For further tourist information about San Sebastián, please visit the San Sebastian Convention Bureau website:

Every year in late September, the city fills with magic, cameras, marquees, limousines, parties, gala dinners and a lot of movies. Every cinema becomes a venue for the various sections of the festival and the city is abuzz with excitement.

This year the festival will be held from 19th-27th September, enjoy the city during the week before the Congress starts!

International Film Festival

Below we give you in a nutshell all the sights you must see before you leave San Sebastian. The landscapes, the tremendous force of the Cantabrian Sea, the Bay, its beaches, the extensive network of parks and gardens that sit alongside traditional, romantic and contemporary architecture. Each area of San Sebastian has its own character.


Architecture is history in San Sebastian. Each building represents a different period and style; and together they tell a tale of the city´s past. In San Sebastian, classic structures stand alongside French-influenced works in the style of the Belle Époque (Golden Age) and at the same time, we can find avant-garde and modern buildings that break with traditional aesthetics.

The oldest Church

Located in the Old Part, the Church of San Vicente is the city´s oldest house of worship. Built during the first half of the 16th century in the Gothic style, it houses one of the best Romanic altarpieces, by Ambrosio de Bengoechea and Juan de Iriarte. Its other outstanding features are the French Cavaille-Coll organ, from 1868, and its impressive stained glass windows. On its side façade it has a “La Piedad” (Pietà) sculpture by Jorge Oteiza.

Basilica of Santa María

The Basilica of Santa María is an impressive 18th-century Baroque work that stands in Calle Mayor (the High Street) in the Old Part of Donostia. Its most outstanding features are the Baroque façade with its slight Churrigueresque influence, presided over by a sculpture of St. Sebastian the Martyr; and the main altarpiece, dedicated to the Virgin of the Choir, the city´s patron saint. Next to the baptismal font one may admire a cross-shaped sculpture by Eduardo Chillida. The Basilica was built between 1743 and 1774, on the ground plan of an earlier house of worship that had occupied the same site. The main door is positioned in a straight line from the entrance of the Buen Pastor Cathedral.

Constitución Square

The heart of the Old Part is occupied by Constitución Square. Up until the forties, its central building was San Sebastian´s City Hall. The balconies of the aesthetically coloured buildings that line the square bear numbers left over from its past when it was used as a bullring and the balconies were hired by spectators. Today, however, Constitución Square is a place full of life and the main site of the most important local fiestas.

Buen Pastor Cathedral

Built in the 19th century and inaugurated in 1897, its ogival (pointed)-style aesthetics were inspired by the mediaeval churches of Germany and France. This influence can be seen in the tapering spire that crowns the building, making it the tallest one in San Sebastian. Its outstanding feature, on the main façade, is “La Cruz de la Paz” (The Cross of Peace), sculpted by Eduardo Chillida. Its 1,915 square metres of floor area make it the biggest church in the whole of the city. The Cathedral was built with roofing slates and stone from Monte Igeldo.

The City Hall

San Sebastian´s present-day City Hall is the former Grand Casino of San Sebastian, inaugurated on 1 July 1897 and closed in 1924 due to the prohibition of gambling. With its roulette wheels and Ballroom, which today serves as the Council´s Plenary Chamber, politicians, writers and artists were entertained during the Belle Époque (Golden Age). On 20th January 1947 it became the City Hall, which until that date had been situated in Constitución Square. Standing in the middle of the La Concha Bay area, with the nonstop activity of the Old Part

San Sebastian´s beaches

San Sebastian´s beaches are one of the summer season´s main attractions. Each one with a personality of its own. La Concha beach, the best-known one, and Ondarreta beach, more visited by families, make up La Concha Bay. Zurriola, the youngest of the beaches with the most pronounced surfing culture, and the small, out-of-the-way beach on Santa Clara island make up the complete list of beaches, all managed under an integrated Environmental Management System, and offering full amenities for the bather.

San Sebastian´s mountains

San Sebastian´s mountains watch over, protect and embrace the city. True green lungs and recreational areas, in the not-so-distant past they were a military fort, playground of the ruling classes and a place to which fishermen climbed up to sight whales out at sea.

The best views over the city

The 18th-century Torreón de Igeldo (Igeldo Tower), originally a lighthouse and currently a panoramic viewpoint, presides over Mount Igeldo, which is a fun place thanks to its neat attractions park. We recommend you ride up the mountain on the funicular railway, the oldest in Euskadi and in operation since 1912, to observe and photograph the city from a spectacular vantage-point.

A prominent landmark on the mountain is the lighthouse on its west side, built in 1855 by architect Manuel Peironcely; it´s the perfect place to enjoy the beauty of the sea and the Igeldo cliffs.