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Where to party:

Budget: In Basque country, a bar is judged as much by its pinxtos as its booze. The neighbourhood of Gros is now competing with the Old Town for top spot, so hang out with the locals in Bergara Bar and try kalimotxo, a local drink with an equal mix of wine and Cola.

Mid-range: Cider is a local speciality, so head for a sidreria– that’s ‘cider house’ in Basque – and have it served straight from the barrel. There are several in and around the city. Just three minutes from Playa Zurriola, Sidreria Intxaurrondo is a good place to start.

Luxury: Right in the heart of the Old Town, on la Plaza de la Constitucion, at Astelena you’re paying for location. But it’s worth every euro as you tuck into some of the tastiest pinxtos in the city: from ‘Basque-Asian fusion’ to a foie-gras base. Nibble them with txakoli, the Basques’ own brand of sparkling white wine.

Where to stay:

Budget: With loads of shared space – including two terraces, a room for watching DVDs and mixed-dorms – it’s no surprise to find a party atmosphere at Olga’s Place. Just a minute’s walk from Playa Zurriola, its clean rooms, free internet and friendly staff help make this the city’s number one hostel.From £13pp/pn.

Mid-range: Situated on Monte Igueldo, Hotel Avenida provides awesome views. There’s a pool, garden and gym, while all rooms have free wi-fi as well as a mini-bar and safe. With Rekondo restaurant next door serving traditional dishes and some of the best Basque wine in the region, you’ll never want to come down. From £46pp/pn.

Luxury: If you fancy mixing with the stars, head for Maria Cristina, an opulent Belle Epoque hotel across from Victoria Eugenia Theatre. It’s Brad Pitt’s favourite during the Film Festival, and once you’ve set eyes on its sumptuous decor, marble bathrooms and haute cuisine, it’ll be yours too. From £153pp/pn.


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