Home > Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra Review
Updated: July 30, 2020
Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra – A historic luxury hotel with modern sensibilities and ultimate views of La Concha Bay.
Stately and classic but thoroughly modern, the Londres offers guests comfortable luxury with character; from the little museum in the lobby to the enormous ornate function room and the nautical club-style bar. Its quirkier edges tell you it is still family-run, so the service is excellent and guests are made to feel totally at home. The hotel has plenty of attractive features and the list of former guests is impressive – from royalty to Dutch courtesan Mata Hari and Toulouse Lautrec – but above all, people choose it for the views: seafront rooms offer unbeatable panoramas of La Concha Bay, taking in Mount Urgull, Mount Igueldo, Santa Clara Island, and the sweep of the beach. The only place that might match it is the Londres’ sister property, Hotel Villa Favorita, a brand new adults-only boutique hotel a few minutes away, with a Michelin-starred restaurant and seafront cocktail bar.
Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra – Location
- Address: Zubieta 2, San Sebastián.
- Nearest Bus/Train: It’s an 11-minute walk (0.5 mile) to the main bus and train stations or an 8-minute walk (0.4 mile) to the Amara train station for local trains serving the Basque Country. Many local buses stop outside the hotel on Zubieta, or along Urbieta, a 2-minute walk (150m) away.
- Area: Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra is located in the city center, specifically in the part known as the Área Romántica (for its graceful Belle Époque architecture). It is right by the seafront, on the promenade around La Concha bay.
- How to Get There: From San Sebastián Airport, the hotel is approximately 30 minutes (14 miles) via car or 45 minutes via public transport. From Bilbao Airport, the hotel is approximately 75-90 minutes (61 miles) via car or public transport. If taking public transport, you’ll either come into the main bus station (Donostiako Autobus Geltokia) and the long-distance (Renfe) Donostia-San Sebastián train station (0.5 mile, 11-minute walk), which are beside each other on the east side of the River Urumea, or the Amara regional train station (0.4 mile, 8-minute walk) just south of the Área Romántica.
- Handy to: La Concha Beach, Parte Vieja, Monte Urgull.
Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra – The Basics
- Ages: The hotel welcomes guests of all ages.
- View: Some of the best views in the city (the attic terraces are the best) that take in the whole of La Concha Bay, including Monte Urgull, Monte Igueldo, Isla Santa Clara, the port, the Casa Consistorial, and the old town.
- Private Pools/Jacuzzis: The Attic Terrace Sea View suite has a private jacuzzi with sea views.
- Laundry: Full laundry services available (extra cost).
- Parking: There is a public underground car park just steps away, where the hotel has some spots reserved at a slightly discounted rate: €23/day.
- Wi-Fi: Free Wi-Fi throughout the property.
- Extras: Breakfast in bed, concierge and porter services, currency exchange, complimentary newspapers, guests-only terrace, beach towel loan, mini museum about the hotel’s history in the lobby.
- How to Book: Booking.com will have the best rates.
- When to Book: Book well ahead (3-4 months) if you’re planning on coming during one of the city’s major festivals (January, August, September, December).
- Phone: +34 943 440 770
- Email: [email protected]
- Website: hlondres.com
Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra – Amenities
- Pool: No pool, but the sea is right outside, there’s a gym next door with a large pool, and La Perla Thalasso Sports Center & Spa, which has various pools, is a 7-minute walk (0.3 mile) along the promenade.
- Spa: No spa. La Perla has hydrotherapy pools, steam rooms, and saunas, and it offers several treatments including couples’ massages.
- Fitness Center: There’s a gym next door with a large pool that offers a special rate for hotel guests (€16/day), and La Perla Thalasso Sports Center & Spa, which has exercise machines in a hydrotherapy pool, is a 7-minute walk (0.3 mile) along the promenade.
- For Disabled Guests: The hotel has 5 accessible rooms and 1 “Room for All”, which includes: easy-access furniture, grab bars in the bathroom, accessible signage including braille, automatic doors with switch control, a tablet that allows control of the facilities, and access to digital health and information services.
