Matthew’s article this week concentrates on moving to the Basque Country’s San Sebastián
Moving to San Sebastián: enjoy the best of both worlds
Spaniards call it San Sebastián whilst Basques know it as Donostia. This dual identity makes for an interesting city make-up. The climate’s stuck in the middle too as it’s moderate, almost never too cold or too hot.
Whereas the temperature never dips to northern European lows, San Sebastián is Spain’s Manchester with rain more common than in other parts of the peninsula. However, the upside of that is the rainwater helps the local flora to grow. Resulting in a green and pleasant land.
In and out
Just under half an hour by car or bus lies San Sebastián Airport. However, this only serves domestic flights from Barcelona and Madrid. Barely over an hour’s drive away, you’ll reach the international airport of Bilbao, although Biarritz airport over the other side of the French border is around 20 minutes nearer by car.
On the southern outskirts of town, you’ll find St. Patrick’s English School. 70 teaching staff educate 850 pupils in a school which celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2016. They take children from aged two up to 18 years old.
Shop until you drop…
Foodies will love the markets where they’ll be able to stock up on the highly-regarded Basque cheese and cider. Hit the Old Town’s Avenida de Libertad and surrounding streets if you prefer your clothes to have an established label. For a market/fashion combo, hit the city’s two best-known shopping centres, La Bretxa and San Martín.
The Basque Country’s one of the few places to flourish despite Spain’s long recession. The Financial Times reported in April 2014 that San Sebastián’s the most expensive place in Spain to buy a property. So, you’ll have to dig deep if you want to live here.
Apartments start at just under 200.000€ and villas can go all the way up to 6.000.000€.
In Praise Of
“San Sebastián’s charm never fails to hook any and every visitor. The combination of natural beauty, from beaches to mountains, and a European beach town vibe makes a city that is both glamorous and laid back. The shockingly beautiful landscapes pale in comparison to the pintxos, the small plates that line the bars of San Sebastián’s old part. Or if haute cuisine is more your thing, San Sebastián has more Michelin stars per person than any other city in the world. Come to drink, eat, and bask (sorry, I had to) in the glory of one of Europe’s best-kept secrets.” Marti Buckley (Blank Palate: food + life from the basque country).
- Are you an expat in San Sebastián? What do you like/dislike about it? Let us know below.
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.