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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 10 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: Dana Facaros

Seafood in all its forms is the star in San Sebastian, where chefs rival one another in inventiveness. Truffles and wild mushrooms, Iberian pork, succulent beef and exquisite seasonal vegetables; some Michelin-starred places have even started offering vegetarian menus.

Many chefs take pride in sourcing all their ingredients locally – many of which are beautifully displayed the city’s indoor market, the Mercado San Martin.

What to try

Look out for classics such as marmitako (seafood stew), bacalao pil-pil (cod fried in garlic, olive oil and chilli), hake koskera (in green sauce), txipirones (squid cooked in their own ink) and baked txangurro (spider crab); as well as rustic porrusalda (leek and potato soup), alubias de tolosa (black bean and pork stew) and Basque chicken stewed with red peppers and a range of lamb dishes.

For dessert, try Basque burnt cheesecake, or pastel vasco (almond and vanilla cake). They also make an excellent tangy Idiazabal sheep cheese. For drinks, there’s sidra (fizzy local cider), sparkling txakoli (tangy white wine) from Getaria and the lovely red wines of Rioja.

Also see our round-up of traditional Spanish foods you must try in Spain.

Recommended itineraries by our writers that include this experience

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 13+
When: All year around
Duration: Any

Getting there & doing it

There are 11 Michelin starred restaurants in and around San Sebastian: Kokotxa, eMe Be Garrote, Mirador de Ulía, Alameda, Zuberoa and Elkano all have one star; Mugaritz and Amelia have two, and Akelarre, Arzak, Martin Berasategui have three.

Bars here specialising in pintxos (Basque tapas), small meals skewered on slices of bread with a toothpick, that local chefs have refined to a high culinary art. On at least one night, take a txikiteo (tapas crawl).

San Sebastian is also renowned for its members-only gourmet supper clubs, the txokos, where everyone cooks up gourmet delights to impress their friends; to enter you’ll need to bag an invite from a member or go on a special tour (see below). Also look out for Sagardotegi, traditional cider restaurants, specialising in grilled meats and fish, and home-made cider.

 

Arzak
Experience

Arzak

San Sebastian, Basque Country, Spain

San Sebastian’s world-famous three-Michelin-star restaurant (since 1989!), run by Juan Mari Arzak and his daughter Elena Arzak, who won the prize for the world’s best female chef in 2012. There cellar holds some 100,000 bottles of wine.

Best for ages: 18+ | £40

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Atari Gastroleku
Experience

Atari Gastroleku

San Sebastian, Basque Country, Spain

Right in the medieval centre, this contemporary bar uses the finest ingredients in its traditional and avant garde pintxos – their prawn skewers are famous. Good wine list too. Best to book a table as it fills up fast.

Best for ages: 13+ | Free

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Interior photo of a counter filled with tasty tapas
Experience

Bar Bergara

San Sebastian, Basque Country, Spain

Located just over the river in Gros, this bar has won prizes for its exquisite nibbles. You can make a meal of them (there’s a set menu) at one of the tables.

Best for ages: 13+ | Free

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Overview >

Getaria Wine Region

Getaria, Basque Country, Spain

A delightful fishing village with pretty architecture, food, beaches and superb wine – and it’s largely undiscovered by tourists.

Best for ages: Any | Free

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

"Basque Cider House" guided tour + meal from San Sebastian

"Basque Cider House" guided tour + meal from San Sebastian

San Sebastian

We will pick you up in San Sebastian so that you can learn, with the help of our guide, the secrets of this thousand-year-old drink very clo...

€72 | Rating 4.84 / 5 [13 ratings]

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Cider House Experience From San Sebastian

Cider House Experience From San Sebastian

San Sebastian

Cider (named sagardo in Basque language, which means apple wine) is one of the most traditional and everlasting Basque drinks. The magic tha...

€110 | Rating 4.75 / 5 [8 ratings]

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Tour supplied by:

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The Best Gourmet Experience and Pintxo Tour in San Sebastian

The Best Gourmet Experience and Pintxo Tour in San Sebastian

San Sebastian

I believe that my passion for this city, this culture and especially for meeting new people and sharing with them everything I know about th...

€125 | Rating 4.90 / 5 [21 ratings]

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Tour supplied by:

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Ultimate San Sebastian Pintxos & Wine Tour (Evening)

Ultimate San Sebastian Pintxos & Wine Tour (Evening)

San Sebastian

In a food mecca like San Sebastian, there are some places you just can’t leave without trying—and we’re going to visit them all tonight. Com...

€129 | Rating 4.96 / 5 [494 ratings]

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Tour supplied by:

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Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay near this experience, closest first

Hotel Zenit San Sebastian

San Sebastian, Basque Country, Spain

A smart, modern hotel with a rooftop terrace and pool, in the buzzing centre of San Sebastian.

Official star rating:

Hotel Iturregi

Getaria, Basque Country, Spain

A romantic, peaceful country retreat hidden away among the vines of this idyllic wine region, close to the beautiful Basque coast.

Official star rating:

Hotel Zinema7

San Sebastian, Basque Country, Spain

Inspired by San Sebastián’s film festival, an affordable boutique hotel in a former cinema in a residential, riverside neighbourhood.

Official star rating:

Hotel Arrizul Congress

San Sebastian, Basque Country, Spain

In central San Sebastian, by the beaches, this modern hotel has rooms of all shapes and sizes. Brilliant value for groups or families.

Official star rating:

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience