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Matthew Hirtes, our resident broadsheet journalist, moved to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria back in 2004. He's travelled extensively through Spain, covering it for such publications as Telegraph Travel, Metro, and The Independent. The author of Going Local in Gran Canaria: How To Turn a Holiday Destination into a Home, Matthew truly is a resident expert. Matthew writes for two sections of Spain Buddy: Moving to Spain and Spanish Football as well as providing Reviews


  1. Garry Taylor
    June 9, 2015 @ 12:14 am

    Hi Matthew,
    I originate from the UK and presently I am living with my partner in Portland Oregon. We are considering moving to San Sebastian and start a business there. I wonder if you have any suggestions regarding how easy this would be. regards, Garry


    • Flavia
      July 23, 2017 @ 6:36 am

      We want to spend a few months in San Sebastián area in mid 2018 to work and see if it is a place to live long term. I am from Argentina with Italian passport and my husband is English. We have tried to find suitable places to live but they all seem to be tourist offerings and therefore expensive. Any ideas on how to get to the more local market. We are happy to live in areas outside SS and commute in. Ayuda por favour!


  2. Sherilyn McLay
    October 27, 2015 @ 3:54 pm

    Great article, very true, it’s such an awesome place it’s incredible that it’s so tiny but holds so much!!
    So I’m an Australian and have been living here for 3 years and although I absolutely love it, I’m feeling homesick before the winter and need to find some expats that live here to give me a taste of normality and not have to think before I talk. I’m a mum too so anyone with babies would be even better. Do you know of anything?? Help a poor Aussie find some more mates please!!!!!!!


    • Daniel Aronoff
      October 30, 2015 @ 11:34 am

      Hi everyone, I have been living in San Sebastian part time after marrying a great woman who was born and raised here (I am from New York City). That being said, it would be great to meet some other English speakers here, so anyone who wants to chat just send me an email: thanks!


    • Mira
      October 31, 2015 @ 6:39 pm

      Hi Sherilyn, how are you :)
      My husband and I are moving back to Donosti (he’s Basque) and it would be great to meet up! We have a 7 month old baby girl, so we can explore the Donosti for the kids together. We will be there in the beginning of December, and in the meanwhile, check the Donostia Kultur web, there’s a section for activities with kids too. Cheers, Mira


      • Rebecca
        March 12, 2016 @ 11:40 pm

        Hi Mira

        Myself, my husband and our 1 year old are moving to SS in April and I’d love to meet up with other English speaking mums. My Spanish is very poor and something I need to work on quickly – I’m worried it’ll make it even harder to settle in!


        • Sherilyn
          April 2, 2016 @ 6:05 pm

          Hi Rebecca,
          I would love to meet with yourself and Mira to have a bite to eat and a coffee one day!!! Let me know when you get here:


      • Sherilyn
        April 2, 2016 @ 6:02 pm

        Hi Mira,
        I am sorry, i didnt get any notification that anyone replied. Are you still here? I would love to meet with you and for our children to meet at a park one day!!???! Please email me at Lets have some pintxos and a caña!!!!! X


    • Rebecca
      March 12, 2016 @ 11:35 pm

      Hi Sherilyn

      Are you still living there? We’re moving in about 4 weeks!

      Fingers crossed!


      • Sherilyn
        April 2, 2016 @ 6:07 pm

        Yes!! I’m not going anywhere, i am here for good, id love to meet up one day!!! Send me an email when you get here!!!


    • Ed
      July 31, 2017 @ 6:13 pm

      Hey. Do you like living in San Sebastian? Would ypu recommend it to learn Castellano?


  3. Faye marland
    November 8, 2015 @ 2:22 pm

    Hi mira and sherilyn, im living here in donostia with my husband who’s basque and our 5 month old baby son, would be great to get together with some English speaking mums, let me know! Faye


    • Sherilyn
      April 2, 2016 @ 6:09 pm

      Hi Faye, email me: and we can meet up this week if you’d like!!! My son is now 2 1/2 so lets go to a park with the kids!!!!!?