- For Families: Cribs and extra beds can be provided (extra cost) and there are kids’ menus available.
- Activities: The hotel offers several packages with local activities, including pintxo/gourmet food tours and spa/golf offers. The concierge can arrange many other bespoke activities.
Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra – Food and Drink
- Restaurant: La Brasserie Mari Galant is in one corner of the hotel at street level and some tables have superb sea views. On the menu are traditional Basque dishes like fish soup as well as meats and grilled fish served with inventive fusion side dishes. There’s an a la carte menu as well as a 3-course daily menu (including a version for kids) or a 5-course tasting menu. Open for lunch 1-3:30 pm and dinner 8-11 pm.
- Lounge/Bar: Bar Swing occupies much of the ground floor of the hotel. In good weather, its tables spill out onto the promenade offering fabulous views of the bay. As well as beer, European wines, liquors, and cocktails, it serves a wide range of food options, including breakfast, sandwiches, burgers, and pizza. Open daily 8-1 am.
- Breakfast: There are 2 options for breakfast – a full buffet served in the restaurant (€24, 7-11 am) or a la carte options in the bar, available all day. The hotel is happy to cater to special diets.
- Room Service: Drinks and bar menu available 9 am-midnight. La Brasserie food available during restaurant opening hours – 1-3:30 pm and 8-11 pm.
Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra – Rooms
The Londres has 167 rooms. Most of the rooms come with the option of a city view or sea view. Some of the rooms have bathtubs, some have bidets as well as toilets, and some have Japanese-style toilets with heated seats.
- Room Types: Accessible ● Single Classic ● Petite Double ● Superior ● Classic ● Attic Terrace ● Junior Suite ● Mata Hari Suite
- Smoking Rooms: Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra is 100% smoke-free.
- Best Room: Two rooms stand out. The 484-square foot Mata Hari Suite is dedicated to one of the hotel’s most famous guests who stayed in this very room in 1916. It’s kitted out with classic antique furniture and exotic objects inspired by the infamous Dutch courtesan and offers gorgeous views of La Concha Bay. It boasts a spacious bedroom with a desk and table, as well as a separate living area with a sofa and table. The floor-to-ceiling windows feature ornate Juliet balconies. Meanwhile, on the very top floor, the newer “attic” rooms are super-modern and undoubtedly offer the best bay views from their huge roof terraces with dining tables. Of the attics, the one with the jacuzzi stands out – it allows you to enjoy the beauty of the bay while you find bliss in the tub.
- Family Rooms: No family rooms per se.
Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra – Local Transport
- Walking: San Sebastián is excellent for walking and Londres is well placed to explore most of the main attractions on foot. Within a 15-minute walk, you can get to everywhere in the Parte Vieja and Área Romántica, and as far away as the Aquarium on Monte Urgull, the Kursaal in Gros, the Tabakalera in Egia, and the Miramar Palace in Antiguo.
- Tram/Bus: The city is served by local buses known as D-Bus and regional buses known as Lurraldebus, as well as long-distance coaches. Many D-Bus lines can be caught from either Zubieta, Easo, or Urbieta streets (1-2 minutes from the hotel) and many Lurraldebus lines can be caught from the Plaza Gipuzkoa (0.4 mile, 7-minute walk). Long-distance and international buses can be caught from the main bus station (Donostiako Autobus Geltokia), just east of the River Urumea at the María Cristina Bridge (0.6 mile, 11-minute walk).
- Train: Regional trains come into Amara Station (0.4 mile, 8-minute walk), while long-distance (Renfe) and international trains come into the main station on the east side of the River Urumea (0.5 mile, 11-minute walk).
- Taxis, Uber, Lyft: Taxis are well regulated in the city; there is an official tariff and only licensed companies are allowed to operate. Taxi ranks are numerous and there is one just by the Alderdi Eder park at the corner of Askatasunaren and Urbieta (100m, 2-minute walk). If you need to book in advance, try Taxi Donosti, which offers a 24-hour service (+34 943 46 46 46).
Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra – What’s Nearby?
Recommended Nearby Tours
- Pintxos Like a Local – This guided tour of the historic center’s best pintxo bars is fabulous, with tons of fun facts and a good range of bars and local delicacies included in the price; the same company also does cider tours if you fancy getting out of the city. Tours set out from the cathedral, a 5-minute walk (0.2 mile) from the hotel.
- Mimo – Located in the basement of Hotel Maria Cristina, this reputable company offers several high-end gastronomic experiences, including pintxo tours, wine tours, and private cooking classes. 9-minute walk (0.4 mile).
- Electric Bike Tour – As San Sebastián sprawls along the coast (and over a few hills), electric bikes are a fantastic way to get around. The company, Go Local, offers free walking tours and bike rentals from their office in Plaza Sarriegi, right by La Bretxa Market, behind the main tourist office on the Boulevard. 10-minute walk (0.5 mile).
Best Nearby Pintxo Bars
There are hundreds of bars in this city and nearly all of them serve some sort of pintxo, aka the Basque version of tapas. Whether they come hot or cold, from the kitchen, pre-prepared on the bar, or grilled on skewers, the pintxos here are second to none; every local has their favorite place. Some are bar-restaurants, some are more like fast-food joints, while others are bars with snacks, but all of the picks below will offer amazing tapas washed down with good drinks. Pintxos are cheap, but eating several (plus drinks) can soon add up, so look out for pintxo-pote offers, where a drink plus tapas will set you back just €1 or €2.
- Rojo y Negro – Unlike many other places that only open for lunch and dinner, this place is open all day everyday (7 am-midnight) and serves pintxos as well as heartier mains and breakfasts. Right across the street. 1-minute walk (50m).
- The New Sansse – Contemporary pintxos as well as grilled meats and burgers in a trendy modern space. 1-minute walk (100m).
- La Espiga – This place might look slick and modern, with its distinctive wood and muralled interior, but it is in fact one of the city’s oldest bars and its food carries the mark of a generations-old family-run business. 1-minute walk (100m).
- Antonio Bar – A humble-looking place whose freshly-made pintxos delight. 6-minute walk (0.3 mile).
- Casa Valles – This place claims to have invented the ubiquitous gilda pintxo (a stick with green peppers, an anchovy, and an olive, named for the famous film), but don’t miss its other offerings; all are excellent value. 7-minute walk (0.4 mile).
- La Mejillonera – This place is unmissable for its fresh mussels and patatas bravas washed down with a beer or wine. 9-minute walk (0.5 mile).
- Atari – Bar-restaurant outside the basilica with exceptional pintxos like artichokes with duck. Make sure to try the seasonal specials. 9-minute walk (0.5 mile).
- A Fuego Negro – Michelin-recommended trendy and avante garde pintxos; bookings and tasting menus available. 10-minute walk (0.5 mile).
- Borda Berri – A local favorite for its changing menus of fresh cooked small plates. Pretty much everything is great, but the risottos (actually made from orzo pasta rather than rice) are fantastic. 10-minute walk (0.5 mile).
- Txepetxa – Anchovies, anchovies, and more anchovies served dozens of ways on a slice of baguette. A fish lover’s paradise. 10-minute walk (0.5 mile).
- Bar Sport – A really traditional haunt and favorite among locals, who rightfully love the fried foie gras and txangurro (spider crab) crepes. 10-minute walk (0.5 mile).
- MendaurBerria – Don’t let the somewhat sterile interiors put you off: the flavors this place packs into its small plates are wonderful. 10-minute walk (0.5 mile).
