Miramar Palace was built in 1893 on the order of Queen María Cristina of Austria, who used to spend her summers in Donostia/San Sebastián. After considering other places such as Monte Urgull and Aiete, the queen settled on this location, where there had previously been a hermitage which had to be moved to another spot. Nowadays, if you visit the Antiguo neighbourhood you will find the palace among its streets.
In first impressions, the palace is reminiscent of English noble country houses. Designed by the English architect Selden Womun and built by the master craftsman José Goikoa, for years it remained in the hands of the Spanish Royal Family, serving as their summer residence and as the college of Juan Carlos de Borbón.
Monte Igeldo is located at the end of La Concha Bay, marking the limit between the city and the sea. This is a place where the past meets the present, where you can relive your childhood years by visiting a picturesque fairground from yesteryear. Here, you can travel back to the past in a 1912 funicular railway, , while enjoying the most iconic views of the city.
At the summit, you will be able to make out all of the city as well as part of the Gipuzkoan coastline and the immense Cantabrian Sea. Enjoy the tranquil atmosphere of the Bay, as well as the impressive power of the waves breaking against the cliffs. This place guards a special secret: a fairground that captures the essence of the “Belle Epoque".
Tradition and modernity are brought together in one of the most special areas of the city. Stroll through the fishing port and lose yourself in the streets of the Historical Quarter where the smell of pintxos emanates from every corner. Cross the Boulevard and leap through time to land in the centre of Donostia, and visit its pedestrian streets and spend a few hours shopping in its lovely shops and boutiques.
The Concha Bay is the image par excellence of San Sebastián: it is the most classic, the most photographed, the most visited of them all... The Concha Beach stands right in the centre of the city and stretches from the City Hall to the Pico del Loro (Parrot’s Beak). Its 1,500 metres of white sand are elegant and cosmopolitan (it will come as no surprise that the Concha is considered to be one of the best city beaches in Europe).
The The Concha promenade is punctuated with several elements famous in their own right and well known beyond the city: the Concha railing (one of the most universal icons of the city, unmistakable for its design), the lamp posts (replicated in the Film Festival awards, “los relojes” (“the clocks”, main access to the beach), the area around La Perla (with its variety of spa options, bars & restaurants, sports clubs, etc.). All of these elements make a stroll round the Concha (whether by the beach or the promenade) an essential activity for locals and tourists alike. You can continue your walk round the bay by taking the Paseo Nuevo promenade round the bottom of Monte Urgull and heading along the Zurriola Beach until coming to Sagüés in a spectacular city stroll covering around 6 kilometres.
What is today San Sebastián's City Hall was home to the city’s Gran Casino from the time it was opened on 1st July 1897 until it was closed in 1924 with the prohibition of gambling. Its roulette tables and Dance Hall, currently the Plenary Hall, provided entertainment for politicians, writers and artists in the Belle Epoque period.
Belle Epoque in design yet highly modern in spirit. That’s how we could describe the Victoria Eugenia Theatre, a building that celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2012. Located in the city centre, in full view of the Kursaal and on the banks of the River Urumea, the Victoria Eugenia Theatre proposes a varied and continually changing programme.
This sandstone building sporting plateresque motifs with Spanish Renaissance forms was created by the architect Francisco de Urcola in 1912. Particularly interesting on the facade are, over the Doric columns, four groups of sculptures representing the opera, tragedy, comedy and drama.
For decades the Victoria Eugenia Theatre has been the principal hub of the International Film Festival; since its renovation in 2007, the building now offers new cutting edge spaces and audiovisual technologies.
Monte Urgull is a natural area in the centre of San Sebastián that affords fabulous views of the sea and the city.
Witness to the wars suffered in their long history by the people of San Sebastián, a structure of ancient paths and fortifications can still be found on Monte Urgull today, including the splendid La Mota Castle.
In times of Sancho the Great, King of Navarre, the first defencive lookout point and San Sebastian's early walls were built. The date was around 1150. That first castle was a classic rock top construction, square, with a tower of each of the four corners and a keep to the rear. It was suffered numerous transformations over the years, just like the other fortifications on Monte Urgul.
Standing in the Cristina Enea Park, the building is presently occupied by the Fundación Cristina Enea, created to raise awareness on environmental issues and sustainability.
The present distribution of the mansion, which dates from 1890, is the work of Jose de Osinalde. Today is ground floor is occupied by the Fundacion Cristina Enea. Entering through the front door, you will come to the reception and the large wooden stairway. The second floor houses the office ones used by the Duke of Mandas and two exhibition spaces. Lastly, the building has a gallery for traveling exhibitions that connect the main building to an educational room in the former chapel. There is also a rest area for visitors.