can see a large part of the city, the ocean and the hilly landscapes of the surroundings. San Sebastian counts on the presence of numerous monuments, museums and an aquarium. The Kursaal Palace is characteristic of contemporary architecture. San Sebastian is famous for its beaches, old town, and top-notch restaurants. What is called Donostia in Basque enjoys a strong regional identity and offers many cultural events. The old town is full of restaurants, markets and shops, as well as many sites of interest, including its splendid cathedral. One of the unmissable pleasures of San Sebastian is trying the pintxos, small tasty bites served in the bars of the old quarter. One of the unmissable pleasures of San Sebastian is trying the pintxos, small tasty bites served in the bars of the old quarter.
Living in San Sebastian
Living in Donostia-San Sebastián is a unique experience. It is one of the most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities in Spain, renowned for its stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, exquisite cuisine and rich culture. Located on the coast of the Bay of Biscay in northern Spain, it is surrounded by lush mountain ranges and offers breathtaking sea views. It is 20 minutes from Hendaye and around 40 minutes from Biarritz.
The city has long been a favorite destination for leisure travelers looking to relax and soak up the sun, but it also has plenty to offer those looking for more dynamic experiences. From its world-renowned culinary scene to its festivals, concerts and cultural attractions, Donostia-San Sebastián truly offers something for everyone. The city offers an excellent quality of life within a magnificent natural environment embellished with a rich Basque culture.
As for the real estate market in San Sebastian, it is considered one of the most competitive in Spain, and this is due to the beauty of the city, its tourist popularity and its high quality of life. In San Sebastian, you will find apartments, some of which have a view of La Concha, townhouses and beautiful villas with top-of-the-range appointments. Some of San Sebastian's most desirable residential areas include the neighborhoods of Ondarreta, Gros, and Amara. These neighborhoods provide easy access to beaches, parks and local amenities.