Best Nearby Restaurants
The area is known for its extraordinary and creative high cuisine, and there are a handful of world-famous restaurants that have 2 or 3 Michelin Stars ($$$$) a short distance out of San Sebastián, including: Arzak (3 miles, 10-minute taxi ride), Martín Berasategui (6 miles, 18-minute taxi ride), Akelaŕe (4 miles, 15-minute taxi ride), and Mugaritz (7 miles, 20-minute taxi ride). But even if you can’t travel, there are several 1-star options in the city, including Amelia (0.1 mile, 2-minute walk) and Kokotxa (0.5 mile, 9-minute walk). Reservations are recommended at all restaurants in San Sebastián, especially when there are views involved.
- Iturrioz – Classic city café-restaurant on the Plaza del Buen Pastor, opposite the cathedral. Pintxos as well as main meals and breakfasts. $-$$. 4-minute walk (0.2 mile).
- Cafe de la Concha – Who cares about the food when the view’s this great? A Belle Époque beauty on the seafront promenade, good for a meal or snack, open daily 9am-midnight. $$-$$$. 6-minute walk (0.3 mile).
- Ekeko – Excellent, hip Peruvian restaurant offering totally wild flavors, should you need a break from Basque. $-$$. 7-minute walk (0.3 mile).
- Chutney Gastrobar – Hip Asian-fusion food with a focus on fresh produce and spices, just by Amara station. $-$$. 8-minute walk (0.4 mile).
- Kata4 Oyster Bar – Specializes in oysters and champagne, but offers delectable entrées and desserts, too. $$-$$$. 8-minute walk (0.4 mile).
- La Fabrica – Chic, contemporary fine dining with a daily menu, tasting menu, and a la carte dishes amid exposed brick and copper walls. $$-$$$$. 9-minute walk (0.4 mile).
- Casa Urola – While this restaurant has been an old-town staple since the 1950s, it is only in the last decade that its plates have become artistic masterpieces thanks to Chef Pablo Loureiro Rodil. $$-$$$. 10-minute walk (0.5 mile).
- Bodegón Alejandro – Outstanding basement restaurant that does hearty Basque dishes with the best ingredients. Informal and friendly. The lunch menu is extremely good value. $$-$$$$. 10-minute walk (0.5 mile).
- Mariñela – Super-fresh fish and seafood at this friendly family-run joint on the harbor. $$-$$$$. 11-minute walk (0.6 mile).
- Astelena 1997 – Wonderful, refined Basque cuisine in a romantic modern dining room. $$$-$$$$. 12-minute walk (0.6 mile).
- Gerald’s Bar – Convivial wine bar with wood paneling, nautical flourishes, and absolutely fantastic back-to-basics food. $-$$. 13-minute walk (0.6 mile).
- Ni Neu – In the Kursaal, this place has a superb location and is a great place to dine any time of day. $-$$$. 13-minute walk (0.7 mile).
Nearby Cafes, Bakeries, & Confectioners
- Cafe IruBi – Traditional Italian café and patisserie with a wonderful array of baked goods and sweet treats. 3-minute walk (0.1 mile).
- Galparsoro – Artisanal bakery in the old town where delicious bread, croissants, and local specialties roll out of the ovens. Arrive as close as possible to opening hours (8 am & 4:30 pm) to get the best as there are often lines out the door. 8-minute walk (0.4 mile).
- Koh Tao – Quirk, cozy cafe with graffiti on the walls, good brunch-style food, and excellent coffee. The kind of place freelancers love. 8-minute walk (0.4 mile).
- Botanika – Hidden café on the riverfront full of plants, with a great menu that focuses on healthy and plant-based foods (plus great cocktails). 9-minute walk (0.4 mile).
- Otaegui – Historic confectionery, founded in 1886 and specializing in blocks of marzipan turrón and pantxineta, a Basque layered almond cream cake. There’s a café in the Plaza del Buen Pastor (0.2 mile, 4-minute walk), while the original store is in the Parte Vieja (0.5 mile, 9-minute walk).
Best Nearby Bars
Had your fill of pintxos bars? Try one of the “regular” bars or clubs below.
