Lago Ercina, one of the lakes of Covadonga in the Picos de Europa National Park (Asturias)

Plans for visiting Green Spain for a week or more

We suggest a route from east to west covering the four regions that make up part of Green Spain: the Basque Country, Cantabria, Asturias and Galicia. The route starts and finishes near two important airports with several international connections: Bilbao, and Santiago de Compostela.

There is also an option to travel through this area on the tourist train. This is the Transcantábrico Train, which connects Bilbao (Basque Country) with Santiago de Compostela (Galicia).

DAY 1: Donostia – San Sebastián in the Basque Country

  • 1 Donostia – San Sebastián
  • 2 Bilbao
  • 3 Santander
  • 4 Altamira
  • 5 Picos de Europa National Park
  • 6 Oviedo
  • 7 Gijón
  • 8 Ribeira Sacra
  • 9 Santiago de Compostela

Donostia – San Sebastián

Distance from Bilbao airport: about 100 kilometres. How to get there: by car, using the AP-8 motorway. Direct bus between the airport and Plaza Pío XII in San Sebastián. You can also travel by train from the Estación del Norte, with connections across Spain and to international capitals such as Paris and Lisbon.

Panoramic views of the bay

San Sebastián is a city that opens up to the sea from its beautiful urban beach, La Concha. It has wide shopping streets and an amazing old town, where the pincho is king. You can spend the morning discovering the city from the heights of Monte Urgull and Monte Igueldo. The former is closer to the centre and you can enjoy the views after walking about a kilometre from the Basilica of Santa María. You can see the city’s three beaches from the viewpoint. For Monte Igueldo, we recommend taking the funicular up (just three kilometres from the Basilica of Santa María). The view from here is also spectacular and there is a small theme park.  

The old part of the city

It is at the foot of Monte Urgull and is one of the liveliest areas in the city. Why? Its cobblestone streets are home to many of the best places for trying pinchos. First, you can walk through the area and visit the oldest temple in San Sebastián, the church of San Vicente and the Basilica of Santa María. When it's time for lunch, make a note of these streets: Pescadería, 31 de agosto, Puerto, Fermín Calbetón, Nagusia, San Jerónimo and even Plaza de la Constitución, and remember that the tradition of eating pinchos involves going from bar to bar to try different ones. The most popular pinchos include ones with anchovies, seafood, mushrooms, skewers, and the more creative ones.

La Concha and the romantic city

Walking along the seafront promenade at the La Concha beach, taking a break with a view of the sea or having a coffee on a terrace are all good ideas after eating. Walking along this promenade you will also see the council building and La Concha is also very close to monuments such as the Cathedral of El Buen Pastor and the Victoria Eugenia Theatre. This area is known as the romantic city and is a good place to walk and discover its elegant 19th-century architecture. It also has several pedestrian streets full of shops. If you are looking for a good photo souvenir of the city, you can take one of places such as the María Cristina bridge and Plaza Bilbao.

In the evening, one of the easiest local treasures to enjoy as a tourist is the sunset. Any of the three beaches are good options: La Concha, in addition to its iconic railing; Zurriola, with the Kursaal Centre illuminated to the side; Ondarreta, where you can also see Chillida’s Wind Comb.

More ideas in San Sebastián

  • - The gastronomy is always a hit. The city has 18 Michelin stars. Including the restaurants Akelarre, Arzak and Martín Berasategui, which have the highest distinction. - Water activities such as a trip on a catamaran with glass floors and boat trips around the bay. - San Sebastián has a great nightlife with bars open until two or three in the morning. The best known areas are: La Parte Vieja (bars and pubs); Calle Reyes Católicos (alternative music and modern bars); El Gros neighbourhood (younger crowds and more scattered bars); and Egia (with microtheatres and live music).

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