Why you should make San Sebastian your next trip

San Sebastian might not immediately leap to mind when you're thinking about where to take your next break with kids, but I urge you to consider it.




San Sebastian is a foodie heaven - there are more Michelin stars per square metre than anywhere else in the world - and the centre of the old town serves up the best Pintxos you'll find, but don't let that convince you it's not the place to hang out with the littles.


I found San Sebastian to have the best of all worlds - beautiful beaches, a thriving city, great food, it's easy to get around and noone frowns at you for pushing a pram around at night!


We'd been to San Sebastian a couple of times before we had kids. In those days we could meander through the streets of the old town, eating pintxos, drinking cider and taking in the atmosphere. It's a fantastic place to soak it all up and go people watching, but like most things, this experience changes a little when you factor in small people.


Where to stay?


We booked really late and as we were travelling three adults, one child and a baby, we needed either two hotel rooms or a family room. I found the Talo Urban, where family rooms are standard, and loved the two bed layout. It mixed family room with skandi-chic, although at around £500 for two nights, it wasn't cheap, it meant we could all be together and it still afforded us some privacy.


You get a Whatsapp message telling you the location and how to get in a couple of days before, and it's all automated. I thought it was simple and easy - parking underneath the building was included and we got a lovely travel cot as asked for. However, for the price and given it was advertised and sold as a family room, it would have been nice to have a little more equipment - eg, you were provided with cuttlery but no plates. go figure.


It's also a good 20 minute walk from the city centre, and as my mother-in-law hurt her knee a couple of days before we set off and was on crutches, we used the buses to get about. The nearest bus stop is a couple of minutes walk from the hotel buses were really regular and easy to use. They took about 10 minutes into the centre and cost just over five euros per trip for the five of us. I'd recommend using buses if you go. Even with a five-year-old and baby on a busy weekend, we found it simple and easy and the locals were really friendly and helpful.


What to do?


Beside the amazing food, there's plenty to do with kids in San Sebastian. Let's start with Monte Igueldo theme park. The park, situated at the top of the hill offers breathtaking views of the bay and the Pyrenes.  


The park is over 100 years old, and as such the attractions are somewhat 'classic'. There's dodgems, a haunted house, carousel and slides. Our daughter loved the little boat ride that goes - somewhat precariously - around the edge of the mountain, and the roller coaster, with it's own driver, that offers a surprisingly white knuckle ride.





Monte Igueldo is accessible by furnicular railway, which our daughter was keen to take. However with a small baby too, we decided to drive. It's a windy road, but there's plenty of free parking at the top. We also happened to be there on a day a boat race was taking place across the bay and we joined in with the cheering - though who knows who we were cheering for!


Beaches...


The beaches in San Sebastian are beautiful. There's three - La Concha, Ondaretta and Zurriola. We visited La Concha. It was closely surrounded by plenty of bars and restaurants (and a chemist when we really needed one) toilets were close by and there was a diving platform just off shore, which our six year old surprised us all by bravely swimming out to with us.


Food...


The mainstay of San Sebastian is the Pintxos, tapas-like tiny bites that sit atop the counters of the wall-to-wall bars that line the streets. They could be a great way to get your kids to try new food if they are that way inclined. Mine isn't really, and being vegetarian added a layer of difficulty. With this in mind we made sure we had plenty of snacks with us at all times, and on the second night found a brilliant little pizza place that we all fell in love with. I must also point out that in San Sebastian I never felt uncomfortable being out with our kids or with a pram. People were generally very friendly and welcoming.


Parks...


We found there to be lots of parks dotted around the city including a lovely play area and carousel right by the Concha beach. There's another play area by Ondaretta beach and the plaza Gipuzkoa Park.


As we were only there two nights we didn't need much more entertaining, but if you were to stay longer you could check out:


Eureka museum

https://www.eurekamuseoa.eus/en

Parks and gardens

https://www.sansebastianturismoa.eus/en/to-do/beach-parks/parks-and-gardens




WRITTEN BY AMY CLOWES


Amy is Seatkickers' editor, she lives in Manchester with her daughters aged six and seven months. She loves interiors, jogging, writing and travelling. Her favourite places include Miami, Biarritz and Cornwall.

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