- Gu – In the iconic boat-shaped building on the harbor, Gu’s focus in the early evening is delectable cocktails – perfect for a sundowner looking over La Concha – before it turns up the music to party into the early hours. 6-minute walk (0.3 mile).
- Bataplan Disco – World-famous club right on La Concha Bay, open year-round. Guests can enjoy its fabulous beachside terrace in the summer months. 6-minute walk (0.3 mile).
- Dioni’s – This so-called “Coffee Bar and Disco Pub” has been a stalwart of the Sanse scene for decades. Go for a gentle drink and pintxo on the terrace during the day, or party until the early hours every weekend. 7-minute walk (0.4 mile).
- Bar Pokhara – Friendly, well-established bar with regular DJ sets. Opens in the afternoon and closes around 2 am every day. 7-minute walk (0.4 mile).
- Pub Drop – Anyone into craft beer should look no further than this place, seconds from the cathedral, where there are up to 20 beers on tap (and dozens more bottled), many of them from the Basque country. 8-minute walk (0.4 mile).
- Altxerri JazzBar – Cozy jazz bar in a cave-like basement. Live music, great cocktails, and late closing. 10-minute walk (0.5 mile).
Nearby Shopping & Cool Shops
The 2 main shopping hotspots are Parte Vieja, especially Calle Mayor, and Área Romántica, in the streets around the Mercado San Martín (see below, under Markets). It’s worth bearing in mind that many shops – especially in the Parte Vieja – close for lunch from around noon-4 pm. Many places shut altogether on Sundays and holidays.
- Loreak Mendian – This cult brand was born in San Sebastián, and there are separate womenswear and menswear stores. It shuns seasonal fashion by developing high-quality basics with a twist: bold zippers, odd materials like neoprene, luminous colors, and oversized scarves. Both stores are a short walk. Store 1: 4-minute walk (0.2 mile). Store 2: 5-minute walk (0.3 mile).
- Perfumería Benegas – Run by the Benegas family since 1908, this must be one of the loveliest perfume stores in the world. As well as international brands, their own line of toiletries is covetable. 6-minute walk (0.3 mile).
- auka – Concept store selling fine things, be they clothing, perfumes, children’s toys, accessories, or simply objects of lust. 6-minute walk (0.3 mile).
- Chocolates de Mendaro – Selling the wares of master chocolatiers from Mendaro, a town about halfway between Bilbao and San Sebastián, this place specializes in handmade truffles. 7-minute walk (0.3 mile).
- Room 278 – Trendy San Sebastián related graphic design slapped onto prints, canvas bags, mugs, and more. 7-minute walk (0.3 mile).
- SKFK – Sustainable and ethical womenswear brand that offers chic urban garments made from recycled fibers. 8-minute walk (0.4 mile).
- Ezeiza Vinos y Licores – Wonderfully characterful old store that should be your first stop if you want to explore Basque wines and liquors. 8-minute walk (0.4 mile).
- Pohorylle – Beautifully crafted and chic, these unisex canvas and leather bags are handmade in the Basque country from Spanish materials and natural dyes. 9-minute walk (0.4 mile).
- Mimo San Sebastian Gourmet Shop – This gourmet food shop is one of the best places in town to find high-end delicacies to take home with you or savor as they are, as well as English-language books on pintxos. The same company runs tours and experiences too (see above under tours). 9-minute walk (0.5 mile).
- Casa Ponsol – If you want to get the San Sebastián look and don a hat (preferably a beret), look no further than this beautiful old store founded in the 1830s. 9-minute walk (0.4 mile).
- Alboka Artesania – For every weird and wonderful Basque souvenir you could hope for. Right on the Plaza de la Constitución. 10-minute walk (0.5 mile).
- Pukas – These guys have been hand-crafting surfboards and beach bum apparel in San Sebastián since the 1970s and have a store in the Parte Vieja (0.4 mile, 8-minute walk) and a surf school/board rental shop in Gros (0.8 mile, 15-minute walk).
