With an international film festival, rich history and incredible devotion to food, it's no shock that San Sebastian is European Capital of Culture 2016.
Many visitors come to dine in its Michelin-starred restaurants - there are no less than six of these in the city centre. You'll also find a large number of traditional bars serving up the Basque Country’s famed pintxos - local specialties, similar to tapas. Choose from dozens of varieties, featuring prawns, lobster, fried fish or chorizo. Spain’s excellent wines, particularly the local vintages, are the perfect accompaniment to the food and lively atmosphere.
Make sure you find time to wander the gentle tangle of streets to discover the town’s rich history before emerging onto the lush garden boardwalk framing the famed La Concha beach. There are also cafés, children’s play areas and the beautiful beach to tempt.
In the late 19th century the seaside town on the southern point of the Bay of Biscay became a magnet for royalty; it had passed from being a sleepy fishing village into a thriving cosmopolitan town requiring luxurious, modern facilities to meet the demands of its discerning guests.
The Hotel Maria Cristina opened in 1912 to meet that demand. Its namesake, Spain’s regent Maria Cristina, was the first person to cross the threshold, setting a pattern of celebrity guests which continues to this day with residents like Elizabeth Taylor, Bette Davis, Woody Allen, Julia Roberts, Richard Gere, Brad Pitt and Susan Sarandon.
Just like them, you will experience gracious hospitality on a grand scale in the hotel’s 136 rooms and suites. Decorated in a sophisticated palette of greys and white, with highlights in purple, taupe and green, the rooms are a quiet haven of luxury. Style, grace, modern technology and a dazzling range of services combined, make for a restful and memorable stay.
In a city where haute cuisine is one of the principal attractions Hotel Maria Cristina is at the forefront in providing exquisite dining venues where you can discover the Basque and international haute cuisine.
But there is an alternative: the Cookery School.
Enjoy a variety of cooking classes at the new school, where you will be welcomed by chefs with a passion and fascination for authentic Basque Cuisine and its culinary heritage, and a desire to share the expertise with you.
The full list of classes is available online, but we've selected some to give you a taster of the wonders that await.
BASQUE COOKING CLASS: FRANCE, NAVARRA & LA RIOJA
The culinary traditions of French Basque Country, Navarre, and La Rioja Alavesa taste of smoky spices, earthy stews, and the freshest of vegetables. In this culinary journey, you will learn to prepare the famous Basque dishes from Southern France to the mountains of Navarre to the vineyards of La Rioja Alavesa. Bring the history and traditions of Basque Country to life in this hands-on cooking class, which includes: