Monte Urgull#5 in Best Things To Do in San Sebastian
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Monte Urgull is one of two peaks that bookend La Concha (the other is Monte Igueldo). The lush hill makes for a great hike, with incredible views awaiting visitors at the top. Along with the panoramic vistas at the summiy, hikers will find Castillo de la Motad, which dates back to the 12th century and once served as a fortress to protect the city from invasion.
It's also home to the nearly 40-foot Cristo de la Mota, or Sacred Heart, statue (visible from the bottom of the hill). Relics, including canons, are strewn throughout, but if you're interested in learning more about Monte Urgull's long, storied role in defending San Sebastian, stop by the Casa de la Historia museum, also located at the top.
The easiest way to access Monte Urgull is to take the trail that starts in Parte Vieja. Follow the alley located on the left side of the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Chorus and you'll hit the path that goes up the hill. For a more scenic route, start at the San Telmo Museoa, also located in Parte Vieja, and follow the road along the sea all the way around the hill until you hit a parking lot, where another trail to the top starts.
Travelers say the hike can be challenging, but the views are completely worth it. From the peak, visitors enjoyed sweeping views of La Concha, Santa Clara Island and Monte Igueldo on one side, and Zurriola Beach on the other. But be forewarned: the ascent can be steep.
There's no charge to hike up Monte Urgull and the site is open 24 hours, but climbing the wooded hill at night is not recommended. You can find Monte Urgull at the base of Parte Vieja. For more information on Monte Urgull, check out the San Sebastian tourism board's website.
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#1 Parte Vieja
Parte Vieja, also known as the Old Town, is the heart of San Sebastian. Despite its name, it's actually not the oldest part of the city (that honor belongs to Antiguo), but it is the most lively. Parte Vieja's pedestrian-friendly streets are flanked by centuries-old buildings that house a plethora of restaurants, shops and bars. It's considered the best nightlife spot in San Sebastian, as well as the best place to grab pintxos (the local term for light bites, similar to tapas). These two tend to coincide among locals, who begin their nights out pintxos barhopping.
If you're not a night owl, you can still find things to do in Parte Vieja. Pintxos are served all day and there are a few architectural gems that warrant further exploration. The San Vicente church, located next to the San Telmo Museoa, is the oldest in the city, dating back to the 16th century. Basilica of Saint Mary of the Chorus, found at the base of Monte Urgull along the bustling Calle Mayor, is also located in this neighborhood. Meanwhile, Plaza de la Constitución is an excellent place to rest your feet and watch the world go by. Keep in mind, though, that the plaza's restaurants may be pricier than other parts of the city due to their central location.
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