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Donostia-San Sebastißn: Introduction

An almost perfect landscape, an intense cultural activity, and a high quality of life make up Donostia-San Sebastißn's character, a city filled with charm that we can discover on foot.See more

The poet Gabriel Celaya defined it as an 'open city' and 'simply human. This city, which was always wanted without walls and which accepts all, and is beautiful for nothing'. Its cosmopolitan character and human scale characterise Gipuzkoa's capital.
Some people consider this balanced combination of small mountains, manor buildings, and sea as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Since the Cantabrian Sea is almost one donostiarra (people from Donostia) more. The city is located around La Concha Bay, protected against the swell by the Santa Clara Island, and embraced by Mounts Urgull and Igeldo. The changing colours of the bay, skirted by La Concha and Ondarreta beaches, always dazzle everybody.
Donostia-San Sebastißn city overlooks the sea and, with a bit more than 180,000 inhabitants, keeps a human scale. We can get to most of the interesting places on foot, going through the promenades and pedestrian axis. Another formula with a growing popularity is the use of bikes and its network of 'bidegorris' (cycling lines).
Donostia-San Sebastißn's splendour during the Belle ╔poque, when it was a place for the European aristocracy's summer holidays, has left beautiful constructions, such as the Grand Casino (present Town Hall), the Miramar Palace, summer residence of the Court, or the bridges over the Urumea River. The houses of the Old Quarter, full of bars and restaurants, date from previous times.
In the Old Quarter, the local passion for gastronomy is palpable. From the miniature cuisine of the 'pintxos' to the restaurants of the creative cuisine masters, good eating is one of Donostia's commandments. Another distinguishing element is the intense cultural life, going from small performances in the different quarters to great events, such as the Jazzaldia, the Musical Fortnight, or the International Film Festival.
Donostia-San Sebastißn is a cultural, tourist, service, and congress focal point. Many of these events are celebrated in the Kursaal Palace. The two glass cubes provide an avant-garde image to a classical setting that also offers contemporary shapes in the sculptures by Eduardo Chillida (the Wind Comb) and Jorge Oteiza (Empty Construction) that, as the donostiarras and the visitors, show above the sea.

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