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Nestled on the French Basque Coast, Biarritz is one of the best day trips from San Sebastian, with its scenic landscapes and culinary delights. If you’re wondering how to get from San Sebastian to Biarrtiz, this article will provide all the details you need for an easy day trip. 

If you prefer flexibility with your schedule and want to explore some hidden gems of the Basque Country along the way, renting a car is always a great idea. I typically use the Rental Car website to find the best deals. However, if you’d rather avoid driving to Biarritz, it’s totally fine; there are several easy ways to get to the lovely Basque city.

Don’t forget to check out my article about the best things to do in Biarritz and where to stay in Biarritz before you go there. 

Taking a tour from San Sebastian to Biarritz 

If you’re traveling to Biarritz for just one day, I highly recommend taking a guided tour to make the most of your trip. Here are two great tours from Saint Sebastian to Biarritz.

From San Sebastian to Biarritz & the French Basque Coast 

This tour is ideal for those eager to explore not only Biarritz but also other gems of the French Basque coast. Led by an experienced guide, you’ll visit the charming coastal villages of Biarritz, Hondarribia, and Saint Jean de Luz on a full-day tour lasting approximately 8 hours. Along the way, you’ll be treated to some of the most beautiful landscapes in the area, indulge in the local cuisine, visit Les Halles market, and journey along one of the most picturesque roads in the Basque Country.
You can book a tour here

A tour from San Sebastian to Biarritz and Bayonne 

Another excellent choice is the Minibus Tour, offering a relaxed journey through the picturesque landscapes of the Basque Country, featuring iconic stops and intriguing historical anecdotes.

During the day, you’ll cross the Bidasoa River and explore the heart of Bayonne, with its charming market and majestic cathedral. Following that, you’ll visit Biarritz, renowned for its imperial history and breathtaking coastal views. Led by bilingual guides, this 6-hour adventure guarantees a day filled with sightseeing and local flavors.
You can book the tour here

How to get from San Sebastian to Biarritz
Taste local delicacies in Biarritz

From San Sebastian to Biarritz by Public transport 

It takes about an hour’s drive to get from San Sebastian to Biarritz and two regular companies do that trajectory daily. 

Flixbus

With about 6 departures throughout the day, starting at 6:30 am until 4:30 pm, FlixBus offers comfortable buses, equipped with Wi-Fi and power outlets, and a comfortable schedule. Ticket prices start from €5.99, making it an economical choice for budget-conscious travelers. You can book your ticket online here or via the FlixBus app, and you don’t need to print your ticket – simply show the QR code on your phone to the driver. 

It departs from San Sebastian’s main bus station (Paseo Federico García Lorca 1, 20010 San Sebastián). In Biarrtiz your final stop will be at  Halle Iraty, Rue Chapelet 64200 Biarritz. It’s important to note that the last stop is not in the center of Biarritz, for that, you need to take another bus (short ride) From La Halle d’Iraty stop – bus number 7 to the center of Biarritz and from Biarritz Airport – bus number 36.

BlablaCar Bus

Another excellent option for a cheap, fast, and comfortable ride from San Sebastian to Biarritz by public transport is BlablaCar Bus, which offers 40 minutes to one hour, depending on the bus you choose.

The bus leaves from the main bus station (Paseo Federico García Lorca 1, 20010 San Sebastián) and arrives at the airport of Biarritz. The BlalaCar bus operates from as early as 4 am to 7 pm. In between there are quite a few trips, so you can choose the time that suits you best and order your tickets here.

By bus and train 

If you need a different bus hours, you can also do the journey with a change in Hendaye.

Take bus E2 from San Sebastian to the train station in Hendaye and then continue by train to the train station of Biarritz. The train between Hendaye and Biarritz takes about 23 min and costs about 6,5 euros. You can book your tickets here.

Here are all my other Basques country-related articles to help you plan your trips:
Most beautiful villages in the French Basque country
Weekend in Biarritz
All the best things to do and eat in Biarritz
What to do in Espelette
A family trip to the French Basque country

You can also get plenty of tips on things to do in the Southwest of France via Lost in Bordeaux’s social media accounts and email list, check them out here:

Facebook |Instagram |Email | Facebook group

*Note – Some of the links in this article include affiliate links for which I earn a small commission. It adds absolutely nothing to your cost and helps me continue writing about this amazing region. Don’t worry, I’m not getting rich here, I’ll never recommend anything I don’t believe in. 

The beautiful and unique French Basque country is a fantastic region for a fun family holiday. This summer, why not try out one of the many campsites the region has to offer? In this article, you’ll discover the best camping sites in the French Basque country, both on the coast and inland.

The great thing about French camping vacations is that there is always something for everyone. You can relax at the pool, enjoy sports and other activities the campsite offers, make friends on site, take day trips to nearby beaches and mountains, and the kids will have plenty to keep them busy! If you’re feeling adventurous you can spend the day exploring, but if you just want to chill, these campsites have everything you need to stay 

This article is for travelers who plan on spending their holidays camping in the Basque country, but if you are just passing through, there are fun one-day guided trips like this one, focused on visiting the little villages. There is also this tour, where you can visit the main cities of the French Basque country.

Best camping sites on the French Basque Coast

Camping Harrobia in Bidart

The village of Bidart, situated between Biarritz and Saint-Jean-de-Luz, is especially loved by the surfing community. The beautiful sandy beach, which is just a 5-minute walk from Camping Harrobia, is where you and your family can enjoy surfing lessons or simply lounging in the sand and building sandcastles. You should check out my article on the most beautiful villages in the Basque country, too, for day trips to gorgeous little towns you can’t miss during your trip.

Camping Harrobia has different places you can call home for your vacation – mobile homes, chalets, and even flats in a proper building if you’re not that into camping. There’s something for every member of the family. For little ones between the ages of 5 and 12, they have the kids’ club to keep them busy all morning and all afternoon with fun activities planned where they can make friends, play, and give their parents some much-needed chill time.

