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Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 27 May, 2023
Expert travel writer: Dana Facaros

If you want to understand the unique and proud Basque culture (believed to be the oldest civilisation, with the oldest language, in Europe), this San Sebastian museum of history and fine arts is the place to go. It recently had a complete makeover – now the beautifully displayed collection covers everything from model ships and prehistoric carvings to regional armour, traditional costume and games, as well as exceptional special exhibitions, often on photography.

The museum also encompasses the must-see former church of San Telmo, decorated with 11 enormous, golden-hued canvases depicting key moments in Basque history – painted in 1932 by Jose Maria Sert.

Logistics

Price from: £5
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 18+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

The museum is in the pedestrian-only area of San Sebastián’s old town. If you’re driving, the nearest car parks are Okendo and Boulevard. Be sure to ask for a free audio guide in English, and allow at least one hour – although you may well spend two. The museum is also a good way to spend rainy days (which are not uncommon here).

When to do it

The museum is open all year round, from Tuesday to Sunday. Closed on Monday.

Destination guides

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Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

San Sebastian

Basque Country, Spain

Concha beach with beachfront hotels

A grand but charming beach resort in northern Spain famous for its glut of Michelin-recognised restaurants and superb pintxos. Thie foodie destination is also a short hop from the world-class wines of La Rioja.

Basque Country

Basque Country, Spain

External view looking to the entrance. The curvy building has mountains behind

Fascinating ancient traditions, world-famous gourmet treats, Spain’s finest wine region and a gorgeous golden coastline.