- Área Romántica: The so-called Romantic Area is the real heart of the city. It houses most of the administrative buildings, banks, chain stores, and traditional plazas for which the Spanish are famed, and on top of this, it has a graceful unified look, thanks to the excellent town planning and architecture built in this zone during the Belle Époque. To see this area in its full glory, simply stroll along the beachside promenade around Bahía de la Concha, where there is ornate ironwork and the beautiful Cafe del Mar, La Perla Spa, strangely exotic Parque Alderdi Eder, and Ayuntamiento (city hall). On the River Urumea side, there’s the wonderfully symmetrical Teatro Victoria Eugenia next to the glamorous 5-star Hotel Maria Cristina as well as the resplendent Puente María Cristina (Maria Christina Bridge). Don’t miss the 2 main plazas in this neighborhood: Plaza del Buen Pastor, which features the neo-gothic Catedral del Buen Pastor and the Basque culture center, Koldo Mitxelena Kulturunea, which has regular exhibitions; and Plaza Gipuzkoa, which features a verdant central square – complete with a duck pond – the regional council headquarters, and shops and bars sheltered under colonnaded sidewalks. Everything in the Área Romántica is within a 12-minute walk from the hotel.
- Parte Vieja: The city’s most charismatic neighborhood offers a grid of narrow pedestrianized lanes which create a convivial atmosphere for the city’s favorite pastime: pintxo-bar-hopping. The best streets for this are 31 de Agosto/Abuztuaren 31 and Fermín Calbetón, although there are places with wonderful food on almost every street in this part of the city, including on the magnificent Plaza de la Constitución, where you can see the original Ayuntamiento building, as well as the balconies-cum-viewing platforms from the days when bullfights used to be held here. The square is at its best (and busiest) during one of the city’s many festivals. Near the plaza are 2 of San Sebastián’s loveliest churches: the baroque Basílica de Santa María del Coro, with its unmistakable statue of the city’s eponymous martyr, Saint Sebastian, has a cavernous interior and interesting sculptures, especially the cross by Eduardo Chillida; and the Iglesia de San Vicente, from the early 16th century, which used to form part of the city wall. Its altarpiece from 1586 is overwhelmingly tall and the church is renowned for its stained glass. The San Telmo Museoa offers an in-depth look at Basque culture, which can feel impenetrable to the uninitiated, and there’s a fabulous restaurant inside. A couple of blocks from the museum is Mercado de la Bretxa, which dates back to the 1870s. Today, it’s split into different areas including a food market (see markets, below) and a mini-mall in one of the historic buildings. Everything in the Parte Vieja can be reached within a 15-minute walk.
- Bahía de la Concha: The wide yellow crescent of La Concha Bay calls you as soon as you orientate yourself in the city: it is unmistakable and unmissable. If it’s a nice day, head straight to Playa de la Concha (La Concha Beach), which usually has crystalline aqua waters. A stroll west from the hotel along the glorious Belle Èpoque promenade will take you past La Perla Spa to Palacio Miramar (with its lovely gardens) and on to Ondarreta Beach in the Antiguo neighborhood (see below) via a dramatic pedestrian foot tunnel. Meanwhile, walking east will take you through the Parque Alderdi Eder, the de facto main town square, to the grand Ayuntamiento (city hall) and beyond to the Parte Vieja and the puerto (port/harbor). As the hotel is right on the promenade, it is a 1-minute walk (100m) to the beach, 7-minute walk (0.4 mile) to the port via the park, 7-minute walk (0.3 mile) to La Perla, and 17-minute walk (0.8 mile) to Miramar Palace.
