3 Days in San Sebastián-La Concha Bay

2 Days in San Sebastian Itinerary for First Time Travel

UPDATED 4/22/24

Don’t think 2 days in San Sebastian is worth your time? Au contraire. Why would you want to miss out on breathtaking Basque beaches and scenery, exciting activities, friendly locals, culture, and culinary delights? My tried-and-true, fabulous San Sebastian itinerary for first timers has all you need to plan and book 2 days (or 3) in Donostia San Sebastián, a beautiful Basque Country city.

As you’ll notice from the tips throughout, this San Sebastian itinerary is intentionally written for the first time San Sebastián solo traveler and/or older traveler (I am over 50 and have been traveling solo FOREVER). Yet, anyone can use this travel itinerary it to plan and book 2 to 3 days in San Sebastian.

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All You Need for This 2 Day San Sebastian Itinerary

Here are all of the sites you need to successfully book these perfect 2 days (or 3) in San Sebastian, Spain.

I even give you my suggested San Sebastion pensión as a sustainable, budget friendly, and centrally-located stay between Monte Igueldo and Old Town, and just blocks from La Concha Promenade, as an ideal location for San Sebastian solo travel on foot.

I recommend you bookmark and use these sites early to lock in your San Sebastian 2 day travel itinerary and get the best San Sebastian travel deals.

The Ultimate San Sebastian Travel Guide & Video

Don’t forget to use the Ultimate San Sebastian Solo Travel Guide to plan your 2 days in San Sebastian Spain. It is the ultimate one-stop-shop guide for all you need to know to plan San Sebastian solo travel with:

  • Best Time to Visit San Sebastian
  • Getting to San Sebastian Spain
  • How to Get Around San Sebastian
  • San Sebastian Solo Travel Safety
  • What to Pack for San Sebastian
  • Best Places to Stay in San Sebastian
  • Best Things to See and Do in San Sebastian
  • San Sebastian Dining, Nightlife and Shopping
  • Best Booking Sites for San Sebastian Travel
  • Top San Sebastian Budget and Ecotourism Travel Tips

Want to see the ultimate San Sebastian Solo Travel Guide in action instead? Watch the very popular 15 Things to Know Before You Go to San Sebastian video.

Discover San Sebastian visually while learning the top 15 things to know before you go to San Sebastian, from getting there, getting around, where to stay, top things to do in San Sebastian, eco travel tips, San Sebastian pro travel tips, and more to plan your first time travel to San Sebastian.

If you’re a first-time traveler to Spain, also use my Spain Travel Guide full of tips on culture, entry requirements, currency, tipping, using electronics, safety, and a lot more.

La Concha Promenade and Monte Igueldo San Sebastian Spain
La Concha Promenade and Monte Igueldo

Book Your Flight to San Sebastián-Donostia Early to Save Money

5 MUST DOs in San Sebastian Spain VIDEO

Yes, you will get to do all of these top San Sebastian things to do in this 2 days in San Sebastian itinerary. Watch this must do things in San Sebastian Spain video and be inspired to start packing.

2 Days in San Sebastian Itinerary

This San Sebastian itinerary provides some of best and free things to do in San Sebastian alone in 2 days. This spectacular beach front city nestled next to the mountains, and but an hour from France, is a prime Spain travel location for those seeking culture, outdoor land and water activities, and amazing cuisine and wine. It all awaits you in the Basque region of Spain.

You’ll be walking leisurely about the city center, beaches and hills during these 2 days in San Sebastian. If the weather permits, the views will be so unforgettable, you’ll be dreaming about going back to visit San Sebastian again.