    • Veronica
      March 17, 2017 @ 12:29 pm

      Hi Faye, Sherilyn, Mira and Rebecca

      I’m Veronica, a chilean living in San Sebastian with my basque husband and my 21month old daughter.

      I used to be nearly bilingual in english, since I had loads of foreign friends in Chile. but due to lack of oportunities of speaking it, its getting rusty. We attend english classes with my daughter at the Kids and us language academy.

      I would love to grab a coffe, have playdates at the park and watever comes up. I think it would be good for my daughter to hear english in a real context. And it would be awsome to have an english speaking cuadrilla of mums to exchange impressions about the basque country and do fun things with.

      Let me know if you want to catch up, I would love to hear from you!


  4. Naz N.
    March 30, 2016 @ 2:29 am

    My husband and 3 girls are thinking of making a move to SS. We live in Calif. but want a change. Can any of you expats tell me more about your experience relocating there as well as any advice???? This would be a blind move and we would need to look for work once there.


  5. Sherilyn
    April 2, 2016 @ 5:58 pm

    Hi all!! Yes i am still living here and am still very keen to meet any fellow english speakers in this beautifil town. Please email me any time at Look forward to having a chat!!!!!


  6. Amy
    May 11, 2016 @ 1:34 am

    This is amazing! I’m thinking of moving to San Sebastián in the several months time after meeting my man who was born and raised there. After finding out InterNations doesn’t have a community here, it’s good to know there are other English speaking expats there!


  7. David
    June 5, 2016 @ 2:15 pm

    Hola a todos,
    I’m currently in Madrid however we have a home in San Sebastian and will eventually make our way up there soon. I’m originally from the US and happy to share my experiences with buying a flat, relocating in general, etc. Glad to read that there are others out there :)


    • Esther
      July 21, 2016 @ 9:05 pm

      Hi David,

      We are a couple from San Sebastian. We have been 12 years abroad and are coming back in September to set some roots. We’d love to have a group of English speaking friends so that we don’t forget the language. We are happy to help with any advice needed. Have you got an email so that we can contact you?


      • Elle Draper
        July 22, 2016 @ 10:58 am

        Hi David. Don’t post your email publicly. Just give me the nod and I’ll forward it for you if you like?
        Esther – thanks for being so helpful.
        Elle x


      • Maxime
        December 19, 2016 @ 1:26 pm

        We’ll move to San Sebastian by March 2017 (currently living in Brussels)
        My company is sending me there with a decent local contract, but no “expat benefits”…

        What do you recommend in terms of neighborhoods considering that we have a 1.5y old kid and a dog so we’re looking for a little space and quiet. Where should we look, using what agency/website…

        We’ll definitely be happy to meet people so maybe we can get in touch!

        Thanks in advance for the tips!


  8. Patti
    June 10, 2016 @ 2:13 am

    Hi Everyone,
    My husband and I are hoping to spend a year in San Sebastián starting in June 2017. Would love to connect with other English speaking folks for friendship and advice. We have a daughter who will be 7 and starting 2nd grade and found St. Patrick’s English school online. Can anyone comment on this school? We’d also like to find a small villa (we have a dog) if anyone has ideas or knows a guide who could help us!


    • ben
      April 5, 2017 @ 10:38 am

      Hi April,

      Probably a bit late, but yes I have 3 children in St. Patrick´s. It is a very good school and we are very happy with it. There are 2 English schools in Sansy, St Patrick´s and the English School. Either are good but personally I prefer St Patrick´s. The only thing is it is very popular so may be tricky to find a place for a year. Best to contact headmaster directly (John Philips), he is Welsh and you can find email on website. The other thing is where you will be based, St Patrick´s is in Aiete and English School in Gros, they are quite far apart. Anyway good luck!