The bar and restaurant serve up local Basque food and there’s a bakery to get fresh bread every morning (we all know how important that is in France!). You can loan books, games, and sports equipment, take guided tours around the area, and work out with fellow campers at yoga, volleyball, water aerobics, ping pong, and other sessions.
Book your stay here.

Camping Paradis – La Ferme Erromardie

Set right in the center of Saint-Jean-de-Luz, this campsite is perfectly located for beach days, exploring the beautiful town center, and a mix between a nature and city break. You can choose between a mobile home and a terrain to pitch your tent, and the campsite has what you need for food on site. But you’ll likely want to enjoy some of Saint-Jean-de-Luz local restaurants, too!

Located right on the beach, Camping Paradis is perfect if you want to enjoy the many local beaches during your vacation. But they also have a lovely heated swimming pool, ping pong tables, kids’ play areas, a library, and themed events in the evenings. There’s everything you need right on site!

Book your stay here.

Camping Bela Basque in Anglet

Set in the middle of Bayonne and Biarritz, two of the region’s most iconic cities, this campsite provides the perfect base from which to explore the French Basque country. You and your family can pitch a tent or rent one of the following: a mobile home, a chalet, or the budget-friendly Tithome, a solid house with a tent part attached to make it bigger.

Camping Bela Basque is well-equipped to provide you a convenient, fun family holiday. They have a restaurant, two heated pools, a kids’ pool play area, sports fields, massages, and more. Events in summer include themed party evenings, activities and outings for children, and sports and workout sessions. It’s also situated right next to a small lake with child-safe beaches and a quick drive from Biarritz’s many famous beaches.
Book your stay here.

Camping Yelloh! Village Ilbarritz Côte Basque

At Yelloh! you can opt for a campsite to set up your tent or a comfortable rental unit and you have a dedicated tourist info point where you can pick up maps and get advice about exploring the Bidart and Biarritz area.

The whole family will have fun at Yelloh! – there’s a dedicated teens club with video games and speakers, a canine park for dogs to roam freely, fun events like laser games, climbing walls and night-time swimming, and much more. Plus, it’s convenient, too – on site you’ll find a grocery store, laundry facilities, a restaurant and snack point, bike rental, surfboard hire, and you can even hire a barbecue for your summer dinners.

Book your stay here.

Camping Juantcho 

This campsite is perfect if you want to be close enough to a town to explore, but also right on the beach. Located just on the outskirts of central Saint-Jean-de-Luz, you have multiple beautiful beaches with all the water sports you can dream of as well as the stunning town center to enjoy restaurants, shopping, sightseeing, and more.

At Camping Juantcho you can choose to pitch a tent or rent a mobile home unit, all set among green hedges and trees, making for a peaceful escape from hectic daily life. While there’s no swimming pool or other services on site, you’ll probably be spending all of your time on the beach, in town, or doing other fun activities like paragliding, surfing, canoeing, cycling, or horse riding.
Book your stay here.

Sunêlia Berrua in Bidart

Located in Bidart, a hilly seaside town with lovely beaches and very near to the famous Biarritz and Saint-Jean-de-Luz, Camping Berrua is a great option for your summer holiday in the Basque country.

This campsite is part of the same family as the one mentioned above – Yelloh! Here, you’ll find more accommodation options, including larger houses for up to 6 people, as well as different levels of cottages and chalets.

If you’re looking to relax during your trip, you’re in luck – they have a spa on site with facial and body treatments, massages, a sauna, whirlpool baths, and hydro-jet massages. They also have more than one fantastic heated swimming pool with slides, massage chairs, and an aquatic games area for kids and adults alike.

If you want to relax and give your kids some adventure, you’ll find clubs for kids and teens from ages 5-17 to keep them busy with fun activities and help them make friends all summer long. There’s an endless list of activities including sports, workout programs, dance lessons, creative workshops, canoeing, surfing, hot air balloon rides, horse riding, golf, and a ton more available on their website.
Book your stay here.

Tamaris Plage Camping

Another beautiful, convenient, and fun campsite set in Saint-Jean-de-Luz is Tamaris Plage Camping, a 4-star resort with plenty of amenities for grownups and kids alike. Here you can rent a cute cottage or a studio apartment with a balcony and you can also pitch a tent or drive up with your camper van.

A heated, covered pool is perfect for days when you don’t feel like going to the beach, and the jacuzzi, sauna, and hamman will give you that space to relax and unwind during your vacation. You can buy fresh baguettes every morning (a must for French holidaymakers!) and enjoy the restaurants on the oceanfront just a quick walk from the campsite. There are also kids’ play areas and a free shuttle in summer that take you to the town center and back every hour.
Book your stay here.

Beautiful Campsites near beautiful Basque villages and the Pyrenees  

Domaine Chalets Larlapean

Set about 50 km inland from Saint-Jean-de-Luz, this beautiful campsite boasts mountain views and lots of peaceful green scenery. You’ll be close to beautiful villages like Saint Jean Pied de Port and Espelette and only 15 km from the Spanish border if you want to do a day trip to a whole other country.

On site, you and the family can enjoy a heated, covered swimming pool, kids’ play areas, a snack point and bar, and other activities. But this campsite is known for its calm tranquility instead of fun party evenings – people come here to relax and enjoy nature.

Book your stay here.

Camping Des Gaves 

Located even further inland and right at the foot of the Pyrenees mountain range, this campsite has gorgeous mountain views and lots of fun activities to do. You can choose between multiple chalet options for your accommodation, and they also have an apartment block that’s a warmer choice in the winter months.

If you and your family enjoy hiking in summer, this is the perfect spot for you. You can find information about the many nearby hiking trails on their website. Camping des Gaves also boasts two heated swimming pools and a kids’ aquatic park, and nearby activities and attractions like a train ride through the mountains and thermal bath spas. They are also open in winter for you to enjoy a ski trip in the mountains.

Book your stay here.

