Every visitor to San Sebastian I’ve even spoken to only has the greatest of superlatives to exclaim.
“I loved it there!” “It’s my favourite!” “I want to go back!” “So fucking cool.” “I gained 10kg worth of pintxos!”
The last one is me.
I returned to the lusty northern Spanish town of San Sebastian in April. My brother had come to visit me in Barcelona after near on two years of globetrotting apart. Flights were cheap to San Seb so at the crack of Saturday’s dawn we left Barca after a night of Sensi tapas and leche de pantera. The struggle was real.
We arrive at Surfing Etxea hostel hung and aching for bed. It’s Chris’ first hostel experience and lucky it’s muy bueno. The hostel is one apartment with three spacious dorm rooms, a swanky kitchen, and friendly Basque surfer owners. Our beds are available and we sneak into them. Comfort plus.
This is the kind of hostel where it’s small enough that everyone knows everyone, has a chat, and you feel safe with your belongings. You know what everyone’s up to. You also know who’s creeping into the shower with who, who’s obsessed with surfing, and who just likes to sit around in the hostel common lounge.
I’m guessing the Etxea guys are sponsored by Hurley. Surf artwork and photos adorn the walls. I can’t help but stare at one of the pieces filled with the faces of beautiful people I want in my life. Swoon.
The kitchen is clean, and breakfast is provided. You can’t make food, but why would you want to…you’re in Donostia! It’s a 10 minute walk to old town, and five minutes to the beach.
We drag our hungover and jet lagged asses into town to find the best food San Seb has to offer. Veal cheek and duck from Borda Berri. A jimmy and cidra from Penudis. Life is fucking great.
We walk a lot in San Seb. We eat a lot. We even hike. We get lost. We reward ourselves with more pintxos. More cidra.
Psyching up for a surf is tough. We hire boards and wetsuits from Surfing Etxea and head to Playa Zurriola. The swell is average but there’s always people out there. My surfing is as average as ever. As is Chris’ acclimatisation to the temperature of the water. It’s a short-lived experience but he has now surfed in four continents (me five, sibling rivalry winner).
Do yourself a big ol’ favour and get to San Sebastian. You don’t want to be left out of the conversation about how great it is.
You can stay with Stoke Travel at their San Sebastian Surf Camp. Or even better, jump on a Van Surfari cruising the Atlantic Coasts of Spain and France seeking the best waves, always with a San Seb pitstop! Book with the code SHARKWEEK for free unlimited beer and sangria.