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11 Amazing Food Tours in San Sebastián

11 Amazing Food Tours in San Sebastián

Is food a good reason to travel to Spain? Always – and the food tours in San Sebastián will have you throwing aside plans to visit the popular Mediterranean resorts and venturing to the green northern coastline.

Donostia-San Sebastián food tours hone in on Basque cuisine. Cooking in northern Spain overlaps with other regions but you’ll notice that seafood – shellfish in particular – is king in this Atlantic zone.

But first: pintxos is the buzzword when dining in this part of Spain.

What are Pintxos in San Sebastián?

A pintxo (or pincho – pronounced like “peen-cho”) is a small snack eaten as an appetizer. They often have a bread base and/or are held together by a toothpick. In fact, pintxo translates to spike!

Pintxos are similar to tapas. However, they tend to be smaller and donostiarra will eat them before moving on to dinner.

Typical pintxos will include a mix of meat, chorizo, seafood, tortilla, and vegetable options.

La Gilda is the most famous pintxo. It’s a mix of olives, gherkins, and salted anchovies and was the OG pintxo!

Basque pintxos are best enjoyed with a txikito (small glass) of Txakoli white wine or Rioja red wine produced in the surrounding vineyards.

You can ask for a zurito (small beer) if you prefer.

Cider is also a major component of Basque food and drink culture so you’ll get acquainted with ciders produced in the sagardotegi (cider houses) of nearby Astigarraga.

These irresistible bar snacks are sold everywhere: you’ll find yourself swimming in pintxos bars upon arrival in Parte Vieja (Donostia-San Sebastián Old Town).

It’s a little tricky to figure out which ones have the best quality, which is why it pays to do your research or join one of the guided pintxos tours in San Sebastián.

The best food tours in San Sebastián, Spain, generally focus on pintxos paired with an alcohol-based drink. Soft drinks are available for those who prefer.

What’s for Dessert?

Last but not least, you can anticipate sinking your teeth into the San Sebastián cheesecake (also known as Burnt Basque Cheesecake).

This dessert features a heavily caramelized exterior, an ultra-creamy body, and is usually of sherry whipped cream. You haven’t lived until you’ve eaten it in its place of origin!

people standing in front of a bar inside a popular food market eating pinchos in San sebastian spain.

When you take a food tour in San Sebastián, you’ll be able to try a lot of different dishes in a short period of time. Great if you’re short on time!

11 Best Food Tours in San Sebastián, Spain

Taking a food tour is one of the best things to do in San Sebastián. This is a surefire way to sample the tastiest pintxos and avoid muddling your txikito and zurito!

The following pintxos tours in San Sebastián introduce you to the coolest spots to eat and give you a local perspective of this seaside city. Scroll down to the end if you want to learn how to cook your own pintxos and cheesecake.

1. Bite the Experience San Sebastián Pintxos and Wine Tour

Mimo runs award-winning food tours and gourmet experiences in San Sebastián. Their pintxos and wine tours take you to a mix of traditional spots and avant-garde bars.

All pintxos are served with regional wine or cider and you can anticipate five tastings in five bars.

All guides hail from the Basque Country and speak fluent English. They’ll introduce you to the coolest places to eat in this charming vacation destination in Spain and dish out all the intel on regional cuisine.

This is one of the best pintxos tours in San Sebastián for vegetarians. Just remember to let the operator know in advance – the same applies to any allergies.

This three-hour tour is available for lunch or dinner. Groups are capped at 10 participants and it’s also offered as a private tour.

Price: From $153 per person. Book here on Mimo.

2. With Locals Culinary Kickstart Tour

The Culinary Kickstart tour is a private and fully customizable foodie excursion. After meeting your guide in Konstituzio Plaza, you’ll set off to taste classic Basque snacks as selected by your local guide.

These typically include bolinhos de bacalao (cod croquettes) and piparras (Basque Country chili peppers). However, your guide will base the destinations on your personal preferences and dietary interests.

