Where to Stay in San Sebastian → 6 Amazing Areas (+ Hotels!)

A beach with a small town on top of a hill.

Are you planning a visit to San Sebastian? If so, I’m here to make your trip organization easier. I thoroughly researched where to stay in San Sebastian, so you don’t have to!

Whether traveling for sightseeing, the annual film festival, the world-renowned cuisine, surfing, or something else, you’ll find a suitable area and hotel here.

This city, located near the French border, has so much to offer, but I can proudly share that the best area to stay is the Old Town. It offers a perfect combo of everything Donostia (this is what the locals call San Sebastian) visitors should see and try.

In each area, I have sorted hotels that match everyone’s budget and points of interest.

Depending on the time of the year, San Sebastian hotel rooms can sell out quickly. I suggest you book your stay in advance, as soon as you find a place you like.

If you are in a hurry

Can’t read till the end? The best area to stay in San Sebastian is the Old Town. It offers a mix of the best hotels, eateries, architectural sights, and cultural events.

luxury hotel
A bedroom with a large bed and a view of the ocean.
mid-range hotel
A living room with a brown couch and a painting on the wall.

Hotel SANSEbay

Best value for money

budget hotel
The lobby of a hotel with chairs and tables.

Casa Nicolasa

Best affordable accommodation in the center

Watch my video, it will give you a visual explanation of all the areas:

Check out the map below so you can see where each San Sebastian area I recommend is located:

Colorful map highlighting the best areas to stay in San Sebastian
  1. Old Town: for first-timers:
  2. City Center: for convenience + immersion:
  3. Playa de la Concha: for sea access:
  4. Antiguo: for families:
  5. Gros: for surfing:
  6. Amara: to relax:

1. Old Town – where to stay in San Sebastian for first-timers

A square in a city with people walking around.

Are you visiting San Sebastian for the first time and want to see the most touristy places? Then staying in the Old Town (adjacent to the city center) is a must!

San Sebastian’s Old Town, or Parte Vieja in Spanish, is arguably one of the most iconic places in the Basque Country. The best hotels and attractions are just a short walk away (including Plaza de la Constitución main square) regardless of where you stay.

Convenient for food lovers and tapas trails, Old Town has charming eateries for all tastes. If you’re a foodie and want to be surrounded by some of the highest-rated pintxo bars and cafés, I guarantee you’ll be in awe!

You can also visit the renowned Aquarium de San Sebastián, located right by the ocean and featuring a walk-through tunnel and sand tiger sharks! If you’re feeling extra artsy, you can head to the San Telmo Museoa (San Telmo Museum), the top choice for arts and culture enthusiasts visiting the area.

Oh, and don’t forget to snap a pic of all the historic buildings and party like only the Spanish know in the Old Town until the early hours! A truly unique experience!

Can you tell already that San Sebastian is one of my favorite places to stay in Spain?

Luxury hotel
collage with 3 images of: pool and restaurant on a terrace, a hotel's bedroom and a lounge

One of the best luxury hotels in the city, it offers a taste of Basque luxury within walking distance of historic sights and pedestrian streets. It features a rooftop terrace with a pool and is prioritized for its modern amenities. Plus, you can have breakfast overlooking Santa Clara Island and the natural beauty of La Concha Bay.

Other accommodation options in Old Town

A hotel room with blue walls and wooden floors.

An excellent value-for-money hotel with a sea view, bright decor, and modern furniture

A building with balconies and a blue awning.

Super cozy and ideally nestled in the heart of the Old Town, Casa Nicolasa is perfect for budget travelers

A living room with yellow chairs and white walls.

