Enjoy safe swimming, leisurely walks with superb coastal scenery, visits to an aquarium and excellent dining at Biarritz’s historic harbor.
At the heart of Biarritz’s picturesque Old Harbor (Port Vieux) is the horseshoe-shaped Plage du Port Vieux (Old Harbor Beach). Sheltered from the wind and waves by a rocky cove, the beach offers calm swimming conditions and is popular with locals and families with young children. Sit on the golden sand and enjoy views across the Bay of Biscay. Keep an eye out for members of the Les Ours Blancs (The White Bears), a historic swimming club that meets to swim every day of the year.
Stroll along the waterfront Esplanade de la Vierge to the Musée de la Mer. Spot octopus, sharks, rays and turtles at this sea museum. Cross the bridge to continue to a headland and find the Rocher de la Vierge (Virgin’s Rock) where there is a statue of the Virgin, which is said to protect fishermen and seafarers. Look south along the coast and spot the Spanish Pyrenees in the distance.
Above the beach, Port Vieux is a collection of winding streets home to bars, cafés and hotels. Find the fortress-like Villa le Goeland and the 19th-century Sainte Eugenie Church. Walk to Port des Pêcheurs, the fisherman’s village with rows of traditional crampottes (cottages). Watch local anglers bring in the day’s catch and sample delicious fresh seafood at one of the local restaurants.
Explore outside of Port Vieux by following the road that runs south from the beach. Stop to look at the impressive La Villa Belza and then continue to Côte des Basques beach. Watch surfers ride rolling waves or take surfing lessons with one of several surf schools located on the beach.
The Old Harbor is a short walk from Biarritz’s city center. Parking is available on the streets and next to the beach, although spaces are limited. A parking fee applies between June and September. The harbor is a 10-minute walk from Grand Beach (Grand Plage) and a 30-minute walk from the Biarritz Lighthouse (Phare du Biarritz).