Parks and gardens
San Sebastián has a great many beautiful and easily accessed urban green areas. By this we refer to its parks and gardens, the city's green lungs and a reflection of its sustainability.
Standing beside Tabakalera, very close to the Estación del Norte train station, with its 94,960 m² Cristina is the perfect place to switch off from the hustle and bustle of the city without leaving it.
The exoticism of its trees, the romanticism of its swans and peacocks, the architecture of its buildings... all remind us that this park was an oasis of peace, a gift to his wife by the Duke of Mandas The park was designed by Pierre Ducasse, author of the Miramar Mansion gardens and the Plaza de Gipuzkoa.
Miramar gardens and palace seen from La Concha bay
With its privileged views of the Concha Bay, the Miramar park is a stop you mustn't miss when walking round the coast in San Sebastián.
Presided over by a spectacular mansion taking its inspiration from the English country houses – designed by Selden Wornum, a British man - the Miramar gardens tumble down gently towards the sea among gravel paths and flower beds.
Noble and majestic. That’s the Aiete Park. Standing on the hills surrounding the city, the park is remarkable for its impressive gardens and, of course, for its mansion.
The walls of the building witnessed the comings and goings of aristocrats including Queen Isabel II, Queen Victoria of England, Queen María Cristina and Alphonse XIII, all of whom chose the mansion as their place of summer residence. It has recently re-opened as a culture centre packed with creative activity.
The gardens, designed by Pierre Ducasse, conceal fabulously romantic ponds certain to prompt visitors to disconnect from the reality of everyday life.
The Arbide Towers were originally close to the city centre but they were moved to Miramón Park in 1979
Standing in the district of Aiete, this park occupies an extensive valley floor to the south of the city. Given its size, it is also a park with a great variety of flora and fauna. It has an extensive network of paths, an amphitheatre with stone stairs and different leisure and picnic areas. Its 628.258 m² make this the biggest city park in San Sebastián.
Aerial view of Ametzagaina Park
The most outstanding feature of this park sprawling over the hills between Otxoki Park on one side and the district of Loiola lies in the remains of an ancient fort from the 19th century Carlist Wars. Here you will find large leafy woodland and sprawling meadows, not to mention areas to take a walk in and play.
Alderdi Eder gardens
Alderdi Eder Gardens
These gardens stretching out in front of the Ayuntamiento and alongside the Concha Bay offer one of the most typical views of San Sebastián. They have a variety of floral layouts lined by the trees that identify most with the city, the tamarixes. Elegant palm trees complete the gardens, home to an enormous merry-go-round in Belle Epoque style, a huge favourite with young children.
7. Plaza Gipuzkoa
Gipuzkoa square gardens
This romantic and charming green space resembles a small English wood right in the centre of the city.
It was designed by the prestigious French gardener, Pierre Ducasse. Home to a large number and variety of trees, flowers and plants, it also has a pond where ducks and swans swim around to the delight of the youngest members of the family.
The Iesu parish seen from the Memorial Gardens
Next to the Iesu parish church by the architect Rafael Moneo, this park was opened to the public in 2010 as a space to keep alive the memory of all victims of violence, terrorism and war. A clear-cut testimony of solidarity by the city of San Sebastián towards all cities in the world to have suffered these situations past and present. A garden of white flowers, full of life, in which to meditate and reflect on the meaning of human rights, peace and freedom. A space to rebuild the foundations of our social harmony.
9. Puio Park
This park on the hill of the same name is unfamiliar even to the locals of San Sebastián. Nevertheless, it is a privileged lookout point with magnificent views of the city (Amara, Centre, Old Town...) and the sea.
Artikutza Natural Park
Artikutza belongs to the municipality of Goizueta, in Navarre. It occupies an approximate surface area of 3,700 ha and has a perimeter of around 30 km. It borders with Oiartzun, Lesaka, Arantza Zubieta and Beintza-Labaien. It is surrounded by a mountain circus, the principal peaks of which are: Bianditz (841m), Izu (829m), Arainburu (1,054m), Loitzate (1,046m) and Altueta (654m).
The San Sebastián City Council purchased Artikutza in 1919, after several people had died a few years earlier of typhoid fever, the origin of which was traced to Artikutza, source of the city's water supply. On purchasing the area, the council built an extensive network of pipes and channels that made the most of all the natural fountains and prohibited all activities likely to contaminate the water: forestry work, mines, livestock; access was limited to individuals and the farmhouses spread over the area (Elama, Goizarin, Egazki, etc.) were abandoned, and their inhabitants moved to the district of Artikutza. In 2004, Artikutza joined the Natura 2000 Network (EU-wide network of nature protection areas to assure the long-term survival of their species and habitats) and is included as one of the 42 SCI (Sites of Community Importance) in Navarre.
The only road access is by the Gi-3631, leaving from Oiartzun (Gipuzkoa) and making its way over Bianditz pass before heading down 15 km later to the gates of Artikutza (Eskas). Those wishing to continue by vehicle to the district of Artikutza itself, 6 km further on, must obtain a permit and hand it in to the guard at Eskas. Access on foot is free and cars should be left in the car park.