I don’t recommend Airbnbs in the Old Town due to poor choice unless you’re staying here with a large group

Things to do in the Old Town 

  • Go for pintxos and wine!
  • Climb Mount Urgull for an eyeful of the Bay
  • Visit the renowned Aquarium de San Sebastián
  • Roam the charming streets around Plaza de la Constitución

2. City Center – where to stay for convenience + immersion

A large ornate building with towers

Staying in San Sebastián’s center is great fun for visitors of all ages, interests, and budgets. It’s the surefire way to make the most out of your stay in San Sebastian, thanks to easy access to public transportation, an abundance of authentic eateries, great hotels, and numerous shopping opportunities.

Some of this area’s most notable sights and historical buildings include the Donostia City Hall, Buen Pastor Cathedral (the tallest building in town), Plaza de Gipuzkoa, and Avenida de la Libertad.

Romance seekers can stay in San Sebastian’s numerous boutique hotels, while business travelers will be just a short walk from the main meeting venues and corporate facilities.

San Sebastian’s central area is a melting pot of nightlife, gastronomical, and historical experiences. Staying here will ensure you always have things to do or see.

If I ever visit San Sebastian, I know I’ll stay in the Area Romantica, a lovely neighborhood within the city center boasting marvelous Belle Époque buildings! If you decide to stay in the central part, book your stay in advance!

Luxury hotel
collage with 3 images of: a hotel's bedroom, sunbeds on the terrace and a lounge

Located adjacent to the San Sebastian’s river Urumea and overlooking the Kursaal Congress Center, this Belle Époque style luxury hotel is not only one of the best places to stay in town but it’s also located in a historic renovated building dating from 1912.

Other accommodation options in City Center

A man sitting in front of a fireplace in a living room.

The best hotel for a relaxed stay with a steam room, bike rental service, and modern interior

A bedroom with a bed and a desk.

Ideally suited between the Old Town and the central district, perfect for couples and families

A living room with a brown couch and a large painting.

A luxury, eclectic-style apartment in the heart of San Sebastian that just feels surreal

Things to do in City Center

  • Admire the architectural beauty that is Victoria Eugenia Theatre
  • Visit the Area Romantica, popular for romantic getaways
  • Take a selfie at the Good Shepherd of San Sebastián Cathedral

3. La Concha Bay – where to stay near the ocean

A beach with a lot of people on it.

Stay in the heart of the Basque Country’s La Concha Bay (Bahia de la Concha) for the best beachside location! Although the area on the San Sebastián beachfront doesn’t feature many hotels (or other decent accommodation options, for that matter), there are some notable places to stay bordering the city’s central area.

Known for its urban beaches, La Concha is the ultimate vacation spot for the young and the restless! Here, you’ll also find the most popular health and sports center in San Sebastian, La Perla.

The charming Miramar Palace, dating from the 19th century, is easily accessible at the end of the La Concha promenade close to Ondaterra Beach.

Luxury hotel
collage with 3 images of: a hotel's bedroom, dining area on the terrace and restaurant

This luxury hotel is located opposite La Concha Beach and is one of San Sebastián’s most popular tourist options. Steps away from the famous promenade and the Area Romantica, this otherworldly beachfront hotel is perfect for couples. Also favored by beach-going visitors, this San Sebastian hotel offers rooms with the best sea view.

Other accommodation options in Playa de la Concha

A large building on the beach next to a beach.

This hotel has lovely suites with sea-facing balconies overlooking the iconic La Concha Beach

A small bedroom with a white bed and a painting on the wall.

Possibly the most budget-friendly hotel in the whole town with the best value for money

A swimming pool on a rooftop overlooking a city.

This comfy hotel with tons of natural light is minutes away from La Concha Promenade

Things to do in Playa de la Concha

  • Spend a day (or more) at the La Concha Beach
  • Give yourself a royal treatment at the La Perla Spa
  • Grab a coffee with a bay view at Café de La Concha
  • Contemplate Santa Clara Island from the Loretopea viewpoint (map)

4. Antiguo – where to stay for families + local vibe

People are sitting on the grass in front of a large building.

