San Sebastian is one of Spain’s most alluring destinations. It is renowned for a stunning coastal setting, vibrant pintxo culture, and exceptional cuisine. But what are the best neighbourhoods to stay in San Sebastian and the Basque Country then?
When planning a visit, choosing the right neighbourhood to stay in can greatly enhance your experience.
Here are the three best areas to consider for your San Sebastian accommodation.


Best Neighbourhoods to Stay in San Sebastian Spain


Parte Vieja (Old Town)

If you want to be at the heart of the action, the Parte Vieja, or Old Town, is the place to be. This historic district is the epicentre of San Sebastian‘s famous pintxo scene. It’s brimming with an array of bars and restaurants serving up wonderful and innovative small plates.

Wandering the charming, narrow streets of the Parte Vieja, you’ll be surrounded by beautiful Basque architecture, local boutiques, and lively plazas. It’s an absolutely captivating neighbourhood, with a tangible sense of history and community. Many of the best pintxo bars, such as Borda Berri and Gandarias, are located right in the heart of the Parte Vieja.

San Sebastian Old Town

The trade-off is that this lively atmosphere can mean the area gets quite crowded, especially in the evenings when the pintxo crawl is in full swing. Accommodation options may also be more limited and pricier in the Old Town. But for those who want to fully immerse in San Sebastian‘s vibrant culture, the Parte Vieja is the ideal choice.



Located just across the River Urumea from the Old Town, the Gros neighbourhood offers a slightly more laid-back alternative. We stayed in this area in an Airbnb opposite the Kursaal Convention Centre where we attended TBEX Europe. This trendy, up-and-coming district is known for its dynamic food and art scene. We would also advocate for staying here – the Old Town is just a short stroll away – very accessible.

Sarah and Cooper TBEX San Sebastian

In Gros, you’ll find excellent pintxo bars like Ganbara, as well as an increasing number of innovative restaurants. The area also has a thriving creative community, with independent boutiques, art galleries, and design studios. It has a youthful, bohemian vibe that contrasts nicely with the historic charm of the Parte Vieja.

Accommodation options in Gros tend to be a bit more affordable than the Old Town. You’ll often get more space and modern amenities here. The area is well-connected via public transport, making it easy to hop over the river to explore the Parte Vieja. For those seeking a slightly quieter yet still very vibrant neighbourhood, Gros is an excellent choice.

Top tip: visit Abba Hotel rooftop bar in this area :)

Neighbourhoods to Stay in San Sebastian, Spain



For a more tranquil, residential feel, consider basing yourself in the Ondarreta area, situated along San Sebastian‘s picturesque beachfront. This upscale neighbourhood is home to the Ondarreta Beach, one of the city’s most beautiful stretches of golden sand.

While Ondarreta may lack the frenetic energy of the Old Town or Gros, it offers a serene and luxurious setting, with elegant hotels, chic boutiques, and excellent dining options. You’ll find refined pintxo bars like Rekondo, as well as some of San Sebastian‘s celebrated Michelin-starred restaurants.

Cooper filming San Sebastian

The appeal of Ondarreta lies in its ability to provide a peaceful respite from the bustling city centre, while still keeping you within easy reach of all the top sights and culinary delights. It’s an ideal choice for those who want to experience San Sebastian at a more relaxed pace, perhaps combined with a day or two exploring the vibrant neighbourhoods closer to the heart of the action.

Marina San Sebastian Spain


Choosing Your Perfect San Sebastian Neighbourhood

Ultimately, the best neighbourhood for you in San Sebastian will depend on the type of experience you’re seeking. Are you drawn to the historic charm and lively social scene of the Parte Vieja? The trendy, creative vibe of Gros? Or the serene luxury of Ondarreta?

No matter which you choose, you’re sure to be captivated by San Sebastian‘s unique blend of natural beauty, architectural splendour, and world-class gastronomy. With this guide to the city’s top neighbourhoods, you can find the perfect home base to explore all that this Basque gem has to offer.

TBEX fun San Sebastian