Swimming in Bilbao or San Sebastian is fine, in the fresh Atlantic Ocean. Wherever you stay, you are blessed with the proximity of beautiful beaches and bays with lifeguard Certification during your city trip. Splash in a fishing harbor or trek to natural pools with waterfalls. The choice is yours!
Swimming in Bilbao
The city of Bilbao has no beach, but close to Bilbao, there are several coastal towns. From the chic Gitmo and the surfing beach of Spells to the elegant Plantae with its child-friendly, unspoiled beach (Gorlitz) – you can get there by car and metro.
Luxury right? The entire Basque coast between Bilbao and the seaside town of San Sebastian is dotted with fishing villages, where children and young people often splash from the harbor walls straight into the water with lifeguard certification. There is no shortage of water fun in the summer!
Swimming in San Sebastian
San Sebastian is a beautiful seaside town with three beaches. The Concha Bay embraces and protects the two golden beaches Ondarreta and Concha, so the water is always calm. A huge swimming pool surrounded by greenery. You can even swim to Santa Clara Island in the middle of the bay.
Some Basques effectively swim great distances in the bay, including swimming caps and mask. The water is at a suitable temperature from May to October. You can even run to the water from La Perl Spa on the beach itself and thus combine your spa circuit with a dip in the sea. Some Basques do this all year round!
There is also a swimming area at the surf beach Zurriola, but there is more chance of currents, and of course, there are more waves, so be careful and pay attention to the colors of the flags. You are not allowed in with red with lifeguard certification.
If, despite everything, you prefer to swim laps in a swimming pool, you can also go to the swimming pool with the retractable roof of the Club Real de Tennis de Domestic (Domestic is the Basque name for San Sebastian).
You can become a member for a week or two weeks (30 to 60 euros) because it is expensive per day (20 euros). Then you can swim as often as you want and play tennis, paddle, rent a stand-up paddle or do fitness activities with a discount.
Swimming at Poza de Osaka near Onate
If you are in the interior of the Basque Country or if the beaches are too busy for you in July or August, you can also go for a swim in a lovely natural pool. In the beautiful university town of Onate and further up in the mountains, the impressive monastery of Aransas for lifeguard certification.
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These sights are just an hour’s drive from San Sebastian. The Aransas River forms the natural pool at Onate: it is almost four meters deep, with fresh water at the foot of waterfalls surrounded by greenery. A real picture.
In addition, the area has been adapted and has a fountain, shower, waste bins, parking, space for sunbathing, and even a lifeguard in the summer months. It can also reach on foot or by bike from the center of Onate (10 to 15 minutes).
THE NICEST UPCOMING NEIGHBORHOOD IN SAN SEBASTIAN
This up-and-coming neighborhood in San Sebastian, Gross, is located on Zurriola, the city’s premier surfing beach. This beach also attracts many young people in the summer. It is an authentic, working-class neighborhood, where traditionally, many surfers and students live.
You can often see them walking straight to the beach or cycling from the neighborhood with their surfboard under their arm. Recently, however, more and more new bars and restaurants have emerged in Gross; hip eateries with the most original pintos (Basque tapas) and a fusion of international flavors.
Fusion of flavors
There is now a Mexican/Basque restaurant with a terrace on the river, Cafe Kraal, named after the futuristic building on the beach. This lively up-and-coming neighborhood in San Sebastian is also. Virtually traffic-free and superb to stroll around in.
With the fresh sea air nearby. Especially in the streets in front of the Kraal building, you will come across pearls of pinto bars. Like bar Xara, where you can sometimes enjoy live music with your delicious pintos. A bustling neighborhood that is alive, both during the day and in the evening!
Pintos on terraces
In addition, there is more space for outdoor cafes in the up-and-coming Gross district. In the popular old part, eating pintos on a terrace is next to impossible. Standing inside the crowd or outside in front of the bar, that often works.
However, in Gross, the atmosphere is more relaxed, and the best pinto bars often have a terrace. So be sure to deviate from the beaten track in the old city center to gross! My professional guidance makes such a ‘culinary pub crawl’ of pintos possible as a Basque Taste guide.
From vegan to international
New restaurants regularly pop up in this up-and-coming. Neighborhood in San Sebastian, often of a category. Not easily found in traditional Basque culture years ago. For example, here are two of the best vegetarian restaurants in San Sebastian: Map Verde and Fresh Green.
The latter is at the end of the surf beach, where young people often chat on the wall, overlooking the surfers and the sea – especially at sunset. The neighborhood feels young and fresh – just like the wild waters of the Atlantic Ocean.