Best Things to Do in San Sebastian, Bilbao, Spain and Biarritz, France

May 15, 2017

Coast in Biarritz, France

The Basque Country is a hidden gem that offers beautiful surfing beaches, Michelin-starred restaurants in San Sebastian Spain and modern art exhibitions at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao to luxury travellers. There are many things to do in San Sebastian, Biarritz and in Bilbao. If you want to visit the Basque country, you can fly into Biarritz in France, or into San Sebastian in Spain or into Bilbao. From Bilbao to San Sebastian the journey takes about an hour on the bus. Also, from Biarritz to San Sebastian the journey takes about an hour. There are flights to San Sebastian, but it is usually cheaper to fly to Biarritz or Bilbao.


I took one of the many flights to Biarritz. There are flights to Biarritz from UK every day. Traveling from Paris to Biarritz is even easier. You have the option to take the train or fly.

Where is Biarritz?

It is a city in southwestern France about 3 hours south of Bordeaux. The city is in the French Basque Country. It is situated on the Bay of Biscay on the Atlantic Coast. If you are looking for airports near Biarritz to fly into, you will find one only 5 kms away from the city center.

I landed in Biarritz in a slightly gloomy afternoon. I walked through a very small city center, walked inside some amazing chocolatiers and pastry stores on my way to my hotel. The weather in Biarritz was not great in September. It was even raining a bit. The city center was small, but there were plenty of things to do in Biarritz. It was a beautiful city with pretty beaches. My hotel was right on the beach. The view from the coast was incredible. The waves were so powerful. The best thing to do in Biarritz, France is surfing. The weather was not ideal for surfing, but there were still a few surfers in the water. These guys are hard-core. The city was built on the cliff of the beach. This is a great city for food lovers, where  the ethnic cuisines of France and Spain meet. I was wondering what to do in Biarritz, so I walked along the coast, walked by the different viewpoints, took photos, walked by the Aquarium all the way to the Le Regina Biarritz Hotel. It was one of the best hotels in Biarritz. It was a nice walk. I checked out the Biarritz train station. It was a beautiful building in the middle of the city. Biarritz is a cute little city. I saw everything in a few hours and went to the Biarritz bus station to figure out how to get to San Sebastian. I hopped on a bus and reached San Sebastian in an hour.

Coast in Biarritz France, Basque Country

Coast in Biarritz, France, Basque Country

Beaches of Biarritz France, Basque Country

Beaches of Biarritz France, Basque Country

Beaches of Biarritz France, Basque Country

Beaches of Biarritz France, Basque Country

Best Things To Do in San Sebastian

San Sebastian is my new favorite city in Europe. The city is called Donostia in Basque. The city is beautiful. It is not very large. It has two spectacular beaches and it has a big Christ statue in the middle. The city reminded me of Rio. The city is absolutely breathtaking.

Where is San Sebastian?

San Sebastian is a coastal city in the Basque Country of Spain. It is situated on the coast of the Bay of Biscay, 20 kms away from the French boarder.

It is famous for some of the best food in Europe. So if you are wondering what to do in San Sebastian, just check out some of its famous restaurants and try the delicious food this city is famous for. The city has the most Michelin star restaurants in the World. San Sebastian has some amazing tapas bars and restaurants, beautiful churches. The San Sebastian old town is famous for having the highest concentration of bars in the World. It is also famous for being a cultural center of Europe. It was the European Capital of Culture in 2016. One of the biggest film festivals of Europe takes place here in September. Also, there is a jazz festival in San Sebastian. The good news is that you can now fly to San Sebastian directly. If you want to have a culinary weekend, hop on a plane and spend some pleasant time in San Sebastian.

Best Area to Stay in San Sebastian

The Parte Vieja (Old Town) is the busiest area to stay in in the city center. Here you will find the priciest hotels. Over the bridge is Gros, you will still be on the beach, but the prices are more reasonable. You can also stay on La Concha beach. It is about 10-15 minutes walk away from the old town.

