At one point Spain was the wealthiest country in the world and remnants of that can be seen throughout the Basque region, along the Spanish coast. The Spanish Coastline is an exquisite meeting of many cultures and styles, resulting in one of the most relaxing and architecturally stunning places on earth.Beautiful Building in san sebastian

Spanish Coast Travel Tips

Everywhere we traveled is either a quick drive or train ride away, and everything in Spain is super affordable compared to the US, Israel, and the other Western European countries we frequent/live.

relaxing on la rampa in san sebastian

The coast of the entire Basque region is dotted with sweet little beaches and charming surf towns. It’s like the Laguna Beach of Europe. While there, we visited San Sebastian, Bilbao, and Madrid and even day tripped to Biarritz, France. Here’s the best of in each city: Where you’ll want to eat and sleep, and what you’ll want to see and shop for.

San Sebastian, Spain

San Sebastian is the perfect Summer city in the gorgeous Basque countryside. Its rolling green hills contrast against a calm coastline. The charming town is centuries old and has some of the best and most affordable food. The second largest european film festival, after Cannes, is held here in September.

san sebastian coast

Where to Stay in San Sebastian? The Arima

Stay at the Arima- an energy efficient, passive construction, organic food, and Scandinavian Style contemporary hotel. Making San Sebastian your home base for the duration of your stay is a great idea and from there, you can venture out to the other quaint coastal towns.

the arima hotel

The Hotel Arima Image via

Where to Eat in San Sebastian?

Go to La Rampa. Thank me later! It’s the best seafood restaurant- period.  If you love oysters, go for it there! Then take a dip in the ramp and watch the locals high dive into the water.

La Rampa San Sebastian

Where to Day Trip from San Sebastian: Biarritz, France Along the Spanish Coast

Biarritz is also a gorgeous summer city. It’s located about 40 minutes, driving, from San Sebastian, but you’ll want to take the scenic route through the Basque country side, and see the vineyards and farms with plenty of happy animals..

Panorama of Beach in Biarritz France

Biarritz has mind blowing rock formations that act as natural bridges from land into the sea.

Biarritz France

Stop in anywhere for mussels, pomme frites, a cold beer, and then go get an ice cream. And be sure you bring a towel and your suit and get in the water with the locals- every beach you visit is perfect and one is more beautiful than the next. Making this city even more unbelievable are the massive amounts of hydrangea bushes everywhere you look in every color.  

Daytrip to Biarritz, France from Lori Dennis on Vimeo.

Bilbao, Spain

What to Do and Where to Eat in Bilbao?

When in Bilbao, you have to check out the Guggenheim and leave plenty of time to walk along the gorgeous riverside park filled with world class statues. Eat in any of the museum restaurants, the food is super yummy.

Bilbao Guggenheim view from the bridge

Lori Dennis with her daughter outside the Bilbao Guggenheim

Madrid: How Much Time Should I Spend in Madrid?

Spend one to two days in Madrid and be prepared with your walking shoes!

Travel Guide: Spanish Coast

Where to Stay in Madrid?

Live like a local and check out some of the city’s awesome vacation rental properties. We VRBO’d this charming apartment and cannot recommend it enough! Madrid VRBO:

Travel Guide: Spanish Coast - boho chic VRBO apartment in Madrid

Prado Museum

See the works of the great Spanish painters Velaquez, Picasso, El Greco, Joan Miro, Goya, Dali, and the jewels from when Spain was the wealthiest country in the world at Prado Museum.  

Prado Museum Panorama Photo

San Miguel Marketplace

The San Miguel marketplace is a bustling Instagrammer’s heaven! They have gorgeous stalls with every food imaginable – each food stall is more impressive than the next. It’s also great shopping for handmade leather goods like shoes and bags.

outside mercado de san miguel in Madrid


Read more of our travel guides here.