If you want to visit San Sebastian with your family and feel like a local but remain close to the action, I couldn’t recommend Antiguo (or Guia) more. Boasting the second most popular beach in town, Playa de Ondarreta (Ondarreta Beach), this is a perfect destination for fantastic ocean views. And it’s only a 10-minute ride from the central district!

You’ll be within minutes from the Monte Igueldo viewpoint, known for panoramic city views and amazing kid-friendly attractions. Visit the stunning Miramar Palace, with plenty of room for walking, playing, and fine dining options with incredibly fresh seafood (like the TrikuHarri Taberna Jatetxea restaurant).

Talking about fine dining, you can also take the family for a luxury dine-out at Pedro Subijana’s Akelarre restaurant (one of the few Michelin-starred restaurants in the city), which is a short drive away.

With this San Sebastian area being primarily residential, the accommodation offered is more modest than in other, more urban parts of the city. But I still found some lovely options for you!

Luxury hotel
collage with 3 images of: a hotel's bedroom, dining table by the window and a lounge

This neat one-bedroom sea view apartment is conveniently located near the main street in the area and within a short distance of the Ondaterra beach. I highly recommend it if you’re after a secluded, quiet place but still want a memorable experience for the whole family. Plus, nothing beats waking up to the marvelous sea view you can enjoy straight from your bed!

Other accommodation options in Antiguo

The entrance to a hotel with a sign that says the collection.

Beautiful rooms with flexible options, including extra large or twin beds, convenient location, and excellent value for money

A swimming pool in front of a hotel.

Secluded hotel with an outdoor swimming pool and bike rentals for a new type of city exploration

A bedroom with two beds and a desk.

One of the most highly rated Airbnbs with 2 single beds and a small terrace

Things to do in Antiguo

  • Walk around the Miramar Palace gardens
  • Take the kids to the Monte Igueldo Amusement Park
  • Visit Canopy Donostia & Aventura for added kids fun 
  • Try mouth-watering artisan paella at TU PAELLA
  • Take the funicular railway to the Monte Igueldo top

5. Gros – where to stay in San Sebastian for surfing

A large building with a clock on the front.

Gros is San Sebastian’s area just across the river from the central district and the Old Town. It’s the area to stay in if you’re into surfing, where you’ll find the best surf schools and renowned surf spots to test your skills in the Atlantic Ocean’s Bay of Biscay.

There are many places if you want to stay close to Zurriola Beach and just a few steps away from all the great restaurants.

Alternatively, if you’re coming for the culture and want to stay close to the city’s film festival venues, Gros offers easy access to top cultural attractions. The renowned Tabakalera Culture and Arts Center is a 15-min walk away from Gros and has film screenings year-long with exhibitions, discussions, and more.

Whether you’re a young traveler looking for adventure or a budget-limited one, Gros has fun attractions for everyone.

Luxury hotel
collage with 3 images of: chairs and a table in front of a large door, a hotel's bedroom and a lounge

The Junior Suite Family Room in Bidaia Boutique is the best option to choose if you want to splurge out on your stay! The suite is spacious (40 m²/430 ft²) and fully renovated. Also, the hotel offers free parking, a restaurant, and even bike rental services.

Other accommodation options in Gros

A white bed in a room with stone walls.

This stylish hotel is a favorite for staying in the area and is especially praised for being closer to the center

A small room with a desk and a tv.

Perfect for budget-conscious travelers, Trueba is a modern guesthouse with elegant furniture, and very close to the beach

A living room with a couch, chair and tv.

Step outside of this cozy, freshly renovated place, and you’re already at the Zurriola Beach

Things to do in Gros

6. Amara – where to stay in San Sebastian for a laid-back stay

A bridge over a river in a city at dusk.
Credit: Donostia San Sebastian Turismoa

Located just a short ride (5 minutes) from the central district, Amara is your go-to lay-back-and-relax stop. If you’re traveling with a family, looking for cheaper accommodation, or want to stay in a quiet neighborhood, Amara checks all the boxes.

