What could be better than finding an idyllic rooftop in San Sebastian, sitting back and enjoying a glass of wine whilst admiring the views?
The good news is, it is possible.
But the bad news is that apart from a couple, most of the rooftops in Donostia belong to hotels and are reserved exclusively for their guests. So unless you’re staying in a swanky hotel, the likelihood is that you’ll struggle to get access to one.
But fear not.
We’ve listed the top rooftops in the city so you can consider them as part of deciding where to stay in San Sebastian. We’ve also listed a few options at the end which are some amazing bar terraces with views, just as good (if not better) than a rooftop bar!
Best rooftops in San Sebastian
Unfortunately the majority of these belong to hotels. But there are a couple of options that are open to the public.
1. Lasala Plaza Hotel
The Lasala Plaza Hotel has an iconic location in San Sebastian, situated in the old fishing port in the Parte Vieja with incredible views over La Concha Bay.
The hotel is set in a beautiful building that dates back to 1917. Of course it’s been completely renovated, but has kept its original characteristic and charm.
Aside from the 58 luxury rooms, on top, the hotel has perhaps San Sebastian’s most exclusive terrace (unfortunately it’s only open for guests of the hotel).
It offers panoramic views over La Concha, Santa Clara Island and the harbour. The terrace is the perfect spot for a bit of breakfast, lunch or an evening drink. They even offer yoga classes, after which you can wind down and chill out next to the pool!
2. Zenit Convento Hotel
The clue is in the name, but the hotel sits in an old convent building from 1887. In fact, the bar area in the main entrance is a stunning restored chapel from the old convent.
The hotel has maintained the beautiful facade, built from the stone in the Igueldo quarry. But moving further inside, everything has been revamped to offer a luxurious stay with light airy rooms.
To cap everything off, the hotel has opened a terrace “El Zielo de Donosti” (The Sky of San Sebastian in English). It’s a spacious outdoor space where you can relax in the pool, on the sun loungers or on one of the sofas.
3. ABBA Hotel
One of the newer hotels in San Sebastian, the ABBA Hotel only opened in August 2020.
It has a prime location on the Gros side of the bank of the River Urumea. The hotel operates from a Baroque Palace built at the start of the 20th century. The palace is a protected building and an impressive structure in its own right.
On top, the hotel has created a mini oasis in the city. The rooftop has a couple of tiers with a seated bar area and a sun lounge and swimming pool area. You can’t actually swim in the pool as it’s quite small, but it’s the perfect place to cool down!
The good news is that the roooftop is open to the public each day from 17:00 – 22:00.
LABe is another rooftop on our list that you can gain access to without being a guest in a hotel. As well as being one of the top restaurants in San Sebastian, it also has a pretty epic rooftop space.
The restaurant is located on the top floor in Tabakalera, an old tobacco factory in Egia that has been converted into a contemporary cultural centre.
Whilst it doesn’t have quite the views of some of the others, the rooftop space is bigger than most of the others. The space has plenty of tables reserved for diners and they occasionally have concerts and other events on.
The best way to visit the rooftop is to book a meal here and request a table on the terrace.
5. Hotel Maria Cristina
For over 110 years, the Hotel Maria Cristina has been a prominent feature on the bank of the River Urumea (opposite side to the ABBA Hotel). The building is one of the finest examples of the Belle Époque architecture that San Sebastain is famous for, in particular in the Área Romántica.
The hotel is perhaps one of the most luxurious in the whole city. It’s where all the movie stars stay when they visit Donostia for the International Film Festival in San Sebastian.
Whilst there’s no communal rooftop at the hotel, there are several rooms on the top floor that have their own private terraces with incredible views over River Urumea estuary and Kursaal.
Alternative bars with views
You may be left a little disappointed at not being able to enjoy a rooftop in San Sebastian if you’re not staying at one of the hotels.
But don’t worry. We’ve picked out some alternative bars which have amazing terraces, better than most rooftop bars! You can check out all of these, plus other bar recommendations on our San Sebastain map.
1. La Perla
La Perla is a spa, beauty, fitness centre and restaurant complex in the heart of San Sebastian. It’s located in probably the most sought after spot in Donostia, right in the middle of La Concha.
Whilst the spa is a good place to unwind, La Perla also has not one, but three terraces. They sit high above La Concha beach with unrivalled views of La Concha Bay and Santa Clara Island.
All three terraces (named after the mountains and island: Igueldo, Santa Clara and Urgull) are all open to the public. They make one of the best spots to watch the sunset on a nice summer evening.
2. El Polvorín
Given you have to walk (more of a hike) 20 minutes or so to reach El Polorín, it’s not necessarily the most luxurious place in the city. However, the trek up to the top of Monte Urgull will be well worth it!
Once you arrive at the top you’ll feel like a king with some of the best views available in San Sebastian.
The bar itself has a large terrace with plenty of tables. They do fill up very quickly, especially on a nice weekend! But the bar has a very chilled out vibe, so if you can’t get a table you can always grab a drink and sit on one of the walls.
On the weekends they usually have live music on. Generally there’s a really good atmosphere up on Monte Urgull!
GU is a restaurant and bar that transforms into a nightclub once the sun has set! And you’ll know exactly when the sun has gone down, because there are fewer idyllic spots for watching the sunset in San Sebastian.
The bar is situated on a privileged vantage point on La Concha Bay in the sea.
Yes, that’s right. In the sea.
The bar is unique, shaped like a millionaires yacht and sits right on the edge of the water by the Town Hall.
It’s an incomparable setting that gets you right up and close to La Concha where you can watch the world go by, sipping on a cocktail!