San Sebastian occupies the north-eastern corner of Spain, overlooking the Bay of Biscay, and its central train station is called Estación del Norte. A train to San Sabastian from Madrid takes 5h30, and from Paris the journey is a mere 6h40. Thanks to high-speed ALVIA trains, there are connections to many Spanish cities. The network includes the underground metro stop Donostialdea, known as ‘the Mole’. It provides links to cities like Bilbao along the Basque Coast, and stretches as far as Hendaye station over the French border. Visitors arriving at San Sebastian train station can look forward to exploring the city’s sights. Check out its famous beach, Playa de la Concha, take a stroll around Mount Igueldo, and taste the local specialities.
Heading west over the María Cristina Bridge, it takes 13 minutes to walk from San Sebastian’s Estación del Norte train station to the stately Belle Époque City Hall, which was formerly a famous casino. 2 minutes further on is the Old Port, packed with colourful fishing boats and providing great views of La Concha and Mount Igueldo. Just a stone’s throw from here lies the Plaza de la Constitución, which used to be a bullring but is now a picture of civic dignity. Eagle-eyed visitors can spot and admire the balconies where the cheering crowds once stood. Located just a 2-minute walk from this Plaza is San Sebastian’s oldest building, the 12th-century church of San Vincent. Its impressive facade towers over the Old Town, and the Gothic exterior is matched by a vaulted interior, where the main attractions are an ornate gold altar-piece and the exquisite stained-glass rose windows. Next to this church stands the San Telmo Museum, which celebrates ancient and contemporary Basque culture, arts and history. When it’s time for a refreshment, visitors need not travel far! The Old Town around the church and museum is brimming with pintxos bars, serving the traditional Basque version of tapas, including veal cheek, grilled pork and steak tartare. If all these sound too meaty, other offerings include a delicious local brie on toast or tarte de queso (a Basque cheesecake). Once satisfied, a little stroll along the beach may be in order, and the beautiful Playa de la Concha is only a 10-minute walk south of the Old Town. While there, the funicular to the top of Monte Igueldo gives a fabulous panoramic view of the city. So jump on a train to San Sebastian and discover this coastal Basque city.
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