It wasn’t the first, nor the longest stop on our holiday but it just might have been our favourite. I didn’t know a lot about it when I chose it as a stop off, and it doesn’t have masses of “must see” sights*, it’s simply a lovely place to be. It was quite astoundingly beautiful, surrounded by mountains, full of attractive buildings and fringed by golden beaches.
It might have been the gorgeous weather, or relief at having parked the car after a fairly relentless drive. You might equate Biarritz with Belle-Epoque splendour and surfer hip but to me it’s a mass of giant lorries hurtling their cargo to Spain and Portugal. Obviously we didn’t actually visit Biarritz, or Bayonne, or straddling the border Irun; but their names flashed past as I gripped the wheel and followed the SatNav. Then when we reached San Sebastian a road close to our hotel was closed forcing us to navigate old school style. I was so pleased to have arrived that I didn’t even baulk at driving into the underground garage. Well not that much.
The previous few days in France MrS had been recovering from a lurgy so it was lovely to sit, soak up the sun, relax and enjoy lunch.
Two important lessons from that first lunch: one, Spanish restaurants are not generally dog friendly, and two, some “menu del dia” include a bottle rather than a glass of wine*.* Actually the last one could be a northern thing as I’ve never come across it on other visits.
We did find one dog friendly*** restaurant in San Sebastian, Kaxilda was a few blocks inland from our hotel and a little hard to find but very friendly and with some nice vegetarian options.
With all that eating we had lots of calories to walk off, luckily San Sebastian is perfect for that, we walked along the paseo de la concha, headed east through the fringes of the old town and were amazed by the waves on the Rio Urumea, surfers rode even bigger ones on Playa de Zurriola.
Next day we had a slightly more strenuous walk up to Monte Urgull
looking down from the top
You can see from the pictures that there’s something for everyone, gorgeous sandy beaches, including one for surfers, grand shopping streets, the old town crowded around the port and delicious food. We didn’t get to try out any of San Sebastian’s Michelin stars and with DogS it was hard to fully experience the pinxtos bars but we ate very well.
this little dog taking advantage of the spillages
At the western continuation of Playa de la Concha, (Playa de Ondaretta) you can board the funicular which climbs up Monte Igueldo
There’s a small funfair at the top, which was closed for the season. As well as the roundabouts and dodgems there was a wooden roller which on first glance seemed very tame, but then I looked at how closely it hugged the cliff and decided I was glad it was shut. There’s not a lot else up at the top but the views are gorgeous and it’s a popular spot in the early evening.
We took the beach back into town, in the evening dogs are allowed to run free.
“it’s my ball”
And after that, it was time for a sundowner.
Until next time
*there are good museums and cultural centres, just not as well known as the Guggenheim, Bilbao.
**we actually started to avoid “drinks included” menus
***by dog friendly I mean places where dogs can join their owners indoors, most places allowed dogs on the terrace.