San Sebastian 2 Day Itinerary Tips

  • This itinerary assumes staying in the San Sebastian centro, such as within the vicinity of my suggested San Sebastian pension or at any of the best hotels or pensións noted above. You can also refer to the ‘Best Area to Stay’ accommodations in the San Sebastian Solo Travel Guide.
  • This itinerary starts the day after arrival to San Sebastian assuming to allow for a full 2 days in San Sebastian.
  • Travel in the shoulder season for good weather, long daylight hours, less tourists, and lower costs. Consult the San Sebastian Solo Travel Guide for events in San Sebastian you may wish to attend (or avoid, such as the San Sebastian Film Festival held in September).
  • This San Sebastian itinerary is covered by walking. Much of San Sebastian is flat, but there is recommended walking up hills.Wear comfortable walking shoes.
  • Dress in layers to allow for changes in weather.
  • Walking, sunshine and drinking wine in San Sebastian definitely calls for sunscreen and staying hydrated. Be eco-friendly and bring your own travel water bottle, bottle sling for easy carry, and environmentally safe sunscreen.

Arriving San Sebastian

I flew from Rome into the San Sebastián Airport to start my Spain travel in San Sebastian before spending a day in Pamplona followed by 3 days in Barcelona and so on. It was beneficial to spend 3 nights in San Sebastian to get relax and get oriented before 2 days of sightseeing.

Arriving by dinner time allows you plenty of time to check-in, freshen up, and take in centro San Sebastian’s ocean air, pintxos and wine.

Stick to the “Romantic Area” of the city center south of Alameda del Boulevard and east of La Concha. It’s full of shops, restaurants and bars housed in an eclectic mix of modern and Baroque buildings. San Sebastian restaurants in this area you could try include Sukaldean Aitor Santamaría, Restaurante Bernardo Etxea, Narru Restaurant, or Rojo y Negro if you want cheaper eats.

Don’t miss the Gothic style Good Shepherd of San Sebastián Cathedral lit up at night. It’s beautiful.

San Sebastian Cathedral for Solo Travel Guide
The Cathedral of the Good Shepherd

Day 1 – Romantic Area, Playa del Zurriola, La Concha Bay

There’s no rush to get up early in San Sebastian. Being on the smaller side has its advantages of not having to rush to enjoy this town.

Grab a coffee and bite at Old Town Coffee before heading back to Good Shepherd of San Sebastián Cathedral to explore the church and plaza during the daylight. Feel free to pop into the Cultural Center at the south end of the plaza.

Wand towards the Urumea River and cross the Maria Cristina bridge for fabulous photos both south and north with views of the Santa Catalina bridge and beyond. Head north along east bank pedestrian path staying to the right as bicyclists and scooter riders zip by.

Urumea River walkway San Sebastian Spain
Urumea River

After the Santa Catalina bridge, you can’t help but notice the luxurious and ornate Hotel Maria Cristina commanding the river’s west side.

Keep on past the Zurriola Bridge and Kursaal to Playa del Zurriola to lounge on the beach while watching surfers. This neighborhood is a prime spot to grab a light lunch.

Surfer on Zurriola Beach San Sebastian Spain
Playa del Zurriola

After lunch, head west across the unique green and white Zurriola Bridge to Puente de Zurriola, where you’ll turn south to finish exploring the Romantic Area. Along the water you’ll walk past the Victoria Eugenia Theater and Hotel Maria Cristina and admire the De Okenda Plaza and architectural splendor.

A block further is the Gipuzkoa Plaza, worth walking through to see the flowers, ponds, beautiful swans, and the astronomical clock.

Gipuzkoa Plaza San Sebastián Spain
Gipuzkoa Plaza

What time is it? It’s time for more food and wine, of course. Walk north across Alameda del Boulevard into Old Town where the pedestrian streets are lined with bars (tabernas), like Freeriko Restaurant, that fill up at night with locals and tourists alike consuming pintxos and the crispy, white local Txakoli wine.

Old Town pedestrians San Sebastián Spain
Old Town

Order at the bar and grab the first available seat (if you can). Pop into one or more bar to sample the savory yet inexpensive nibbles. Take your time and soak in the casual dining vibe.

3 Pintxos San Sebastian Spain

When you’ve had your fill, head west on Alameda del Boulevard towards La Concha Bay for people watching and spy the multiple boats dotted around Santa Clara Island. Low tide is a perfect time to watch locals draw detailed designs in the sand.

Wander the promenade before calling it an evening.

