What are the best times of year to visit the Basque Country?
We really love the fall and spring to visit the Basque Country. The weather is moderate and the crowds are thinned. The markets are filled with either the bright green promise of new life or the warm, crisp tones of the late harvest season. Summer is wonderful as well, with non-stop festivals and cultural events, long days and lingering sunlight, and the opportunity to see San Sebastian in its full resort-city glory. Winters tend to be blustery and rainy, but they are cozy and intimate at the same time. There are many local holidays and special events in the winter months, and it can give visitors the occasion to see another, less public, side of the Basque Country.
What is the weather like?
San Sebastian has an oceanic climate, meaning moderate temperatures year-round and a fair amount of cloud cover and precipitation. Summer months are generally warm and humid, but not too hot, while winters can be chilly and windy, but with little to no snowfall on the coast. We always make sure to carry both a compact umbrella and sunglasses.
What should I wear?
“Smart casual” is a good rule. Locals typically dress in smart and well-tailored yet informal attire, with most clothing serving for both daytime and evenings on the town.
What’s the best airport to fly into for visiting San Sebastian?
Bilbao airport is the most convenient for most people. It has connections to most major European and Spanish cities and is under an hour from San Sebastian. Don’t forget to check flights to Biarritz which is just 40 minutes from San Sebastian.
What shoes should I wear?
We often do a lot of walking on our tours, so please bring comfortable footwear appropriate for the season. If you are planning to practice outdoor sports, remember to bring your trail shoes!
Are all major credit cards accepted?
We accept Visa and MasterCard but unfortunately do not accept American Express. This is the case in many shops and restaurants in the area as well.
What should I do if I have food allergies, intolerances, or dietary preferences?
If you have any dietary restrictions or preferences, please communicate with us! Based on our (informal) observance, it seems that alimentary allergies and intolerances are not as widely spread or recognized here as in some other parts of the world. This means that restaurants and other establishments should be advised well in advance, so that they make take the necessary precautions.
How does tipping/gratuity work?
In general, gratuity is not expected in bars and taxis. If service in a café or bar is particularly good, many people will simply leave the change, rounding up to the next euro. In casual spots, a euro or two per person is In upscale dining establishments, a tip of 10% for particularly good service may be left.
When are restaurants open?
Restaurants are generally open from 1pm until 3:30 for lunch, and from 8pm to 11pm for dinner. Many establishments are closed on Sunday evenings and on Mondays.
What are the opening hours for shops?
Local, boutique, and independently-owned shops are typically open from Monday to Saturday from about 10am until 8pm, closing for a couple of hours at midday. Larger establishments and supermarkets are often open all day, excepting Sunday. Fresh market stands are open in the mornings.
-Make sure to get a roaming plan for your mobile phone and to advise your financial institution(s) that you will be travelling internationally!