One of San Sebastian’s most famous landmarks is the statue of Christ on top of Monte Urgull that looks over the city.  We had a lovely view of it from our hotel room at the Hotel Londres.  I had heard that you could walk up to see it and I thought that would be fun to do.  I had no idea that Monte Urgull has more to offer than just the statue of Christ and a great view.  So if you get a chance to visit San Sebastian, I would definitely recommend setting aside an afternoon to explore Monte Urgull.

The statue of Christ on top of the castle.
The statue of Christ on top of the castle.

I would really classify the trek up Monte Urgull as an easy hike.  While the paths are nicely paved, some parts are steep.  You will also find stairs in some places.  If you walked up without stopping to explore, it would probably only take 30-45 minutes depending on the speed that you walked.  You can reach the trail from Mari Street in the Old Town Port Area.

The views are stunning any direction you look.
The views are stunning any direction you look.

We didn’t do much research beforehand, we had just heard that you could walk up.  We figured it would be a good way to burn off some of the calories from our cooking class.  While walking up the steep path that zig-zagged up the hill, we couldn’t help but stop and admire the view of the city and La Concha beach.  

The view of the city of San Sebastian and La Concha beach from Monte Urgull.
The view of the city of San Sebastian and La Concha beach from Monte Urgull.
From the castle on top, Russell had a great view of the city and the mountains in the distance.
From the castle on top, Russell had a great view of the city and the mountains in the distance.

The first point of interest you will reach is the castle which is also where you will find the statue of Christ.  Looking up at the statue from below you don’t even realize there is a castle!  The castle has historical significance, some parts date back to the 12th century and it was conquered by Napoleon’s French Army.  The castle is definitely worth exploring, there were many nooks and crannies to peek into.  Plus, there were cannons.  Of course, kids would really love this.

Some of the canons in the castle.
Some of the canons in the castle.

On top of Monte Urgull, there were several areas with old abandoned buildings.  It was fun to explore and peak inside.  There were also plenty of benches where you could take a break and enjoy the view.  You have a great view of La Concha Beach and also the island in the middle of the bay.  We were lucky to visit on an absolutely perfect afternoon.  If you happen to visit in the summer, there is a place that sells ice cream.

Can you spot Anisa exploring the abandoned building?
Can you spot Anisa exploring the abandoned building?
Russell exploring more of the old buildings on Monte Urgull. -"San Sebastian's Monte Urgull is Worth the Hike!" - Two Traveling Texans
Russell exploring more of the old buildings on Monte Urgull.

You can easily walk past the British Cemetery, located on the back side of Monte Urgull, so keep an eye out for it.  Dating back to 1836, the graves are aged and blend it a bit with the other rocks and ruins.  The Auxiliary British Legion Officers who were killed in the area during the First Carlist War are buried here.  You can find a plaque that lists the names of those buried, although one is a mass grave.  I am always moved by military cemeteries because I am thankful for those that risk their lives for liberty and freedom.

The ruins of the British Cemetery can easily be missed if you are not looking for it. -"San Sebastian's Monte Urgull is Worth the Hike!" - Two Traveling Texans
The ruins of the British Cemetery can easily be missed if you are not looking for it.

We walked down the backside of Monte Urgull and ended up at the far end of the marina close to the aquarium.  As you leave you can’t help but notice the sculpture at the foot of Monte Urgull.  It is called Empty Construction by Jorge Oteiza.  It is made with two pieces of steel which make a gate that San Sebastian opens to the sea.  Visually it is supposed to connect with Eduardo Chillada’s sculpture on the other end of the bay.  Unfortunately, that piece was under renovation during our visit.

I was really impressed by this sculpture called Open Construction by Jorge Oteiza. -"San Sebastian's Monte Urgull is Worth the Hike!" - Two Traveling Texans
I was really impressed by this sculpture called Open Construction by Jorge Oteiza.

I would definitely recommend taking a few hours to explore Monte Urgull.  We only expected nice views of the city and the Christ statue, but we stumbled upon some interesting history too.  Have you stumbled upon any history on your travels? I would love to hear about it in the comments.

Anisa

Expert Tips for visiting Monte Urgull:

  • Begin your trip up Monte Urgull from Mari Street in the Old Town Port Area
  • Take time to explore the castle and other abandoned building on Monte Urgull.
  • Don’t miss the British Cemetery on the back side of the mountain.
  • Be sure to check out Jorge Oteiza’s sculpture Open Construction.

Anisa

The Weekly Postcard

We are happy to co-host the Weekly Postcard Linkup.  Everyone is invited to join us and share their travel blog posts here beginning at 12 p.m. (PST) / 8 p.m. (GMT) Friday December 9th.  The instructions are below, but if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us.  You can also check out last week’s posts here. Happy Travels!

Two Traveling Texans


San Sebastian’s Monte Urgull is Worth the Hike!
Tagged on:                 

14 thoughts on “San Sebastian’s Monte Urgull is Worth the Hike!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *