The Lists Of Traditional Festival And Unique Culture In San Sebastian, Spain, You Don't Want To Miss

Donostia, or also known as San Sebastian, is a Spanish city in the province of Gipuzkoa that is known for the unique traditional festival and culture. 

That’s why San Sebastian gets the nickname of the European Capital of Culture starting from 2016 until now.

The combination of unique architecture, rich cultural life, and the many amounts Michelin star restaurants, as well as recreation-based resorts for imperial families, also make San Sebastian nicknamed the small Paris.

True to the many nicknames it has, San Sebastian held traditional festivals and unique cultural events and attractions almost every month each year. 

These are the lists of traditional festival and unique culture in San Sebastian, Spain:

San Sebastian International Film Festival

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Since 1953, San Sebastian International Film Festival has been a filmmaking goldmine that gave birth to film prodigies and new directors, such as Roman Polanski and Francis Ford Coppolla.

Up until now, this festival held in the Kursaal Congress Center by Rafael Moneo has attracted tourists to see top-notch independent Latin American and Spanish films as well as independent films all over the world. 

You, too, can enjoy this festival in San Sebastian every September.

Festival Of Film And Human Rights

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Another film festival you can enjoy in San Sebastian is the Festival of Film and Human Rights. 

Held every April, this festival is a form of the San Sebastian government’s commitment to spreading kindness values to societies, such as tolerance, diversity, respect, and social cohesion.

True to its name, short and feature films with human rights as the central theme are the central elements of the festival. You can also enjoy exhibits, lectures, talk shows, and colloquiums as parts of the festival.

Dferia Theater Fair

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Dferia Theater Fair, a Theater Fair that “opens” the summer culture season, is full of performing arts enthusiasts and professionals playing bright theaters and performing dances, that it becomes the traditional festival and unique culture in San Sebastian, Spain, you don’t want to miss.

As a visitor to this Theater Fair, you can do meet-and-greets with the performers as well as attend presentations and conferences with topical issues as the central themes. 

This Theater Fair is held in Victoria Eugenia Theater for indoor performances as well as in open-air spaces for the outdoor performances.

Teatro De Bolsillo Festival

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Every year in February, Teatro De Bolsillo Festival provides the visitors with series of a short and medium duration of music, humor, monologues, magic, and other theatrical performances. 

This theater festival is a perfect alternative for you who haven’t been used to watching typical theatrical performances.

Heineken Jazzaldia - International Jazz Festival

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Great jazz musicians such as B.B. King, James Brown, and Liza Minnelli, come to the city’s beaches, theaters, squares, and auditoriums every July in the International Jazz Festival.

Numerous ethnic festivals are also offered to foreign guests in this jazz festival that has been held since 1965. This jazz festival lasts for 3 weeks, so, you don’t want to miss this.

Quincena Musical

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Quincena Musical is the thing that comes to our mind when talking about Spain’s oldest classical music festival and one of the longest-running in Europe. 

Since 1993, Quincena Musical has taken place in the Kursaal Center, Santa Maria and San Vicente churches, the Victoria Eugenia Theater, and other stages.

These stages are home to many internationally-renowned symphonic orchestras and soloists. 

The Quincena Musical festival itself lasts for 5 weeks, in which every performance is divided into cycles.

Donostia Festibala

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The new retro-style, quirky, cool, and easy-to-get-into hippodrome venue, along with two stages and big international bands to enjoy, make indie music festivals in Donostia Festibala a kind of festival you’d want to come back for from mid-afternoon onwards.

Starting in 2012, Donostia Festibala may be a new festival. Yet, it has already been the biggest indie music festival in the Gipuzkoa province that offers experiences money can’t buy.

Euskal Jaiak

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As the Basque folk culture becomes an integral part of San Sebastian people’s lives, Euskal Jaiak, or the Basque Festival, has been one of the traditional festival and unique culture in San Sebastian, Spain, you don’t want to miss every August 30 to September 9 every year in many towns.

Sporting events, such as the Regatta La Concha rowing competition, the handball championship, and the Aizkolarizta championship, are common in Euskal Jaiak. 

Other activities you can do in this iconic festival include watching trikitixa dancing performances while eating talo and drinking txakoli.

La Semana Grande

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Every Saturday on the 2nd or 3rd week of August, San Sebastian people put on their party clothes to enjoy hundreds of activities that are part of the La Semana Grande festival. One of the most loved activities of this festival is the fireworks competition.

La Concha Beach becomes the preferred place to take part in this beautiful competition, along with watching the many colors of fireworks burst into the city’s sky landscapes.

La Bandera De La Concha

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The whole San Sebastian streets are filled with an unbeatable atmosphere and colorful boats every once on the first two Sundays in September each year. 

The colorful trainer boats are the highlight here since those are the schedules for the most coveted La Bandera De La Concha boat race.


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Your San Sebastian holiday is not enough if you haven’t tasted the culinary experiences there. Every first week of October in the Kursaal, you can try different foods and beverages at the Gastronomika festival.

Apart from eating different foods and beverages, you can also enjoy the competition between about 70 chefs, participate in the cooking masterclasses and food consulting sessions, shop for cooking equipment, and many other activities.

Bear in mind that these lists of traditional festivals and unique cultures in San Sebastian, Spain, take in different places as well as appearing on different dates and timelines.

There are also other traditional festivals and unique cultures in San Sebastian, Spain, especially on different styles of music that have been integral parts of the San Sebastian people. 

So, keep an eye on these and don’t miss out on anything that this Gipuzkoa’s capital has to offer.

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