San Sebastian located in the north of Spain is home to a lot of wonderful things, such as fabulous pintxos and a rich Basque culture.
As it is one of the greenest parts of Spain, it is also one of the rainiest parts! That kind of rain so characteristic of the Basque Country is the xirimiri – a very light rain more than a mist but less than a shower – and guaranteed to soak you!
However lucky for you there are plenty of things to do in the city when it pours. Here’s our list of top things to do on a rainy day in San Sebastián.
Go Under the Sea at San Sebastián Aquarium
Another wet place, but still offering an escape from the rain is the San Sebastián Aquarium. Situated at the bottom of Monte Urgull hill, it’s close to the Old Town and is one of the most popular attractions in the Basque Country. The aquarium is housed in an old building dating back to 1928 and focuses on the maritime and marine heritage of the region. Look out for the skeleton of a northern right whale, the tanks filled with marine animals from Bay of Biscay and the 360º shark and tropical fish tunnel.Read more about the Aquarium Donostia-San Sebastian
Immerse yourself in Basque history at the Museo de San Telmo
Take the opportunity to learn during your rainy day and visit the Museo de San Telmo. It’s the biggest and oldest museum dedicated to Basque history and has exhibits dating from the prehistoric to modern times. Located at the foot of the Urgull Mountain, it displays more than 26,000 historic artefacts and is housed in an old 16th-century Dominican convent, as well as a more modern building.Read more about the San Telmo Museum
Learn about the Basque Country’s maritime history
Another museum with a wet theme is the city’s Naval Museum, but this, too, is guaranteed to keep your warm and dry. The museum details the history of the Basque Country’s maritime history and heritage. Inside, visitors will find rooms split into various collections from shipping, maps and charts to underwater archaeological heritage and fishing.Read more about the Untzi Naval Museum San Sebastian
Relax at the La Perla Spa
An ideal way to spend a rainy day in San Sebastián is at the La Perla Spa. You’ll still be wet, but at least you’ll have your swimsuit on and you’ll stay warm. Overlooking the beautiful La Concha Beach, it offers relaxing beachside views while you’re soaking in the hot bubbling pools. It’s housed inside a lovely Belle Époque building where the Queen Maria Cristina once had her summer residence. Today it’s one of the biggest and best thalassotherapy centres in Europe and is great for health benefits.Read more about the La Perla Spa
Eat Pintxos in the Parte Vieja
San Sebastián Parte Vieja or the Old Town is a haven for food lovers as it is the home of pintxos! The Basque pintxo or Spanish pincho is derived from Pinchar, which means to pierce. The skewers or toothpicks holding each ingredient neatly onto that mouthful of bread signify pincho. Cold pintxos are the most popular, many made with seafood such as squid, tune, sardines, anchovies, octopus you can also have seared sirloin atop a slice of toasted baguette or, a trio of braised beef cheeks smothered in rich brown gravy
The local Donastiarras’ like to wash down their pintxos with a glass of Txakoli, a locally-produced effervescent white wine, Tempranillo, or a small glass of zurito beer.
A midday stroll through its narrow streets should be undertaken calmly, without following any particular route, washing down some excellent pintxos with txakoli or cider.Read more about the San Sebastián Parte Vieja or Old Town
Shop at La Bretxa
There are a number of amazing boutique clothes shops in Donostia, but in bad weather we recommend visiting La Bretxa market. La Bretxa market dates back to 1870, its upper two floors are home to chain stores, but you can also access the underground covered market via escalators, and is where every chef in the old town comes to get their fresh produce.Read more about the Mercado de la Bretxa
Explore a castle and learn about the history of San Sebastián
Located on top of Monte Urgull inside the grounds of Castillo de La Mota castle lies the Casa de la Historia museum. The museum details the history of the city of San Sebastián. Its collection is thoughtfully and creatively laid out, and features audiovisual exhibits with informative documentaries about the city, its traditional festivals, historical artifacts and photographs and models showing the city’s evolution over the years.Read more about the Monte Urgull