Playa de la Concha

Fulfilling almost every idea of what a perfect city beach should be like, Playa de la Concha is framed by the Parte Vieja, beautiful parks and flowery belle époque buildings. Throughout the long summer months a fiesta atmosphere prevails, with tanned and toned bodies spread across the sand. Its sheltered position means the swimming is almost always safe.

The Beach & Paseo de la Concha

Playa de la Concha is a wide half-moon-shaped bay of soft sand, lapping waves, stunning views and a buzzing beach scene. The promenade that curves along the 1.3km-long beach makes for a lovely stroll. Lined by an ornamental wrought iron balustrade, it’s a favourite with joggers and strollers, particularly in the early evening when everyone turns out to enjoy the bracing sea air and soft summer light.

Historic Buildings

Overlooking the north of the beach, the Palacio Miramar was the summer villa of Marie Cristina, a beach-loving 19th-century royal. Further around, La Perla spa and restaurant complex is a local landmark, an ornate pavilion occupying what was once the royal bathing house. Its saltwater spas can now be enjoyed by everyone at the Perla Thalasso Sports Centre.

Beachfront Partying

The Playa hosts a number of cafes and nightlife hot spots, such as Café de la Concha. For late night dancing, the historic Bataplan Disco overlooking the sand is the place to go.

Isla de Santa Clara

About 700m from Playa de la Concha, this island is accessible by boat operated by Motoras de la Isla or by swimming (it’s a long round-trip swim, though). At low tide the island gains its own tiny beach and you can climb its forested paths to a small lighthouse.

Don't Miss

  • Playa de la Concha
  • La Perla spa
  • Isla de Santa Clara

Top Tips

  • The swim out to Isla de Santa Clara is tempting, but it’s further than it looks. Go from Playa de Ondarreta instead. It’s closer and there are rest platforms on the way.
  • There’s normally little in the way of surf here, but even so, obey the lifeguards, because conditions change fast.
  • Parking close to the beach is very difficult in the summer.

Take a Break

There are lots of places to grab an ice cream or snack around the beach. Built into the pavilions that back the beach is the art deco Café de la Concha, which has a fair-priced lunch menu and out-of-this-world views.

For something more upmarket, book a table at nearby Lanziego.

Getting There & Away

Foot It's less than a 10-minute stroll from the old town to the eastern edge of the beach.

Bus No 16 travels from the Parte Vieja along the beach to Playa the way out to Playa de Ondarreta.

Strapline

Spain's loveliest urban beach.

POI

Monte Igueldo

At the far western end of the Bahía de la Concha is the fun-filled Monte Igueldo. Attractions include a funicular railway to the summit and a funfair. While this might sound like child’s play, the views from the top are like nectar to lovers of sunsets. Clifftop coastal walks also provide inspiration for hikers to make the trip.

The Views

The views from the summit of Monte Igueldo will make you feel like a circling hawk staring over the vast panorama of the Bahía de la Concha and the surrounding coastline and mountains.

Funicular Railway

The funicular railway has been clattering up the side of Monte Igueldo since the1920s, allowing you to enjoy old-world transport. It’s the best option for accessing the glorious views from the top of the hill.

Parque de Atracciones

At the funfair atop Monte Igueldo, individual attractions include roller coasters, boat rides, carousels and pony rides. Each ride costs between €2 and €3.

Sunset

When the weather gods are smiling, Monte Igueldo is a fine place to be at sunset: watch as the orange sun drops into the ocean and the lighthouse adds its own light show.

Coastal Walks

You can follow a coastal footpath westwards along the sheer cliffs and small coves for as far as you care to walk.

Torreón de Monte Igueldo

The striking Torreón de Monte Igueldo (Tower of Monte Igueldo) is a fortified 16th-century lighthouse. It no longer works (there’s a new lighthouse nearby) but it offers a great vantage point.

Don't Miss

  • Funicular railway
  • Parque de Atracciones
  • Sunset over the beach

Top Tips

  • Weekends, when local families come with children, might be the busiest time to visit, but it’s also the most festive.
  • Bring your beach things and stop for a dip in the calm waters of Playa de Ondarreta on the way back to the city centre.
  • Evening visits reward with great lighthouse views.

Take a Break

There are various cheap and cheerful snack bars at the top of Monte Igueldo, but our advice is bring a picnic and enjoy the view.

A short walk from the lower funicular station, La Mera Mera has great drinks and Mexican snacks.

Getting There

Foot It’s a 40-minute walk from the city centre to the base of Monte Igueldo.

Bus Take bus 16 at Plaza de Gipuzkoa or Plaza de Buen Pastor.

Strapline

Mountain with sweeping views

POI