Did you know..? 7 fun facts about San Sebastian


Did you Know that San Sebastian has more Michelin Stars per square meter than any other city in the world?

Having the largest number of Michelin stars per capita, Donostia-San Sebastian sparkles unlike any other gastronomic city in the world. You can choose from six one-star (Alameda, Elkano, Kokotxa, Mirador de Ulia, Zuberoa) to three three-star restaurants (Akelarre, Arzak, Martin Berasategui)– depending on your tastes and budget ($100 - $250+ meal per person). There are also many restaurants for casual dining and a countless number of pintxo bars. For insights and recommendations of our favorite places to eat, visit: sansebastiandetails.com/food.


Did you know that fashion designer Cristobal Balenciaga opened his first atelier on avenida de Libertad in 1924?

Divine landscapes of Gipuzkoa have always inspired a lot of talented people from writers and artists to architects and designers. One of them was the founder of the famous brand Cristobal Balenciaga. Being a self-taught, he followed only his own genius, and at the age of 22 managed to open his first atelier in San Sebastian. Though later, due to Civil war in Spain, he had to move to Paris, he kept his Basque spirit. Balenciaga believed that everyday clothes should be simple and austere, while evening outfit – chic and glamorous. It was highly appreciated by his distinguished clients, among whom were members of the Spanish royal family. The heritage of the fashion designer is carefully preserved in Balenciaga museum located in Getaria, where he was born.


Did you know that "sirimiri" means light drizzle in basque? 

The Basque Country is one of the rainiest regions in Spain; it differs a lot from the sunny Mediterranean. Locals make jokes about Basque weather and use special words to describe light drizzle, rain and storms. 

Some weather phenomena are very tricky. Don't be surprised if you get wet even under an umbrella. This means you were caught by sirimiri: sprinkle-like rain that consists of small drops that are more likely to float than fall, creating an effect of horizontal rain. Locals complain about sirimiri and yet are inspired by it such that they even give its name to bars and perfumes.


Did you know that waves in San Sebastian can reach up to 30 meters in winter? 

The beautiful and peaceful Cantabrian Sea in winter can turn into a true beast that literary bites the shore and destroys nearby constructions. Although we do not recommend you to come too close to this wild creature, it is quite impressive to watch it from a protected spot. A lot of tourists come to San Sebastian during the winter storms season to enjoy the powerful and immense waves that can reach up to 30 meters high. You can watch them from the viewpoint at mount Urgull right above Paseo Nuevo, which offers a spectacular perspective. Another interesting place for the wave-watchers can be The Comb of the Wind monument on the other side of the La Concha Bay. This masterpiece of a local architect Eduardo Chillida creates a beautiful interplay of the wind, waves and upland landscape.


Did youn know that Ernest Hemingway lived on Urbieta street while writing his novel "Fiesta"? 

Prolific social life of San Sebastian has always attracted prominent people to the city, who came to enjoy local culture and entertainment. So did a famous American writer Ernest Hemingway. Once visited the place, he fell in love with genuine nature, cuisine and traditions of the surrounding areas. Thus he was charmed by the holiday of San Fermin, celebrated every summer in Pamplona. The special attraction for him was a famous running of the bulls (Encierro), when hundreds of young men run in front of the furious bulls, trying to touch their peaked horns and tempting their fate. The writer described this very experience in his book Death in the Afternoon. His other work Fiesta about the trip of higher society members to the resorts of the Basque Country was written in San Sebastian, where he once lived.


Did you know the most savoured pintxo in San Sebastián has the same name of Rita Hayworth's heroine, Gilda? 

They say that the first pintxo in the north of Spain was born more than 60 years ago. In those times bars offered their clients wine accompanied by olives, pickled peppers "guindilla" and anchovies. Once one of the clients decided to try them all at the same time, so he pinched three ingredients with a toothpick and ate them. The taste happened to be so good that bars all over the Basque Country began to serve this snack. Later, the combination of an olive, guindilla and anchovy was nicknamed Gilda after a heroine of the American movie Gilda, 1946, in which Rita Haywarth played a young, witty, zestful and adventurous Gilda . According to the basques these characteristics perfectly correspond to the taste of the pintxo that was, as they say in Spanish, “verde, salada, y un poco picante”.


Did you know that basque mountaineer Edurne Pasaban Lizarriban was the first woman to ascend all the fourtheen egiht-thousander peaks in the world?

We should admit that the Basque Country is a motherland of not only a unique cuisine and talented artists but also of brave women, who are ready to conquer this world. Edurne Pasaban, born in 1973, is one of these women. Since her childhood she climbed steep rocks and upright cliffs that surrounded her hometown Tolosa. At the age of 28, she climbed her highest peak, and, actually, the highest in the world — Everest. And after that she could not stop. She conquered mountain by mountain until she became a legend among the alpinists. Edurne Pasaban is the first woman who climbed all 14 peaks that are higher than 8000 meters.