Camping Ixtila Mobilhome

Set inland from the Atlantic coast and right on the Spanish border, the backdrop of Camping Ixtila consists of mountains, cliffs, and lots of peaceful greenery. It’s a beautiful, relaxing place to get some fresh air and escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

You can either set up your tent or your camper van or reserve a chalet or mobile home unit. The campsite provides the opportunity to go on hikes in the mountains, meet local farmers, and taste their specialties, and there’s a little grocery store, bar, and pizzeria on site.

In the surrounding countryside, you can enjoy scenic trails for biking and walking, discover caves and cliffsides, or do some fishing, canyoning, or bird-watching, 

Book your stay here.

Here are all my other Basques country-related articles to help you plan your trips:
Most beautiful villages in the French Basque country
Weekend in Biarritz
All the best things to do and eat in Biarritz
What to do in Espelette
A family trip to the French Basque country

You can also get plenty of tips on things to do in the Southwest of France via Lost in Bordeaux’s social media accounts and email list, check them out here:

Facebook |Instagram |Email | Facebook group

*Note – Some of the links in this article include affiliate links for which I earn a small commission. It adds absolutely nothing to your cost and helps me continue writing about this amazing region. Don’t worry, I’m not getting rich here, I’ll never recommend anything I don’t believe in 🙂 

If you’re touring the Basque country, you can’t miss Bayonne – the capital of the French side of this wonderful region. Not only is it one of the most beautiful cities in the area, surrounded by the ocean and the Pyrenees mountain range, but it’s also a foodie destination of note. If you like chocolate (who doesn’t?!) and delicious, aged cured ham – jambon de Bayonne – you can’t miss this great city. As you can probably guess, my to-do list is going to include lots of foodie adventures!

The best way to discover Bayonne is through food. If you don’t have much time, I highly recommend taking this walking food tour. This 5-star rated tour in English, Spanish, or French takes you through the streets of the city on foot, stopping not only to admire the views and architecture but to taste your way through Bayonne. 3.5 hours of sampling some of the region’s finest delicacies – chocolate, seafood, cheese, Basque cake, house cider, cured meats, and other unique items.

Bayonne is one of the most gastronomic experiences in France
A foodie experience in Bayonne – by Lost in Bordeaux

If a walking tour is not your thing, this eco-friendly electric Segway and bike tour is another great way to get around and see the city with experienced guides. They stop at the most notable sights in the city and kids are welcome.

Here’s my personal list of favorite things to do in Bayonne. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy touring the city! If you’re also looking for accommodation in Bayonne, check out my article about Where to stay in Bayonne.

A gastronomic vacation in Bayonne – the French Basque country

Stroll the streets of Grand Bayonne

The river Nive crosses through the city center and separates Grand Bayonne from Petit Bayonne. Grand Bayonne is home to the most important historical sites, including the cathedral, the fortifications, the botanic gardens, and the Château Vieux. The lovely timbered, colorful houses make up the traditional architecture of this part of France and are beautiful to see as you stroll around town.

The beautiful streets of Bayonne
Le Grand Bayonne – by Lost in Bordeaux

Some of the most charming streets include Rue Port Neuf, rue Poissonnerie, rue d’Espagne, rue de la Monnaie, and Rue de la Salie.

Historical monuments you shouldn’t miss: The gothic cathedral of Sainte Marie, dating back to the 13th century,  go around the back of Château-Vieux to see the massive fortifications and Roman ramparts surrounding the city, the Town Hall, and the grand houses in the historical center.

You can also take this guided tour to discover the fascinating history of Bayonne.

Visit the Market

France is known for its gastronomy and one of the best places in any town to get a feel of the local food and wine selection is at the market. Bayonne is no exception in that it has a fantastic food market held from Tuesday – Saturday at the Halles de Bayonne.

You’ll find cured and fresh meats, delectable cheeses, fine pastries, fresh bread, wine stands, fishmongers, local fruit and vegetable stalls, and much more. It gets especially busy on Saturday mornings when many more stalls are added around the Halles in the open air, so be sure to get there early!

Halles de Bayonne - the main market of Bayonne
Les Halles de Bayonne – by Lost in Bordeaux

Petit Bayonne – Discover the more local part of the city

This neighborhood is filled with charming streets and plenty of cool little cafes and restaurants with terraces overlooking the riverfront. As you meander through the small streets, you’ll see plenty of amazing street art everywhere so remember to take your camera!

Where to stay in Bayonne - le Petit Bayonne district
Le Petit Bayonne district – by Lost in Bordeaux

Some of my favorite food shops in the Petit Bayonne neighborhood include: 
Monsieur Txokola, Saloire Ibaialde, La Laiterie Marengo, and La Maison Du Gâteau Basque. 

You can read more about Le Petit Bayonne in my article about the best districts of Bayonne.

Jambon de Bayonne – taste it and learn about it

The famous jambon de Bayonne is cured and seasoned with local spices from Espelette, a town nearby where the spices grow in abundance. The ham is such a big part of Bayonne culture and tradition that they even have a Ham Festival that takes over the city every Easter.

While you’ll be able to try Jambon de Bayonne at nearly any bar or restaurant in town, the two places that you must visit are Sailoir Ibaialde in Petit Bayonne, who also offer tours, and, right in the city center, Musee du Jambon Aubard.

Sailoir Ibaialde - the best place to taste Jambon de Bayonne
A visit to Sailoir Ibaialde – by Lost in Bordeaux

Drink hot chocolate

Bayonne is famous for its chocolate because that’s where chocolate was first made in France before spreading out over the country, back in the day when this region was still known as old Gascony. It was brought over by Jews fleeing the Spanish Inquisition and today still, some of the best chocolate shops in the country can be traced back to Bayonne.

If you like hot chocolate, you absolutely have to visit Chocolat Cazenave, which dates back to 1854. Here they make the warm drink the traditional way it was made when it first arrived in Europe. Cazenave roasts their own beans and makes their own chocolate paste before melting it in warm milk and frothing them together for a delectable treat any time of day or night.

Chocolat Cazenave - the oldest chocolate shop in Bayonne
My kids enjoying Chocolat Cazenave’s hot chocolate

Buy a fancy chocolate home

Let’s stick with the sweet tooth theme!

