When you’re in San Sebastian, you can’t miss out on a trip to La Zurriola beach.
Whatever time of the year, there’s bound to be something going on.
La Zurriola beach is located in Gros, situated between the River Urumea and Monte Ulía. For that reason sometimes known as Gros beach.
At 800 metres wide, it’s not the biggest beach in San Sebastian. But it does have a steeper profile as you enter the sea, meaning it loses less beach to the high tide, making it a popular spot in Donostia.
With Monte Urgull behind the river and the impressive Kursaal in front of it, the beach is spectacularly framed offering some stunning backdrops.
Things to know about La Zurriola beach
La Zurriola beach is more than your typical city beach. It’s the hub of Gros and the people who live there – and for good reason!
1. It’s a surfers dream
Gros has a youthful surfers vibe and that extends to La Zurriola beach.
It’s the first choice beach to go surfing in San Sebastian. Being slightly more exposed to the Cantabrian Sea, there are consistent breaks all year round.
The waves average around 5 feet in height. The summer months can be a little flatter, which makes it a good time for beginners to learn. And if you’re interested in taking a class, there are plenty of surf schools in Gros.
In general, La Zurriola is a surfers paradise.
There’s not many cities in the world where you can finish work, walk to the beach and catch some waves for a couple of hours. All whilst making it home in time for dinner!
And just because the beach is in the city centre, it doesn’t mean the quality of the waves isn’t great.
In fact, quite the opposite. La Zurriola plays host to a number of International surf competitions throughout the year. It’s widely recognised as one of the best in the area.
2. It’s a hub for other activities too
Even if you’re not a surfer, it’s hard not to be sucked in by the atmosphere.
One of my favourite pastimes on a nice evening is to just wander down to the beach and watch the surfers for a short while. It can be very relaxing and a good way to disconnect.
Outside of surfing, the beach is a hive of activity for other things.
There are regular beach volleyball courts set up at the back of the beach. And occasionally on the weekends during summer, volleyball tournaments are held here.
During the Jazzaldia (Jazz festival), the council even mount a huge stage on the beach and offer free concerts every evening.
3. It has unique youthful atmosphere
Generally, what gives La Zurriola its unique character is the people.
Young people from San Sebastian and nearby towns use the beach as one of their main meeting points – the beach is just a short walk from the San Sebastian-Gros train station.
On a hot summer’s day (particularly when colleges and universities have finished) the beach will be flooded with cuadrillas (groups of friends).
They all bring music, drinks or generally just sunbathe and have a good time.
Sometimes the cuadrillas overspill the beach, to the Promenade or Paseo de la Zurriola, all the way up to Sagüés.
There’ll be groups of people skateboarding, playing basketball, rollerblading, riding bikes or simply sitting on the wall overlooking the beach and chatting.
If you’re after a calmer atmosphere, you can find a bit of peace too.
There’s an area towards the Kursaal and river opening where young families and couples in search of tranquillity can enjoy the Zurriola without being disturbed by everything else going on!
La Zurriola Beach amenities
Being a city centre beach, there are plenty of bars and some of Gros’s best restaurants nearby. You’re probably not even too far from your hotel!
But there are some amenities at La Zurriola which can make your visit more comfortable.
From 15th June to 30th September there are lifeguards stationed at La Zurriola beach. They are on guard from 10am – 8pm.
The council also operates flags on the beach to notify people when it’s unsafe to bathe or surf.
The beach has ramps at the main access point and special services for the disabled.
Showers and toilets
Free public toilets are available at Kursaal (50m away). There are public showers available at a small cost too.
During the summer months Txiringito Groseko is open at the end of the Zurriola beach (nearest to Sagüés and Monte Ulía). They sell cold drinks, snacks and have a seating area with umbrellas, music and good vibes.
How to get to La Zurriola Beach
One of the best things about La Zurriola Beach is its location, right at the heart of the Gros district in San Sebastian.
The beach is easily reachable on foot from most areas of the city and accessible by public transport.
The main bus stop nearest to the Zurriola beach is at Kursaal. Bus numbers 8, 13, 14, 17, 29, 31, 37, 40, 41, 42, B6 and B10 all stop here.
If your bus isn’t one of those, it’s likely that you’ll only have a short walk from any city centre stop too.
San Sebastian’s main bus station is also less than a 10 minute walk away.
The main train station in San Sebastian is less than a 10-minute stroll from La Zurriola Beach.
Slightly closer, there’s also Gros Station, which is about a 5 minute walk to the beach each. Gros train station has a number of local connections on the local Renfe line.
Most of the on-street parking around Gros and the beach is reserved for residents. But there are occasional OTA (paid on street parking spaces) nearby at Sagües (1 minute walk) and other occasional streets in Gros (look out for the blue and green parking bays).
You can also park in one of the nearby public car parks at Kursaal (1-minute walk) or Parking Atotxa (8-minute walk).
Places to visit near La Zurriola Beach
As a main focal point in the city, there are plenty of other things to see nearby the beach.
1. Sagües (1-minute walk)
At the very far end of the Zurriola Beach, at the foot of Monte Ulía is a sub region of Gros, called Sagüés.
The long wall that sits high above the beach is a popular spot, and the perfect place to watch the surfers or catch a spectacular sun set.
On the other side of the car park and skate park, there are a number of bars that line Calle Jose Miguel Barandiaran. It’s the perfect place for a caña (small beer). The terraces here are a sun trap, receiving sun most of the day.
2. Monte Ulía
If you get tired of the sun and fancy a bit of shade, then you can head up to Monte Ulía.
And it’ll be worth it, as from the top of Ulía you’re treated to some of the best views of San Sebastian!
Monte Ulía’s forests are home to some 130 species of birds, numerous species of mammals, indigenous coastal oak grove trees and coastal cliff heathland vegetation. There are some beautiful coastal walks that make it hard to believe you’re just 10 minutes from the city centre!