Travels Throughout Spain: San Sebastián

During my time abroad, I was lucky enough to travel throughout Europe, and experience things I never even imagined myself experiencing.  I watched the Eiffel Tower sparkle from the vantage point of a ferris wheel, skied down the Swiss Alps, and ate pizza with my best friends in front of the Duomo.  I could go on for hours, if not days, about the incredible experiences I had while traveling throughout Europe.  However, for my next three posts I’m going to focus on my travels throughout Spain, the amazing country I have been living in for the last three months.

Earlier in March, I traveled to San Sebastián, a city located in the Basque Autonomous Community of Spain. Situated on the coast of the Bay of Biscay, San Sebastián is a beautiful city, filled with amazing manmade and natural sites.  Additionally, it is home to some of the best food in Spain, explaining why my friend recommended me to visit this city (if you have not yet realized, I live to eat).

When I first arrived in San Sebastián, it was pouring.  San Sebastián is known for its beautiful beaches, so this wet welcoming was a bit of a disappointment.  However, upon arriving at the hostel I was staying at, Pension Aia, I was greeted by Paulo, the owner of the hostel and one of the friendliest people I have met abroad, which instantly put me in a good mood.  By the time I got situated in my room and ready for the day, the rain had stopped, and I left to explore the city.

My friend and I decided that we wanted to check out the beaches on our first day, since the forecast for the next day had predicted rain.  There are three main beaches in San Sebastián: La Concha BeachZurriola Beach, and Ondarreta Beach, with a promenade connecting all three.  Despite their close proximity, each beach is extremely unique and different from one another.  Our hostel was situated a block away from Zurriola Beach, so this was our first stop.  I found this beach to be the most intriguing, as it is filled with surfers, riding the rough waves.

An overlook of Zurriola Beach

Next, we headed to La Concha Beach, the city’s most famous beach, situated between the other two.  I loved this beach and found it to be the most aesthetically pleasing of the three.  I can understand why this beach is rated one of the top city beaches in Europe, as it has soft, white sand, beautiful views of the surrounding city and nature, and crystal-blue waters.

La Concha Beach, taken from the promenade

Lastly, we walked to Ondaretta Beach.  The shorelines of this beach were filled with people playing different sand-sports, and there was even a small trampoline that children were doing flips off of.  While the sand provided an entertaining scene to pass by, this was the least memorable beach in my opinion, and there wasn’t much action to observe in the water.

Our next, and last, day in San Sebastián was stormy as predicted.  We decided to spend the day eating our way through the city, and visit it’s famous aquarium.  We started our day with a Spanish omelette and a very strong coffee, after stumbling into a small cafe by our hostel.  Although I didn’t catch the name of the cafe we ate in, I will be sure to eat here if I’m ever in San Sebastián again – their Spanish omelette put every other Spanish omelette I’ve had to shame. Yum.

We spent the rest of the morning walking in and out of stores within the city, in an attempt to escape the rainy weather.  Eventually the rain turned into less of a drizzle and more of a monsoon, so we decided to visit the San Sebastián Aquarium, which received excellent reviews on TripAdvisor.  I am so glad we decided to visit this aquarium.  It was the most amazing aquarium that I have ever seen – and I have been to my fair share of aquariums – and we spent hours here.  My favorite part of this aquarium was the shark tunnel, filled with various species of sharks and rays, as well as other terrifying yet beautiful sea life.

A look at the San Sebastián Aquarium

On our last night, my friend and I were both craving sushi – something I hadn’t yet eaten while in Europe.  We decided to try a Japanese restaurant, Elosta, that came highly recommended by a friend of mine.  This was by far our priciest meal in San Sebastián, and subsequently the most delicious sushi I have had to date.  Everything from the sticky sushi rice, to the soft, raw tuna, and sauces accompanying the roles, was perfectly executed and clearly well-thought out.  I haven’t had sushi since this meal, partially because I feel that no other sushi will compare, and partially because sushi is simply not in my budget.

Our rolls from Elosta

San Sebastián was a spectacularly beautiful city, filled with amazing beaches and mouth-watering food.  It was by far one of my favorite spots in Spain, and I look forward to coming back one day.

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