Basque Country Pt.2: Visiting San Sebastián
Quite simply, San Sebastián is the jewel in the Basque Country’s crown. This small, vibrant city nestles in a seashell-shaped bay aptly known as La Concha, with rough Atlantic waters that are traditionally famed for their healing properties.
Named European Capital of Culture in 2016, San Sebastián has a whole lot to offer tourists of every type. It has a major Jazz Festival in July and a renowned International Film Festival in late September each year. It has fantastic food; elegant, reasonably-priced hotels; stunning churches, monuments and museums. It has countless bars and clubs, a famously beautiful beach right in the heart of the city — and above all, an unbeatably laid-back, relaxed attitude to life.
Due to its reliably gigantic waves and its fun, party atmosphere, San Sebastián is already a renowned paradise for surfers. What’s a little less well-known, however, is that its generally tolerant approach to cannabis makes it a paradise for cannabis enthusiasts too.
In fact, travelers can incorporate both sativa and surf into their Basque adventure by booking a stay at the San Sebastián Surf Camp, a cannabis-friendly surf school that runs from June 1st to September 15th each year! For around $70 per day, the price includes three meals and two hours of surf instruction daily.
Similar deals for similar prices can be found at the nearby Zarautz Beachside Surf Camp (Zarautz is a small town around 10 miles west of San Sebastián), although this camp only runs from July 1st to 15th. The two camps are run by Stoke Travel — a Barcelona-based travel agency with a distinct difference, that offers “alternative” holidays all over Europe!
Also in June, the hilarious traditional festival known as La Batalla del Vino (The Battle of the Wine Festival) occurs in the small town of Haro, La Rioja — just 50 miles from San Sebastián. It’s a giant, mass water fight, but with wine instead of water — and the night before, the whole town erupts into an all-night street party with every local in attendance! Stoners hoping to get involved are specifically catered for a nearby campsite called Camping Haro, also run by Stoke Travel.
For more information on these and other local, cannabis-friendly accommodation options, check out Bud & Breakfast — a site with listings for “cannabis friendly accommodations worldwide”! Note: cannabis isn’t provided at any of the Basque locations — see the section below about obtaining it. Furthermore, don’t expect luxury at any of the listed camps — but do expect a very interesting time in some beautiful locations!
The sale of cannabis to the general public is not legal in San Sebastián. There are various Cannabis Social Clubs in the Basque Country, but unlike in Barcelona, Basque clubs generally do not accommodate tourists. They tend to stick to firm membership guidelines — there have been several high-profile arrests and convictions of Basque club owners over the years, and remaining clubs must avoid attracting negative attention from the authorities where possible.
That said, it is usually easy to obtain cannabis in San Sebastián by making friends among the locals or among the surf community, and by making sure to keep enquiries discreet.
Originally published at Dope Magazine.