At the time of reservation, you’ll be prompted to share any allergies and restrictions to help the guide prepare. Vegetarian options are available.

The tour lasts two hours and includes six tastings. It’s available as a morning, afternoon, or evening tour. It’s one of the best food tours in San Sebastián for a private experience.

Price: From $76 per person/per couple (prices decrease with more people). Book here on With Locals.

a plate of sardines with oil on the bottom of the plate and tongs to help pick up each piece.

At popular pintxos bars around san Sebastian, much of the food is already prepared and easy to serve with a cold beer.

3. Chef-led Walking Pintxo Tour in San Sebastián

This is one of the most gourmet San Sebastián, Spain, food tours. Your guide, Gregory, is a professional chef!

Gregory will navigate you around Old Town to all the secret spots where the tastiest pintxos are plated up to hungry donostiarra. All food is included as well as a decent sampling of wine, beer, and cider. The evening tour lasts four to five hours and covers you for dinner.

Your guide wraps up the tour by making a personal recommendation for where to continue your evening. Otherwise, he’ll help you arrange a taxi back to your hotel.

Afterward, you’ll receive an email packed with cooking tips and recipes to recreate Basque cuisine back home.

Price: From $269 per person. Book here on Viator.

4. San Sebastián Food Tour with Pintxos and Wine

One of the most popular San Sebastián food tours, this activity offers excellent value.

This three-hour food tour is available as a lunch or evening slot. You’ll follow your guide through the winding streets of Parte Vieja and wash down pintxos with wine and cider at five atmospheric taverns.

The tour usually includes a dessert stop. Throughout the walking tour, you’ll gain valuable advice on where else to eat for the rest of your time in San Sebastián.

This activity is offered as a small group (max. 10 people) or private tour.

Price: From $105 per person (minimum of two pax per booking applies). Book here on GetYourGuide.

rows of shelves with different tapas on them which you can sample on a food tour in San Sebastian where pintxos like this are very popular.

Pintxos are everywhere in San Sebastian and you’ll find some places make them better than others. That’s why having a tour guide is great, you’ll skip the places that are serving bad tourist tapas.

5. Secret Food Tour in San Sebastián

This culinary excursion is one of the best food tours in San Sebastián for elevated gastronomy. It takes place in the beating heart of the Parte Vieja and is immersive from the get-go.

Highlights include visiting a 1940s, family-owned tavern where you’ll sample premium 100% Iberian ham and learn to pour cider. You’ll also dine on an oyster opened right before your eyes and eat the best torrija (similar to French toast).

As with all Secret Food Tours, you’ll get to try a “surprise” dish before concluding the activity.

You can book the regular tour or pay a little more for the Upgraded Drink Package. This is the perfect opportunity to see what splashing out a few extra euros for a bottle of wine gets you in Spain!

Price: From $99 per person. Book the food tour here on Secret Food Tours.

6. San Sebastián Market, Pintxos, and Wine Tasting Tour

This is one of the best food tours in San Sebastián for a wider perspective of Basque culture.

The tour focuses on food but you’ll also hear about the regional dialect and traditions unique to this northern area. If it’s your first time in Spain, you might not know that different languages are spoken in the country.

It starts with a stroll around a produce market where you’ll taste ham, olives, and olive oil. Then, you’ll move onto the pintxo taverns for food, wine, and cider tastings.

In particular, you’ll learn the full story behind La Gilda – the most famous pintxo.

It’s available as a small group or you can go private if you have at least three people in your party.

Note that the market is closed on Mondays and weekends.

Price: From $138 per person. Book here on GetYourGuide.

woman sitting at a table with a drink in her hand and the photographer across the table from her with a drink in front of themselves and a small tapa with a slice of bread and a croquette on top.

Sit down with a vermut and a croquette or prop at the bar, there are plenty of ways to enjoy pintxos in San Sebastián.

