San Sebastian is one of Spain’s most beautiful resort cities, famous for its world-class restaurants, bar-hopping culture, and great in-city beaches.
If you’re thinking of visiting Spain, then you shouldn’t miss out on this Basque adventure. Read more to learn where to stay in San Sebastian in 2024!
The 5 Best Places to Stay in San Sebastian
- Center and Old Town: Best for those who want to spend time soaking up the city’s century’s old vibrant energy, go bar hopping, and just enjoy strolling through narrow cobbled streets.
- Gros: Best for surfers, beach lovers, and those who want to enjoy a laid-back city lifestyle and participate in fun summer city festivals.
- Antiguo: Best for those who want to experience the city’s ancient vibe and try some of the best dishes in Basque Country.
- Egia: Best for those seeking the alternative side of San Sebastian and want to check out the city’s cheap, quality eateries.
- Aiete-Miramon: Best for tourists who want to escape the busy tourist zones and feel like a local.
Where to Stay in San Sabastian: Best Areas & Hotels
San Sebastian has both a small-town and big-city feel, making it a perfect oceanside escape spot and a vibrant metropolis with plenty of things to see and do — from museums and palaces to beach sports, surfing, and basking in the Spanish sun.
What we particularly love about San Sebastian is that when it comes to accommodation, it has everything.
And we mean — everything! Hotels, hostels, pensions and guesthouses, luxury hotels and resorts. Whatever your budget is, you can always find a spot in San Sebastian.
1. Center and Old Town
San Sebastian’s center and Old Town perfectly reflect the timeless soul of the city and its lively spirit, which has persisted to this day.
The Old Town is located at the foot of Mount Urgull, surrounded by the port on its north side and the Urumea River on its east side. Because of its position, Mount Urgull was also the place of a military fortress in the 12th century.
You can still find remnants of this past if you visit Motako Gaztelua (or Castillo de la Mota), a fort that also houses a museum. Climbing Mount Urgull will give you breathtaking views of San Sebastian, so if you’re looking for that perfect city picture, you simply can’t miss this spot.
Crossing over to Old Town, you’ll encounter the Historical Quarter, a lively area filled with pintxo smells, narrow alleyways, and charming old buildings.
The central point of this quarter is The Plaza de la Constitución, San Sebastian’s main square, and a former bullring. A few streets from there are the beautiful 16th-century Gothic San Vicente church and the 18th-century Santa María del Coro Basilica.
Across the Bulevar de Donostia (Donostia is the Basque name for San Sebastian) lies the city center.
Watching over San Sebastian’s center is Donostia Town Hall — a beautiful late 19th-century building that used to be a casino like those on the Côte d’Azur in France. A small park surrounds the Donostia Town Hall, and north of it, you can find the famed La Concha Beach.
The center has a lot of shops, restaurants, and cafes where you can try all the delicacies of San Sebastian. Oh, and let’s not forget, here you can find loads of accommodation choices suitable for every budget!
If you want to feel the lively spirit of the city, explore its most famous spots, and don’t mind the busy streets, Old Town is where you need to be. On the other hand, avoid this area if you hate crowds and want to have a more peaceful stay in San Sebastian.
Centre and Old Town Budget Hotels
- Downtown River Hostel is a riverside hostel in the center of San Sebastian, only eight minutes away from La Concha Beach. There’s free Wi-Fi in all the rooms, and you can also use the shared kitchen and lounge. The hostel has four, six, and eight mixed-bed dormitory rooms and shared bathrooms.
- Pension Izar Bat Guesthouse is located in San Sebastian’s Old Town, very close to Zurriola Beach and La Concha Beach. The accommodation has free Wi-Fi and private bathrooms, which makes it a great value for money, considering the comfort it offers and its superb central location.
- Pension Aussie Guesthouse is another budget pension in the Old Town, just a stone’s throw away from La Concha Beach. Rooms are non-smoking, and there’s a shared bathroom.
Centre and Old Town Mid-Range Hotels
- Central Roomss is a three-star hotel in the very heart of San Sebastian’s Old Town. Besides its superb location, this hotel has modern, clean rooms with a private bathroom and free Wi-Fi. It’s a good value-for-money accommodation option, that’s for sure.
- Old Town Homestay is a two-star hotel near the beach. It has an amazing location, near all kinds of wonderful restaurants at the heart of San Sebastian’s Old Tity. It has comfy rooms with private bathrooms, a TV, and free Wi-Fi — another great value-for-money option.
Centre and Old Town Luxury Hotels
- Hotel Catalonia Donosti is a four-star hotel in a prime location in San Sebastian’s city center. It has a rooftop outdoor pool where you can swim and at the same time enjoy the wonderful city views. It also has a spa and wellness center, great breakfast, free Wi-Fi, and gorgeous rooms with private bathrooms.
