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Bergerac – San Sebastian

La Concha on a bathing day

138 NM, 1 hrs 3 min.

We flew from Bergerac to San Sebastian on an IFR flight plan on July, 7th, early in the morning. Throughout our flight it was sunny without any clouds. Only at our destination there was a broken layer of clouds reaching down to about 1500 feet, so we expected a short period of IMC during approach.

Leg 2: LFBE - LESO
Leg 2: LFBE – LESO
METAR LESO 070830Z 25008KT 200V320 9999 BKN014 21/18 Q1028=
Metar for San Sebastian LESO for approximately the time of our arrival

There is no ATIS available in LESO so in flight, one has to request the weather and approach information from the controller. That was not a problem per se, but as a singlehanded IFR (newbie-) pilot you have to manage all kinds of things and settings in a very short time, which used up a lot of capacity. We requested the RNP (Y) approach runway 22 and had a very beautiful final approach over the coastlines.

Final approach RWY 22 LESO
Final approach RWY 22 LESO

Airport San Sebastian LESO:

This is quite a busy airport with limited capacity in some respects. There is no dedicated taxiway leading to the takeoff positions, so lining up always requires a backtrack. That can make proper timing challenging (we experienced that on our departure 3 days later). Also parking space is limited. One more peculiarity is that you have to enter your (GA) parking position by towing your plane from the „engine stopped area“, located directly in front of the GA parking area. That is really not a problem, but you have to be aware of it.

Luckily I asked for a parking space already a couple of weeks upfront by email and received a a confirmation almost immediately. Charges are, in my opinion, very moderate, 16 € for the landing and 54 € for three nights parking with DEEBU.

We booked a rental car upfront and picked it up directly at the airport. This is very convenient, as it is a ~30minutes trip to San Sebastian.

San Sebastian city:

Beautifully located at a small bay (La Concha) in the gulf of Biscaya, San Sebastian (or Donostia, the cities Basque name) is famous, among other things, for its gastronomy. On one end of the scale San Sebastian is know for it’s high cuisine and it is the city with the second most density of restaurant with Michelin stars. On the other end there is the old town, full of small bars which serve pintxos, the Basque equivalent of Tapas, in wide varieties. We went for pintxos, cerveza and wine and not for the Michelin stuff. Actually we preferred the Gros district, right across the Zurriola surf beach, over the old town, because its not so crowded and you see more natives than tourists over here (us spoiling the ratio, of course ;-)). The place we went is the Taberna Pagadi, somewhat rustic but absolutely authentic. Another recommendation, though completely different style, is the Kafe Botanika, which is a great breakfast location, especially when sitting in the garden.

Of course you should walk from mount Urgull to mount Igueldo (or the other way round) along La Concha and you should visit one of the hills to enjoy a breathtaking view over the bay. And you should take the 1:30 hour trip to Bilbao for a visit of the Guggenheim.

Be aware that due to its popularity, San Sebastian is a bit more expensive than the rest of northern Spain (at least the places we visited). That applies both to accommodation and to restaurants.