- Kursaal & Playa Zurriola: On the eastern side of the River Urumea is Zurriola Beach, where the winds whip up brutal waves, making the city a mecca for surfing. If this is why you are in town, head straight to one of the surf schools on the seafront to rent a board or find a teacher. Unmissable is the uber-modern Kursaal, designed by Rafael Moneo. It always has great programming for concerts, from opera and ballet to jazz and pop, as well as a tasty restaurant. Further east, you’ll come to the Sagüés sea wall, the Dove of Peace statue, and after a hike up Monte Ulía, the Michelin-starred restaurant Mirador de Ulía at a gorgeous look-out point. Mount Ulía also marks the start of a stunning coastal park covering some 32 hectares, which includes a section of the Camino de Santiago (Way of Saint James) pilgrimage hike. It’s a 14-minute walk (0.7 mile) to the Kursaal, from where it’s a further 12-minute walk (0.6 mile) along the beach to the base of Mount Ulía.
- Tabakalera & Around: If you arrived by public transport, you may have already seen the city’s premier culture destination, the Tabakalera, as it is right by the main national and international train station as well as the bus terminal. Set in a sensitively renovated old tobacco factory, the huge building not only houses free exhibitions and events, but also stores, cafes, and a rooftop lookout point with fabulous views. It’s set next to the Parque Cristina Enea with its rolling hills, exotic plants, and a dramatic pedestrian bridge over the train tracks. It’s a 13-minute walk (0.7 mile) from the hotel to the Tabakalera via the stunning Puente María Cristina (Maria Christina Bridge).
- Puerto & Monte Urgull: On the peninsula jutting out of the middle of the city stands Monte (mount) Urgull, with the port cradled in its south-western corner. There are several routes up to the top of the hill but most people approach it via the path behind the San Telmo Museoa, the passageway beside the basilica, or via the puerto (port/harbor), where there are fantastic seafood restaurants, and the world-class Aquarium with its walkthrough ocean tunnel (complete with sand tiger sharks). Approaching Monte Urgull from here will not only give you the chance to check out the schedules for boat trips to Isla Santa Clara (the little island in the middle of the bay), but it will also bring you to Jorge Oteiza’s magnificent contemporary sculpture Construcción Vacía (Empty Construction). Up Urgull itself is a tangle of trails flanked with exotic fauna that lead to a fortified castle, Castillo de la Mota, which houses the Casa de la Historia, a city museum. There’s also a 40-foot statue of Christ, a chapel, and an ‘English Cemetery’. From the hotel, it’s a 12-minute walk (0.6 mile) to the San Telmo Museo or a 14-minute walk (0.7 mile) to the Aquarium; then, from either, it’s a further 10-15 minutes’ walk to Monte Urgull’s summit.
- Playa de Ondarreta & Monte Igueldo: A walk around La Concha Bay to the neighborhood of Antiguo is a must for any trip to this city. The first place you’ll come to is the whimsical English-style Palacio Miramar with its lovely gardens – a favorite hangout spot for locals. From here you can either wander into Antiguo town, where there are plenty of bars, cafes, and restaurants clustered around Calle Matia, or head down to the beach. Walk west towards Mount Igueldo to experience the hair-raising antique funicular railway which zips up to the top of the hill for spectacular views, a couple of bars, and a small amusement park. Or, continue on the seafront path to get round to Eduardo Chillida’s Peine del Viento (Wind Comb), a wonderful cluster of statues that during rough seas really do appear to interact with the elements. It’s around a 20 to 30-minute walk to all these places.
Nearby Markets or Grocery Stores
- Mercado San Martín – While there has been a market on this spot since 1884, the modern mall is functional rather than fascinating. Nevertheless, there’s an FNAC department store as well as a food hall with stalls selling fresh produce alongside cured meats, cheeses, street food, and smoothies. There’s also a supermarket in the basement. 2-minute walk (0.1 mile).
- Mercado de la Bretxa – These days, the market features a few dozen stalls in and under Plaza la Bretxa, but there’s evidence all around the plaza of its former splendor. The subterranean part of the market also houses a Lidl for anyone needing basic supplies. Stores around the plaza, like Aitor Lasa and Solbes, offer gourmet produce, specialty ingredients, and locally made preserves. 10-minute walk (0.5 mile).