      • Kim
        August 25, 2017 @ 10:30 pm

        Hi Ben,

        We are considering a move to San Sebastian in the Fall of next year and our biggest concern is school for our children. Do you have any opinion of the higher grades at St. Patrick’s school? Does it offer a solid college prep program? My son will be 14 and my daughter 12. They speak English, French and Spanish (although a little rusty on the Spanish as we lived there for 3 years but have been in France for 4 since then). However, I do think it will come back to them with some exposure. Thank you for any insights you might be able to offer.


  9. April Reeves
    July 11, 2016 @ 10:39 pm

    We are a family of 5 considering moving to San Sebastián. We are from Santa Barbara, CA. With 3 young boys, we would want them to learn Spanish & get an education. My oldest is 4 & our twins are 16 months old. The education system in the USA is horrible, plus there is a new law making vaccinations mandatory in order to attend school. 72 vaccines by the age of 6 to be exact.
    Looking to connect with other families in a similar situation.


  10. Ryan
    September 1, 2016 @ 3:59 am

    Hey all,

    What’s the cost of living like in SS? I’m an American hoping to teach English there. Is 1200 euros a month a livable wage?

    Thanks for your help,


    • Elle Draper
      September 1, 2016 @ 9:39 am

      I’d say it would be in most inland or non-touristy areas of Spain… easily! But you would need to answer whether you can be self disciplined not to eat out all the time in what is often argued to be the food capital of Spain. There are more Michelin Starred restaurants there than anywhere else. Plus the costs are a little higher there for day to day living because it’s a popular destination.

      So yeah – it’s do-able… but €1500 would be better. Maybe look at sharing an apartment or house too, to keep accommodation costs down.


      • Elizabeth
        September 13, 2016 @ 7:25 pm

        HI, Elle or Davis or any of the above who live in SS:
        I am a single mom and I have a four year old daughter and I currently have a job where I can work from anywhere. Is there anything to say we cannot come over there and live for a few months or even a year(obv leaving for visa renewals every so often)? I am dying for a cultural experience for her and for me and SS has always been my dream. I would love for her to go into a school and be exposed to other languages especially at this age…
        thanks in advance


        • Elle Draper
          September 13, 2016 @ 8:20 pm

          Hi Elizabeth. The only thing stopping you would be you and your finances. If you can afford it – go for it!
          E x


  11. Jennifer
    September 23, 2016 @ 9:53 am

    Hi Everyone,
    I am considering to go to SS for a study abroad program in the fall of 2017. Is there anything you guys would recommend? I am planning on bringing my dog who is also a service dog because I couldn’t imagine myself with out him, are people accepting of dogs? How is the culture, and what might come as a culture shock? I am hispanic, family from Mexico, and I am from Arizona.


    • Elle Draper
      September 23, 2016 @ 10:48 am

      HI Jennifer. Yes your dog will be welcomed – unless it is a large dog… in which case people may be a little wary. But you will still be able to take it to most places without trouble.

      Don’t think of anything as a culture shock – think of it as an adventure.


      E x


  12. Leire
    October 7, 2016 @ 12:18 am

    Hi everybody!!! I hope you guys are enjoying of Donosti, my beloved city. I am from here and I would be delighted to know people from all over the world. I love English and I try to do my best to improve my master in this language, so I am looking for a language exchange.

    If you want to practice your Spanish while learning about our culture, let me know! I am 26 and work as a Primary school teacher.




    • Jaime
      January 30, 2017 @ 5:06 am

      Hey Leire,

      My husband and I are moving to Donostia next week. We would love to connect and set up a language exchange. I am 28 and will be working at the NanoGUNE research center for the next two years. We very much want to practice our Spanish and would be happy share our knowledge of English as well. Please let us know if you are interested in connecting with us.