Tapas - Best things to do in San Sebastian

Tapas – Best things to do in San Sebastian

If you climb up the to the top of the mountain where the Christ is, you can see the entire city and the beautiful beaches below you. The view is spectacular. The San Sebastian film festival is one of the oldest film festivals in Europe. It attracts movie stars and film professionals year over year to this beautiful beach town. It s an amazing city whether one comes here to surf or for movies or for tasting amazing flavors of the region. It has some of the most incredible food one can have in Europe. The old town in San Sebastian is a small but vibrant area, which can be very lively at night.

You can do day trips from San Sebastian to visit the nearby cities of the Basque Region. You can visit Biarritz or Bilbao in a day or visit the medieval city Hondarribia. Many people rent a sailboat to sail around the coast from here. You can reach the city by taking the E20 or E21 buses from San Sebastian. Vitoria-Gasteiz is the capital of the Basque Region. It is an artsy university town that houses one of the best modern art museums in the region. It is called Artium. The mural trail is something visitors should discover. If you have a car, visit the picturesque island of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe. 241 stairs lead you up to the top of the island.

San Sebastian - Best things to do in San Sebastian, Spain

San Sebastian – Best things to do in San Sebastian, Spain

The Old Town - San Sebastián, Spain Points of Interest

The Old Town – San Sebastián, Spain Points of Interest

Climbing to the Top Of the City - San Sebastian Things to Do

Climbing to the Top Of the City – San Sebastian Things to Do


Where is Bilbao?

Bilbao is about an 75 minutes away from San Sebastian. It is the largest city of the Basque Country with a population of about 1 million people. Weather in Bilbao in the end of September was pretty bad. It was raining badly. Luckily besides the Guggenheim Museum there are not too many things to do in Bilbao and the museum is covered.

Where to stay in Bilbao? 

Your best option is to stay in the old town of Bilbao. You can walk everywhere from here and there are many great restaurants and bars in this neighbourhood.

Bilbao is not a particularly interesting city, but the Guggenheim Museum is pretty remarkable. If you just arrived and you are wondering what to do in Bilbao, just head straight to the museum. It s an enormous building right on the river. It has some amazing art pieces right outside of the building, such as the flower puppy by Jeff Koons or a giant spider. Inside of the museum is an interesting collection of contemporary art. When I was there, Jeff Koons and Jean-Michel Basquiat had amazing exhibits. The museum is a must visit if you are in the Basque region. It’s restaurants are also worth a visit, however, you need to make a reservation in advance. This place is one of the best restaurants in Bilbao. If the weather is sunny, you can also check out the Bilbao old town. (Casco Viejo). Here you will see a market, a cathedral, a theatre, surrounded by old buildings. The small boutiques sell nice stuff by local designers. Shopping in Bilbaois great. There are lots of great designers in Spain and the prices are reasonable. Discovering the old town is one of the best things to do in Bilbao, Spain.

If you are interested in doing day trips from Bilbao, check out Haro, which is the wine capital of Rioja. It s a self-guided tour. You can take the regular bus service from Bilbao. You will get there in an hour. Once you arrive, you can take a half or full day tour. You can have a 3-course meal paired with wine if you want.

Guggenheim Museum - Bilbao, Spain points of interest

Guggenheim Museum – Bilbao, Spain points of interest

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About Barbara

Barbara is a London based luxury travel and lifestyle blogger. She started traveling through Paris, London, New York, Milan, Tokyo at the age of 17 to conquer the World as a model. Ever since, she has visited 67 countries. She writes about the most exclusive jet-set destinations such as Cannes, Venice Film Festivals, Monaco Grand Prix, Oscar Parties in LA, Fashion Weeks in Milan or Paris as well as yacht parties in St-Tropez, Miami Art Basel, Biennale in Venice, Frieze in London or the Royal Wedding in Monaco.

Article Name
Basque Region, Surfing Beaches, Incredible Flavors and Modern Art
Journey Through the Basque Region, through Biarritz, San Sebastian and Bilbao. It s a beautiful surfing paradise with spectacular beaches and incredible food.

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