There are amazing chocolate shops all over Bayonne, one of my favorites is Chocolaterie Puyodebat. I like to stop there and buy some artisanal chocolate bars to take home. They also have a Salon de chocolat, or a tea room, called La Tasse à Moustache, where you can try their amazing hot chocolate inside or on the terrace in the sunshine.

Chocolaterie Puyodebat - one of the best chocolate shops in Bayonne
Chocolaterie Puyodebat – by Lost in Bordeaux

If you are interested in discovering how chocolate is made, I recommend heading to the Petit Bayonne neighborhood to Monsieur Txokola where they do daily demonstrations of how they produce their amazing chocolate.

Street art in Bayonne

One way to get to know the city is by wandering around the charming little streets and photographing your favorite street art. Most of the interesting works are in the Petit Bayonne and Saint-Esprit neighborhoods. You can use the St’art application to discover some of the best street artworks in the city.

Stunning street art in Bayonne - one of the best things to do in Bayonne
Street art in Le Petit Bayonne – by Lost in Bordeaux

There’s also a festival dedicated to street art called Festival Points de Vue. if you’re in town while it’s on you’ll see all kinds of fun, new, open-air art installations across the city.

Go to a photography exhibition at Didam

One of the best cultural hotspots in Bayonne, Didam is the contemporary art museum in the city center that you can’t miss. They host fantastic photography exhibitions and they also hold workshops if you’re the artsy type. Check their website for opening times and tickets.

See an exhibition in  Didam in Bayonne
Photography in Didam in Bayonne – by Lost in Bordeaux

Take a walk along the quays

Bayonne has a great riverfront in all of its three touristy districts. There’s nothing like a stroll along the water to clear your head and open up the appetite!

In the city center in the Grand and Petit Bayonne districts, you’ll find plenty of restaurants and cafes where you can stop for a drink in the sunshine. If you go a bit further there are lovely calm, green promenades where you can walk or cycle in the fresh air away from the city buzz.

A walk along the riverfront in Bayonne
A walk along the riverfront in Bayonne – by Lost in Bordeaux

Taste cheese from one of the best cheese makers in the world

There’s an impressive amount of stunning cheese shops in Bayonne because just like most regions in France, this one is home to several specialty cheeses. But one cheese shop stands out above the rest and is a must-visit – Christophe Fromager.

Christophe Fromager - one of the best cheese shops in the Basque country
Christophe Fromager – by Lost in Bordeaux

Christophe was crowned the Vice Champion du Monde Fromager in 2017, meaning he basically came second in a global competition of cheesemongers. The shop is a testament to his experience, travels, and knowledge of local products as well as his fantastic connections with regional farmers.
From the moment you walk into the shop, you’ll be transported by the different smells and sights of hard, soft, smelly, aged, crumbly, flaky, creamy, and many more kinds of cheese. You’ll definitely want to buy some to take back to your accommodation and make a little cheese platter for apéro hour.

Do a Hawaiian canoe trip on the Adour and Nive Rivers

A uniquely fun way to discover a new city is by water. Take this boat tour for fun, adventure, and sightseeing all mixed into one!

The trip is made on Hawaiian pirogues, which are typical island boats, ideal for sailing in wide open spaces. It’s also very eco-friendly and great for the whole family. Kids over 7 are welcome and there is no specific fitness level required. During the trip, you’ll pass under the ancient bridges and admire Bayonne’s three main districts from the water.

Do a Hawaiian canoe trip on the Adour and Nive Rivers
Hawaiian canoe trip – photo by Pirogue & Surf

Take surfing lessons in Anglet

Anglet, Bayonne’s adjoining city to the south, is a great place for surfing lessons. With the Gliss Experience surf school you can do a couple of hours or a full day and you’ll learn to surf in the crashing waves on Cavalier Beach. Running from April to November, you can even enjoy the waves in the low season.

Surfing lessons in Anglet
Surfing lessons in Anglet – by Lost in Bordeaux

Visit Jardin Botanique

Next to the Chateau Vieux in Le Grand Bayonne, you’ll find lovely, peaceful botanical gardens. With a strong Japanese influence and beautiful landscaping, you can enjoy lovely views over the ramparts as the gardens are perched seven meters above them. It’s like a little green oasis in the middle of the city, and one of the reasons Bayonne has such a high “floral ranking” – the official French classification of how many flowers and plants decorate a city.

Enjoy a cycling tapas apero

Everyone knows that apéro or pre-dinner drinks are a major part of French culture. Why not try your apéro hour in Bayonne on a bike? Grab an electric bike on this tour and cycle around with an English-speaking guide who will stop to tell you a little about the city’s history and architecture before taking you to the waterfront for tapas and drinks.

If you prefer not to cycle, there are also a few great tapas bars in the center of Bayonne, such as the rooftop of OKKO Hotel, Ibaia, or Les Arcades.

Day trips from Bayonne

Bayonne can be a great base from which to discover the Basque country if you’re staying for a longer period of time. There is so much to see and do in the beautiful Basque country!

If you have a car, you’ll be able to visit a few of the hidden gems, but even if you don’t, there are plenty of places to visit by public transport. 

Biarritz 

Biarritz is a beautiful Basque town in the Biscay Bay on the Atlantic Ocean, known for its surfing beaches and lively atmosphere. Biarritz boasts impressive architecture and an amazing gastronomic scene, yet at the same time, it exudes a cozy, small-town energy, making it a perfect weekend destination. It’s so close to Bayonne that the two have merged together with Anglet in the middle and you can access it by public transport or by car. Here you can read more about what not to miss in Biarritz.

A perfect weekend in Biarritz

Saint-Jean-de-Luz

Located just 25km from Biarritz, Saint-Jean-de-Luz is one of the most charming destinations in the Basque country. The seaside town with its cozy atmosphere is sitting within a vast bay, facing the Atlantic Ocean. It boasts five beaches, so make sure to take your swimsuit!