- Nobu Hotel San Sebastián is a five-star, super luxurious (and super expensive!) hotel. Its spacious, art-deco rooms will make you feel like you’re the Great Gatsby. You can use the hotel’s fitness center and their room service if you want food brought to the room. Breakfast is included in the price, and for the price you pay — it better be!
The Gros neighborhood is a paradise for surfers, festival-goers, and all-around free spirits. Why do we consider Gros to be a surfer’s paradise? Well, it has a tremendous beach perfect for wave riding, for one.
Zurriola Beach is probably the most vibrant but also easy-going beach in all of San Sebastian, with many daily surf classes available and perfect waves.
Also, surfer championships are regularly held there, but it’s not only ideal for surfers — the beach is also great for other beach sports, such as beach tennis, volleyball, and football.
Moreover, Zurriola Beach is home to the San Sebastian Jazz Festival, or Jazzaldia, held every year in July for five days. It’s an amazing jazz festival — one of the oldest in the world, established in 1966.
If you’re ever in San Sebastian in July and you’re a jazz lover, then this festival is a must-visit! Besides the fun beach vibe, Gros offers great indoor entertainment spaces, such as the Kursaal Palace or Kursaal Center, designed by the famed architect Rafael Moneo.
The building itself is a true gem for architecture lovers, but you can also enjoy the countless events it hosts throughout the year.
One such special event is the San Sebastian Film Festival, which has existed since 1953, visited by the most famous movie stars of our time. Don’t miss out on the festival if you’re a movie buff and visiting San Sebastian in September.
Other than its event-rich nature, Gros is also great to just discover by foot. It’s certainly not short of amazing restaurants, much like the whole of San Sebastian, where you can munch on pintxo and Spanish wine.
Gros is perfect for people who want to experience the more laid-back side of San Sebastian, as well as for those who want to be near the beach or enjoy a music event in the open. If you’re looking for vibrant nightlife, stick to the center.
Gros Budget Hotels
- Surfing Etxea – Surf Hostel is a fabulous hostel located on Gros’ beachside. It has dormitory-style rooms (four or eight bunk beds in one room) and clean shared bathrooms. The hostel has a shared lounge you can use to hang out with other guests or just chill after a long day. There’s also free Wi-Fi throughout the whole property.
- Hotel Monte Ulia is a two-stars hotel that’s a 20-minute walk to Zurriola Beach. It’s comfy, cheap, and all the rooms have a private bathroom and free Wi-Fi. The hotel also serves breakfast. I mean, what else could you ask for a budget stay? It’s got all you need!
Gros Mid-Range Hotels
- Hotel Bed4U Zurriola San Sebastian is a three-star hotel located in Gros’ city center. It’s a few streets away from the river, and it has cozy rooms with free Wi-Fi, clean, private bathrooms, a TV, and a work desk. The hotel also has family rooms for those traveling in a larger pack.
- Okako Hotel is a two-star hotel located in a charming neo-classical building in the center of Gros. It has everything you need for a comfortable stay — free Wi-Fi, cozy beds, private bathrooms, and free parking spots for guests.
Gros Luxury Hotels
- Boutique Hotel Mendi Argia is a four-star hotel in Monte Ulia, offering amazing city views. You can enjoy San Sebastian while basking in their outdoor pool or from your cozy, beige-toned rooms, perfect for restful sleep. The hotel is noted for its excellent breakfast and also offers room service.
- Hotel Arrizul Congress is a four-star hotel located in Gros’ center, just a stone’s throw away from Kursaal and Zurriola Beach. It has very elegant rooms, a great breakfast, free Wi-Fi, and a fitness center. If you’re coming by plane, the hotel also offers an airport shuttle.
Antiguo is San Sebastian’s oldest neighborhood. It’s a beachside neighborhood — it stretches out to Ondarreta Beach, one of the three main beaches in this city.
It’s a truly special part of San Sebastian that has evolved with the times but has also kept an ancient, eternal, even mysterious quality to itself that can be felt to this very day.
Namely, Antiguo holds a special secret. When you walk the Paseo de la Concha, by La Concha Beach, to get to Antiguo, you need to pass an underwater tunnel. The tunnel is beautifully painted, and it’ll make you feel like you’re moving inside the Cantabrian Sea.
The tunnel also gets you to a beautiful 19th-century palace called Miramar and its English gardens. Antiguo has a small hilltop on its west side called Monte Igueldo, which also has an amusement park.