      Jaime and Jesse


    • Julie Bunny
      February 26, 2017 @ 6:52 pm

      Hi Leire,

      My husband and I are looking to move to San Sebastian from Baiona in Galicia in May. I wish to improve my Spanish, my husband is already fluent.

      Do you do private tutoring at all?

      Julie Bunny


  13. Kirsty
    October 7, 2016 @ 10:01 pm

    Hi, I’m a gardener in London, hoping to move to Donostia with my family in July 2017. I wondered if there was much work for gardeners, garden designers and landscapers there? I speak reasonable Spanish English 1st language.


  14. Adrianne Resek
    October 28, 2016 @ 10:47 pm

    I am looking into living in SS with my family. We have three children – 5, 8, 10. We all speak varying degrees of Spanish and have EU passports. Can anyone tell me about the schools? I prefer my children to go to school in Spanish so that they can master the language, is it difficult to register children in public school? Are there tuition requirements for public schools?

    Also, I work remotely and can work anywhere, but I read if we are there we must also pay Spanish income taxes. Can anyone tell me their experience with this?

    Finally, how frequently does it rain there? I read more than in the rest of the basque region, but what does that mean exactly? We’re coming from Arizona (the desert) so are not very accustomed to rain! Thanks!


    • Elle Draper
      October 29, 2016 @ 11:49 am

      I can’t give you personal experience about the schools in that area. But it’s not difficult to register them. Choose the school and contact them direct (in Spanish of course) and they’ll tell you what you need.

      Yes – by law – if you are working in Spain, then you should be paying your taxes in Spain. If you will be self-employed, you’ll need to set up as “autonomo” which a local Asesoria (a bit like a lawyer and accountant rolled into one) can sort for you. If you working remotely but for an employer, it’s more difficult – but again and Asesoria will be able to help. I can’t recommend anyone local from personal experience.

      It is very green there for a reason… so yes it rains a lot. It’s not the Amazon rainfirest, but it gets more rain than other parts of Spain. Have a look here: If you really are averse to rain, then areas such as Almeria (where we live) or the two most eastern Canary Islands (Lanzarote and Fuerteventura) will be more to your liking. I don’t particularly like rain either. I spent six years in Lanzarote and now four years in Almeria.

      Good luck!

      E x


      • Maxime
        August 4, 2017 @ 2:45 pm

        Hi Elle,
        Any recommendations to meet expats/international people in San Sebastian?
        We’ve been here 5 months and starting to settle down, but we are now looking to create a social network here…


        • Elle Draper
          August 4, 2017 @ 3:20 pm

          Hi Maxime. I can’t give any personal ones… but have a look at the comments on this thread. If there’s anyone you fancy meeting up with, reply directly to their message and they should get a notification when I authorise your comments for public view. Alternatively… let me know who you want to contact via email to and I’ll pass your contact details on to them. Good luck! xxx


          • Maxime
            August 4, 2017 @ 3:57 pm

            Ok thanks! I already made a few posts/replies here, I’ll wait a little to see who replies!

    • ben
      April 5, 2017 @ 10:54 am

      Hi Adrianne,

      One thing no-one has mentioned yet. All schools here are either model A (Spanish 1st language) or D (Euskera 1st language). The only schools that are model D in Sansy are St Patrick´s , the English school, Mary Ward (German) and the German School. The rest are Ikostolas and teach almost exclusively in Euskera, even the model D schools must teach a minimum of one third in Euskera by law. This is not a big problem if children are young as they pick up languages like sponges, but for those that are older can be problematic. Euskera is a very difficult language to master!


  15. Maxime
    November 23, 2016 @ 1:58 pm

    We’ll most likely move to San Sebastian or Bilbao by March 2017.
    My company is sending me there with a decent local contract, but no “expat benefits”…
    My wife and I have a feeling that we’d like to live in San Sebastian more that Bilbao, but it’s just a feeling… What do you think?
    And if we go for San Sebastian, what are the nice neighborhoods considering that we have a 1.5y old kid and a dog so we’re looking for a little space and quiet. Where should we look, using what agency/website…
    Thanks in advance for the tips!


