Ondarreta beach is located to the east of La Concha beach at the foot of Monte Igueldo.
The beach itself is the smallest in San Sebastian at 600m wide. It’s also the beach furthest out from the city centre. This is probably why it’s the least famous of all three beaches in Donostia.
However, sitting opposite Santa Clara Island, with the Miramar Palace behind, the beach is in a stunning area in San Sebastian. Visitors who make the little extra effort to get to Ondarreta will be glad they did so.
Due to its location, the beach is mainly used by the Antiguo locals and students (it’s the closest beach to the University).
But for tourists, it offers an alternative view of San Sebastian.
Things to know about Ondarreta beach
Given it’s quieter (both in terms of the number of people and the fact the beach is protected from the elements) makes it a great spot for families. You can bathe in the sea without being hit by the waves in La Zurriola. Or find a quiet spot without being bothered by people coming and going from La Concha.
That doesn’t mean there’s nothing going on. In fact, there’s quite a bit to get stuck into if you don’t just fancy sunbathing all day.
1. You can swim to Santa Clara Island
Monte Igueldo protects the sea at Ondarreta beach. This makes it a great place to do some open water swimming.
First thing in the morning, you may even spot some keen donostiarras (people from San Sebastian) getting their morning workout in.
Ondarreta beach is also the preferred starting point for those wishing to swim to Santa Clara Island. Not only is it the shortest distance, but there are several floating platforms on the way which offer a well earned pit stop!
For kids who haven’t yet learnt to swim, during the summer months, there’s a small swimming pool installed on the beach where swimming lessons are offered.
2. Try your hand at water sports
The beach is probably the most family-friendly in San Sebastian. Mainly because the sea is calm.
However during more stormier days, when surfing on La Zurriola isn’t recommended, then Ondarreta beach usually turns into the place to be. Surfers flock from Gros down to Antiguo to make the most of the waves.
Some even make use of the promenade wall that leads up to El Piene del Viento. The water bounces off the wall creating bigger waves that the surfers can ride back to the bay. One for beginners not to try!
On normal days, Ondarreta is best suited for water sports such as canoeing, paddle boarding and kayaking.
3. Beach games
Much like La Zurriola, the younger groups (usually students), bring a different vibe to the beach.
Students tend to make use of the space to set up volleyball courts, small football matches or keepy uppies and paddle board games.
It’s only really doable during low tide as the beach does extend somewhat towards the Pico del Loro – a small passage of rocks between La Concha beach and Ondarreta beach.
When the tide is low, it’s possible to walk between the two beaches. That means you can take a stroll all the way from the foot of Monte Igueldo to the town hall without leaving the sand.
4. Enjoy a seaside stroll
Given the location, it’s hard to ignore what’s around you at Ondarreta beach.
Whilst you can venture to La Concha without leaving the sand, there’s plenty more to see if you’re willing to put your trainers on and walk a little further.
Start at El Peine del Viento, probably the most famous sculpture(s) in Donostia, and located just a stone’s throw from your sun towel. The sculpture is “alive” in that it changes with the weather. The choppier the sea the more impressive a visit to El Peine is.
Walking back from El Peine del Viento towards the beach, it’s hard not to admire the Ondarreta Gardens.
The gardens bring a burst of colour to the coast with symmetrical flower arrangements spanning its length. There are areas where you can sit and admire the trees, flowers and statues. It’s also a good spot to grab a bit of shade or read a book!
As you carry on to the end of the promenade, you’ll reach the steps that lead up towards Miramar Palace. A stunning building that was commissioned by the Spanish Royal Family and built in 1893.
The gardens of the palace circle the building giving you different views to admire its unique English style. It’s a historic location in San Sebastian and the gardens can be enjoyed by the public. They offer spectacular views of Santa Clara Island and La Concha Bay. It’s easy to see why the Royal picked this location!
Ondarreta Beach amenities
The amenities at the beach are designed to make your visit as comfortable as possible.
All beaches in San Sebastian have lifeguards from the 15th June – 30th September. They are on watch from 10am to 8pm.
The council also operates a beach flag system to notify people when it’s unsafe to be on the beach.
The beach has ramps at the main access point as well as special services for the disabled.
Showers and toilets
There are free public toilets on the beach and cabinas (shower cubicles) at a small cost. There are free external showers on the beach during the summer months too.
During the summer months there is a small beach bar that serves cold drinks, coffee and snacks. Close to the beach, there are a number of cafes and restaurants including the Wimbledon bar at the Real Club de Tenis de San Sebastian.
How to get to Ondarreta Beach
Ondarreta beach is easily reachable on foot from most areas of the city. It’s also readily accessible by public transport.
The main bus stop nearest to the Ondarreta beach is on Zumalakarregi. Just a short walk away is another bus stop on Paseo Pío Baroja where many of the buses that head towards Anitguo also stop.
If your bus doesn’t stop at either one of those, it’s likely that you’ll only have a 15-20 minute walk from any city centre stop too.
It’s not a bad walk either along the Paseo de la Concha!
Amara Station in the centre of San Sebastian is the closest train station to Ondarreta beach. It’s where most of the local trains stop as the main port of call in Donostia.
From the station it’s about a 25 minute walk.
Most of the on-street parking around Ondarreta and the beach is OTA (paid on street parking spaces).
The best place to park if you can get a space is on Paseo Eduardo Chillida which heads down the east side of the beach towards El Peine del Viento.
Otherwise, the area behind the gardens at Ondarreta beach is fairly residential with lots of paid on street parking. If it’s a particularly busy day, then Paseo de Igueldo is probably a good place to look for a spot.
There are no real multi-storey or large car parks nearby.
Places to visit near Ondarreta Beach
As the focal point of the Antiguo district of San Sebastian, there’s plenty of other points of interest on the doorstep of Ondarreta Beach.
1. El Peine del Viento (5 minute walk)
At the east of the beach is one of San Sebastian’s must-see attractions. This intriguing set of sculptures, El Peine del Viento is almost alive as it lives and changes amongst the sea.
When the sea is rough, the sculpture is it’s most impressive. Water crashes against the rocks and blasts from the number of blow holes on the viewing platform.
2. El Pico del Loro (2 minute walk)
El Pico del Loro is a stunning rock formation between La Concha beach and Ondarreta beach. It offers one of the best views of San Sebastian and is probably one of the top Instagram spots in the city!
During low tide you can walk up directly from Ondarreta Beach, but at higher tide you’ll need to access it through Paseo de la Concha.
3. The Funicular (5 minute walk)
Monte Igueldo frames Ondarreta beach, and a visit to the top should be on everyone’s San Sebastian itinerary.
The best way to reach the top of Monte Igueldo is via the funicular! Its old equipment and wooden carriages have been expertly preserved, offering a unique experience as you take in the views of San Sebastian.