San Sebastian

The deliciously decadent cherry on the cake that is the Basque country. Vistas galore, culinary delights, surfing heaven and litres and litres of cider. Oh hells yes!

Population: quite a few, especially in summer
Language: Basque, Euskerra, gobbledy-gook. A weird but beautiful language that is impossible to understand and hard to pronounce due to excessive use of consonants like ‘k’, ‘x’ and ‘z’
Nationality: Basque – the friendliest and warmest folk in Spain – but don’t call them Spanish
Surf report: Zurriola beach is pumping, but if you want less competition for the wave, head to Zarautz

Cookie-cutter must see’s: feeling serious? Here’s the serious sights:
Kursaal Opera House – the rather ugly but interesting music hall on the beach that was meant to be spectacular, but is really a bit of a spectacle
San Seb Cathedral – one of two beautiful churches in the city
La Concha Beach – a sunny, family-friendly beach where you’ll see the bikini- and boardshort-clad local babes
Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Coro – the other beautiful church in the old town
El Monte Urgull – a hike to this little peninsula peak will give you a good panorama of the bay

The alternative cool shit: feeling avant-garde? Here’s the Stoke choices:
Pintxos: the food of San Seb lures travelers back to its shores time and again. Try the Ox-cheek at Borda-berri and the Jimmy at Pinudi’s sports bar. You will be addicted for life and the mere thought of them will leave you salivating and feeling as if something is missing in your life.
Learn to pour a cider from a metre away – the key is to look at the glass…. and then wash a set menu dinner down with it at a local ciderhouse (sidreria). If the cider doesn’t get you all tingly in all the right places, the succulent steak certainly will.
Feeling religious? Jesus was a wine man, but had he lived in San Seb, we’re pretty sure he’d have been turning water into cider. Local cider & cheese picnic up the hill at the Jesus statue overlooking the bay of San Seb.
Surf lesson/free surf at Zarautz beach – a long beach with small and big waves for any level – complete with a jumping rock and a hill for sunset cider sessions

Under no circumstances does Stoke recommend…. ;)
Stripping down to your birthday suit and jumping in the harbour and swimming out to an empty boat to sun yourself. Why would anyone do something so daring and naughty and freeing? :D

No seriously, Stoke does not recommend: tourist traps
Going to McDonald’s. This is sacrilege in a town so stuffed to the brim with gourmet grub at a pauper’s price.
Any ice cream shop except Boulevard. If you want to get to creamy heaven, there’s only one stairway leading to the boulevard you need.

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