Donostia: Your Destination for an Active Vacation in Spain
Located on the Bay of Biscay, San Sebastian (Donostia in Basque) is a real gem, and a must for anyone wishing to go on one of the more unusual parts of Spain during an Active Vacation in Spain. Arriving from France to the north involves walking across the border to take a two-car train (with a romantic little whistle) through a canyon of apartment buildings to the center of town.
When you go on an Active Vacation in Spain, choose your base from any of the friendly and accessible pensions or hostels within walking distance of La Concha, the beautiful bay with its promenade lined with feathery tamarind trees, and you'll be within walking distance of everything the city has to offer. Wander to either of the two 'mountains' framing the bay to begin your adventure. Scaling Monte Igueldo involves riding the antique funicular to the top, where you are rewarded with a fantastically kitsch little amusement park. If you dare, climb aboard its rickety-but-fun roller coaster for a bird's-eye view of the sea below, with Isla Santa Clara rising like a green pearl in the middle of the bay.
Back on flat land, continue your Active Vacation in Spain and stroll like the natives along the broad walkway back through town to the old quarter. Here you can explore the quirky little museum to get a sense of the town's history before hiking up the opposite hill (a steep climb best suited to the reasonably active) along a wooded road that winds high above the water, with dizzying views through the trees, to the atmospheric English Cemetery near the top of Monte Urgull. A remnant from the Peninsular War, the series of vine covered graves and monuments is a great place to spend an hour. (Just mind the many feral cats that lounge and prowl all along the way!) Grab a snack at the little refreshment hut, have a last look at the bay, and head back to town for pinxtos and a beer, watch the sun set, and plan tomorrow's explorations.
Donostia maintains an active artistic buzz, with a wide choice of museums and galleries for those craving a cultural active vacation in Spain.