Better known by the its capital San Sebastián, this easternmost province on the north coast of Spain, is a treat to visit at any time of the year.
Wonderfully situated on this coast, surrounded by rolling hills, the attractive city of San Sebastián (or Donostia) sits on a stunning circular bay known as La Concha. La Concha is in fact just one of four beaches in the city, but La Concha remains the undisputed sovereign. The picturesque little island just off the coast is La Isla de Santa Clara.
Turning inwards, the highlight of San Sebastián is its old town is situated on the eastern side of the bay, wedged between this and the River Urumea and at the foot or Monte Urgull. This is where many of the sights are, most notably the Plaza de La Constituciòn and the churches of San Vicente and Santa Marìa. The magnificent hotel Marìa Cristina is also located here. Also, this is the area to sample the extremely tasty tapas and where you'll find some of the best restaurants not only in San Sebastián but also Spain. In late winter and spring, try the locally-produced cider, or even take the 4 mile bus-trip to the Astigarraga area, where cider houses abound.
San Sebastián is an extremely popular city to visit and if you're planning on staying here, be advised to book well in advance especially during the summer and September when it plays host to the Film Festival.
Moving down the Gipuzcoan coast, there are spectacular beaches and cliffs, vibrant historical towns and fishing ports - yet more places to enjoy Basque gastronomy! On the coastal road to Bilbao, Getaria is a pleasant fishing village with a 15th century church and a couple of small beaches. Eastwards from the city, the old town of Pasaia Donibane, cheaper and less crowded than San Sebastián, is worth a visit. Further east still, Hondarribia can boast streets just behind the promenade that are packed with bars and restaurants for a lively night out in the summer months. It also has lovely beaches just outside town, which are less crowded than those further west near the city.
With so much going on by the coast, inland Gipuzcoa tends to be rather forgotten by the traveller, yet there is much to see here too. There are many picturesque villages to visit to the south of San Sebastián. Règil, Azpeitia, Segura and especially Oñati are all interesting towns. Plus, there are many opportunities to simply revel in the beautiful views across the many valleys.
As a final point, one of Gipuzcoa's most famous sons, Eduardo Chillida, died in the summer of 2002, thus renewing great interest in his sculptures, which can be seen all around the Basque Country, but most notably at Chillida-leku, the open-air museum a few miles south of San Sebastián. However within the city itself, one of Chillida's most famous works, El Peine de Los Vientos, just to the left of the Ondarreta beach, has become something of a focal point since his death.
An immensely beautiful and unspoiled region, with spectacular beaches and cliffs, vibrant historical towns and fishing ports. San Sebastián on the coast is arguably the best looking city in the whole peninsular.