It is renowned for its unique Basque architecture, where lively streets showcase the charm of the old town with vibrant half-timbered houses.

San Sebastian

Known as the foodie capital of the world, San Sebastian is located on the Spanish side of the Basque country and less than an hour’s drive from Bayonne. Boasting the highest number of Michel-starred restaurants per capita in the world, San Sebastian is the place to be for food lovers. But it’s not all chic and expensive – the city is filled with tiny pintxos, or tapas, bars where you can taste local delicacies for cheap.

There are also lovely beaches, surf schools, great museums and a beautiful historic old town where you can go shopping and see old churches.

Hendaye

Hendaye, the last town before crossing over the Spanish border, is located just a 30-minute drive from Bayonne. With great beaches and surf schools, it’s a fantastic place to visit with the family in summer. It’s also situated in a bay that creates a safe swimming zone without any huge waves or rip tides, making for a great family-friendly place to swim.

Vallée des Aldudes or Vallée de Baïgorry

This valley, set in the Pyrenees mountains, is breathtaking to see and delicious to taste because it’s also a foodie destination. With its winding river and towering mountains, you’ll want to stop at five little towns in this valley: Ossès, Saint-Etienne-de-Baïgorry, les Aldudes, Banca, and Urepel.

All the best things to do with kids in the French Basques country

Famous for the AOP Ossau-Iraty cheese, the AOP Kintoa ham, and the AOP Irouléguy wine, this region has everything you need to make the perfect apéro tasting platter! You can also do wonderful hikes with stunning views across the valley.

Getting there from Bayonne by car will take you just over an hour.

The best hotels in Bayonne:

I have a full article about the best neighborhoods in Bayonne and the best hotels to stay in each one. But here are three great ones to save you some time. 

Hôtel des Basses Pyrénées – Bayonne
This stunning 4-star hotel is situated right next to the famous Sainte Marie cathedral and is really central for your stay in Bayonne. With a stunning courtyard out front and a really good restaurant, you’ll be in the center of all the buzz.

Hôtel Villa KOEGUI Bayonne
Located just across the Nive River from the city center, this 4-star hotel is home to a restaurant with terrace seating, sauna and gym, and a great buffet breakfast. It’s within walking distance of everything you want to see in both the Petit and Grand Bayonne districts.

Boutique Hôtel Un Appart en Ville
If you prefer self-catering accommodation, this apartment offers you a little space and privacy as well as a kitchen. It’s very well-located, right in the center of Grand Bayonne, and you can even rent bikes right on the property!

Like the article? Want to read it again when you’re in the Basque Country? Save it on your Pinterest board.

Here are all my other Basques country-related articles to help you plan your trips:
Most beautiful villages in the French Basque country
Weekend in Biarritz
All the best things to do and eat in Biarritz
What to do in Espelette
A family trip to the French Basque country

You can also get plenty of tips on things to do in the Southwest of France via Lost in Bordeaux’s social media accounts and email list, check them out here:

Facebook |Instagram |Email | Facebook group

*Note – Some of the links in this article include affiliate links for which I earn a small commission. It adds absolutely nothing to your cost and helps me continue writing about this amazing region. Don’t worry, I’m not getting rich here, I’ll never recommend anything I don’t believe in 🙂 

Biarritz is one of the biggest towns in the French Basque country offering quite a few vibrant and charming neighborhoods for its visitors. I wrote this district guide to help people looking for a place to stay in Biarritz. For that, the tourist part of Biarrtiz was divided into three parts: the city center, the north of Biarritz/ and the south of Biarritz. I also added a few recommended hotels for every district mentioned in this article. I included both 3 and 4-star hotels and also one very luxurious option so that everyone can find something for their budget and needs.

Biarritz, of course, has many more neighborhoods than I mention here but since this article is predominantly written for tourists staying in Biarrtiz for just a few days/ weeks, I included only the most central neighborhoods. From any of these districts, it’ll be easy to discover all the amazing things Biarrtiz has to offer.

After you choose your hotel make sure that you read my article about the best things to do in Biarritz and a guide to a weekend in Biarritz.

Where to stay in the center of Biarritz 

While the center of Biarrtiz is by no means a big area, I decided to divide it into three parts as they have very different vibes to them. 

Port Vieux – the most beautiful part of Biarritz 

Popular for its charming atmosphere, nightlife scene, and great beach, Port Vieux is the most visited part of Biarritiz. The main attractions include Plage du Port Vieux, a lovely kids-friendly beach, and Rocher de la Vierge, offering stunning panoramic views of the coast. 

Port Vieux - the most beautiful part of Biarritz
Port Vieux in Biarritz – by Lost in Bordeaux

Around the Sainte-Eugénie Church, the streets are full of cafes and boutique shops, and a few minutes from the church you’ll find Le Port des Pêcheurs, one of the most romantic places in Biarritz. It is a little harbor built by Napoleon III in the 1800s and previously served the city’s fishermen. You can still find the fishermen’s little colorful houses, some serving as restaurants with a beautiful view of the boats docking at the port.

Recommended hotels in the Port Vieux neighborhood

Hôtel de La Plage
Just steps away from Plage du Vieux Port, the hotel offers a natural, peaceful atmosphere, with a prime ocean-facing view. With its comfortable rooms and an excellent continental breakfast, this is a great accommodation when you stay in Biarritz. Click here to book.

Résidence Vacances Bleues Le Grand Large – great for families!
If you’re traveling with kids this is a great option for you. It’s an apartment hotel with spacious rooms and a kitchen in every apartment, so if you rather cook than go out for dinner, this option is perfect. The high building itself is not extremely charming but the rooms are nice and the view is spectacular. It’s also perfectly located within a few minutes walk from all the restaurants and Plage Port Vieux. If it’s a bit cold outside for a beach day, the hotel offers a heated pool. Click here to book.

Hôtel Palmito
Just a stone’s throw away from the beach, the Palmito Hotel is a cozy, well-designed place. Its white and brown tones, palm trees on the walls, and wood and straw details give the vibe of a perfect summer vacation. Click here to book.