  16. Hashi
    December 5, 2016 @ 3:14 pm

    I’m Hashi live in Barcelona currently, myself and my cat Dave thinking of moving there for few years from Jan 2017. But we will have to find jobs (well I’m not sure how Dave would feel about that) and a place to live.
    Since I’m not working thinking of getting a room in a shared flat to begin with or a studio apartment if comes cheap.
    How are the rentals there is it pricier?
    What would be the best way to find a flat there.?



  17. Tim
    January 23, 2017 @ 5:25 am

    Greetings, My name is Tim…my wife and son and I are considering relocating to San Sebastian for a year or so. We want our son to learn spanish and have a different growing up experience. We are coming from Dallas, TX. Any tips are greatly appreciated. We plan on moving in June.


  18. Sunny Fassler
    June 8, 2017 @ 1:14 pm

    Excuse for being blunt here, but I see comments here saying how great this article is. Don’t mind me asking, but what exactly is great about it? It includes zero insights, zero tips or insider knowledge and everything stated can easily be found A, online or B, in one of the better travel guides.

    How does this article relate to “moving to San Sebastian?” Who cares how far away all these airports are or how many Michelin stars the city has? If someone wants to know that, then it’s definitely not because they want to move there.

    Anyway, I’m not having a dig at your writing Matthew, and I enjoyed reading it but I personally don’t think it’s a guide that will help people to get an idea what it entails to move to San Sebastian.

    My girlfriend was born and bred in Donostia and we’ve set up our base there last year after living in Australia and Indonesia together – Based on our own experiences I can ensure you that the move included far more than knowing the ins and outs, ups and downs and airports around town.


    • Elle Draper
      June 8, 2017 @ 1:32 pm

      Hello Sunny.

      Please don’t target Matthew here. He has a format to follow that I (as the website owner and Editor) have asked him to stick to – religiously. This proven format is designed to offer a brief overview of an area (we have covered almost 150 places around Spain so far) and not one of them has claimed to be an all-emcompassing guide to any place. We want a website visitor to know that the format is the same for Donostia as it is for Benalmádena. It’s the same for Playa Blanca as it is for Realejo. It is the same for Benidorm as it is for Bilbao. Same layout, same format, same framework.

      I appreciate that it doesn’t showcase the Donostia that you have come to know and love in the last 12 months… but to do that we would have to reflect YOUR personal view… a view that can be very different from somoeone else who lives in the town. Airports may not be important to to you – but they are to others. As for Michelin stars – food is one of the most common mentions in the relocation emails we get from people considering this particular area, or indeed anywhere in the Basque Country. Maybe because I’m such a foodie we tend to attract others? I don’t know. But again – it may not be high on your priority list, but it is on others because Donostia is so well known as a foodie corner of Spain. It would be like moving to Playa Blanca in Lanzarote but not showing an interest in the beaches. Or heading to Madrid but not caring about the museums or nightlife.

      Having provided relocation assistance for the past 11 years, I can say beyond doubt that everyone sees different things in a place… and you could never account for that in a single article. This is why Matthew follows my brief to provide a succinct overview rather than personal views of the man 2 streets back from the Ayuntamiento whose experiences are very different from the woman who lives nextdoor to the supermercado whose experiences are different from the migrant who moved here five years ago. We also always include a quote from someone who has lived in the place for several years – as you can see in the article above. Their experience may differ to yours but it does not make theirs or yours any less valid. No doubt yours will change when you have lived there a little longer. I know mine have in the two parts of Spain I’ve lived thus far… and I’m not alone.

      I hope that makes sense.



