City & Lodging
The city of Donostia-San Sebastián is located in the Basque Country on the north coast of Spain. It's known for its beautiful views and gastronomy. Right on the water, the city is a very popular spot in the summer. The city’s popularity as a summer destination can be traced back to 1893, when queen María Cristina began visiting the city during the summer season. By the turn of the century, the city had become very fashionable, and witnessed Cake Walk and Charleston troupes from France, and even a visit from entertainer Josephine Baker. The name of our festival is a tribute to these times, and celebrates the Belle Époque in San Sebastián.
Below you’ll find basic information about the city. For more information on guided tours, museums, restaurants, etc we can refer you to San Sebastian’s Tourism Bureau.
If you are flying to the festival, the easiest way to get to Donostia-San Sebastián is probably to fly to Bilbao airport (Loiu) and take the shuttle bus (75 minutes). Depending on where you are flying from, the smaller airport in Fuenterrabía/Hondarribia (about 40 minutes away by bus) might suit you better. One last option is Biarritz airport (about 1 hour away by bus), which may have convenient connections for certain cities (especially in France).
You’ll find information and bus schedules from Bilbao airport on the website of the bus company PESA.
Where to stay
We can recommend the following affordable places to stay. Please take into account that the festival is taking place over a long weekend, so we recommend you sort out your accommodation as soon as possible! Please don’t wait till the last minute!!
We’re a small community, so hosting options will be limited and a on a first-come first-served basis!
Koba Hostel is a new and modern hostel in Gros. It's just 500m from Kursaal Congress Center, where classes and the Saturday Party will take place, and about a 30 min away from Miramar Palace on foot (15min by public transport). The hostel offers individual and shared rooms and has several common areas (kitchen, dining hall, terrace).
Koba Hostel is offering a discount to festival attendees. Details will be included in your registration confirmation email.
Pensión San Sebastián
Pensión San Sebastián is offering festival attendees a discounted rate. Details will be included in your registration confirmation email.
Pensión del Mar
Just a short walk from Zurriola Beach, the Kursaal Congress Center and the bus and train stations.
Quiet rooms for a relaxed stay.
Pensión del Mar is offering festival attendees a discounted rate. Details will be included in your registration confirmation email.
Pensión San Ignacio
Pensión San Ignacio Centro is in the city center and just 5 minutes away from La Concha. It has everything you need for a relaxed stay. Rooms a spacious and inclue a private bathroom, free WiFi, wheelchair access and coffee machine.
Pensión San Ignacio is offering festival attendees a discounted rate. Details will be included in your registration confirmation email.
Very close to Zurriola beach and Kursaal Congress Center, you will be able to explore the city on foot.
Pensión Aida has rooms and apartments for couples, families and people traveling alone.
Pensión Aída is offering festival attendees a discounted rate. Details will be included in your registration confirmation email.
Where to eat
You’ve probably heard of Donostia-San Sebastián’s famous gastronomy. With three 3-star Michelin restaurants (Arzak, Akelarre and Martín Berasategui), and one 2-star restaurant (Mugaritz), it’s the second city with the most Michelin star restaurants per capita, after Kyoto. Just as famous are the city’s “Pintxos”, sometimes called a miniature form of cuisine. On average, bars and restaurants in Donostia are very good quality, and will make eating in this city a memorable experience.
Check out the Tourism Bureau’s website for a comprehensive list of pintxo bars, and remember that some pintxos are in Sunday’s program, before the outdoor dance!
What to see
Listed below are a few of the sights you shouldn't miss during your weekend in Donostia!
The Old Town
The old part of town is near the port and at the foot of Urgul. Your visit to San Sebastian won't be complete until you've walked these streets and stopped by the many pintxo bars for a drink and a bite to eat.
The most famous street is called "31 of August", named after the date on which the city was burned to the ground by the English in 1813, one of the final blows to Joseph-Napoléon Bonaparte's reign in Spain. The only street left standing was the one that today is called 31 of August. The city was not expected to recover, but Donostia reemerged from the ashes, to eventually become the city you see today.
Urgull is the name of the hill rising up between the Old Town and the sea. A ten minute stroll to the top will take you to the city’s old fortress, dating back to the twelfth century. The top affords a lovely view of the city, the bay and the mountains surrounding Donostia-San Sebastián.
The view from Igeldo mountain is the postcard image you'll most often see of Donostia. Besides the view, you can also visit the old amusement park (1912) and ride on the old "swiss mountain" (roller coaster) if you dare.
You can get to the top of Igeldo in the charming funicular ("funicular") or on foot.
Peine del Viento
The "Peine del Viento" (meaning "comb of the wind") is a collection of steel sculptures by Basque artist Eduardo Chillda. These strange figures are set in the rocks on the far end of Ondarreta beach and withstand the wind and waves of Donostia's gales, and have become a symbol of the city.