Hull has unveiled its cultural calendar for next year, as UK City of Culture 2017. Coincidentally, one of the current European Capitals of Culture is another mid-sized maritime city: San Sebastian in Spain. So how do the two compare on a range of measures?
San Sebastian: 186,000
What Lonely Planet says about it …
San Sebastian: "It’s impossible to lay eyes on San Sebastian and not fall madly in love. This stunning city is cool, svelte and flirtatious by night, charming and well mannered by day."
Hull: "Though it’s not going to win any prizes for prettiness, the city has a gritty appeal for those who appreciate Britain’s industrial past and enjoy getting away from the beaten tourist path."
Average high temperature in January/July
San Sebastian: 13C/25C
San Sebastian: The handsome Aquarium, opened in 1928, features sea creatures that are not (yet) on the menu of the city's many renowned restaurants.
Hull: The Deep is the city’s prime tourist attraction, a spectacular Millennium project that soars above the confluence of the Hull and Humber rivers — and focuses on aquatic enlightenment.
San Sebastian: “The scallop-shaped bay of La Concha (‘The Shell’) protects a long, broad, safe and sandy beach.” (The Independent)
Hull: The nearby beach of Withernsea “is part of a strip of sand and shingle that stretches for miles in both directions”. (RNLI)
Notable football team fact
San Sebastian: The name of the local team, Real Sociedad de Futbol, translates as “Royal Society of Football”.
Hull: The only top-flight English team whose name has no letters you can colour in is Hull City.
San Sebastian: Pintxos, the Basque take on tapas, such as bites of steak or tuna in heavenly sauces.
Hull: The Hull pattie: mashed potato with a pinch of sage, deep-fried in batter (or sometimes breadcrumbs).
San Sebastian: The rough-edged local cider, sagardoa.
Hull: Uncertainty Principle IPA, brewed by Atom Beers.
Notable twin town
San Sebastian: Plymouth, Devon
Hull: Szczecin, Poland
Access from the capital
San Sebastian: Six flights daily from Madrid airport.
Hull: Eight trains daily from London King’s Cross.
San Sebastian: Queen Isabel II, who was chased away in the Glorious Revolution of 1868, leaving the property to serve as a casino, then a hospital, and now the Hotel de Londres y Inglaterra.
Hull: The poet, Philip Larkin, whose statue greets new arrivals at Hull’s Paragon railway station, and who wrote: “Sexual intercourse began in nineteen sixty-three (which was rather late for me)."
Last featured in The Independent’s 48 Hours series
San Sebastian: June 2016
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies