May 2017: What’s on in San Sebastián

May 2017: What’s on in San Sebastián


Spain has a lot of public holidays — almost as many as the countries that have ranked as having the most days off in the world. Even if we are beaten by India, Colombia, Thailand, and seven others, Spanish public holidays might seem abundant when Easter and the long weekend in May are not even two weeks apart from each other. But what’s better than starting a new month on vacations? Nothing!

looking out over the beach and city skyline of San Sebastian

If you happen to be around any time this month, as usual, here are a few of the upcoming events you might want to join while in San Sebastián. Locals are leaving a month of religious traditions behind and replacing it with even more culture than usual. May will be a month of regional folklore and museums, so let’s see what the city has prepared for you:

Events in Kursaal

When we take travellers to see the wonders of San Sebastián, the majority of them are embarrassed to admit that our only modern building, the Kursaal, looks pretty out of place. “It doesn’t really blend with the landscape of San Sebastián,” is the response we usually get when we ask travellers for their honest opinion.

But we insist that skeptics give it a second chance when the cube-shaped auditorium is illuminated at night. Kursaal is where anything can happen, from jazz and gastronomic festivals, to prestigious conferences and outlet markets. We are proud of it because every time we waltz into the guts of the exhibition centre, we know something exciting is about to happen.

The name of Kursaal comes from German kur (“cure”) and saal (“room”); therefore, this odd name could be translated as “healing room.” The term refers to old health resorts that had many leisure options, all of them in the form of spas, restaurants, gambling, and dancing rooms or theatres. Indeed, the Kursaal in San Sebastián used to be one of those health resorts. In fact, the city was well-known as the ideal tourist destination for rest and recovery in the first half of the 20th century.

Unfortunately, the glorious neoclassic building our elders were so fond of was demolished and replaced in the 1970s by our more recent version of the auditorium. While the elders hate it, the youngsters love it and hang out by the surfing beach of Zurriola. But, love it or hate it, there’s no denying there’s a lot happening inside this magnificent avantgarde building.

VI International Contemporary Art Fair

Are you an artsy person? Then you might want to see what DonostiArtean 2017 has prepared for art lovers. DonostiArtean’s goal will be to promote modern trends in art, and hopes to find its place amid international art fairs. National and international artists will have the chance to share knowledge and ideas with the most veteran and experienced guests. The International Contemporary Art Fair is described by its organisers as “professional” and “close,” and will be offering guided tours and workshops for children and adults.

Price is EUR 5 (for visitors over 65, it’s EUR 3).

May 5 from 11:30 – 14:30 / 16:30 – 21:30
May 6 from 12:30 – 21:30
May 7 from 12:30 – 20:30

3rd World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism

This will be a very special month for SSUA, as our own Urban Adventures general manager Tony Carne will be coming from Australia to speak at the third annual UNWTO World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism, which is co-organised by the prestigious gastronomic school Basque Culinary Centre.

This event will take place in the most high-level cooking school San Sebastián has ever seen, and it’ll have interesting debates and workshops on gastronomy tourism. The forum will bring experts in gastronomy and gastronomy tourism together with the goal of creating new professional ties and discussing the current situation of such industry.

Date: May 8 and 9
Place: Basque Culinary Centre

IN LOVE Market

This market brings chic to San Sebastián with all their vintage fashion, antiquities, and collector items. Whether you are looking for some decor, furniture, retro trends, or DIY products, this is the right place to go shopping. Best of all, no entry fee!

Date: May 13 and 14 from 11:00–21:00

International Museum Day

San Sebastián couldn’t ignore such a special occasion. International Museum Day is, after all, a day to celebrate our history and cultures — a day you could turn into a valuable lesson about the Basque Country.

So, put that money back into your wallet because on International Museum Day, San Telmo Museum will open its doors for free (it’s usually EUR 6). San Telmo’s permanent collection revolves around Basque archaeology, art, ethnography, photography, and history, and you’ll be able to visit one of the most enriching museums about the Basque people at no cost. Hurry up, though! The freebie will only last until the museum reaches capacity.

Date: May 18

Regional Centres’ Day

If there’s something we cherish, that’s our folklore. From the pagan and celtic folklore congregated on the northern side of the peninsula, to the most traditional Spanish culture, there are multiple regional centers all over the country (and past the borders) whose aim is to share their traditions in a land far from home. From the stressful kitchen of a stand, regional centres will tempt the visitor with their yummy food and drinks while live folk performances entertain the audience.

Date: May 28, all day
Place: Constitution Square (Plaza de la Constitución), Old Town

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