- “See the World,” Gomez
- “Send Me On My Way,” Rusted Root
- “Wherever Is Your Heart,” Brandi Carlile
- “Gypsy,” Shakira
- “When the Day Comes,” Nico & Vinz
- “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
- “On Top of the World,” Imagine Dragons
- “Waka Waka,” Shakira
- “Island in the Sun,” Weezer
- “Budapest,” George Ezra
- “Runnin’,” Nico & Vinz
- “Wide Open Spaces,” Dixie Chicks
- “Kokomo,” The Beach Boys
- “Heaven,” Los Lonely Boys
- “Knee Deep,” Zac Brown Band
- “Imagine,” Nico & Vinz
- “Better Together,” Jack Johnson
- “Young Volcanoes,” Fall out Boy
- “Wavin’ Flag,” K’naan
- “Three Little Birds,” Bob Marley & The Wailers
- “Shake it Out,” Florence + The Machine
- “There She Goes,” The La’s
- “Here Comes the Sun,” The Beatles
- “Toes,” Zac Brown Band
- “Brown Eyed Girl,” Van Morrison
- “Daylight,” Matt & Kim
- “Follow Your Arrow,” Kacey Musgraves
- “Go Your Own Way,” Fleetwood Mac
- “Fast Car,” Tracy Chapman
- “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles),” The Proclaimers
- “Unwritten,” Natasha Bedingfield
- “Vivir Mi Vida,” Marc Anthony
- “On the Road Again,” Willie Nelson
- “100 Years,” Five for Fighting
- “Lisztomania,” Pheonix
- “Bizarre Love Triangle,” New Order
- “Whenever, Wherever,” Shakira
- “Don’t Stop Believin’,” Journey
- “The Middle,” Jimmy Eat World
- “Oh, Tonight (Feat. Kacey Musgraves),” Josh Abbott Band
San Sebastián, Spain has become one of my favorite places in the world because of its teen friendly atmosphere and easy going lifestyle. After going on my second trip to San Sebastián with SPI Study Abroad, I’ve had the chance to discover my favorite things to do and see. With this list of activities, I promise you will not spend one second bored in this city!
1. Surf at Playa Zurriola
Playa Zurriola is the most active beach in San Sebastián. If you’re into frisbee, beach volleyball, and surfing this is the perfect place for you. With surfing being the main attraction, there are many places to either take a surfing class or just rent a board.
2. Buy a Penny Board
In San Sebastián, you can find both official Penny Boards (about 50 Euros) and knockoffs (around 20 Euros). Whether you buy the real deal or an off-brand, they are fun to ride, easy to carry, and all the local teens ride them! If you’re looking to buy an official Penny Board, take a stroll down Playa Zurriola, but if you’re looking for the cheaper option, buy one at a souvenir shop in Parte Vieja.
3. Take a Cooking Class
San Sebastián is known for its delicious food so why wouldn’t you want to learn from the locals themselves? My study abroad group took a cooking class at Restaurante Ziaboga and it was awesome! The entire lesson was in Spanish and after we finished preparing the meal, we ate it together! If you’re interested, just make sure you plan ahead by calling the restaurant.
4. Hike to Monte Urgull and Monte Igueldo
Both Monte Urgull and Monte Igueldo have must see views of San Sebastián’s coastlines, but there are some differences between the two mountains. While you can actually hike up Monte Urgull, you have to take a cable car to reach the top of Monte Igueldo (Click Here to learn more about Monte Igueldo and how to get there). On Monte Urgull, there is a famous sculpture of Jesus Christ and a museum you can enter for free! On Monte Igueldo, there is a theme park with many rides and games, as well as a restaurant looking over the beautiful city.
5. Eat Churros
This is a requirement. Churros are one of Spain’s most famous desserts and they taste even better at Chocolateria Santa Lucia, in the middle of Parte Vieja. Grab some friends and share a plate of churros con chocolate!
6. Spend a day at Playa de La Concha
Unlike Playa Zurriola, this beach has very small waves, making the area calmer and the water easier to swim in. When you’re craving a day to relax, come to Playa de La Concha. You can also take a nice swim to one of the docs and ride down the water slides!
7. Go “Dulce hopping”
Just like people go bar hopping, you can go “dulce hopping” too! There are many sweet and pastry shops throughout San Sebastián, so why not try them all! It’s as easy as walking around the city, going into dessert places, buying something small, and then moving onto the next one. It’s super fun and it opens up opportunities to meet locals and see the city in a different way.
8. Pig out at Gelateria Boulevard
There are around 30 flavors at Gelateria Boulevard and this year I promised myself to try every single one. And yes, I did it. After achieving such a big goal I discovered my favorite flavors to be Pistachio, Avellana (Hazelnut), and Kinder Bueno (a famous candy bar in Europe). If you’re spending two weeks or more in San Sebastián, you should definitely try to achieve the same goal because you’re never going to taste ice cream like this back in America. Plus, you will be walking a lot so you deserve the treat!
9. Eat Fresh Fruit on the Beach
In San Sebastián, you definitely have easy access to fruit! I would say from wherever your standing, there is a local fruit shop within a five minute walking distance max. And at these fruit shops, you can buy both pineapple and watermelon halves, and they even have plastic silverware. It’s almost like the frutería is telling you to eat them on the beach!
