Holiday guide PDF 37Mb
Holiday guide PDF 37Mb

The basque country, discover its ancient and unique culture

Traditional Basque culture is original, special, different and interesting. Built around the region's own ancient language, Euskera (Basque), and flavored with traditional and folk colors, there are many unique and singular disciplines that still practiced today: pelota (ballgame), regattas, dances, etc.

For over 100,000 years people have lived in the Basque Country, which is, above all, the country of the Basque language: Euskera, one of the oldest languages in Europe, dating to before the development of Indo-European languages, and whose origin is unknown even today.

Despite the changes suffered over its millennium of history, our language is alive and well in the Basque Country.

Traditional sports continue to be widely popular in the Basque Country and San Sebastián and all share a common denominator: betting. Betting and gambling have been closely linked to traditional sports in Donostia/San Sebastian from the early twentieth century.


As the seaside city that it is, in San Sebastián a great deal of importance is placed on fishing boat races, a sport born from the city's fishing tradition. The competition known as "La Bandera de la Concha" is among the top sports competitions along the Cantabrian Sea and are held towards the end of summer.


Another of the most deeply rooted traditions in San Sebastián is pelota. Played on all five continents, it is possibly the most well-known Basque sport abroad and is played by amateur enthusiasts including Paul Newman. There are several types of Basque pelota, but the ones that have endured the longest to become the most popular today are hand pelota and cesta punta (jai-alai in English).

Herri kirolak

Basque rural sport (Herri Kirolak) is the term used to describe the sports traditionally practiced in different parts of the Basque countryside. Most of these sports take their origin from work in these rural areas.

Basque dances (Euskal dantzak), like other sports, have always played a hugely important part in Basque tradition. Each town has its own dance is performed at its major festivals. In San Sebastián, for example, the Basque Festivals (Euskal Jaiak) are celebrated in early September to celebrate a combination of Basque culture, folklore and sport.

Bertsolarismo, the improvisation of Basque verse, is one of the most unique disciplines in Basque culture. A bertso involves improvising verse, in song, to a set rhyme and melody. It requires large amounts of imagination, oral skill and mental agility from the bertsolaris, or singers. Bertsolari competitions are still organized today.

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10 reasons to visit san sebastián

Flecha arriba


Direct flights to Bilbao, Madrid and Barcelona. From there you can take bus, train or plane to San Sebastian.

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Direct flights to Madrid and Barcelona. From there you can take bus, train or plane to San Sebastian.

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Direct flights to Madrid and Barcelona. From there you can take bus, train or plane to San Sebastian.

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Sidney - Bilbao, Barcelona or Madrid - San Sebastian Melbourne - Barcelona or Madrid - San Sebastian Perth - Barcelona or Madrid - San Sebastian
Flecha arriba

Near San Sebastián

Routes and itineraries less than two hours from San Sebastián.

Donostia / San Sebastián
Zarautz Town with the longest beach for surfing. Zarautz 18 km Weitere Informationen
Getaria - Zumaia Charming fishing villages. Getaria - Zumaia 26-35 km Weitere Informationen
Hondarribia Medieval city. Hondarribia 27 km Weitere Informationen
Hendaia - Biarritz - Baiona Discover the French Basque Country. Hendaia - Biarritz - Baiona 26-50-59 km Weitere Informationen
Goierri Green mountain and tradition. Goierri 52 km Weitere Informationen
Bilbao Guggenheim and suspension bridge. Modernity. Bilbao 102 km Weitere Informationen
Vitoria Green capital. Vitoria 101 km Weitere Informationen
Rioja Alavesa The fascinating world of wine. Rioja Alavesa 163 km Weitere Informationen
Pamplona Long live the festival of San Fermin. Pamplona 84 km Weitere Informationen
Pyrenees The best place for nature and mountain lovers and mountain. Pirineo 60-300 km Weitere Informationen
Bordeaux Little Paris. Burdeos 237 km Weitere Informationen
San Sebastián Zarautz Getaria - Zumaia Hondarribia Biarritz - Hendaia Goierri Bilbao Vitoria Rioja alavesa Pamplona Pirineo Burdeos