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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 Moulin de Bassilour (Bakery)
Chez Albert (Port des Pêcheurs)
Le Ble Noir (Creperie)
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
Casino Municipal, on Grande-Plage
Plage du Port-Vieux
Cite de L’ocean
Rocher de la Vierge
Musee de la MerMusée Historique de Biarritz
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
1.La Cote Des Basques
2.Rocher de la Vierge
3.Port des Pecheurs
5.Casino Municipal, on Grande-Plage
6.Phare De Biarritz