Holidays to the Basque Coast

France’s Basque Coast faces the Atlantic Ocean and is home to the greatly contrasting Bayonne, Biarritz, Saint-Jean-de-Luz and Hendaye.

With a strong culture, way of life and identity, the Basque Coast is brimming with natural, historical and gastronomical treasures waiting to be discovered.

Bayonne, to the north of the coast, is famous for its festivals. Thousands of festival-goers dressed in red and white head there each summer to enjoy five days of celebrations, including bull fighting, bull running, parades, traditional bands, concerts and fireworks. Outside the holiday season, Bayonne is a small and pleasant town and a great place to live. Petit Bayonne, located between the Adour and Nive rivers, is a popular place to take a stroll and enjoy a coffee.

Anglet is sandwiched between its two neighbours, Bayonne and Biarritz. Its eleven beaches have earned it the nickname “Little California”. It is an ideal spot for surfing, and hosts many popular competitions. One of the best-known beaches is the so-called “Lovers’ Bedroom” beach. Legend says that two cursed lovers were surprised by the rising tide and drowned in the cave on the beach. Today, a plaque stands in front of the cave, telling this tale.

Formerly a fishing village, modern Biarritz is an eclectic mix of Basque, Belle Époque and Art Deco architecture, making it a charming and highly unusual city. It is an ideal destination for a romantic weekend getaway or for relaxing with the family. The city’s iconic symbol, the Rock of the Virgin, is not to be missed. If you don’t have time to enjoy the Grand Plage, head to the casino or visit the sea museum, where you can find sharks, sea lions and other marine animals.

Saint-Jean-de-Luz is a pretty fishing town and former privateers’ town. The charming narrow streets of the city centre are filled with chic boutiques nestled in typically Basque buildings with white and red façades. The Grand Plage is ideal for families and swimmers as the waves are not strong. If you enjoy surfing, ride the rollers at Lafiténia or Cénitz beaches. For foodies, the daily market is the perfect place to fill your basket with traditional local produce (Espelette pepper, hake, Basque cakes and many other delights).

Hendaye is the last coastal town before Spain. As with all the towns on the Basque coast, visitors can enjoy the beach and waves or go hiking. While in Hendaye, why not cross the border for a taste of Spanish Basque Country and spend a day in beautiful San Sebastian? You won’t be disappointed!

Beaches, surfing, Basque pelota, traditions and delicious cuisine are what you can expect during your holiday on the Basque Coast, one of France’s most beautiful regions. The area is easily accessible by getting a ferry to Bilbao in neighbouring Spain and driving east. Alternatively, you can fly into Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport, Biarritz-Anglet-Bayonne Airport or Bergerac Dordogne Périgord Airport from a range of UK airports and hire a car to get around.


Guide to Exploring Basque Coast


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