Luxury Travel Advisor Judith Wolf crafted this itinerary for her clients’ twin boys who dreamt of witnessing the running of the bulls. Knowing the family was well traveled and celebrating a graduation, Judith curated a variety of local experiences to ensure all ages enjoyed the trip. Learn why San Sebastian is the perfect locale for a truly immersive family adventure.
Spain is one of the most diverse and visually spectacular countries in Europe, overwhelming visitors with fascinating sights, charming towns, and incredible landscapes. Also known by its Basque name of Donostia, the beautiful city of San Sebastian is a resort town on the Bay of Biscay.
Escape here in the summer, just as kings and celebrities have, and experience true coastal elegance. Stroll along on the cobble-stoned streets of Parte Vieja, cycle on trails beside the Urmea River, and sample the local fare, which is regarded as Spain’s finest. Although small, San Sebastian is bursting at the seams with vibrancy, from the lively promenade of Playa de la Concha to the emerald green Basque mountains in the distance.
From San Sebastian, head an hour south to Pamplona, a typically serene walled-city that is turned upside down during the festival of San Fermin each July. Known for the running of the bulls, the festival also entails less dangerous activities, including parades with giant figures and bands, fireworks, and plenty of dancing!
While the bars in Barcelona and Madrid keep their tapas behind glass cases along the bar, in San Sebastian, pintxos are beautifully laid out for all to see and drool over. The “pintxo” is a speared appetizer of delicious meats or vegetables and bread that changes according to the restaurant or bar you visit.
To dine like a true Basque, gather a group of loved ones and go pintxos hopping! With an experienced Spanish host, you’ll visit three or four bars, enjoying a miniature gastronomic delight at each stop while learning about local traditions, history, and more along the way.
Truly enjoy the sites from a different vantage point as you cycle by Mounts San Miguel and Arnoate, past the hermitages of San Pedro and Calvario, and through the fishing town of Mutriku. Cross a beautiful valley before stopping in the town of Olatz. This half-day experience will paint memories of this amazing countryside that no photo can rival!
The San Fermin Festival runs annually from July 6 – 14. The fiesta commences at noon on July 6 with the opening ceremony, called the "chupinazo," when rockets erupt from the balcony of City Hall.
For the next eight days, the morning begins with the running of the bulls from the corral at Santo Domingo, where the bulls are kept, to the bullring where they will fight that same afternoon. Thousands gather along the walled off streets of the old town, awaiting a thrilling three minutes.
At start time, a rocket is fired to confirm that the gate has been opened at the Santo Domingo corral. Runners dressed in white with a red handkerchief around their necks pray to San Fermin before a second rocket announces that the bulls have left. A third rocket is set off once the bulls have entered the bullring, and the fourth, and final, rocket marks the conclusion of the run. Whew!