Zurriola beach, San Sebastián: City break by the sea

When you are on holiday in San Sebastian, you can't miss out on a visit to la Playa de Zurriola. It is the only San Sebastián beach that isn't located on the acclaimed Concha Bay. You could say that it's a bit of a misfit - less elegant and a bit rougher - but also very special. It is the most exposed beach of the city and a great spot for a city break in the green north. Activities like skateboarding attract a younger crowd. And did you know that nudism is welcome too?

Zurriola: a beach between mountain and river

Zurriola Beach, San Sebastián

Like Ondarreta beach on the other side of town, which is adjacent to the imposing Igueldo mountain, Zurriola beach ends at Ulía mountain. Together the two mountains enclose the city of San Sebastián.
From Zurriola beach you can walk above on the Ulía mountain to the neighbouring Pasajes de San Juan
On the other length of Zurriola, the Urumea river flows into the sea along the promenade and the breakwater. 

A beach of cultural events

Kursaal San Sebastián
From the centre of the bridge, you will find Zurriola beach just behind the modern Kursaal building by architect Rafael Moneo - sometimes jokingly said to be the small 'Guggenheim' from the neighbouring city of Bilbao. The annual Film Festival takes place in this building. Concha Bay may be the most elegant, but Zurriola beach sees the most international movie stars on the red carpet!
San Sebastián Jazz Festival
Behind the Kursaal on the promenade and on Zurriola beach itself you will sometimes find outdoor concerts, especially during the annual Jazz Festival and the Semana Grande festival in the summer. 

Zurriola beach: young, sporty, rebellious

How big is Zurriola beach?

Zurriola, San Sebastián

Zurriola beach underwent extensive renovations in 1995. This includes the construction of a breakwater so that swimming would be safe. The beach was also larger then. Today, Zurriola offers a pleasant strip of sand over a length of approximately 800 metres and an average width of 110 metres.

Nudism in the middle of the city

Zurriola, San Sebastián

Since 2004, nudism has been allowed at Zurriola. It is one of the few Spanish city beaches where being fully undressed is permitted. However, it is often unnoticeable because most people still choose to wear a swimsuit.

A break in the city

Playa Zurriola, San Sebastián

There is always something to see at Zurriola beach, also known as "la playa de Gros". They often cycle or run from the city's surfers district, Gros. They all look out at the sea, awaiting the waves. 

There are several surfing schools on the beach. Pukas is one of the best known. There are surfboards for rent throughout the year.

The Zurriola surf beach offers fun for all levels. Surfing can take place all over the bay. To the east by the seawall you have breaking waves.

Zurriola can produce excellent waves, from small to medium. In autumn and winter far more experienced surfers come here for the bigger waves, while there are more beginners and students in the summer. There are especially many local surfers. In general this is a great beach town with good surf vibes!

Swimmers, surfers and bodyboarders

Playa Zurriola, San Sebastián

There is a private swimming area separate from the surfing area in the summer - be careful that you don't swim in the surf zone, which is marked with red-blue flags. Many children also love to boogie board here. Bodyboarders are welcome to gently ride the waves alongside swimmers as long as they do not wear flippers.

Those with young children or who like to swim in a more tranquil environment are better off choosing one of the other calmer beaches in Concha Bay.

A beach buzzing with activity

Playa Zurriola, San Sebastián
The surf atmosphere usually attracts more young people. There are also several trendy beach bars on the upper promenade. In the evening there are live concerts at ZM, a popular beach bar. You can also hear music from the beach itself. In addition to surfing competitions, other sporting competitions such as body boarding or skateboarding are organized.

Zurriola is the best beach in the city to play ball sports. There are volleyball nets in a special area reserved for sports, and Basque ball games like pala and pelota give the beach a local feel. 

Zurriola beach amenities

Zurriola, San Sebastián
On a beach like this, lifeguards and flags that indicate the status of the sea play an important role. There are special services for the disabled and beach amenities like showers and sunbed rentals (€3.50/day) and larger parasols (€13.10/day). Free public restrooms are always available at the Kursaal, accessible from the beach.

Besides the surf schools, there is also a children's club during the summer months with swimming pools on the beach and swimming lessons.

Stunts, surf and sunset

Playa Zurriola, San Sebastián

You can walk over to the Ulía Mountain, which stands at the beach limits. Head along the promenade and from there you will have a wonderful view of the open sea and the other two city mountains: Urgull and Igueldo.

TIP: You can admire a beautiful sunset at the end of Zurriola while surfers sit on the seawall with a drink. A wonderful end to a fantastic beach day in San Sebastián!

Wondering what to do next? The Top 10 Beaches in Cantabria await you!