A Roadtrip from Bilbao to San Sebastián and Santillana Del Mar, Spain

We landed in Bilbao and hopped in our rental car that happened to be a 2 door BMW convertible.  It was hilarious trying to squeeze our large luggage into the back seat, but we managed.  The first thing on our minds was FOOD. By recommendation we stopped at El Globo for a quick lunch. The food was delicious! Address: Diputazio Kalea, 8, 48008 Bilbao, Bizkaia, SpainWhat you will find throughout the northern coast of Spain are little bites called Pintxos (pinchos). Since houses are so small, you would never go over to someone’s house for a gathering.  Instead you would meet at a bar for a drink and Pintxos. Each bar tries to one up the next with a variety of different toppings, so you will want to bar hop to find the best out there.

Be sure to stop at the Mercado De La Rivera as well. Not only does this place have food vendors, but it has a large fish, meat, and cheese market attached.  Martini was my favorite stop in this market.

Our first stop out from Bilbao was about 45 minutes away. There is a little church called San Juan de la Gaztelugatxe.  On the way to the trail you will see a restaurant.  I believe there is a shortcut trail from there, however, we found out about it after hiking the long trail down.  There are also 241 stairs to the top.  I suggest having good shoes and bringing water.  The hike and stairs is totally worth it! A true beautiful site to see! Once you make it to the top, ring the bell 3 times and make a wish! 


San Sebastián: The city of San Sebastián has to be my favorite part of this month long trip. The offical local language is Euskara, but we got around just fine using spanish. We stayed at a private Airbnb where the hosts Marian and Juan were so delightful. They brought us milk and bread to have in the fridge and were great at communicating with us the entire trip. Their Airbnb has a parking garage about 5 minutes away. We parked the car and walked everywhere.  I HIGHLY suggest renting from them: San Sebastian AirbnbWhen we arrives to San Sebastián, we connected with a man name Keith.  He is the owner of San Sebastián Walking Tours, but is originally from Alabama. His wife was born and raised in San Sebastián and his father in law is in the food business in the area. He gave us the history of the area and took us to some of his favorite bars to order us pintxos with a pairing drink.  By the end we were both stuffed and a bit tipsy. This is the best tour you can take when you get here.  There are bigger corporate tours that are pushing out the local tour guides, like Keith.  Please consider booking with him to get a more private experience… it’s worth it! 

Keith: San Sebastián Walking Tours




San Sebastián isn’t big. It was easy and safe walking around and enjoying the beaches, food, and scenery.  Most places close down from 230pm-6pm.  One day we grabbed meats, bread, cheese, and wine to take back to the Airbnb. For the best Ham go to Kutixik and next door is a delicious bread shop. This was definitely a trip that revolved around eating!

Walk around the marina, check out the aquarium, stick your toes in the sand.

AraMenDia is a chocolate shop we stumbled upon where they made fresh truffles, chocolate delights, and even chocolate purses and high heels in the shop. So delicious and makes for great gifts!

Santillana Del Mar: Is an even smaller village where most buildings still exist from the 12th century.  We only spent one night here and it was enough time to walk around and see everything.  Check out the Museum of Torture, find shops that make jewelry from scratch with clay, local artists, Cave of Altamira, and the Church of Colegiata.  


  1. San Sebastian sounds like if would have probably been my favorite too! But, the entire trip looks absolutely awesome! All the small plates?! Yes, please! It’s my favorite way to eat!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow. This looks like so much fun. I would love to het around in a BMW convertible and I love the little bites. That way you can eat more. Will have to visit Northern Spain asap.


  3. Loved this article. The north of Spain is such a beautiful area. I studied in the area of Bilbao for 6 months, many years ago. And this article took me back to this awesome time I had with so many beautiful memories. Thanks for sharing your experience!

    Liked by 1 person

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