The tamborrada of San Sebastian.


The tamborrada (Spanish) or Danborrada (Basque) of San Sebastian (San Sebastian in Spanish, Donostia in Basque) is celebrated every year on January 20, San Sebastian’s Day.

This festival dates back to the 19th century and commemorates the Napoleonic occupation during the War of Independence (1808-1812).

Two groups march: the first with Napoleonic drums and costumes, the second with barrels and costumes of cooks and water vendors.


The guide to the tamborrada of San Sebastian


The tamborrada officially begins on January 19 at midnight, with the raising of the city’s flag and the “Marcha de San Sebastian” played in the Constitution Square. But the children begin around 8pm with their own opening.

Then the companies composed of 20 to 50 drums and 50 to 100 barrels parade in the neighbourhoods, always accompanied by a banda.

On January 20 at noon, the children’s tamborrada takes place, starting from the town hall square, along the Concha, the main beach of San Sebastian.

It ends after 24 hours, at midnight on January 20, again on Constitution Square, with the tamborrada of the oldest society in the city, the March of San Sebastian and other compositions.

To find out more, click here.


If you want to follow the tamborrada online, visit the new website here.

Place: San Sebastian, Guipuzcoa.

Date: January 20, 2020.

Type: “military” parade, the feast of the city’s patron saint.


The Concha bay of San Sebastian in the Basque Country


Don’t forget to try the best culinary experience in the world according to Lonely Planet: pintxos, Basque tapas, in the bars of the old town.

Experience them in the Basque style: enter a bar, choose one or two tapas and enjoy them with a glass of txakoli, the slightly sparkling local white wine and then start again in a 2nd bar until you are full. Don’t worry, the waiters have excellent memory. Just enjoy the moment!


If you want to try one of the best restaurants in the city, I recommend Akelarre – 3 Michelin stars 2018.

Click here to book your table for free.

For a gastronomic menu of the day at a low price, I recommend the Ikaitz restaurant.

Click here to book your table for free.


In terms of accommodation, Maria Cristina is the most famous 5-star hotel in the city. Ideally located close to the waterfront, in front of the theatre and 400 metres from the historic district, this magnificent building has welcomed many celebrities such as Woody Allen and Liz Taylor. The famous French chef Hélène Darroze welcomes guests to the ephemeral restaurant from June to October.

Click here to check prices and availability for your dates.


The famous Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra, also on La Concha, often offers very attractive promotions.

It is also the favorite hotel of tourists for its view of the famous Concha, the main beach of San Sebastian. Try to book on the 7th floor for the most beautiful view.

Click here to check prices and availability for your dates.


If you are travelling with a family or small group (up to 8), I recommend Amara Astoria-luxury Apartments, in the Amara district. This 3-bedroom apartment, with a surface area of 105m², is the best plan for families and groups.

Click here to check prices and availability for your dates.


If you wish to stay outside the centre of San Sebastian and prefer a more rural atmosphere while retaining the charm of the old, I recommend the Heredad de Unanue.

Click here to check prices and availability for your dates.



For more traditional Basque festivals, visit the agenda page.

For more festivals in Gipuzkoa only, click here.


Receive the checklist to organize your next independent trip and my advice to travel serenely close to the people. It’s FREE!