San Sebastián or Donostia is a city located in the north of Spain, in the Basque Country, on the coast of the Bay of Biscay and 20 km away from the French border. The municipality’s population is 186,122 (2011), and its metropolitan area reaches 436,500 (2010).
Locals call themselves donostiarras, in Spanish, and donostiarrak, in Basque.
The main economic activities are commerce and tourism, being one of the most famous tourist destinations in Spain. Despite the city’s small size, international events such as the San Sebastián International Film Festival have given it an international dimension. San Sebastián, along with Wrocław, Poland, will be the European Capital of Culture in 2016.
As of the 1990s, a major makeover of the city centre was undertaken aimed at enhancing and revamping the neoclassical and modernist side of San Sebastián’s architecture. Other milestone works include the reshape and enlargement of the Zurriola beach and promenade and the inauguration of the Kursaal Palace cubes (1999), or the new university campus and technological facilities in Ibaeta, the provision of a wide bike lane network, underground car-parks and significant public transport improvements. Districts of cutting-edge design have been erected, such as Ibaeta or Riberas de Loiola, while some important projects hang on the balance prompted by financial tensions.