Les Halles – the most lively part of the city 

Les Halles is the lively heart of the city, centered around Marché aux Halles, Biarritz’s main market, and one of the best attractions this city has to offer. This bustling market, housed in a charming Art Deco building built in 1885 has since become a gastronomic institution. You can find here the best regional delicacies, fresh produce, artisanal treats, and even amazing coffee. 

Around Les Halles de Biarritz - one of the liveliest parts of Biarritz
Around the market – one of the liveliest parts of Biarritz – by Lost in Bordeaux

When visiting Les Halles you should also check out the Jardin Public, which provides a peaceful green space for relaxation after a day of sightseeing. Lastly, this area is also the main nightlife spot of Biarritz, with lots of bars and clubs to explore. 

Recommended hotels in the market area: 

Ama Hotel 
If you like to stay in the heart of the city, this stylish hotel is a lovely option. It was designed by Basque architect Raymond Larrebat Tudor, and its design reflects a blend of Basque heritage and modern comfort. Located just a few minutes from the beach and the casino, the Ama Hotel is perfect for those looking to be close to everything Biarritz has to offer. Click here to book.

Hôtel & Espace Bien-être La Maison du Lierre
This urban 3-star hotel is Situated only 300 meters from the beach and a short walk from Biarritz’s convention centers, market, and train station. The hotel’s Well-being Space offers access to sauna and spa treatments, which makes it ideal for those seeking a pampering retreat in a central location, whether with family or for a relaxing getaway. Click here to book.

Hotel Villa Koegui
If you usually love to stay in boutique hotels, Villa Koegui Biarritz is a great option. The 4-star hotel is located very close to the beach and the main market of Biarritz. If you book the breakfast option you get to enjoy it in their lovely garden. Just one issue, the shower opens to the bedroom, meaning that it doesn’t have a separate door (I know it’s an issue for some people). But other than that it’s a great cozy hotel with great staff and service. Click here to book.

Grande Plage – the posh and the most touristy part of the city 

Surrounding the main beach, the area is known as the posh and touristy part of Biarritz, featuring the city’s iconic casino, and a bustling shopping area. The Grand Plage is a wide and popular beach and is in proximity to many hotels in Biarritz which makes it very crowded in the summer. For those seeking the city beach ambiance and not particularly inclined towards surfing, this spot is an ideal place to relax during your stay in Biarritz.

The Casino on the Grande Plage of Biarritz
The Casino on the Grande Plage of Biarritz – by Lost in Bordeaux

Grande Plage is a great area for restaurants and amazing local chocolatiers. If you’re seeking a lively and vibrant atmosphere with plenty of amenities and attractions within walking distance, this is a don’t-miss for you!

Recommended hotels: 

Hôtel Le Windsor
This 4-star hotel is located right on the main beach of Biarritz with an amazing view of the ocean. It’s situated in what used to be a private mansion and has a very elegant white design. This hotel is perfect for couples on a romantic vacation 🙂 Click here to book.

Hôtel Le Café de Paris
If you enjoy gourmet luxurious experiences, this 4-star gem is for you. With a restaurant overseen by Michelin-starred chef Cédric Béchade, and a viewpoint from every room on Place Bellevue and the sea, it’s the perfect spot for a memorable stay in Biarritz. Click here to book.

Hôtel du Palais Biarritz – the fanciest hotel in Biarrtiz 
Most of us can’t afford this one, but it is really the best hotel in Biarritz so I have to mention it here 🙂 Hôtel du Palais Biarritz is the epitome of luxury and elegance, perched overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Founded in 1854 as the former imperial residence of Napoleon III, it offers a high-prestige experience. offering exquisite dining options and spoiling wellness packages, it’s a real dream destination for those looking to indulge in a lavish getaway. Click here to book.

Bibi Beaurivage – the surfers’ district of Biarritz 

Nestled above the renowned Côte des Basques Beach, Bibi Beaurivage is a haven for surf enthusiasts and beach lovers alike that exudes a laid-back vibe and vibrant energy. 

As you stroll through the quaint streets lined with charming fisherman cottages, you’ll feel the unique spirit of Bibi Beaurivage. Here, locals, surfers, and holidaymakers gather at the iconic Etxola Bibi café, where rosé flows freely, hearty tapas are savored, and a breathtaking beach view unfolds before your eyes. 

Etxola Bibi- great place for a beer with a view of the Côte des Basques beach in Biarritz
Etxola Bibi- great place for a beer with a view of the Côte des Basques beach

With its proximity to surfing schools, cool surfers’ bars, and the bustling city center, Bibi Beaurivage offers the perfect blend of tranquility and vitality for your stay in the Basque Country.

Recommended hotels in the Bibi Beaurivage district: 

Surf Lodge Chambre d’hôtes
Conveniently located near Cote des Basques Beach, this bed and breakfast accommodation offers quiet street views and a fully equipped kitchen in the rooms. The lodge is within walking distance of Plage Marbella and Plage Milady, making it a convenient choice for beach lovers in Biarritz. Click here to book.

Best Western Kemaris
A lovely 3–star hotel situated in a typical French Basque house. It’s located just a few minutes walk from the surfing beach and about 10 minutes walk from all the shops and restaurants in the city center. The rooms are very bright and the design is quite minimalist (in a good way). Click here to book.

Casaviel – a bit farther away near the Milady beachLocated in one of the oldest farms in Biarritz, close to the beaches and the ocean, the Casaviel guest house has an elegant and authentic style, that maintains the original architecture of the 17th-century building. This gem is hosted by Diane and Lucas, avid surfers, who offer excellent homemade breakfasts, a warm welcome, and personalized recommendations for their guests.  Click here to book.

Saint Charles and the Phare – the more quite posh neighborhood

Saint Charles and the Phare offer a quieter and upscale atmosphere, characterized by beautiful architecture and stunning views from the lighthouse area. Visitors can explore charming boutiques and cafes while enjoying the tranquil surroundings of this picturesque neighborhood.

