The 100km drive from Bilbao should take a little over an hour. San Sebastián is 50km from Biarritz - allow 40 minutes. Hertz (www.hertz.com) has offices at most airports in the region.
San Sebastián airport is the nearest but you'll be pushed to find a direct flight there - get to Bilbao (100km away) with Easyjet (www.easyjet.com) from Dublin or London Stansted, or with Iberia (www.iberia.com) from London Heathrow. Biarritz airport (50km away) is accessible with Easyjet from London Gatwick or with Ryanair (www.ryanair.com) from London Stansted or Dublin.
Get to Estación del Norte in San Sebastián from Madrid, Bilbao and Barcelona - services are operated by Renfe (www.renfe.es).
Spain: +34; San Sebastián: 943.
Brush up on your Basque history with The Basque Country - A Cultural History by Paddy Woodworth and The Basque History of the World by Mark Kurlansky. All the petite pintxos will make you mad for miniature so buy a copy of La Alta Cocina Vasca en Miniature by Peio Amiano.
Do go / Don't Go
For the most buzz (and the chance of a celeb spot), go in September when the film festival brings the A list to town. Winters can get quite wet; the best weather is between May and August, but the population swells during June and July.
Stations have ranks and you can flag taxis in the street. If you want to book, try Vallina (+34 (0)94 340 4040) or Taxi Donosti (+34 (0)94 346 4646).
Hats, headscarves and sunglasses to work the 'don't recognise me' film-star look. Stylish swimwear to strut around the perfectly formed La Concha bay.
Museo Chillida-Leku displays sculptor Eduardo Chillida's creations in an old stone farmhouse in Jauregui (www.museochillidaleku.com). The peppermint grounds are dotted with his granite, iron and wooden works. There's also Casa de la Historia on top of Mount Igueldo, a house of San Sebastián history. And Museo Naval on Paseo Muelle (+34 (0)94 343 0051) for anyone who wants a maritime masterclass. Theatre fans should take in a performance at the grand old Victoria Eugenia (www.victoriaeugenia.com).
Txokos (gastronomic societies) have been gathering in San Sebastián since 1843. The men of the town come together to discuss, cook and eat food - and it gets competitive. Many buildings in the town will even have shared kitchens where you'd usually find tennis courts or swimming pools.
Mercato de la Bretxa (www.la-bretxa.com) is an underground food market in the centre of San Sebastián where fish, crustaceans, cured ham and cheese are all artfully arranged. Ponsol is the oldest manufacturer of hats in the region; find it on Calle Narrica (+34 (0)94 342 0876). You'll want to stock up on local specialities before you leave - head to Don Serapio on Sancho El Sabio (www.donserapio.com) for all the Basque tastes you can think of.
Catch the cable car that leaves from the edge of Ondaretta for the top of Mount Igueldo (www.monteigueldo.es), where you'll get unbeatable views of the city and the half-moon La Concha bay.
Go to see the Comb of the Winds, Eduardo Chillida's favourite piece of work - the Basque sculpting hero anchored three pieces of steel to the rocks at one end of La Concha Bay, at the base of Mount Igueldo.
19-20 January La Tamborrada is a noisy celebration of the city's patron saint - uniformed drummers keep banging all through the night. February Carnaval gets going region-wide and San Sebastián parties with the best of them. July San Sebastián has the International Jazz Festival for a week. August The Basque region really lets its hair down this month - look out for fireworks in San Sebastián. September The film stars come to town for an international festival. November Foodies unite in a more than appropriate destination for the Gastronomy Congress.