San Sebastian in September 2019: Our Favorite Activities & Events

This blog post was originally posted on July 30, 2018 and was updated on August 6, 2019. 

Unlike in the south of Spain, where temperatures still feel quite summery until October, San Sebastian actually takes on a magical fall feeling as autumn draws near.

Aside from a bit of rain, the weather is mostly pleasant and ideal for walking around town sightseeing. Plus, it’s the perfect month to experience both traditional Basque culture and internationally renowned events (we’ll get to those in a bit).

If you’re visiting San Sebastian in September, here’s what should be on your agenda.

Planning on visiting San Sebastian in September? Excellent choice! Here are our picks for can't-miss activities and events taking place in the city.

1. Enjoy world-class cinema at the San Sebastian International Film Festival

Every year, cinephiles from near and far descend on San Sebastian to attend the city’s most cosmopolitan event.

The San Sebastian International Film Festival showcases household names, up-and-coming stars, and everything in between. This year, the 67th edition of the festival promises to be better than ever as dozens of films from all over the world compete for the prestigious Golden Shell. If you’ll be in San Sebastian in September, you won’t want to miss this.

2019 dates: September 20–28

The can't-miss event taking place in San Sebastian in September: the film festival, without a doubt!
Come film festival time, the entire city lights up with excitement. Photo credit: Ian Irving

2. Dance the night away at Donostia Festibala

Want to experience the biggest and best creative arts festival in San Sebastian in September? Look no further than Donostia Festibala.

This massive event brings together music lovers along with some of the biggest names gracing stages on an international level. The best part? There’s truly something for everyone at this event. Musical styles range from hip-hop to trap to flamenco and so much more, all packed into one wild, lively weekend that will help create memories to last a lifetime.

2019 dates: September 13 & 14

3. Discover local culture at Euskal Jaiak

Here in San Sebastian, many locals are fiercely proud of their Basque identity. If you’d like to learn what that’s all about, there’s no better time or place than San Sebastian in September!

Euskal Jaiak, or the Basque Festival, consists of an entire week full of exciting regattas, Basque sporting competitions, cultural events and plenty of free-flowing cider. As you find yourself surrounded by locals in traditional dress and the beautiful sounds of Basque music, you’ll start to gain a better understanding of what makes this fascinating culture so special.

2019 dates: August 31–September 8

Visiting San Sebastian in September? Don't miss the Basque Festival taking place the first week of the month!
San Sebastian’s gorgeous beaches will play host to regattas and other sporting events during the Basque Festival.

4. Catch some waves at Zurriola Beach

Surf’s up! San Sebastian’s Zurriola Beach is home to some of the best waves in Spain. And if you’re visiting San Sebastian in September, you’re just in time to ride the best of them.

As the weather starts to get chillier, the waves get bigger and more consistent, so early fall is prime time for surfers. Never set foot on a board before but want to see what it’s all about? There are plenty of great surf schools based in the nearby Gros neighborhood where you’ll be able to learn everything you need to know about riding the waves.

READ MORE: Everything You Need to Know About Surfing in San Sebastian

Surfers visiting San Sebastian in September will be happy to know that Zurriola Beach is starting to see its best waves of the season.
If you’re into surfing, you can’t miss the great waves at Zurriola Beach!

5. Enjoy a pintxos crawl

If we’re being honest, there’s no wrong time of year to come to San Sebastian for the food. As the unofficial foodie capital of Europe, it’s home to fresh, seasonal dishes of the highest quality all year round. From rustic Basque home cooking to innovative Michelin-starred fare, you can’t go wrong with anything you eat here.

If you’re visiting San Sebastian in September, you’ll find that it’s an especially perfect time of year for a pintxos crawl. Evenings are neither too hot nor too chilly, and bars aren’t as crowded with tourists as they can get in the summer months.

READ MORE: How to Eat Like a Local in San Sebastian

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