You can get to the amusement park using the Monte Igueldo elevator (or funicular) and enjoy some amazing city views. And if you want to get a glimpse of Antiguo’s core, head out to Matia Kalea (or Calle Matia).
This is the busiest street in the neighborhood, filled with typical Basque bars and pintxo places, brimming with people, always lively and fun. You’ll never feel alone in Antigua, even if you’re getting a particularly nasty bout of the traveler’s blues.
Antiguo Budget Hotels
- Koisi Hostel is a hostel with dormitory-style rooms close to Ondarreta Beach. It has very nice rooms that make it look like a three-star hotel, not a hostel. Also, there’s free Wi-Fi and a communal terrace.
- Hotel Distrito Oeste is a two-star hotel in southern Antiguo. It’s a lovely hotel that has a fitness center. It’s a bit further from the city, but it’s great value for money in terms of the quality of the stay you’ll get. Rooms are spacious and have free Wi-Fi, a TV, a private bathroom, and a minibar.
Antiguo Mid-Range Hotels
- Hotel Avenida is a three-star hotel located in Mount Igueldo. It’s a nice hotel with an outdoor swimming pool and a fitness center. There’s free Wi-Fi in all the rooms and private bathrooms. Rekondo restaurant is near the hotel, a great place to have lunch and dinner.
- Mercure Monte Igueldo is a four-star hotel boasting impressive views of San Sebastian. It has an outdoor pool and a fitness center you can use. The rooms are bright and cozy, and some even have sea views and a balcony. There’s free Wi-Fi in all the rooms, as well as a private bathroom and a bathtub. Breakfast is included in the price.
Antiguo Luxury Hotels
- Barceló Costa Vasca is a four-star hotel that’s also right next to Ondaretta Beach. The rooms are stylish and colorful, reflecting the vibrant but also peaceful energy of Antiguo. There’s an outdoor swimming pool open during the summer months. All rooms have private bathrooms and free Wi-Fi. And, if you want, you can also call room service to bring food straight to your room.
- Hotel ILUNION San Sebastián is a four-star hotel with stylish, beige-black-toned rooms. There’s free Wi-Fi and satellite TV in all the rooms. Guests on the fourth floor can also enjoy the sun terrace. The hotel also has a cafe-restaurant where you can eat snacks and lunch.
Egia is a vibrant neighborhood that lies beside the Urumea River, known for its art and cultural scene. It used to house a tobacco factory in the past but has since been turned into an important cultural center called Tabakalera.
It’s a neighborhood full of personality, rivaling hip places in London like Soho and New York’s Greenwich Village.
You can start your exploration of Egea by walking the Paseo Urumea, a beautiful path that unfolds parallel to the river. It’ll offer you a nice, breezy experience by the river and will lead you to the gorgeous Christina Enea Park.
Northeast of the park lies the center of Egea, filled with cute bars, restaurants, bookstores, antique stores, and whatnot. Another important part of Egea is the Polloe cemetery, inaugurated in 1878.
It’s famous for its beautiful neo-classical pantheons, chapels, and mausoleums and is a final resting place of numerous notable figures from Spanish and Basque culture and politics.
Egia offers a different dining experience than other San Sebastian neighborhoods. It’s not filled with expensive, fine-dining places, but rather smaller joints that offer cheaper goods without losing that San Sebastian creative edge and deliciousness.
When it comes to accommodation options, Egia doesn’t have as many as the other neighborhoods in the city.
But it’s perfect for tourists who want to experience the alternative vibe of the city. Those who are looking for more elegant spaces and upscale experiences should skip this neighborhood.
Egia Budget Hotels
- Cristina Enea Rooms is a two-star hotel near the north entrance of Cristina Enea Park. It has a nice location. The rooms are clean and bright, with free Wi-Fi, private bathrooms and a shared kitchen, and a sun terrace. There are also family rooms for larger families traveling together and free parking.
- Pensión Amara is a budget-friendly two-star hotel on the edge of Egia. All rooms have free Wi-Fi and private bathrooms, a TV, a microwave, and a fridge.
Egia Mid-Range Hotels
- Casual del JAZZ San Sebastian is a two-star hotel located on the banks of the Urumea River near the south entrance of Cristina Enea Park. It’s a charming hotel that takes as a motive jazz and famous jazz singers and musicians. It has rooms with free Wi-Fi and private bathrooms with free toiletries. In most room options, breakfast is included in the price.
- Hotel Bidaïa is a three-star hotel with bright, clean rooms, each with its own private bathroom. All rooms have free Wi-Fi and toiletries. You can use the hotel restaurant, bar, and free parking.
