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BellaOnline's Spanish Culture Editor

San Sebastian

Sitting in the bay of La Concha on the Bay de Biscay on the north coast of Spain San Sebastian is sure to delight. Itís a old city that has welcomed the new era with grace and style.

With 3km of unspoilt beaches and charming heritage monuments itís no wonder that it charmed the European aristocracy in their day, almost French in its feel it is only 20km from the French border.

This is the heart of the Basque country, rugged yet charming, but thereís another reason for visiting this coastal city Ė its cuisine. San Sebastion is a gastronomeís delight. The city boasts three Michelin Restaurants and not just that they are all three-star establishments, the highest award given and itís the city with the most Michelin restaurants in the world.

If you can only chose one Iím told it should be Restaurant Arzak.
Restaurant Arzak Ė Features the local Donostiaarra cuisine, a family run luxurious restaurant from Juan Mari Arzak and his daughter, Elena. Arzak was considered to be the finest chef in Spain and is a great champion for Basque cuisine both modern and traditional.

After a pricey but worth every euro meal, you can save the centimes in some excellent tapas (or pintxoz as they are called here) bars. Locally caught fare are on offer from brocheta de gambas (fried prawns with a special vinaigrette) or bola de carne (meatballs with red pepper).

If youíve sampled some of the wonderful seafood available then a walk around the excellent Palacio de Mar Aquarium is well worth a visit, its not particularly cheap to enter but they say itís the equivalent of a 3* aquarium.
Culture and history mix as the city turns into a stage for several festivals with a Jazz one in July and a Film fair in September.

From the small fishing village it once was San Sebastian has become a proud and prosperous grand-father looking over his young. Head to the heart of the city where it beats with bars and and restaurants in its narrow streets.
A seaside city that has plenty of charm Ė although you might have to look through your first impressions and head to its heart.

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