After probably having eaten an insane amount of delicious pintxos while fully exploring the gastronomical delight that the city of San Sebastián is, maybe some exercise might be in order. And even if not, the Monte Urgull, the eastern exclamation point of La Concha, is worth the hike. In leisurely pace, the short easy hike will take you just about an hour; and on top, you will be stunned by the fantastic views the “mountain” offers. The tiny beautiful wood set islet in the middle of the bay, Isla de Santa Clara, can be seen, as well as the coast and city of San Sebastián. To hike up, start at the church of Santa María; here a stepped path leads up the sandstone hill which was once an island. Dotted with old cannons and shaded by pine trees, the path up to the top makes for a lovely afternoon stroll. There is even a bar on the way, in case you need a refreshment or simply wish to admire the view.
At the top of Monte Urgull you’ll find reminders of San Sebastián’s military past. The crumbling fort, Castillo de la Santa Cruz de la Mota, which is topped by the huge statue of Christ awaits you on top. This large monument of Christ, which is slightly reminiscent of the Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro, can be viewed from all parts of San Sebastián, but is quite amazing to see up close. The Mota Castle, which is a fortification dating back to the late 18th century, is in great shape and now houses a museum of military history, that is also worth a visit. Not much of the other parts of the defensive fortifications remain, which is why it was turned into a grassy city park with plenty of lawns for a quick nap. Numerous winding paths lead you past monuments, interesting historical remains, a cemetery and little church, but also woody areas and one or the other stray cat.
For a wonderful retreat from the heat and the crowds below in San Sebastián, Monte Urgull is a must. Plus, the breathtaking views of the cityscape and Parte Vieja below, the beautiful string of beaches and tiny Santa Clara Island, as well as the counterpart Monte Igeldo, make this short hike really worthwhile.
If you can’t wait to make this excursion or try some excellent pintxos in San Sebastián, come check out our apartments in San Sebastián!