Amara, a quiet neighborhood just steps from the city center!
- Donosti Feeling
- 2020 Feb 28
Looking for an affordable place to stay just steps from the city center in a quiet area off the beaten tourist path? Come to my neighborhood, Amara!
Amara as seen from Riberas de Loyola. Photo @charlyronda
Amara is one of the largest neighborhoods in the city and is relatively modern and comfortable. It is not the neighborhood that attracts the most tourists, but that makes it a more affordable option that is still close to everything (15 min. walk/5 mins by bike).
There are hardly any tourists and you will feel like a real Donostia native in the neighborhood’s cafés and bars!
Visit the neighborhood and you’ll find spots off the beaten tourist spot, places frequented by donostiarras with a distinct local feel. Here are just a few...
Buildings on the Paseo del Árbol de Gernika by the river Urumea. Photo: @sistersandthecity
Kiosk on the Plaza Easo. Photo: @sistersandthecity
It all starts here...in Plaza Easo
Plaza Easo. A plaza packed with terraces, the perfect place for grabbing a drink, a coffee in the morning, a snack or an afternoon beer. There’s something for everyone!
Plaza Easo is one of the most recent areas to receive a makeover, becoming trendier with the opening of new bars and cafés while still preserving its authenticity as a neighborhood with people who have lived their entire lives.
Plaza Easo opens to the Araba park, a green, tree-filled park with places where children can play...
Parque Araba. Photo: DonostiaKidSS
If you continue along Avenida de Sancho el Sabio, the widest avenue in the entire city, you’ll find 4-star hotels, shops, an avenue lined with towering trees and a bike path that leads to the Anoeta Stadium...
Must-sees on the Avenida: Don Serapio
At Don Serapio, you can try steak (txuleta) with cider, mushrooms, peppers (piperras), the best local and international deli products…don’t miss it…you’ll love it!
They also make take-away sandwiches, etc.
And for dessert, stop at Otaegui, one of the city’s oldest and most traditional bakeries, which opened in 1886. I recommend the “pantxineta”, a classic San Sebastián dessert.
Pastelería Otaegui – there are also locations in the Old Town and the Gros neighborhood – and its classic “pantxineta”. Photo: ivan.mj
The Ensanche de Amara and Riberas de Loyola neighbourhoods
And after a good meal...I recommend checking out the sports district. Visit Reale Arena, Real Sociedad’s home stadium. Founded over 100 years ago, Real Sociedad is one of the teams with the longest history in the Spanish Liga, winning the league in 1981 and 1982.
The stadium is newly renovated, I advise you to visit it and also the Real Sociedad Museum…an emotional stroll through the club’s history.
The José Antonio Gasca Arena, the home court for the city’s basketball team, the GBC, and the Atano III pelota court, where the Basque Pelota World Cups have been held since 1970, are located behind the stadium. There are matches every weekend if you want to check out this traditional Basque sport! And for the skaters…the Skate Area is also just minutes away!
Want more tapas and terraces? Isabel II and Balleneros streets are a great option and home to traditional bars with their local clientele…one of my favorites is Txirrita: tripe, cheeks, squid, steak…and a lovely south-facing terrace…what more could you want?
We also have what’s called pintxopote in Amara every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday…the bars are packed and you can get a pintxo and drink for just €2!
The Riberas de Loyola residential neighborhood and its Iesu Church, designed by architect Rafael Moneo, is right next to Amara; this modern church, which looks like a blank sheet of paper, is a must-see if you’re staying in the neighborhood.
And the best way to top off the day is a peaceful bike ride on the land that runs along the tree-lined Urumea River, which will take you by Amara’s functional architecture, the Tabakalera building, the beautiful San Sebastián bridges, to the mouth of the river, with Moneo’s “Cubes” in the background.
Amara also has the Arcco shopping center, which offers a supermarket and a full range of stores and is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Practical!
The work of architect Rafael Moneo, the Catholic Iesu Church (2011) boasts an avant-garde and minimalist design. It is known for its brightness and play on lights, as well as its broken cross layout and nonsymmetrical design, which “aims to reflect the tensions of today’s world”, according to the architect. The Garden of Memory, a space to reflect on and remember all the victims of war, violence and terrorism and a testimony to peace and human rights, is located next to the church.
There used to be a hamlet called Amara in this region, which is how the neighborhood got its name. A far as the origin of the name of the plaza, ancient geographers spoke of a city called Olearso, Olarso, Oeaso, Easo, located in this border area of Gipuzkoa during Roman times.
Real Sociedad museum / Reale Arena stadium
Reale Arena, Real Sociedad’s home stadium. Founded over 100 years ago, Real Sociedad is one of the teams with the longest history in the Spanish Liga, winning the league in 1981 and 1982.