10. Have a Nighttime Jam Sesh at the Beach
Almost every night in San Sebastián my friends and I would hit up Playa Zurriola to sit and talk in the sand or walk along the shore line. We always had that one friend who brought his speaker system, making the nights even more fun! (Don’t forget to bring a light jacket and beach towel to sit on)
11. Go to the Sunday Market
Right behind La Plaza de la Bretxa, there is a local market every Sunday. This big event is full of local vendors selling food, ceramics, jewelry, leather crafts, and more. This is the best way to spend your Sunday morning and you will be living like a true Spanish local!
After trying every flavor at Gelateria Boulevard in San Sebastián, I had a hard time deciding which one was my favorite. I can honestly say, there was not one flavor I didn’t like! Although, there were three flavors that left my mouth watering: Avellana (Hazelnut), Pistacho (Pistachio), and Kinder Bueno (a mix of hazelnut and chocolate).
If you ever find yourself in San Sebastián make sure to check out Gelateria Boulevard!
After I tasted this delicious pistachio and dark chocolate gelato at Gelateria Boulevard, I immediately told myself, “I better run tomorrow morning so I can come back for more!” Then I thought maybe I should try every flavor to truly discover my favorite one. Until I have to leave San Sebastián, I am going to order a different gelato flavor everyday. I totally recommend this to anyone who is staying one week or more in a specific location. It’s fun and you will develop relationships with locals! This is also a super great way to establish a new tradition for everywhere you go. And this can work with any type of food, so don’t be afraid to go on a interesting food challenge!
As my study abroad group and I approached our first restaurant in Spain, we made sure we did it just right! I ordered Paella while my new friends ordered Tapas. If you are not aware, Paella is a classic Spanish dish that contains rice, spices, and usually seafood. This dish perfectly brings together Spanish culture and I think it would be the best “first Spanish meal” for everyone! But don’t forget your appetizer. Tapas are a simple and delicious way to get your tummy ready for the Paella! Tapas are basically little, open-faced sandwiches without a top piece of bread. What goes on top ranges from meats, cheeses, and much more!
Whatever you do, make sure you try both of these classic Spanish foods as soon as you arrive to Spain!
- Stay away from Starbucks (try local coffee shops)
- Immerse yourself into your destination’s language
- Spend a day with a true local
- Eat Everything! (Don’t be afraid to try new food)
- Make new friends
- Take an entire day to get lost in the city without a map
- Take a hike and explore the country’s nature
- Put the phone down and enjoy the moment
- Eat a different desert everyday (you only live once!)
- Check out the local historical sites
- Take a cooking class so you can take your skills back home
- Go on at least one morning run through the city
- Buy food at the local farmers market
- Take photos and videos to keep your memories tangible
- Do something that will keep you remembered forever!
- An extra form of Identification (License, School ID, etc.)
- Cash and Credit Cards
- Boarding Pass
- Phone and charger
To defeat boredom:
- Computer and charger
- Music player
- A new book
- Journal and writing utensils
(Travel Sized) Toiletries:
Note – make sure you bring liquid items in travel sized portions or you will not be able to take them past security.
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Lotion (plane rides dry out your skin!)
- Hairbrush and hair accessories
- Dry Shampoo
- Chapstick/Lip Balm
- Hand sanitizer
Gotta stay cozy:
- Fuzzy Socks
- Neck pillow
- Eye mask
- Comfy shoes (if not already wearing them)
To prevent jet lag and stay energized:
- Snacks (granola, pretzels, dried fruit, etc.)
- Emergency-C packets
- Empty water bottle (stay hydrated!)
Be prepared for arrival:
- Pocket translation dictionary
- Currency for your destination (I recommend exchanging some money for your destination before leaving the country)
In case your luggage is late (this happens more than you think):
- An extra set of clothes (shirt, pants, underwear, socks, etc.)
So lately I’ve been seriously craving Morcilla de Burgos (AKA Blood Sausage), which reminded me of an important lesson I learned on my trip to Spain. When I first heard about this Blood Sausage, I was pretty grossed out and refused to try it. I just couldn’t picture blood ever tasting good. It made me queazy just thinking about it! Luckily my exotic mom, who eats literally every part of an animal, forced me to try the Morcilla de Burgos. To my surprise, it was the most incredible thing I had ever tasted! And guess what, the blood made the sausage taste ten times better! Morcilla de Burgos is now my favorite Spanish dish and my mouth waters just thinking about it. My point is… try everything on your plate. No matter what it is! You can’t knock it ’til you try it!
My name is Global Gaby! Well, Global isn’t really my first name but it does describe what I love! Seeing the world, meeting new people, and exploring new cultures. What sparked my passion was studying abroad last summer in Spain. I always had dreams of hopping between continents with nothing but my suitcase and free spirit, and last summer I was FINALLY able to do it! Now, there’s no turning back; I want to share my experiences with the world and inspire teens to step outside of their normal routine, embrace what is different, and never ask “what could have been?”
Every great journey begins with a single step, right? Well my first step was to study abroad last summer with my high school and a company called SPI Study Abroad. Last week, I wrote a guest blog for their website about what that trip meant to me! Click here to check it out!
I’m going back to Spain again this summer, so keep checking in as I write about getting ready, getting excited, and getting back on the other side of the Atlantic!
– Global Gaby