Man drawing in sand La Concha Beach San Sebastian Spain
La Concha Beach

Day 2 – Old Town, La Concha, Montes Urgull & Igueldo

Again, no rush start needed on this second day in San Sebastian. Leisurely take in breakfast and then join everyone else walking east along the sweeping La Concha Promenade on way to Parte Vieja (Old Town). Pass by Alderdi Eder park with an old-fashioned carousel in front of San Sebastian City Hall.

Head east along the tree-lined pedestrian street. View the beautiful cast iron and stained glass Kiosko del Boulevard built in 1903. Make your way to El Mercado and the lively stalls full of produce and flowers.

San Sebastian City Hall San Sebastian Spain
City Hall

Wander your way around Old Town (you can’t get lost) to take in the architecture, shops and restaurants. Sample some more pintxos at Beti Ai Berria as you slowly make your way to Constitution Square. Stop and have a drink in the square if you wish.

Constitution Square San Sebastian Spain
Monte Urgull overlooking Constitution Square

A short walk from the square is the beautiful baroque Basilica of Saint Mary, definitely worth stopping into. When ready, you’ll turn right just outside the church’s entrance west and wind you way up the path past the Port of Donostia to take on Mount Urgull and enjoy its historic military structures and panoramic ocean and city views.

Boats in Port of San Sebastian Spain
Port of Donostia

There are multiple paths up Mount Urgull. You could make a day of it, but there is more to do day 2 in San Sebastian, and from Basilica of Saint Mary is the quickest way up to the top. Stop at mulitple points along the paths for different views. No 4 (Napoleon Pt) has a nice little bar with incredible bay and ocean views.

Of course, don’t miss No 5 (the Castillo) at the very top for, you guessed it, more fabulous city views. Don’t linger too long, however, because you have another mountain to tackle, which is a 30-minute walk away.

San Sebastián port and beach from Mt Urgull
San Sebastian from Monte Urgull

At the base of Mount Urgell, follow the water’s edge all along La Concha Promenade. There are opportunities to stop for different vistas and watching people on the beach play volleyball or other sports. Stop at the Miramar Palace. Go up the path and catch that sweeping view of La Concha Bay. It’s unbelievable.

View of La Concha Bay from Miramar Palace San Sebastian Spain
La Concha Bay from Miramar Palace

Keep heading to the end of the promendade and follow the signs for the funicular, one of the oldest in Europe. Buy your ticket there and catch a ride to the top where you get the iconic view of San Sebastian across La Concha Bay that you see every where (including the Spain Travel Guide).

Funicular ride Monte Igueldo San Sebastian Spain
Funicular ride

You can walk around, ride rides or just cop a squat at the cafe to dine outside with a glass of wine and soak in the sun. Just don’t miss the last funicular ride down at 8pm. From there it’s a leisurely stroll back along the promenade to watch the beach become vacant and the city lights twinkle across the ocean water.

Dine one the bay at one of the few restaurants available, or head back to Old Town, to wrap up the last of your 2 days in San Sebastian.

Rower bringing in vessel on La Concha Beach San Sebastian Spain
La Concha Beach

If you want to mix it up and join others in San Sebastian, take a food tour. A 2 to 3 hour food tour would fit nicely in this 2 day itinerary. Plus, you could take a short cruise on La Concha Bay if you want to get started earlier one day of your 2 days in San Sebastian.

Best Things to Do in San Sebastian in 2 Days

Day 3 – San Sebastian Itinerary Option

If you can, I recommend stretching your 2 days in San Sebastian to 3 Days in San Sebastian.

As you can tell from above, 2 days is enough time to experience San Sebastian’s top sights. Three days in San Sebastian, however, allows for a day trip in Basque country or to France.

If I weren’t already going to Pamplona, I would have loved to see Biarritz, France. It is only an hour from San Sebastian to Biarritz. It’s also only an hour from San Sebastian to Bilbao. So, why not take an extra day in San Sebastian? Here are some ideas for you.

Top Day Trips from San Sebastian Spain

Start Planning Your 2 Days in San Sebastian Budget

Let Me Hear From You

I would love to hear how my 2 days in San Sebastian itinerary worked on your Spain solo travel. Post me your thoughts or questions in the Comments section below. Thank you!

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