Day One

  • Parte Vieja

Start the morning with a crash course in Basque culture at the wide-ranging San Telmo Museoa, which showcases Basque identity through a fascinating set of exhibitions. Nearby, peek in the city's ecclesiastical gems, namely the Basílica de Santa Maria and the Iglesia de San Vicente.

  • Lunch Pintxo-hop your way around the old streets, starting at Bar Borda Berri.
  • Parte Vieja

Walk off your meal on a slow-going stroll along the port. Stop for a look at Jorge Oteiza's sculpture Construcción Vaći. Then make the uphill climb to the top of Monte Urgull for a splendid view over the city and seaside.

After a memorable meal, take a stroll through the old quarter and see the cobblestone lanes by lamplight. Stop in for Côte Bar for a first-rate cocktail. If you're still going strong, wander over to Altxerri Jazz Bar to catch a bit of live music.

Day Two

  • New Town

Begin the day with a first-rate coffee and a snack at Koh Tao. Once properly caffeinated, take a scenic stroll through the new town. Stop for photos at the Puente de Zurriola, check out the grandeur of the Hotel Maria Cristina and follow the riverside south for a look at the statuary on the Puente de Maria Cristina. Turn inland for a look at the towering Catedral del Buen Pastor de San Sebastián.

Today, do as locals do, and take a siesta. The pretty sands and lapping waves of Playa de la Concha make a perfect setting for some afternoon downtime. After relaxing, wander along the shoreline to Playa de Ondarreta and out to the Peine del Viento, a sculpture that seems to mimic the great power of this rugged Basque coastline. Cap the afternoon off with a funicular ride up to Monte Igueldo for a sweeping panoramic view over the the city.

  • Dinner Linger over seafood at Kata 4.
  • New Town

That evening take in a bit of San Sebastián culture. Catch a performance at beautiful Teatro Victoria Eugenia or something more esoteric at the Kursaal.

Day Three

  • Pasaia

Take a break from San Sebastián by heading out to Pasaia. There's convenient public transit, or the ambitious can walk there on a scenic but hilly 7.6km hike. In peaceful Pasaia, learn about Basque maritime history by checking out the whaling exhibitions and shipbuilding at Albaola Foundation. Explore the French literary connection to the village at the Casa Museo Victor Hugo.

  • Lunch Have a seafood lunch with waterside views at Ziaboga Bistrot.
  • Hondarribia

After lunch continue onward to Hondarribia for an afternoon exploring the atmospheric walled medieval quarter of Casco Historicó. Stroll down to the marina district for a walk along Calle San Pedro, a picturesque, mostly pedestrian lane lined with pintxo bars, cafes and shops.

Return to San Sebastián for a late evening dinner, then check out a bit of nightlife in Gros. Stop in for craft brews at the buzzing Mala Gissona Beer House or head to La Gintonería Donostiarra for some of the city's best gin and tonics. If you're still not ready to call it a night, head to Le Bukowski for DJs and/or live music.

Day Four

  • Gros

Greet the day with a morning walk along Playa de Zurriola. Or if you're craving some aquatic action, hire a surfboard or take a lesson from Pukas Surf Eskola. Afterwards, stop by Belgrado for delicious pastries and coffee with a side of people watching.

  • Lunch Make a meal of pintxos at Bergara Bar.
  • Parte Vieja

Head over to the Parte Vieja, and walk out to the port for a boat trip out to Isla de Santa Clara. Stroll up to the stubby mountaintop for a lovely view, and relax on the small beach. Once you've had enough of island life, return to the mainland and check out otherworldly jellyfish, toothy sharks and other wonders of the deep at the Aquarium.

Spend the last night on a final pintxos-hopping tour through town, being sure to have at least one prawn skewer from Bar Goiz-Argi, some anchovies from Txepetxa, and a slice of cheesecake from La Viña. End the night with a whiskey or two at the old-fashioned Museo del Whisky.