The Hotel Niza stands in front of La Concha beach, in the centre of the city, next to the main shopping area and within walking distance of the most important places of interest. The Hotel has a Cafeteria which is open all day and an Italian Restaurant situated in the basement. Room service is available until 11.00 pm. The languages spoken by the staff are Spanish, English, French and German. At the entrance of the Hotel from La Concha beach side is the Italian Restaurant "La Pasta Gansa" and the Bar "Biarritz". Both worth a visit any time of the year due to their central location, the great views of La Concha promenade and bay, and of course the delicious dishes offered.
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San Sebastián known officially as Donostia-San Sebastián - is the capital city of the province of Gipuzkoa, in the Basque Country, Spain. Locals call themselves donostiarras, both in Basque and Spanish. The city is in the north of the Basque Country, on the southern coast of the Bay of Biscay. San Sebastián's picturesque coastline makes it a popular beach resort. Adding to the seaside environment, it benefits from hilly surroundings easily available, such as Urgull - at the heart of the city by the seashore, romantic Mount Ulia extending east to Pasaia, Mount Adarra rising proud far on the south and Igeldo, overlooking the bay from the west.
San Sebastián is renowned for its Basque cuisine. San Sebastián and its surrounding area is home to a high concentration of restaurants boasting Michelin stars, namely Arzak in San Sebastián, Berasategi in Lasarte, Akelarre in Igeldo, to mention but a few. Adding to these cooking highlights, the city features tasty snacks similar to tapas called pintxos, which may be found at the bars of the Old Part.
Every year on the 20th of January is the feast of Saint Sebastian during which the people of San Sebastián celebrate a festival known as the "Tamborrada". At midnight, in the Konstituzio plaza in the "Alde Zaharra/Parte Vieja" (Old Part), the Mayor raises the flag of San Sebastián and for the next 24 hours the entire city is awash with the sound of drums. The adults, dressed as cooks and soldiers march around the city. They march all night with their cook hats and white aprons with the March of San Sebastián.
A festival called Semana Grande in Spanish and Aste Nagusia in Basque ("Big/Main Week") is held every year at mid-August. An important international fireworks contest takes place, in which a fireworks presentation is made every night over the bay and, at the end, the contest winner is declared. Other features of the festival include brass bands enlivening the streets, popular music performances at and by the beach, as well as fairground attractions arranged at the seaside promenade Paseo Nuevo.
Basque Week is a decades long festivity taking place at the beginning of September featuring events related to Basque culture, such as performances of traditional improvising poets (bertsolaris), Basque pelota games, stone lifting contests, oxen wagers, dance exhibitions or the cider tasting festival. Yet the main highlight may be the rowing boat competition, where teams from different towns of the Bay of Biscay contend for the Flag of La Concha or Kontxa. Thousands of supporters coming from these coastal locations pour into the city's streets and promenades overlooking the bay to follow the event, especially on the Sunday of the final race. All day long the streets of the Old Part play host to droves of youths clad in their team colours who party there in a cheerful atmosphere.
Santa Ageda Bezpera - Saint Agatha's Eve is a traditional event taking place at the beginning of February or end of January in many spots of the Basque Country. It holds a small but cherised slot in the city's run-up to the Carnival. Groups dressed up in Basque traditional farmer costume march across the neighbourhood singing and wielding a characteristic stick beaten on the ground to the rhythm of the traditional Saint Agatha's tune. The singers ask for a small donation, which can be money, a drink or something to eat.
Caldereros is a local festival held on the first Saturday of February linked to the upcoming Carnival, where different groups of people dressed in Romani (Gypsy) tinkers attire take to the streets banging rhythmically a hammer or spoon against a pot or pan, and usually bar-hop while they sing the traditional songs for the occasion. They were just men voices some time ago, but women participate and sing currently too. The festival was 125 years old in 2009.
Santo Tomas is a popular festival taking place on the 21st of December, a date frequently shrouded in winter cold. From early in the morning, stalls are arranged across the city centre and people from all Gipuzkoa flock to the streets of the centre and the Old Part, with crowds of people often dressed in traditional Basque "farmer" outfit turning out and filling the area. Traditional and typical produce is showcased and sold on the stalls, while the main drink is cider and the most popular snacks are red sausage pintxos or pancakes. An hefty pig is exhibited in the Konstituzio Plaza, which is raffled among the punters.
Olentzero, as in other Basque cities, towns and villages, on Christmas Eve the Olentzero and the accompanying carol singers usually dressed in Basque farmer costume take over the streets, especially in the city centre, asking for small donations in bars, shops and banks after singing their repertoire. Sometimes Olentzero choirs roam around the streets in later dates, on the 31st for example, and are often related to cultural, social or political associations and demands.
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