Architecture in San Sebastian: a route through its styles

The architecture of San Sebastián is undoubtedly one of the richest at the national level, since it is a city that has gone through different historical stages and, therefore, has been affected by different styles that have made architecture in San Sebastian Sebastián is another important point of your tourism.

Types of architecture in San Sebastian

As we have mentioned before, there are different types of styles that can be seen throughout the architecture in San Sebastian. Today we will talk about the 4 most important points of architecture in San Sebastián: Belle Èpoque, Contemporary, Rationalism and religious.

Architecture in San Sebastián of the Belle Époque

It is the most romantic part of the city and began to be noticed in the architecture of San Sebastián with Queen María Cristina, who chose this beautiful city as her summer location.

  • Town Hall : it is one of the most important architectural buildings in San Sebastián. For many years it was not the Town Hall, but rather the headquarters of the Casino Central de San Sebastián (until gambling was banned in 1924).
  • Victoria Eugenia Theatre : its construction dates back to 1912 and despite being a building from another era of San Sebastián architecture, it maintains a very modern appearance. Fact: the four sculptural groups on the columns represent performance styles such as opera, tragedy, comedy, and drama.
  • La Perla : after its construction, also ordered by Queen María Cristina, it became famous as it could be one of the most beautiful spas in the world. The spa that currently exists in architecture in San Sebastián belongs to the reform carried out in 1994.
  • Hotel María Cristina : in its construction it was an L-shaped building, where it began to be a meeting point for the aristocracy and therefore one more wing was added, hence the U-shape of the current architecture in San Sebastian.

Contemporary style architecture in San Sebastián

It is one of the styles that also stands out within architecture in San Sebastián and it is that, with the increase in innovation and progress within the city, it has gradually become a city project adapted to the present.

  • Kursaal : one of the most important contemporary architecture buildings in San Sebastián internationally. As its creator affirms, “it symbolizes two stranded rocks to highlight the harmony between the natural and the artificial”.
  • Basque Culinary Center : it is a contemporary building that tries to fit in perfectly with the natural environment, taking advantage of the descent of a hillside as one of the “walls” of the building itself.
  • Musikene : it is the Higher Music Center of the Basque Country, which is why it has an important figure in architecture in San Sebastián. Its design is all the more impressive, a black building that imitates the tail of a “cut” piano and the details of the facade in an intense gold to create an incredible contrast.
Contemporary style architecture in San Sebastián


Architecture in San Sebastián of rationalism

It is a style that combines reason and functionalism and can also be seen in different architectural buildings in San Sebastián.

  • Yacht Club : Its design draws attention since, apparently, the creators wanted it to totally look like a ship docked at the dock. They succeeded and it is one of the most important points of architecture in San Sebastián.
  • La Equitativa : a building within the architecture in San Sebastián that stands out above all for its incredible location and situation within one of the main streets of the city. Its name refers to the insurance company that had its headquarters for years in this building.

Architecture in San Sebastian of religious buildings

Religious buildings are not their own style, but they are one of the most important buildings and of different styles within architecture in San Sebastián, hence this distinction.

  • Cathedral of the Good Shepherd : a church with an ogival style and inspired by other medieval churches in European cities such as France or Germany. Throughout history, millions of people from abroad have passed through the city, also making themselves felt in the architecture of San Sebastián.
  • Basilica of Santa María : Baroque and Rococo style work located in the Old Town of San Sebastián and paid for by the Real Compañía Gguipuzcoana de Caracas in the 18th century.
  • Church of San Vicente : it is the oldest religious temple in the city. Built between the 15th and 16th centuries, it is a late Gothic style building.
  • Church of Il Gesù : located in one of the city parks, it is a contemporary-style church, built by one of the most important national architects, Rafael Moneo, also author of the Kursaal.

Now you know the different styles and important buildings that you should visit regarding architecture in San Sebastián. To get to know its history and meaning well, it is always advisable to take a free tour of San Sebastián. We are waiting for you!