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Igueldo

The Igueldo neighbourhood rises west above San Sebastián atop a rocky hill. In some senses it’s completely separate. The small village on Igueldo was absorbed by the city when it was founded in 1180. Since then, some residents have wanted Igueldo to be an independent municipality, a request that was granted in 2013 when it became municipality number 89 of the province of Gipuzkoa. Three years later, however, the High Court of the Basque Country revoked this status. Igueldo is currently another neighbourhood in the Basque capital.

Its exceptional location, tranquillity (there are just over 1,000 residents) and beautiful surroundings with views over the Cantabrian Sea likely influenced the decision of such illustrious local figures as Eduardo Chillida and Cristóbal Balenciaga to establish their homes here.

The amusement park on Monte Igueldo invokes the magic and charm of those from long ago and is a great place to visit with kids. Some of the rides afford amazing panoramic views over San Sebastián and La Concha Bay. The park was built during the time when Queen Maria Christina would summer with her court in the city, turning the Basque capital into a prime tourist destination for the bourgeoisie. At that time there was a casino, a restaurant and a ballroom. Many of the attractions that were there in the early 19th century are still working today.

The park is right at the top of Monte Igueldo and you can get there by bus or car. That said, the most fun way to travel to the park is to hop aboard the famous funicular, just like the locals did in days gone by. The funicular was opened on August 25th 1912 along with the amusement park. It’s the oldest one in the Basque Country and the third oldest in Spain after those on Tibidabo (1901) and Vallvidriera (1906) in Barcelona. The funicular station is just a few metres from the Peine del Viento sculpture. Sit back and relax as the emblematic old carriages take you slowly up the hill amid a beautiful landscape.

Igueldo has another surprise in store: the famous Akelarre restaurant run by Gipuzkoan chef Pedro Subijana. One of the great pioneers of new Basque cuisine, Subijana has been awarded no less than three Michelin stars.

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