Egia Luxury Hotels
- Abba San Sebastian is a four-star hotel located in a beautiful 19th-century building. It has a fitness center that you can use as a guest. You can choose between rooms with a city view, a garden view, or a river view. All rooms have free Wi-Fi and private bathrooms. There’s also a nice hotel bar you can use to unwind and get a cocktail.
- Villa Eugenia Boutique Hotel is a beautiful three-star hotel with an outdoor pool, sleek, stylish rooms, free Wi-Fi, and private bathrooms. The hotel also offers family rooms for larger families.
These two joint neighborhoods are one of the most beautiful in San Sebastian, spreading out south of the center amidst the hills surrounding La Concha Bay.
They’re more peaceful neighborhoods than the others on this list, home to Aiete Park and the gorgeous Aiete Palace.
In the south part of the joint neighborhood, you can find the Basque Culinary Center, a beautiful architectural complex that unites the Faculty of Gastronomic Sciences within Mondragon University. There’s also the Research and Innovation Center in the field of Food and Gastronomy.
The culinary center also has a cafeteria (restaurant) that serves as a training workshop where students can put their knowledge to good use. It’s open to the public, serving two meals a day, so if you want to meet the up-and-coming culinary stars of the Basques, this is where you’ll find them.
Further south, you can also find the Science Museum, perfect for families and science enthusiasts, that offers fun and interactive exhibitions for all ages (our personal favorite was the planetarium).
The museum also has a special garden where you can walk around scale models of the most significant and famous buildings in all of the Basque country.
And if you want a quirky experience, then make sure to visit Rezola Cement Museum in the adjoining Añorga neighborhood, right next to Miramon.
It’s all things cement — how it impacts our lives and our planet, how it’s made, why it’s important, etc. On the way to Añorga, you’ll also encounter the Txillida Leku, an open-air museum with sculptures by the renowned Basque artist Eduardo Txillida.
Aiete-Miramon is a big neighborhood and has a solid choice of accommodation options that are mostly within the mid-range, upper mid-range, and luxury categories.
People who want a bit of piece of mind during their travels should opt for this neighborhood. Those who want a more vibrant place to stay should choose one of the other neighborhoods we reviewed.
Aiete-Miramon Budget Hotels
- Hotel Anoeta, a three-star hotel, is a charming, family-friendly hotel in Aiete. It has everything you need for a comfortable stay, including free Wi-Fi, private bathrooms, comfy beds and pillows, and a quiet environment. The hotel also has a restaurant and a terrace guests can use to unwind and socialize.
- Talo Urban Rooms is a nice three-star hotel near Aiete Park. It’s perfect for families, couples, or solo travelers. All rooms have free Wi-Fi and private bathrooms and are air-conditioned.
Aiete-Miramon Mid-Range Hotels
- Hotel Palacio de Aiete is a four-star hotel near Aiete Park. It’s a charming hotel with an outdoor pool and a fitness center. All rooms have free Wi-Fi, a TV, and private bathrooms. If you need more space, the hotel also offers an apartment on the top floor equipped with a kitchenette. There’s also free parking available for hotel guests.
- Hotel Bed4U San Sebastián is a three-star hotel with an outdoor pool and a sun terrace, perfect for those warm San Sebastian summer days. The rooms are clean and cozy, with private bathrooms. There’s free Wi-Fi and a TV in every room. Guests can also use the hotel’s fitness center.
Aiete-Miramon Luxury Hotels
- Zenit San Sebastián is a four-star hotel near Aiete Park. It’s a beautiful hotel with an outdoor pool and a terrace, as well as a fitness center. All rooms are air-conditioned and soundproofed and have free Wi-Fi, private bathrooms with bathtubs, and free toiletries. There’s also room service available if you want breakfast in bed.
- Zinema7 Hotel is a four-star hotel styled in the motive of movies and movie stars. In most rooms, you can see pictures of famous Oscar winners and their speeches as a guide for your daily motivation. Rooms have free Wi-Fi, private bathrooms, air-conditioning, and free toiletries. There’s private parking available for hotel guests.
So, Where Should You Stay in San Sebastian?
|🍺 Best Area for Nightlife
|Center and Old Town
|⛱️ Best for Relaxing on the Beach
|🍽️ Best Area for Restaurants
|💲 Most Budget-Friendly Area
|🧘♀️ Least Crowded
There are no two identical neighborhoods in San Sebastian, although all of the ones on this list carry a part of the peculiar spirit of this wonderful city.
Each neighborhood has its own character, and it’s worth a visit. The most suitable answer to the question of where to stay in San Sebastian depends on your preferences and plans for your dream vacation.
Regardless, whatever area in which you choose to stay has something to offer for all budgets and travel styles. So what are you waiting for — book your trip today and experience for yourself all that San Sebastian has to offer. Happy travels!