      • Sunny Fassler
        June 8, 2017 @ 1:57 pm

        Hi Elle,

        Like I said I’m not having a dig at Matthew and I understand that there are guidelines and protocol to follow – I just wished the article would go beyond things you can pick up in travel guides and touch on the quirks and charm the city has to offer. Nevertheless, I appreciate your response and wish you a great day.


        • Elle Draper
          June 8, 2017 @ 2:20 pm

          Thanks Sunny.

          I hear what you’re saying – but to personalise relocation for one area would make it irrelevant for another. We do it this way for uniformity and have no plans to change that any time soon. We do dig deeper into areas, but we tend to do those much more niche. So for example we may look at a particular street, or a particular industry, or even a person. It goes way beyond anything you’ll read elsewhere but for relocation we will continue to use our proven methods and then go deeper as and when the need arises or people ask questions.

          You could always set up your own website about the area and share your personal experiences from the past 12 months. Let us know if you do and we’ll give you a shout out somewhere.

          Enjoy what’s left of your week.

          E x


          • Vernon Church
            July 3, 2017 @ 10:39 pm

            Hi Elle,

            Love the site and the writing. Thanks for that! My wife and I just spent a wonderful time is SS and are seriously considering relocating there from NYC within the next few years. She is an EU citizen (Germany) and I understand that helps a bit. Thats said, can you point me to resources for apartment buying (trusted agents etc), residency permits, setting up a business and work rules?

            Much obliged,


          • Elle Draper
            July 4, 2017 @ 9:48 am

            HI Vernon. So please that you are finding the site useful.

            Yes – nice and easy for your wife to relocate as an EU citizen. It’s a little tougher for you… but far from impossible.

            I’m afraid that I can’t recommend any agents personally – that’s actually an area I’d like to find a couple of agents myself because we have a big gap on our property sales section for San Sebastian. But they’ll also be able to help you get set up in terms of paperwork and recommend a local “asesoría” who can help you with setting up a business. Depending what you do… you may be just as well going “autonomo” (self-employed” rather than setting up a limited company straight away. For the rules – check with your embassy.. but personally I wouldn’t bother until nearer the time.

            If you wanted to be set up with a NIE number (tax) before you arrive… and wish to do it in English – then speak to Pauline at – she can also help with setting up a company via her Both sets of services come at a price… but for peace of mind… well worth every centimo.

            Good luck and do let us know how you get on. xx

            PS: Make sure you learn a good chunk of Spanish before you come! You’ll need it there.

    • Maxime
      August 4, 2017 @ 12:22 pm

      Hi Sunny,
      Together with my wife Justine and our 2y old son William, we moved to Donosti in March this year!
      Now that we’re starting to settle down, we’re looking to meet new people, expats/internationals and locals because we should be here for at least a few years if everything works well!
      And by the way, the invitation extends to anyone interested, os here’s my email:


  19. Mark DeCastro
    July 29, 2017 @ 3:36 pm

    I am American but will be obtaining Spanish citizenship by the end of the year. I plan to live in Spain and am considering one of four cities; Barcelona, Palma, San Sebastián or Bilbao. I’ve spent weeks in each location and will be returning in October to spend more time. While I don’t want to be surrounded by expats all the time, having access to a group of other English speaking expats would be nice. I’m curious if folks living in SS find it insular or cosmopolitan enough for an interesting and worthwhile lifestyle? Gracias.


  20. Mark DeCastro
    July 29, 2017 @ 3:43 pm

    Would help if I included my email with prior comment/question (living in SS):


  21. Vernon Church
    September 4, 2017 @ 8:37 pm

    Hi All,

    We currently live in NYC but will be returning to SS in Oct. and would love to meet some expats who have made it work in this lovely city. Please let me know if you’d be up for a quick chat or drink.




  22. Tim Lipovsky
    September 9, 2017 @ 5:08 pm

    Hello all,
    My wife and I are considering moving to SS from the US and would like to find a house not too far outside SS. Can anybody recommend a good real estate agency we can use?



  23. Lee Passmore
    November 13, 2017 @ 7:26 pm


    Are there any English speakers who have managed to land jobs in education in San Seb?
    I’m hoping it will hope me secure some work but good to get some internal info :-)




  24. Robin Pekkala
    January 22, 2018 @ 7:27 pm

    Hello All,

    My husband and I are planning to move to San Sebastian from south Florida in October 2018. He’s originally from Finland but has dual EU/US citizenship. We’ll be continuing our business from SS and don’t need work, but would greatly appreciate connecting with other expats for social gatherings. Also, just how rainy is it during the winter ? We’ve had enough sun for awhile but were concerned after seeing last month’s wet weather reports…



    • Elle Draper
      January 23, 2018 @ 2:35 pm

      It sounds like your move would be fairly simple if he has EU as part of his nationality.

      With regard to the rain – yes it’s much rainier in the north of Spain compared to down here in the Southeast. It’s very green for a reason. I’m afraid I don’t know Florida weather well enough to know how that would compare. But this time of year is always rainy… so don’t judge the whole year on it.

      Elle xx


  25. Robin Pekkala
    January 23, 2018 @ 6:45 pm


    Thanks for your response. We’re used to rain but that’s with a car and we won’t have one in SS. Oh well–a long trench and waterproof boots will have to do then. The other option is Girona which seems to have a larger expat community or at least a more visible one online. We plan to travel throughout Europe on long weekends so maybe the proximity to Barcelona airport makes more sense… We’re working on our Spanish learned decades ago in high school so we do need some English speakers in our life.



  26. Sebastian
    February 25, 2018 @ 4:24 pm

    Hi all,
    just wondering about the St. Patrick’s English School … it is a private school right? But I can’t seem to find any prices, any ideas about the costs?
    Thanks Sebastian


    • Elle Draper
      February 26, 2018 @ 3:05 am

      Prices change – so I’d recommend contacting the school direct. x


  27. Ben
    March 13, 2018 @ 5:03 pm

    St. Patricks is not private- it is concertada (state subsidised) and run as a coop. Current costs are 36.06 per month for joining the coop and 178 per child. There are no private schools in Sansy, 2 English schools (St Patricks and The English school) and 2 german schools (Mar Ward and Deutche schule)


  28. Victoria Toledo
    May 7, 2018 @ 8:04 pm

    Hello, we are coming to SS in mid-June for a month and looking for a soccer camp or training class for 10 yr-old boy & 13 year-old girl who play competitive soccer in US. Both understand Spanish fairly well, but not Basque. We are bilingual English/Spanish parents and wanting kids to practice Spanish preferably through activities first, then through language classes secondarily. The idea is to “live” there for a month so to have a regular routine where they are using language, so not sightseeing. We can work online from anywhere meanwhile…. Could anyone recommend:

    –soccer camp or classes or trainer
    -Art classes (drawing/painting)
    -Culinary classes (vegetarian or pescatarian)
    -spanish language school
    -any places for pickup soccer games for kids or summer teams?

    Someone commented to us that we could probably have the kids go into a public school for a couple weeks as they are at end of year, to have that experience. Is that common or sound at all possible?

    Thank you so much!


  29. Hector Almonte
    June 21, 2018 @ 5:46 am


    You do realize that the picture you are showing on an article about San Sebastian is in fact a picture of Aloa street in Puente la Reina, Navarra. A completely different town.
    That street and church tower do not exist in San Sebastian.


    • Elle Draper
      June 21, 2018 @ 4:00 pm

      Thanks so much Hector. It is one of the downfalls of using stock photography.
      I’ve replaced it now.
      Kind regards


  30. Norbert Sebastian Gracki
    June 23, 2018 @ 11:24 pm

    Sunny Fassler,

    Can you please provide your experience, insight and challenges on relocating to this region.

