Cross-Border Encounters: A Day in San Sebastián

Just 33km southwest of St-Jean de Luz, the elegant, sexy and seriously Spanish city of San Sebastián makes a perfect day trip from the French Basque Country. With its twin beaches, lively nightlife and lovely old town, San Sebastián is worth a day of anyone's time, but it's the sensational food that really makes the trip worthwhile. The town has some of the best tapas (or pintxos, as they're known here) bars anywhere in Spain, not to mention more Michelin-starred restaurants per capita than anywhere else in the world – including three-starred Arzak, the flagship establishment of acclaimed chef Juan Mari Arzak, who frequently features in lists of the world's best chefs.

From St-Jean de Luz, it's just a short 20-minute jump via the A63 (and its many toll-booths); the N10 is toll-free, but turns into one long traffic jam in summer. In high season, it's better to catch a bus or train.

Buses from the French side are easiest: Transportes Pesa, Ouibus, Flixbus and Conda services run regularly. Otherwise, trains go from St-Jean de Luz to Hendaye (and occasionally onto Irún in Spain) roughly hourly (€3, 10 minutes). In Hendaye or Irún, board one of the frequent Euskotren metro trains (www.euskotren.es) to San Sebastián Amara station (€2.20, 37 minutes, every 30 minutes). In Hendaye, the metro train stop is just across the car park from the SNCF station.