What is the best in – Biarritz :
- Surf the ocean with its fantastic waves or surf with your eyes only
- Seaside strolls past beaches, monuments, the Casino – such as the Atalaya walk with magic sunset over the Golfe de Gascogne
- The grandeur of Hotel du Palais – ” Where Luxury Meets History’ on the terrace of the stunning Salon Eugenie
- Basque Cuisine with its pintxos (tapas) – try Crampotte 30 or Bar Jean in town, and for great dishes like Txakolina, drink sidra and regional wines – look for bar Santa Maria at the beach or the classic Bar du Commerce in town.
Unless you want to choose from almost 40 Michelin star restaurants in the region
- Sunset drinks après surf on the beach at numerous spots, such as Beach house Anglet, or at Etxola Bibi’s ” Cool Bar with vue de rêve” – ask about the Dog Surf Competition
- Win some serious €€€ at seafront Casino Barrière and indulge in Biarritz’ day life, food, nightlife, and grandeur
- Don’t miss nearby Bayonne stunningly set on the Adour-Nive river for history, rugby, ham and of course: Chocolate since the 17th century – try l ‘Atelier du Chocolat in the Rue Port Neuf.
There is NO doubt that Biarritz on the Côte des Basques is one of the most stunning locations on the coast of Europe. And one of the few cities with a beachfront on the Western coast of France!
We are talking in fact about the intercommunal area that consists today of Biarritz-Bayonne-Anglet-Saint Jean-de-Luz with around 300,0000 inhabitants.
But Biarritz is the city that attracted visitors who came to take healthy sea-baths, as Napoleon did in 1808, and that gained fame from 1854 onwards when the royals had their palace built, today’s still famous Hotel du Palais, and with the building of the Casino in 1901.
Biarritz has remained thé beach city known for its elegance since.
He is mentioned all over still, and for a good reason: the Californian visitor staying with friends in Biarritz 1957, who took his surfboard out at sea, this memorable moment is seen as the first time somebody has practiced surfing in Europe and with time Biarritz has become a very popular and worldwide known surf destination with a well-developed surf culture and nightlife also. In the 1980’s the pioneers of surfing at the Cote des Basques were baptised the “Tontons Surfeurs”.
Biarritz got it all for the beginner as well as the skilled surfing crowd.
The International Surfing Association rolls out its 2017 ISA World Surfing Games in Biarritz, for the 1st time since 1980.
Beaches is what it’s all about
La Grande Plage is the largest beach and the centerpiece of the city. One visitor called it the “Jewel of Biarritz”. The beach itself is a partially sand, partially pebble beach and is very crowded in high season for good reasons, being a great place to go surfing, swimming, sunbathing or walk along. And the ocean here has got stunning, mesmerizing views that are fascinating just to watch and wait for more.
A good Life Guarded beach section is marked with flags for safe swimming as the huge waves can be dangerous, especially when you are not a skilled surfer or not experienced in reading waves.
You can rent a tent from the Casino for the day to make sure you can go into the shade as you can easily stay here for a good part of the day.
Your chances of parking (semi) directly beachfront are good outside high season (August) and is not expensive either with around € 16 for 24 hours.
Although crowded in season and when surfing competitions are held, Biarritz is a fabulous beach resort city to experience for one or two days on your road driving from the Norths towards Spain or vice versa, you won’t regret it (unless you spend the two days at the Casino only).
North of the Grande Plage behind the lighthouse is the municipality of Anglet with its long strip of 11 beaches, from the Plage de la Petite Chambre d’ Amour to Plage des Cavaliers up north at the mouth of the Ardour river, and are famous for some of the best and mighty waves in the world.
The Plage des Cavaliers for instance, lies just south of the Digue de la Barre and is surrounded by lots of great nature. The beach has easy access with parking just behind the beach. The local Hotel Atlanthal has become a very well known thalassotherapy center.
The International Surf Film Festival Anglet is one of the longest running surf-film festivals with its 13th edition in 2016
A fabulous strip of 11 sandy beaches at the magnificent ocean if you are looking for space, freedom and fantastic sunsets.
Much further north is the town of Hossegor, which is for more skilled surfers.
And after that up North, if still in need of more beaches, the major stretch of the wonderful coastline that becomes Les Landes consists of beaches almost all the way up to the coast of the Bordeaux wine area.
The Plage du Port Vieux is the small beach just south of the Rocher de la Vierge.
Heading south, the Plage de la Cote des Basques, Plage de Marbella, Plage de Milady, Plage d’ Ilbarritz, (very popular with surfers), and Plage des 100 Marches are all stunning and popular beach just south of Biarritz.
And further on you pass Erromardie beach on your way to Saint Jean de Luz, another beachfront city, towards the popular surfing beach of Hendaye (France) – Irun (Spain) at the border with Spain.
At Messanges and Hossegor
Plage du Miramar – Biarritz Plage Les 100 Marches Biarritz-Bidart and Plage de L’Océan – Angle
Beach and Seawater Quality and the Environment
Due to insufficient sewage treatment, swimming was prohibited along the beaches in 2013, an imaginable disaster to the whole area.
But the good news is that a today’s new disinfecting system ensures safe and clean water and beaches following EU bathing water standards, which is great for the ecological environment.
has a great App with real-time information including wave height, wind speed, sea- and air temperature and a UV index
magicseaweed.com (a magic website for/by surfers all over the world)
Biarritz has 12 Michelin star restaurants to offer, but luckily also plenty of other, sometimes cheaper, places to enjoy the fabulous Basque Cuisine