The easy access to public transportation and the vicinity of San Sebastián’s city centre also make Amara suitable for business travelers. And if you’re eager to experience the local life, the area is adjacent to vibrant local markets and parks.

Amara also has many apartment rentals for long-term visitors, and it is the ideal area to stay to immerse in the local culture without too much touristy action.

My key point here is that Amara doesn’t offer direct access to tourist attractions, so consider this when deciding whether staying here will work for you.

Luxury hotel
collage with 3 images of: a hotel's bedroom, lounge and hotel's building

The hotel’s luxury suite with a terrace is ideal for a quiet and cozy retreat next to the Urumea River. If you appreciate modern art, this hotel will feel like a museum with many works hanging on the walls. I highly recommend this place for couples and business people. Although it’s rated slightly lower than I’d normally recommend, it’s still the best luxury pick in this area!

Other accommodation options in Amara

A living room with couches and bookshelves.

Fellow movie and cinema enthusiasts, this boutique property with sophisticated rooms is the place to stay for you

Two beds in a room with a tropical theme.

One of the most affordable accommodations in the city that also has the cutest room settings

A living room with a white couch and a clock.

Fully equipped room in a building located near shops, parks, and minutes from bus stops

Things to do in Amara 

  • Stroll down the Aitzol Parkea or Olaeta Plaza parks
  • Eat affordable sushi at the Sushi Fuji restaurant
  • Explore the shops and markets around De Plaza Irun
  • Visit the Reale Arena and maybe catch a soccer game
👑 Luxury price:€300
💵 Mid-range:€150
🛏️ Budget:€80
📍 Best area:Old Town
🛎️ Best luxury hotel:Lasala Plaza
💵 Best mid-range hotel:SANSEbay
👛 Best budget hotel:Casa Nicolasa

FAQs about where to stay in San Sebastian 

a closeup of a narrow street in a city

🏖️ What part of San Sebastian is best to stay in?

For first-timers and history buffs, try the Old Town and the Lasala Plaza Hotel. For cheaper accommodation, try Amara or Gros, where Hotel Trueba is ideal. Gros is also best for surfing, and the city center wins for convenience.

❓ Is it better to stay in Bilbao or San Sebastian?

Bilbao is better for the big city vibe and accessibility (it has an international airport). San Sebastian is for the beach, Basque cuisine tasting, and generally for a more laid-back stay.

✅ Is it worth staying in San Sebastian? 

Absolutely! If you’re into gastronomy, culture, history, or beaches, San Sebastian is a great option. You can find reasonably priced accommodation, like the NH Collection Hotel.

📅 How many days should I stay in San Sebastian?

I suggest 2 days if you’re mostly into sightseeing and want to experience the architecture, vibe, and local cuisine. Stay up to 5 days if you want to add a beach vacation, surfing, and cultural events. 


The sun is setting over a beach with buildings in the background.

So you’ve made it to the end of this article on where to stay in San Sebastian! This means you’re eager to find the best option for your upcoming Basque Country trip. On my side, I have done my best to provide you with many luxury, mid-range, and budget hotels in Donostia’s chic neighborhoods.

The best part is, given how compact this charming seaside city is, you’ll have an easy time getting around wherever you stay!

But if you’re still having trouble picking the best hotel to stay in San Sebastian, I’ll share my 2 favorite options:

  • Lasala Plaza Hotel – a dreamy hotel with the best views and location, perfect for a couples holiday.
  • NH Collection – this hotel is ideal if you’re coming with children as it has tons of family room options.

That’s it, my dear friends. My last advice for you is to book your next San Sebastian hotel well in advance. The town is pretty small for the number of tourists visiting every year, so you want to make sure to get the best deal.

Drop a comment below for suggestions, questions, or just to say hi! I’m always happy to chat with you!

Hasta la vista,


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