The beautiful Regina hotel in Biarritz
The beautiful Regina hotel in Biarritz – by Lost in Bordeaux

Recommended hotels:

Regina Experimental Biarritz
Le Regina is a marvelous 5-star hotel situated in a 1907 Belle Epoque building with an amazing Art Deco lobby. Besides the beautiful design, it has great amenities such as a big outdoor pool, a spa, a chef’s restaurant, and more. The hotel is located between the main beach and Biarritz’s famous lighthouse. It’s very close to the main shopping street and about 20 minutes walk from the main market and the old port. Click here to book.

Le Garage Biarritz Hôtel
Once a prestigious garage for vintage cars, and today a 4-star luxurious hotel, Le Garage Biarritz Hôtel embodies the essence of Biarritz’s coastal charm. With its raw and refined style, and panoramic sea views, a colorful vintage spirit infuses every corner. The big terrasse and the outdoor swimming pool offer serene spaces to unwind and to “recharge your batteries”, and its location just steps away from the ocean promises an amazing coastal experience. Click here to book.

Here are all my other Basques country-related articles to help you plan your trips:
Most beautiful villages in the French Basque country
Weekend in Biarritz
All the best things to do and eat in Biarritz
What to do in Espelette
A family trip to the French Basque country

You can also get plenty of tips on things to do in the Southwest of France via Lost in Bordeaux’s social media accounts and email list, check them out here:

Facebook |Instagram |Email | Facebook group

*Note – Some of the links in this article include affiliate links for which I earn a small commission. It adds absolutely nothing to your cost and helps me continue writing about this amazing region. Don’t worry, I’m not getting rich here, I’ll never recommend anything I don’t believe in 🙂 

Bayonne serves as the capital of the French Basque country and stands as the largest city in the region, boasting a population of 50,000 residents. While not classified as a small town by Basque standards, its relatively compact and cozy center makes it an ideal destination for tourists. If you’re seeking accommodations in Bayonne, this article offers a comprehensive guide to the best neighborhoods and hotels/accommodations available in each.

Before we start here are a few other articles you might like if you’re planning a trip to the Basque country: Beautiful villages in the French Basques, Weekend in Biarritz, All the best things to do and eat in Biarritz.

Where to stay in Bayonne, let’s go!

Le Grand Bayonne  – the most historic and central district

Nestled along the banks of the Adour and the Nive rivers, the Grand Bayonne neighborhood in Bayonne exudes an irresistible charm steeped in history and culture. Its labyrinthine streets are adorned with colorful half-timbered wood buildings, quaint cafes, and artisanal shops, inviting visitors to wander and explore at leisure. 

Grand Bayonne is the most ancient neighborhood of Bayonne and as such it harbors most of the monuments in the city. Among them, you’ll find the beautiful building of the city hall and the theatre, le Château Vieux, and the majestic Cathedral of Sainte-Marie, a stunning Gothic masterpiece dating back to the 13th century.

The vibrant streets of Le Grand Bayonne district
Le Grand Bayonne – by Lost in Bordeaux

Grand Bayonne’s vibrant atmosphere is further enriched by its bustling market and the gastronomic richness of cheese, chocolate, and ham shops. At lunch time locals gather here to sample fresh produce and regional delicacies. With its picturesque scenery and rich heritage, Grand Bayonne offers a captivating glimpse into the soul of this enchanting Basque city.

If you’re looking to stay in the most central part of Bayonne, Le Grand Bayonne is the place. Here are a few recommended hotels in Le Grand Bayonne.

Hôtel & Restaurant Des Basses Pyrénées a 4-star hotel located in the heart of Bayonne, a few minutes walk from the Cathedral. Housed within a beautifully restored building, the hotel exudes a timeless elegance, blending traditional architecture with modern comforts. The hotel features one of the best restaurants in Bayonne, called le Restaurant des Basses Pyrénées. 
Book your stay here

Hôtel & Restaurant Des Basses Pyrénées  in Bayonne
Hôtel & Restaurant Des Basses Pyrénées – by Lost in Bordeaux

Libertitu – charming apartment and rooms in Bayonne, located within a 3-minute walk from the heart of the historic center of Bayonne. You can choose between a double and triple room and a big apartment for 9 people. The place also offers free parking. Book your stay here

Hôtel Le BayonneThis 4-star hotel is located slightly out of the historic center, but within a few minutes walk to the Quai Amiral Jaureguiberry with all its terrasse restaurants. This is a great option for families as the hotel has bigger rooms and features an outdoor pool.
Book your stay here

Other good hotels in Le Grand Bayonne are: Le Grand Hotel (Mercure), Hotel Le Port Neuf and Miradour City Break.

Le Petit Bayonne – the young and cool part of Bayonne 

Cross the Nive River to the other side and you’ll find yourself in Le Petit Bayonne, one of the most popular districts in Bayonne. The small neighborhood is positioned at the confluence of the Adounr and Nive rivers, positioning it in a prime location. In Just a few minutes walk you can get to the main market in Le Grande Bayonne or the train station in the Saint Esprit neighborhood. 

Its narrow cobblestone streets are lined with colorful Basque-style houses adorned with traditional timber frames, creating a picturesque backdrop for exploration. This vibrant district is renowned for its lively atmosphere and eclectic mix of cafes, bars, and boutiques. Along the riverfront of the Nive, looking over the Grand Bayonne, you’ll discover a string of restaurants and tapas bars, where locals and tourists love to sit on sunny days. 

Where to stay in Bayonne - le Petit Bayonne district
Le Petit Bayonne district – by Lost in Bordeaux

The university is also located here, as well as the Basque Museum and the Bonnat Museum (currently undergoing renovation). In general, Le Petit Bayonne is the more arty, vibrant, and youthful part of town and I would even call it the hipster side of Bayonne. 

Here are a few recommended hotels in Le Petit Bayonne.

Hôtel Villa KOEGUI – one of the best hotels in Bayonne is located here in le Petit Bayonne. Hôtel Villa Koegui is an elegant 4-star hotel featuring a sauna, a small gym, and a gastronomic restaurant. 
Book your stay here.