7. Vegetarian Pintxos Tour in San Sebastián

There’s a heck of a lot of seafood in the Basque Country. Which is great if you’re a pescatarian (or flexitarian) but less good if you’re plant-based.

San Sebastián Pintxos Tours runs several foodie excursions for small or private groups. If you book a private tour then you can request a vegetarian itinerary.

You also get to make other personalizations such as hot or cold dishes and whether or not to add dessert, wine, and spirits.

All in all, this is one of the best pintxos tours in San Sebastián for mixed groups.

Price: Varies based on the group size/requirements. Book here on San Pintxos Sebastián Tours.

8. Guided Walking Tour of San Sebastián with Pinxto and Drink

In terms of budget-friendly food tours in San Sebastián, here’s one to bookmark. This shorter walking tour is a hybrid of sightseeing and getting acquainted with Basque Country food culture.

You’ll roam the Parte Vieja and stop to hear the history behind the main sights and some hidden gems.

Note that there are two tours available. The English-language small-group tour includes one pintxo and one beverage at a bar. However, the larger, bilingual tour doesn’t include any food or drink.

There’s significantly less food with this tour but it’s the perfect appetizer

Price: From $15 per person (minimum of two pax per booking applies). Book the food tour here on GetYourGuide.

plate with sliced octopus with cooked onion and tomato mixed into it.

Seafood makes for a popular pintxo with options like octopus, squid, sardines, anchovies, and tuna.

9. San Sebastián Centro Neighborhood Food Tour

Most of the pintxos tours in San Sebastián take place in the Parte Vieja. This tour introduces you to the Centro district near the Beach of La Concha (Kontxa Hondartza).

Although the sandy crescent beach is popular during the day (it’s one of the 12 Treasures of Spain) this area is quieter at night. You’ll visit five small bars and taste at least 10 pintxos and drinks.

Among these, you’ll eat what is widely contested to be the best tortilla in the city and hang out at the bar that invented the original pintxo.

Another highlight is visiting a hidden bar that inspired one of the super clubs in Ibiza. The place is known for its homemade vermouth served with sardines and toast.

After the tour ends, you’ll part ways with your guide armed with secret tips on where to continue your evening in Centro.

Price: From $122 per person. Book here on Devour Tours.

10. Evening Pintxos and Wine Tour in San Sebastián

This is one of the best pintxos tours in San Sebastián at night. It’s one of the smallest tours available and has a capacity of eight people to ensure a cozy evening of merrymaking.

You’ll explore the neighborhood between the Old Town and Centro.

One of the bars serves delicious marinated anchovies prepared in a secret recipe. Even if you don’t like the teeny fish, you might find yourself rethinking that.

Other morsels on the menu include cured ham, mussels washed down with cider, and tender sirloin steak served with a glass of barrel-aged Navarra wine. The final stop is the delectable San Sebastián cheesecake.

The tour lasts for three hours and concludes in the Parte Vieja.

Price: From $139 per person. Book here on Viator.

thick slice of tuna with anchovies, pickled peppers and topped with an olive.

Gildas are a popular snack at bars all over Spain, but in the Basque they are supersized with thick slices of tuna.

11. Authentic Basque Cooking Class in San Sebastián

Concluding with a hands-on foodie experience, this cooking class is the only way to guarantee being able to put on your own San Sebastián feast back home!

This small-group workshop takes place in the kitchen of a historic family-run restaurant in Old Town.

A professional chef will explain the nuances of Basque cooking and guide you through the preparation of four recipes.

The typical menu includes a tortilla, codfish in pil pil sauce, steak with red piquillo peppers, and the iconic burnt cheesecake. Naturally, you’ll have time to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

This activity also includes a drink to accompany each course. You’ll try (and learn to pour) Basque cider, red and white wine from the region, and ice apple cider. This is a potent fermented beverage made with the juices of frozen apples.

It’s fun and perfect for novice chefs and culinary masters.

Price: From $148 per person. Book here on GetYourGuide.