Tolosa can be found in the Basque parts of Spain. It’s a landlocked town in the heart of Northeast Spain. The river Oria cuts through the village creating some amazing views on the river banks. If you are looking for a town to add to your Basque itinerary, then consider this village. To help you decide we’ve put together this list of the top things to do in Tolosa, Spain.
The town was once the capital of Gipuzkoa municipality. Due to the location, it has served as a strategic stronghold in medieval times. To control Tolosa meant controlling passage between the north and south.
How to get to Tolosa?
The closest airport can be found in San Sebastian. You can easily get a cheap flight to Hondarribia, where the official airport of San Sebastian is located. From San Sebastian, there are a few options to consider.
The first one is that you rent a car at the airport. This is surely the best option as Basque county begs for a road trip holiday. In this case, all you have to do is follow the main road from San Sebastian called A-1 and you will arrive in Tolosa quickly.
There are both trains and buses that go directly to Tolosa. These can be accessed from San Sebastian. As Tolosa is close to San Sebastian you might even be able to do a day-trip or half-day-trip into town via public transport.
Top Things to do in Tolosa
Now it’s time that we take a look at all the things to do in Tolosa. This charming medieval town has everything that will remind you of its past. From small cobblestone streets to a beautiful church, everyone can find something here.
1. Puerta de Castilla
A fitting way to start your journey of Tolosa is to step through the old castle gates. The huge brick gates were not demolished and left standing. Today this serves as an entrance to the old town area of Tolosa.
Sadly the old castle is nowhere to be found anymore. Only the gate remains, which has some indication of how the original castle might have looked.
2. Explore the Old Town
Step onto the cobblestone streets and start exploring the town. You can marvel at all the historic buildings and soak in the superb atmosphere of Tolosa. All around you will be shops selling local produce and art.
If you haven’t done any souvenir shopping yet, now might be the best time. You will find everything from jewelry to clothes.
Make sure that you include Plaza de la Verdura in your walking path. This plaza or ‘square’ if we want to translate it, is a unique square among Basque towns. It stands out because it is completely covered by a glass canopy. The original glass roof was built by a local architect in 1899. That’s one old feature of the town!
3. Santa María Church
Speaking of old, let’s make sure that you don’t miss the Santa María Church when you visit Tolosa. It was built during the 1700s in a style that’s called Gothic-Basque. It is essentially a local variation of the widespread Gothic style.
The huge church has an impressive facade that’s perfect for taking your vacation photos. You can try to peak the sides of the church however walking around it is not possible. There is no path between the river and the church at the back.
Make sure there is no active service that you might interrupt and head inside to marvel at the beautiful decoration.
4. Mercado del Tinglado
Visiting the town of Tolosa on a Saturday poses another great opportunity. Every Saturday the local market opens on the river banks from 7:30 AM to 2 PM. If you have the chance to visit on a Saturday, then we definitely recommend you pick this day and start at the market.
You will be able to sample the local produce and meet with the farmers from nearby villages. It’s a great bustling place where you won’t leave empty-handed. Make sure you plan your visit before 11 AM to catch all the vendors.
5. El Tinglado
The Tinglado is the name of the building that’s home to the Saturday market. Even if you don’t visit on a Saturday the building is worth seeing.
It’s a wonderful white structure with archways towards the river. Make sure you cross the river on one of the many bridges and take some pictures from the other side as well.
6. Walk along the river
Whenever you visit Tolosa, make sure that you spend time strolling along the river. These paths have the best views of the town with many colorful and interesting buildings.
You will be tempted to take tons of photos by choosing to walk the river path.
How long to spend in Tolosa?
Tolosa is the perfect town to include in any Basque county itinerary. You can check out the main attractions in just 2 to 3 hours. However, there are enough things to see in Tolosa that you can easily spend up to 6 hours wandering the streets, shopping at the stores, and trying out the local restaurants.
Where to eat in Tolosa?
If you want to spend more time in Tolosa than just a few hours then some restaurant recommendations will come in handy. Let’s see some places that you can visit for a great meal in Tolosa.
1990 Gastroteka Tolosa for couples. It’s a tapas bar so you can order multiple, different things and share accordingly. The affordable pricing and local cooks are a huge positive when it comes to this restaurant.
Ama taberna is the most famous restaurant when it comes to Tolosa. Well-prepared meals that come in style. Everything tastes amazing on the menu and it’s a perfect break from sightseeing in the town.
Our last recommendation is Asador Burruntzi a barbeque restaurant. This is a great pick if you are really hungry and want some amazing meats. Huge cuts were prepared on the BBQ. You can get seafood and steak, but our recommendation is the steak. Of course as a BBQ steakhouse it’s not the cheapest place around town.