The emblematic Port of San Sebastián
The eastern end of the long and majestic promenade along Playa de la Concha opens out into the Port of San Sebastián. Works to build the port began in the early 15th century. It sits in a privileged position overlooked by the giant statue of Jesus that sits atop Monte Urgull, and peers onto Santa Clara Island in the centre of the bay.
Various attempts have been made throughout history to close in the eastern end of the bay, but in the 19th century remodelling works were finally carried out under the management of architect Silvestre Pérez. The triangular-shaped Port of San Sebastián is a small and bustling part of town separated into two zones: a fishing harbour (‘Muelle de la Jarana’), and a marina (‘La Lasta’).
The port is another of the town’s main hubs, and many tourists enjoy taking a long walk there along the promenade from Playa de Ondarreta. The port is also right next to the Aquarium, another favourite place with visitors.
If you have your heart set on a mooring in the Port of San Sebastián, you may need to rethink your plans: most of the boats belong to local residents and it’s difficult to secure a free space.
Club Náutico, for water sports in the heart of San Sebastián
The Real Club Náutico de San Sebastián is one of the most famous and prestigious sailing clubs in the Basque Country. The sailing school operates year-round and you can also try your hand at other water sports such as canoeing, SUP and sea kayaking. You can even book a short-hire private boat, but make sure to plan well ahead to avoid disappointment.
Scuba diving and snorkelling aficionados will be in their element here, and it’s possible to hire all the equipment you need from one of several local companies.
The annual regatta takes place in September, attracting the best fixed-seat rowing teams and fans from across the north of Spain. It’s known locally as the ‘Rowing Olympics’. If you’re in town during September, make sure to check it out!
Like any respectable port, San Sebastián has a market auctioning the day’s fresh fish. The fishermen start weighing their catch at 5.30 p.m. Anyone can watch the preparations, but the auction itself (starting at 7.30 p.m.) is private, and if you want to take part you must submit a request.
Restaurants at the Port of San Sebastián
Visiting San Sebastián is all about immersing yourself in one of the best culinary experiences this part of Spain has to offer. Enjoy fresh produce prepared by experts. The restaurants at the Port of San Sebastián will delight the most demanding palates.
La Rampa is a traditional Basque establishment specialising in fresh fish and seafood. The Iraregui family has been serving lunches at the port since 1954. However, it was the third generation, spurred on by Javier Iraregui, that decided to open the doors of La Rampa in San Sebastián. On the menu are turbot, grouper, red sea bream, line-caught baby squid and barbecued shellfish. The quality of the menu is complemented by the friendly atmosphere and top-notch service, and the harbour terrace affords some spectacular views over the bay.
Juan Mari Arzak is a local legend. If you want a unique culinary experience, make sure to visit his restaurant. The menu is built around signature, cutting-edge and creative cuisine, all imbued with the spirit of the Basque Country.
Restaurante de Arzak has a space called El Laboratorio in which research and magic come together to create some spectacular dishes. It’s a school of ideas where different flavour and texture combinations are tried out, using the most advanced technology, and a tasting team signs off on each experiment before the dishes reach the dining table.
Restaurante Atari Gastroleku
This peculiar restaurant sits between Calle Mayor and Calle 31 de Agosto. Atari shows that traditional and cutting-edge can go hand in hand to create some outstanding dishes and pintxos. The menu showcases local, seasonal produce with innovative twists. Everything has a personal touch, and the friendly atmosphere will leave any diner satisfied. The restaurant also has a large terrace where you can soak up the scene with a cocktail.
Calle del Puerto
Calle del Puerto is one of the busiest streets in San Sebastián, bursting with bars and restaurants where you can sample some typical Basque pintxos. It’s worth taking a stroll down it to discover the oldest part of the town. Wander past the bars and breathe in the traditional Basque atmosphere.
The Port of San Sebastián has something to suit all ages. With a fish market, aquarium, fantastic dining options and an array of other activities on offer, you can easily enjoy a packed family day out in Donostia-San Sebastián.