The lovely city of San Sebastián is located in the north of Spain in the Basque Country, and is also known as Donostia in Basque. While this is one of the greenest parts of Spain, it can unfortunately be one of the rainiest parts, too, so you may experience a wet day or two during your break. Luckily, there are plenty of things to do in the city when it pours. Here’s our pick of what to do on a rainy day in San Sebastián.
Relax at the La Perla Spa in San Sebastian | Courtesy of La Perla Talaso Sport
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.
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.
If the kids are bored on a rainy day, take them to the city’s science museum, Eureka! Zientzia Museoa. It’s found in the Miramón technology park and is a fun interactive museum where kids can enjoy hands-on experiments. Inside you’ll also find a planetarium, an astronomy observatory, a rollercoaster simulator and a mini botanical garden.
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.
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.
If all else fails, duck inside one of the city’s famous pintxos bars to stay dry and nibble on the Basque Country’s most celebrated snack. Zeruko is an Old Town institution, where pintxos are piled up high on the wooden bar. Order the cod dish, brought to your table smoking over hot coals and served with a bubbling homemade salad. Other delicious bites include a cannelloni of Pedro Ximénez, sweet wine jelly wrapped around wild mushroom pâté on toast, with pumpkin, sunflower seeds and Idiazabal cheese.
If it starts raining while you’re out, run inside the magnificent cathedral to keep you dry. It first opened in 1897 and was influenced by the style of medieval German and French churches. Today, the cathedral is home of the diocese of San Sebastián and is considered one of the most significant religious buildings in the Basque Country. Head inside to see the grand organ, one of the biggest in Europe – comprising more than 10,000 pipes. Another feature to look out for is ‘The Cross of Peace’, found on the façade of the building and created by the sculptor Eduardo Chillida.