Our San Sebastian Travel Essentials lays out the essential information you need to help planning your trip to one of the most popular destinations in Spain. No matter how frequently you travel, some questions will always need answers: What’s the weather like? How can I get from the airport to my hotel? What currency and type of plug do I need? We have all these answers plus other basic info about the best time to go, getting there, getting around, and a few useful travel tips.

    It’s all compiled in this San Sebastian Travel Essentials. After reading this short and easy-to-read guide, you will be a little more prepared to start your trip in San Sebastian.


    Best time to travel to San Sebastian (weather-wise)

    San Sebastian has an oceanic climate, with average temperatures ranging from 9°C in winter to 22°C in summer.

    • Rain is evenly distributed throughout the year, with an average of 12 rainy days per month.
    • The warmest time of the year is between May and October.
    • JulySeptember is the most popular time to visit San Sebastian, but it’s peak season, so hotel and flight prices rise accordingly.
    • MayJune is the best times to visit San Sebastian. The weather and temperatures are fine, you’ll avoid the summer crowds, and hotel and flight prices are lower.

    San Sebastian basics

    • Primary Languages: Spanish
    • Plug types: C and F
    • Electricity: 230 V
    • Currency: Euro (€)
    • International dialing codes: +34 943
    • Emergency telephone number: 112

    Getting into the city

    Biarritz Airport

    As San Sebastian Airport is only served by domestic flights, chances are good that you’ll land at Biarritz Airport, the closest international airport to San Sebastian. It sits 50 km northeast of San Sebastian city center. There are several transfer options to help you reach Downtown San Sebastian:

    • A taxicab takes around 40–50 minutes and costs roughly €130–150. Taxi ranks can be found outside the terminal.
    • A bus takes a bit more than 1 hour and costs €7. The bus stop is right outside the terminal. It’s the cheapest way to get to San Sebastian.
    • Car rental agencies can be found within the terminal.

    Bilbao Airport

    Bilbao Airport is 75 km west of San Sebastian city center. The largest airport in the Basque Country, Bilbao Airport has 1 passenger terminal served by 2 runways. The terminal is home to a good choice of dining and shopping options, as well as facilities like free Wi-Fi, banking and currency exchange services. There are several transfer options for those traveling to Downtown San Sebastian:

    • A taxicab takes around 1 hour and costs about €155–170. Taxi ranks can be found outside the Arrivals hall.
    • A bus takes a bit more than 1 hour and costs €17.10. The bus stop is right outside the Arrivals hall.
    • Car rental agencies can be found within the terminal.

    photo by Yrithinnd (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Getting around San Sebastian

    Travel tips

    Covering roughly 4 sq km, San Sebastian city center is compact enough to be explored on foot. You’ll find many landmarks and attractions within walking distance of each other, such as La Concha Beach, the Old Town, and Monte Urgull, among others. The city center is also home to a great choice of dining, shopping and nightlife entertainment options. For longer journeys, San Sebastian features a good choice of public and private transportation services.


    DBus – Public bus networks

    DBus is in charge of public transportation in San Sebastian. It operates over 40 bus lines that cover the entire city and neighboring towns. Night buses are also available.

    • A single ticket costs €1.75, but no transfers are allowed. You buy tickets on the bus.
    • Night fares are €2.10.
    • You can also purchase a rechargeable Mugi Card for €5. Using such a card, the price of a single fare goes down to €1.19, but night fares remain the same. Mugi Cards can be purchased at selected newsagents, at Kutxabank cash machines set up for this service, and at the card recharging machine located at 20th Avenida de la Libertad.

    photo by Vasconium (CC BY 2.0) modified


    San Sebastian City and Basque Cards

    Purchasing a San Sebastian City Card or a Basque Card is a good move if you plan to visit the main places of interest in either the city or the region. Valid for 10 days, they give you free entry into many attractions and museums, some free use of public transportation and discounts in many shops and restaurants. Prices start from €9 for a San Sebastian City Card, including 6 free journeys on public transportation.

    photo by Jean-Christophe BENOIST (CC BY 3.0) modified



    Scooters can be rented to allow you to independently explore San Sebastian and its surroundings. Prices start from €15-20 per day. Note that driving a scooter can be hazardous, especially if you’re not used to it.


    Taking a taxi

    Taxis usually do not stop when hailed on the street in San Sebastian. Instead, you’ll need to look for a cab stand. There are plenty in the city center, often outside hotels and near the main attractions.

    • You can directly call popular companies such as Radio Taxi Donosti (943 46 46 46) or Vallina Hermanos S.A. (943 39 38 48), just to name a few.
    • The usual flag-drop fare is roughly €4, then it’s about €0.63 per kilometer. Rates are slightly higher at night and on weekends.
    • Taxis usually accept the payment of the fare by credit card, but it’s better to ask the driver before you get in.
    • It’s not common to give a tip to taxi drivers in Spain, but you can round up the bill if you’re happy with the service.

    Cycle around San Sebastian

    San Sebastian has over 30 km of cycle paths. The city center is mostly flat, but expect hills all around the city. San Sebastian has a bike sharing scheme run by dBizi, which features electric bikes and has docking stations across the city. A day pass costs €8.

    photo by DONOSTIA KULTURA (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    Annual events in San Sebastian to look out for

    Semana Grande

    • What: The Semana Grande (the Big Week) is an event held since the mid-19th century that combines the Virgin Festivity and the International Fireworks Contest. Expect musical and theatrical street performances, loads of local street food and a festive ambience throughout the city.
    • When: Mid-August
    • Where: New Promenade and throughout the city

    San Sebastian Jazz Festival

    • What: Also known as Heineken Jazzaldia, after its main sponsor, the San Sebastian Jazz Festival is a major event that showcases world-class musicians and bands, which perform on various stages throughout the city.
    • When: July
    • Where: Zurriola Beach and other venues across the city

    San Sebastian International Film Festival

    • What: Locally known as Zinemaldia, the San Sebastian International Film Festival is considered one of the most important film festivals in the world. Expect exciting premieres and international movie stars and directors.
    • When: September
    • Where: Tabakalera

    photo by GipuzkoaKultura (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

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    COVID-19 Travel Alert

    Attractions and experiences recommended in our guides may be affected. Please check local guidance before you travel.

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