Located in front of the spectacular La Concha Bay, the Miramar Palace is one of the most beautiful viewpoints in the city of San Sebastián. This privileged watchtower, which separates the beaches of Ondarreta and La Concha, would be the place chosen in 1887, by the Queen Regent María Cristina, to build her summer palace. Its style corresponds to an English Queen Anne “Cottage” – the name by which the English designate a rural building. Its location in the centre of the bay, has made it an aesthetic and urban landmark of extraordinary value.
It is Isabel II who, towards the middle of the 19th century, began to spend the summer in the city of San Sebastián and established a bond with the city that would be strengthened by Queen María Cristina, wife of Alfonso XII , when, after being widowed, she moved the summers of the court to San Sebastián , a decision that definitively boosted the future tourism of the city.
When spending the summers in the city, the Royal family required a Royal Country House, which Queen María Cristina commissioned from the English architect Selden Wornum and the chosen site was an extensive estate located in front of La Concha Bay where formerly The Monastery of San Sebastián El Antiguo had been located , and it was acquired by the queen from the Count of Moriana. The master builder José Goikoa built this building in the English style, although he included some neo-Gothic elements. The complex was completed with stables and a trade house and garages. It also had a large park designed by Pierre Ducasse. In total, the Miramar Palace and its park cover an area of 34,136 m².
The palace was completed in 1893, although in 1920 a new building called the Prince’s Pavilion was added. The construction of the palace required the realization of a false tunnel that would allow the passage of the trams of the San Sebastián Tram Company and the highway, over which the palace gardens extend.
In 1929, after the death of Queen María Cristina, Alfonso XIII inherited the property. During the second republic it was expropriated and passed into the hands of the San Sebastián City Council. During the Franco dictatorship it was returned to the Bourbons. Finally, on August 10, 1972, and for 102,500,000 pesetas, the deed of acquisition by purchase and sale was carried out, “granted by His Royal Highness Juan de Borbón y Battenberg, count of Barcelona, in favour of the City Council of Saint Sebastian”.
On October 29, 1985, the current consortium was created under the name of “Palacio de Miramar”, with the participation of the Basque Government, the Guipúzcoa Provincial Council and the San Sebastián City Council, which addressed the rehabilitation of the Palace in its first phase (Pavilion del Principe and Service Building).
Today it is a unique place for the celebration of events of all kinds and serves as a place of recreation for locals, who can stroll through its gardens, now open to the public.