San Sebastien (Spain)

Enjoy a tipsy feeling in the old town of a gastronomic city with a relaxing atmosphere, different from Barcelona and Madrid.

Spain is a fun place to travel. The weather is nice and the food is delicious. I went to Madrid, Barcelona and Malaga. There are many places to see, and it makes me think that it would be fun to live. However, especially Madrid and Barcelona are full of people, including tourists, and I could not relax.

Spain is often compared to Italy. Spanish and Italian cuisine, museums, galleries and historic sites. When considering traveling in Europe, I think these two countries will definitely be candidates. I have worked with people from these two countries, and in very personal feeling, Italy is “bottomless cheerfulness” and Spain is “hidden silence”.

When talking to Spanish people, it feels like there is silence in the cheerfulness, there is a “shadow” in a different saying. My personal impression is that when working, many people go through the process of “thinking calmly and moving on to the next.” This is very different from the image I had before I got involved with Spain, and I remember being very surprised.

By the way, this San Sebastian is a town in the so-called Basque Country in northern Spain, and is known as a gastronomic city. When I heard the story of a person who visited the Basque Country, he said that it is the most recommended place in Spain.

Looking at the terrain alone, San Sebastian looks like a smaller version of Nice, France. On the sea side, a bow-shaped coast spreads out, and sidewalks continue along the coast, and people are walking leisurely. Maybe it is a local city, there are not many people, and the city is clean.

Walking along the coast with locals, or getting a panoramic view of the city, including the coastline, from the hilltop of “Monte Igueldo” in the west. However, don’t miss the walk in the old town, which is located in the east of the bay. This is a place where cobblestones continue, and the street runs in a grid pattern, surrounded by five or six-story buildings. In the center of the city, there is a four-story building called “Constitucion Square”, which has doors and windows lined up toward the square, and a balcony in front of the door. The doors were numbered, ranging from the first to the 200th, and it was a mysterious place and sight. I confirmed that this place used to be a bullring.

This old town is lined with shops and restaurants along the street. The street is basically for pedestrians only, and it is fun to walk while looking at the shops and restaurants. In particular, there are many restaurants and bar-type shops, and if taking a peek inside, finding pinchos, a small piece of bread with a small amount of food on it, lined up colorfully on the counter, which is appetizing. In addition, shops dealing in miscellaneous goods and interiors also have good-looking items.

There are many historical old towns in Europe, but this old town is unusual because of the grid-like layout of the roads and the large number of restaurants and bar shops. Also, from the sense of the store, I can feel that a new sensation is fused, and overall, a relaxed atmosphere is flowing. I think it’s a perfect place to dine at a restaurant at night and take a walk in a tipsy mood.

It is fun to sit on the terrace of the cafe along “Almeda Street” in front of the city hall facing the old town and observe people. In the early afternoon, there were few people, but the seats gradually filled up. The figure of a person who drinks white wine stands out. Also, I noticed this while walking in the city, but anyway, many people have dogs. There are people with dogs on the terrace seats, and people walking with dogs stand out in front of the cafe. I was wondering and asked the hotel staff, she said “It’s normal in Spain.” I don’t have the impression that there were many dogs in Madrid, Barcelona and Malaga, so please be careful if you visit.

Finally, the impression of having conversations at cafes, restaurants, and shops is that only 20-30% of people can speak English. The cafe on the side of the street only spoke Spanish, so it seems that places with a lot of tourists speak English.

If have been to Madrid and Barcelona in Spain but are wondering where to go next, please consider the Basque Country, including San Sebastian. It is a perfect place for those who want to feel the relaxed atmosphere, which is a little different from the city, and it may be a habit.

Visited in 2019.

Basic Information

​■ Name: San Sebastian
■ Homepage: (San Sebastian Tourism Bureau)