A Full Travel Guide to Biarritz, France

Biarritz in Southwestern France is a Basque coast seaside town.

 It is the gem of the French Basque country, and similar to Sintra in Portugal, it was once a place for royalty to escape to… and I don’t blame them. Biarritz is a surfer hang out, made apparent by the many surf schools, shops, and the laid back culture.

Related: A Full Travel Guide to Sintra, Portugal

But in between the surf culture and vibe is an evident, traditional French elegance. The glamorous villas and sandy beaches, combined with this surfer town vibe, make for a truly unique experience. Known for its famous beaches (la Grande Plage) and it’s proximity to San Sebastian past the Spanish border, Biarritz is a real unicorn in comparison to other parts of France.

Related: A 5 Day Travel Guide to the Portuguese Riviera

 

 

You can walk on one street and visit a posh restaurant and a few blocks down come across laid back hipster surf shops and casual cafes or lounges. It all feels very balanced and you get the right amount of each if you choose to do so.

 

 

If you pay attention, there are some subtle features of Biarritz that make it one of a kind. The properties are colourful but not bright. The restaurants are classy but not pretentious. The clothes stores are stylish but not ostentatious. This place has clearly mastered the craft of being beautiful without being unwelcoming. The local service workers clearly take pride in their craft, and why wouldn’t they? The food and drink are of course excellent. As with many French restaurants/cafes/hotels, the staff are well trained and get to ply their trade in a lovely venue within a gorgeous town.

Related: Weekend Travel Guide to Ramsgate, Kent

 

Weather

The weather can be quite unpredictable as it is the Basque country after all. Our stay there consisted of a real mixed bag. One of the days was very sunny, one day it rained nearly the entire day (breaking only for the evening) and one day the clouds went in and out. I would be prepared for the ever-changing weather (similar to San Francisco). An umbrella and a light jumper was very necessary for early June and be prepared for random rain.

Related: A 24 Hour Guide to San Francisco

Culture/Eating

Is very heavily influenced by Spain so siesta culture is definitely a thing. Don’t expect to be served food at all hours of the day. Lunch is only served until 3:30, and dinner isn’t eaten or served at restaurants until after 7 pm.

Places to Eat

Bistrot des Halles on rue du Centre

Bar Jean at 5 rue des Halles

Creperie Bleue de Toi (Creperie)

Dodin’s patisserie ( near Grande Plage)

Miremont’s Salon de The

Carøe (Nordic Style Tapas)

Chéri Bibi (Wine Bar)

Alaïa Restaurant (beach views)

Le Coupe Faim  (sandwich shop)

Hôtel Les Baigneuses (for drinks) 

Le B2 (Brunch)

The Beach House  (Anglet)

Café Le Madrid 563 Ave. du Général de Gaulle, Guéthary; lemadrid.com. 

Heteroclito Chemin de la Plage, Guéthary

Le Kaïku 

Le Moulin de Bassilour (Bakery)
Chez Albert (Port des Pêcheurs)

Saline Ceviche Bar

Cabane a Hutres

Etxola Bibi

Ventilo Cafe

L’art Noa

Le Ble Noir (Creperie)

 

Transportation

Biarritz is easily accessible by car and walkable on foot, but if you are staying away from the city center there are plenty of busses that are available for €1 each way or €2 for a day trip. Google Maps gives you an accurate wait time of the bus. The bus driver gives you a ticket which you can keep to top up for future journies. Taking taxis from one end of the city to the next can add up. Each way from the airport to the hotel or city centre to our hotel (near the train station) was €20

 

Attractions/Things to Do

 

Grande Plage

Les Halles

Casino Municipal, on Grande-Plage

Plage du Port-Vieux

Cite de L’ocean

Rocher de la Vierge

Musee de la MerMusée Historique de Biarritz

Chapelle Imperiale

The Café de la Grande Plage

Rocher du Baste

Phare de Biarritz

La Cote des Basque

Have pre-dinner drinks at Comptoir du foie gras

Sunset at Place Bellevue

Nearby: Anglet, Bayonne, Guethary, Saint Jean de Luz, Hendaye

Sample Itinerary

1.La Cote Des Basques

2.Rocher de la Vierge

3.Port des Pecheurs

4.Grande Plage

5.Casino Municipal, on Grande-Plage

6.Phare De Biarritz

7.Pointe St-Martin

 

Don’t Forget These Posts

A Five-day Travel Guide to the Portuguese Riviera

A Three Day Guide to Paris

A Full Travel Guide to Sintra

One Day Itinerary for Lisbon

 

 

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