    We just came back from SS, and are seriously pursuing the move. Here’s where we stand:

    We are a family with an 8 year old coming from the US. We stayed in a local neighborhood void of most tourists and really enjoyed the people. We are multi-lingual however I do not speak Spanish, but feel that I can learn it quickly.

    After doing extensive research it seems that a non-lucrative visa is easiest to acquire, however I was wondering if another alternative existed given my EU nationality, or a teaching visa.

    The questions I have are as follows:

    1. I have heard that rental deposits can be as high as 1 year’s worth and one can pretty much kiss them goodbye given that Spanish landlords seldom return them, especially to foreigners.
    2. How difficult is it to set up all of the utilities & internet? Are we required to have a local bank account?
    3. Any hidden fees involved outside of Rent/Utilities that one might not be aware of?
    4. Does one hire an agent, or conduct the transaction via the listing office?

    1. Driving License/Vehicle Registration-difficulty, challenges, Test available in English?
    2. How soon must we register with local officials after arrival.
    3. School Hours at Public & Private schools? Do the kids have a siesta and come home, then return?
    4. Prospects for teaching English? Is it quite easy to find a gig, or far more challenging these days? We both have Bachelor of Science degrees and would try to acquire teaching certificates.

    Anything else you can think of would be greatly appreciated. It sounds like you ran into some road blocks yourself and understand the challenges better than most. We are both aware of the fact that it won’t all be peaches and cream. That comes with the territory, but would nonetheless love to hear your opinion.

    Thanks for your time in advance


  31. Tim and Brenda Conn
    July 2, 2019 @ 5:39 pm

    Matthew, my wife and I are planning to visit San Sebastian in early October for a couple of weeks. We want to scout San Sebastian as a possible long term destination. If you could recommend a couple of hotels or other accommodations that would be good spots to launch our exploration, it would be much appreciated. Also if there is someone we could meet with after we get there to answer questions, that would be great.

    We have visited ACoruna, Vigo, Mollina, Malaga, and Alicante, so we have some basic notion of what Spanish life is like, but I understand that Basque country is unique.

    Thank you for your kind assistance.

    Tim and Brenda Conn


  32. Matthew Hirtes
    July 2, 2019 @ 6:06 pm

    Hi Tim and Brenda,

    This post is written from an expats’ point of view as I relocated from the UK to Spain. However, my speciality area is the Canary Islands whose accommodation I review for Telegraph Travel. My Basque Country counterpart is Marti Buckley who I collaborated with for this guide. You’ll find a link to her San Seb reviews here:

    Best of luck,



  33. Tim
    July 5, 2019 @ 5:08 pm

    Dear Matt,

    My wife and I are considering a move to San Sebastian. We are planning on a visit to SB in early October and would like some guidance in selecting a hotel or other accommodations for a two week stay. If you could recommend a location, it would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks for your help.

    Tim Conn


  34. gergana angelova
    August 27, 2019 @ 3:04 pm

    Hi guys, I am single mom 36yo with a 3 yo. I moved back to Europe/ Bulgaria where I am originally from from living in California (LA,SD) for the last 17 years. I am considering coming to SS for few weeks in the winter to check it out and possible relocate. My profession is in the tv,film industry and I am a stylist in Los Angeles. Is there enough of this kind of work there or nearby?
    Also, do you think I could make a living there if I had a regular job?

    here is some background on me:

    I left Los Angeles and my job because it kept me separated from my daughter. I value the clean air, time spend in nature and of coarse time with my little girl is absolutely my priority. I love being active, surfing, rockclimbing and yoga are my hobbies. I speak German, English and Bulgarian fluently and understand Spanish. I believe. I can learn the language quickly :)
    I know my situation is though but I truly believe that one must not stay somewhere of it is only for the money so that is why I left California. Too crowded, too poluted and too damn expensive for a more simpler life..

    if there is any dreamers who moved to SS with ought stability of a job please encourage me if you can :)

    Kind Regards


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