Monte Urgull Island of Santa Clara San Sebastian Spain

San Sebastian – Snapping La Concha Beach from Monte Igueldo

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The best picture of La Concha Bay in San Sebastian can be shot in Monte Igueldo where the fashion designer Cristóbal Balenciaga established his home.

The best view of the island of Santa Clara in San Sebastian

Monte Igueldo

Monte Igueldo is the promontory that reaches a height of 181 meters above sea level located west of the bay of La Concha. At the top of the mountain, there is an Art Nouveau balcony overlooking the bay and the beach. The photos taken from this balcony become the typical postcard photos from San Sebastian. Tourists can observe the white beach overlooking a bright green strip, then entering a blue sea nature enclosed by the island and the two hills that overlook the city. The bay is populated by ships and small boats.

Swimming pool Monte Igueldo Amusement Park San Sebastian Spain

The Spanish band “La Oreja de Van Gogh” often sings a pop rock that evokes well-known places in the Basque city of San Sebastian. The 2009 song “Inmortal” cites a photograph taken in front of the island of Santa Clara, one of the symbols of the city.

La Concha beach bay Island of Santa Clara from Monte Igueldo San Sebastian Spain

I keep here under my pillow your picture in front of Santa Clara

It tells more than thousand words and I reply that I also loved you

I let the window open, that’s how the time run without seeing you

I have a lot of things, I have them all on my mind

Tengo aquí bajo mi almohada tu fotografía frente a Santa Clara

Dice más que mil palabras y yo le contesto que también te amaba

Yo tengo abierta la ventana porque así se escapa el tiempo sin verte

Tengo tantas cosas, tengo todas en mi mente

Song “Inmortal” from album “A las Cinco en el Astoria” of band“La Oreja de Van Gogh”.

Listen/Buy: Amazon | Apple Music | Spotify | Tidal

The Island Of Santa Clara in San Sebastian

The island is located between the two promontories that delimit the bay of La Concha, the most representative place of the Basque city. (Travel Tips: Monte Igueldo is the ideal place to photograph the bay with the islet in the center.)

The island of Santa Clara is shown in its entirety because Monte Igueldo overlooks it from more than 100 meters high. Santa Clara is in fact just 5 hectares large and reaches only 48 meters above sea level. The island is inhabited by a native species of lizard, which cannot be found anywhere else.

Peine del Vento Island of Santa Clara Monte Urgull San Sebastian Spain

It is said that the island was visited by St. Francis of Assisi in 1220, during a trip to Spain. St. Francis was usually accompanied by St. Clare of Assisi, founder of the order of the Capuchin Poor Clares. The island would therefore take the name of the saint.

Ondarreta beach from Monte Igueldo San Sebastian Spain

Climbing Monte Igueldo in San Sebastian

To reach the panorama, you must first pass the beach of La Concha and then the smaller beach of Ondarreta. Near the tennis courts, you can turn left into a pedestrian passage that leads to an internal street. Continuing for a few meters, you reach the square that houses the funicular (Plaza del Funicular).

Seafront Eduardo Chillida tennis court San Sebastian Spain

We recommend going up Monte Igueldo on the fascinating cable car. The wooden cabins are particularly interesting because they preserve the original features of when the funicular was inaugurated in 1912. The cost of the round trip is € 4 (€ 2.5 for one way). The rides depart every 15 minutes.

La Concha Bay from Monte Igueldo San Sebastian Spain

Once on the top of Monte Igueldo, in addition to observing the view, you can get lost in the amusement park. This is an old-fashioned children’s playground, built in the first half of the 20th century. The amusement park has 20 attractions, including: the Swiss mountain, the boat pond, the bumper cars and the magic labyrinth. After a few games, you can relax in one of the bars distributed throughout the park.

The sculpture of Peine del Vento in San Sebastian

Before climbing Monte Igueldo, we advise to continue for about 200 meters along the seafront, in the opposite direction from La Concha beach. Here is the sculpture of Peine del Vento (Sadness of the Wind) by Eduardo Chillida. The steel sculpture that was inaugurated in 1976 is an impressive work overlooking the Cantabrian Sea.

Sculpture of Peine del Vento San Sebastian Spain

The sculptor Eduardo Chillida was one of the leading Spanish artists of the twentieth century. The sculptor was born in San Sebastian in 1924 and in the 1940s he played some football matches as a goalkeeper for the local Real Sociedad team. He died in his house on Monte Igueldo in 2002.

Cristóbal Balenciaga, the most important resident of Monte Igueldo in San Sebastian

Eduardo Chillida was a good friend of the most illustrious Spaniard who have lived on Monte Igueldo, Cristóbal Balenciaga. Balenciaga was the most famous designer in Spanish history. He was born in 1895 in Getaria, a seaside town, located a few kilometers east of San Sebastian. The designer’s family was of humble origins: the fisherman father and the seamstress mother. Balenciaga began collaborating with his mother at a very young age, even though he had the dream of becoming a designer.

San Sebastian Spain from Monte Igueldo

The Marquise of Casa Torres challenged the young tailor when he was 13 years old. The noblewoman asked him to copy her exclusive dress by providing him with a simple piece of cloth. The teenager’s work impressed the Marquise who decided to finance the designer’s studies in Madrid.

Tower Monte Igueldo Amusement Park San Sebastian Spain

Balenciaga soon became one of the few designers able to design and sew their own clothes independently. His career developed fast and his clients included movie stars such as Greta Garbo, Grace Kelly, Ava Gardner, Audrey Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich.

Children Sadness of Wind San Sebastian Spain

The designer achieved such fame that he was often referred to as the “King of Fashion”. In 1972, he designed his latest suit. The family of the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco commissioned Balenciaga for the wedding dress of his granddaughter Carmen Martínez-Bordiú. The wedding took place in March and the designer died a few days later.

Cantabrian Sea from Monte Igueldo San Sebastian Spain

Written by Enrico, Translated by Hua and Photos from Hua

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