The 64th San Sebastian Film Festival will be held from the 16th to the 24th of September 2016, with national and international actors, directors etc representing their films.

Since 1986 the Donostia Lifetime Achievement Award has been included and is presented to a great film personality  in recognition of their work and career – some years there have been more than one! (see below)

The first Donostia Award was presented to Gregory Peck in 1986, and, since then, many a Hollywood star has graced the San Sebastian Film Festival!

Sigourney Weaver and Ethan Hawke will receive the honorary award for 2016!!

Sigourney Wever will receive her Donostia award on September 21st, in the Kursaal Auditorium.  The date, not surprisingly, coincides with the gala screening of the European premiere of the latest movie by J.A. Bayona, “A Monster Calls” in which Weaver stars, along side Liam Neeson among others.


Ethan Hawke will receive his Donostia Award on Saturday, September 17th followed by a screening of his latest film The magnificent seven.


Here’s the complete list for all the winners of the prestigious Donostia Award:

1986 – Gregory Peck

1987 – Glenn Ford

1988 – Vittorio Gassman

1989 – Bette Davis

1990 – Claudette Colbert

1991 – Anthony Perkins

1992 – Lauren Bacall

1993 – Robert Mitchum

1994 – Lana Turner

1995 – Susan Sarandon and Catherine Deneuve

1996 – Al Pacino

1997 – Michael Douglas, Jeremy Irons and Jeanne Moreau

1998 – John Malkovich and Anthony Hopkins

1999 – Fernando Fernán-Gómez, Vanessa Redgrave and Anjelica Huston

2000 – Michael Caine and Robert de Niro

2001 – Julie Andrews, Warren Beatty and Francisco Rabal

2002 – Jessica Lange, Bob Hoskins, Dennis Hopper and Francis Ford Coppola

2003 – Isabelle Huppert, Sean Penn and Robert Duvall

2004 – Woody Allen, Annette Bening and Jeff Bridges

2005 – Ben Gazzara and Willem Dafoe

2006 – Max Von Sydow and Matt Dillon

2007 – Richard Gere and Liv Ullman

2008 – Antonio Banderas and Meryl Streep

2009 – Ian McKellen

2010 – Julia Roberts

2011 – Glenn Close

2012 – John Travolta, Oliver Stone, Ewan McGregor, Tommy Lee Jones and Dustin Hoffman

2013 – Carmen Maura and Hugh Jackman

2014 – Denzel Washington and Benecio del Toro

2015 – Emily Watson

2016 -Sigourney Weaver and Ethan Hawke

San Sebastian - Donostia - Spain


Maybe not a great time to visit San Sebastian when the International Film Festival is on, but away from the glitz and the paparazzi San Sebastian is a great destination to include in your Food, Wine and Cultural Tour with Gourmand Breaks.

Sant Joan


In Catalunya and throughout Spain, the most important celebration during the month of June is undoubtedly the Eve of Sant Joan (St. John). This is celebrated both in private houses and in public places, and there is dancing and the typical “coca”, as well as bonfires in some streets and squares, and fireworks.  Catalonians celebrate the Eve of Sant Joan in their idiosyncratic way- the fiesta takes place the night before Saint John’s Day (June 24th), which coincides with the summer solstice. Old furniture is bundled onto bonfires in the villages and towns throughout Catalonia, the fire acting as a purifier and curative element.

Read more

Park Guell, Gaudi Barcelona

Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia in Spain

Barcelona is situated in the North East of Spain, on the Mediterranean coast

Barcelona city has a population of around 1.7 million people

The country dialing code is 0034 and the Barcelona prefix is 91

The official currency is the Euro. Before the Euro was introduced the Peseta was used

The official language of Spain is Spanish although in 1975 the official language of Barcelona was declared Catalan

Barcelona is Spain’s second largest city, behind Spain’s capital Madrid

The most walked along street in Spain is in Barcelona. Each hour an approximate 3500 pedestrians walk down Portal d’Angel

The most famous street in Barcelona is Las Ramblas – 5 boulevards making up 1 – which starts at Plaça de Cataluya and 2kms later ends at the Columbus monument

Barcelona hosted the Olympic Games in 1992

Before 1992 Barcelona had no beaches for public and local use. The area was purely industrial but after redevelopment 7 beaches are now in use along 4.5kms of coastline

Barcelona Port is the no 4 worldwide and is Europe and the Mediterranean’s leading cruise port.  2.6 million passengers embarked or disembarked in Barcelona in 2013

Surprisingly Barcelona city has no Michelin 3 star restaurants although there are many Michelin 2 and 1 stars.

Barcelona’s world famous Football Club – F.C Barcelona – is nicknamed the ‘Blaugrana’ after the colors they most commonly wear namely blue (blau) and maroon (grana)

F.C Barcelona is also represented in other sports such as Basketball, Handball and Hockey

Antoni Gaudí was Barcelona’s most famous architect and 7 of his works have been declared UNESCO world heritage sites

Gaudí’s most famous Sagrada Familia was started in 1882 and is still being built today long after his death in 1926

The patron saint of Barcelona is the Virgin of Mercy. The day is declared a bank holiday and La Mercè festivities are held on (and during the week of) the 24th of September.

Many of our Private Food, Wine and Cultural tours include stays in Barcelona to discover this fantastic city via private tours and/or giving you free time for your own sightseeing.

Girona, Spain, is in bloom this week as Flower Power hits the city! 

The 59th edition of “Temps de Flors” opened last Saturday in Girona, Spain.  All this week thousands of visitors are expected to flock to Girona to view the beautiful array of street ornamentation, vibrant monuments and decorative patios following one theme – Flowers!  We’re not going to give too much away but here’s a glimpse of some of the colorful dislays to be enjoyed at the Girona Flower Festival this year – through to May 18th 2014.


If you’re in Girona this week take the time to stroll through the Flower Festival.  Here’s a map,  via the ‘Ajuntament de Girona’ (the town council), to guide you through the many arrangements that you can see in Girona:

The month of May brings the Flower Festival to Girona but  anytime of year is great to visit this Little City with a Big Heart.  Join us on a Food, Wine and Cultural Tour like the Ultimate Gourmet Tour which icludes a private guided tour in Girona and much more!


Ever since the Virgin of Mercy saved the city of Barcelona from a plague of locusts in 1687, the city has been celebrating the miracle she helped create with the liveliest festival it has all year. Happening at the end of September and on the 24th this year, the parties will go on for four days through the night and early hours of the morning with wild fireworks, strangely costumed giants, colorful decorations and musical concerts lining the streets. It is a kind of end-of-summer celebration, so participants usually party as hardily and as noisily as they can.



The Spanish are known around the world for their love of Fiestas! Why not let us Customize a Private Tour of Spain for you, visiting some of the most authentic and wonderful Spanish fiestas- accompanied by only the best local Spanish food and wine!


The Gràcia neighborhood of Barcelona lights up every year in mid-August for its week-long Festa Major. Every town here has a charming Festa Major during the summer, but as a particularly influential city in Spain and the world, everything about the celebration is done in bigger and more extreme ways. You will find that during  the Gracia feast the castells—or human castle competitions–are larger, there are more aisles of fireworks to run through, but the decorations are probably what stand out the most.

Each street is carefully and creatively themed with wild decorations everywhere. The beautiful floral decorations they specialize in are called arte festivo éfimero. Within the decorations visitors find orchestras, games, theater, music, dance and other activities, which combine for one energetic week-long party.

In order to experience the Gracia Festa Major yourself, join us on our private Barcelona Food and Wine Tour to enjoy the most authentic Spanish food, wine and culture in the city.