Hôtel Villa KOEGUI - one of the best hotels in Bayonne
Hôtel Villa KOEGUI in Bayonne – by Lost in Bordeaux

Basque villaIf you traveling with a big family or a group of friends you can enjoy this beautiful Basque villa that is located a few minutes walk from the center of Le Petit Bayonne. The villa offers four big rooms and a cute garden where you can have a BBQ in the evenings.
Book the villa here.

Villa la Renaissance – If you don’t mind walking about 20 minutes to get to the center, this stunning hotel is a great option. The rooms of the hotels are beautifully decorated and you have a pool for the hot summer days in Bayonne.
Book your stay at Villa la Renaissance here.

Saint Esprit 

Saint Esprit is a historic neighborhood situated on the north banks of the Adour River and where the Bayonne train station is located. Saint Esprit is connected to the historic center (Le Petit Bayonne and Le Grand Bayonne) by the eponymous bridge. This is where most of the more affordable hotels are situated so it’s a great option if you’re on a budget. 

Steeped in centuries of rich heritage, Saint Esprit boasts a fascinating tapestry of cultural influences, from its origins as a medieval village to its vibrant present-day community. Founded in the 12th century, this village was once an autonomous municipality called Saint-Esprit-lès-Bayonne, attached to the Dax district in the Landes region. Initially inhabited by monks of the Hospitaller Order of the Holy Spirit, hence the neighborhood’s name. It also became home to Sephardic Jews fleeing the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions in the late 15th and 16th centuries. It wasn’t until the 19th century that Saint Esprit became a part of Bayonne. 

In this district, we can find several important historic monuments like the Citadel of Vauban and the synagogue (although neither one of them can be visited). But the neighborhood is mostly interesting for its artistic side. Here you can find some of the best street art in Bayonne, as well as DIDAM, the cultural center dedicated to photography. Just next to DIDAM, don’t miss the independent Cinéma L’Atalante with its cute café.

Saint Esprit district in Bayonne
Saint Esprit district in Bayonne – by Lost in Bordeaux

Saint Esprit is a relatively big district but I suggest that you stay closer to the river, around the Saint Esprit bridge.
Here are a few recommended hotels in the Saint Esprit district.

Péniche DJEBELLE – the most special option on this list, sleeping on a traditional boat. There are two deluxe rooms on this boat, that come with private bathrooms. In the morning you can have a fabulous breakfast on the terrasse. 

Book your stay here.

ibis Styles – Ibis is located just next to the Saint Esprit Bridge in a stunning building with a view of the Adour River.  The hotel has 45 rooms in different sizes, making it a great option for single travelers, couples, and families.
Book your room here.

Here are all my other Basques country-related articles to help you plan your trips:
Most beautiful villages in the French Basque country
Weekend in Biarritz
All the best things to do and eat in Biarritz
What to do in Espelette
A family trip to the French Basque country

You can also get plenty of tips on things to do in the Southwest of France via lost in Bordeaux’s social media accounts and email list, check them out here:

Facebook |Instagram |Email | Facebook group

*Note – Some of the links in this article include affiliate links for which I earn a small commission. It adds absolutely nothing to your cost and helps me continue writing about this amazing region. Don’t worry, I’m not getting rich here, I’ll never recommend anything I don’t believe in 🙂 

The beautiful and unique French Basque country is a fantastic region for a fun family holiday. Many travelers are more familiar with the Basque country across the border in Spain, and while this article contains a couple of suggestions on the Spanish border, I mostly explore the French side of this famous region.

If you’re planning a family trip to the Basque country in the most southwestern part of France, you’ve come to the right place. Please note that many of the attractions mentioned below are closed during the winter months, so if you’re traveling out of season, be sure to check the relevant websites.

If you’re looking for family-friendly accommodation, you will find them at the end of this article. And if you’re traveling soon and still haven’t booked any activities, you may want to do it now to ensure availability.

Here are some of the best activities in the region requiring prior reservation.
Surfing lessons for kids in Biarrtiz
Rafting on the Nive river
E-bilke family guided tour

What to do on a family vacation in the Basque Country

Go to the beach 

There are plenty of amazing beaches on this stretch of coastline, perfect for long walks, surfing, tanning, swimming, and other fun summer activities. Locals enjoy the beaches year-round and many are totally safe for kids. Hendaye, Saint-Jean-de-Luz, and Ciboure are all situated in bays that create safe swimming zones without any huge waves or rip tides, making for great family-friendly places to swim. 

A kids friendly beach in Saint Jean de Luz, the Basque country
The central beach of Saint Jean de Luz – by Lost in Bordeaux

If you’re staying in Biarrtiz, try Plage du Port Vieux, one of the most beautiful and kids-friendly beaches in the French Basque country. If you don’t mind traveling a bit, Hossegor Lake is an amazing place for kids. 

In summer there are lifeguards keeping an eye on swimmers and even beach clubs where your children can learn to swim (depending on their age).

Learn to surf

The French Basque county is a surfers’ heaven and if your kids are in the mood to learn surfing you’re in the region place. There are many surf schools in places like Bidard, Biarritz, and Hossegor, which are all considered the surfing hubs of the Basque country.

surfing schools for kids in the Basque country
Take surfing lessons on the Basque coast – by Lost in Bordeaux

You have quite a lot of options here, from group lessons to surf camp which is where you take a few days’ worth of intensive lessons and hopefully come out the other side a pro! This five-day surfing course in Anglet (near Biarrtiz) is a great opportunity for kids over 7 years old to be experts in surfing.  

However, if you’re pressed for time, there are private teachers who can give your kid the basics of surfing in a couple of hours.
If you’re staying in Biarrtiz, La Vague Basque is a great surfing school offering both private and group lessons. In Bidard, Taiba Surf Club is a fantastic school for 8-year-olds and older. Aquality school in Bidard is a great option for smaller kids who want to try surfing for the first time. And finally, if you’re staying closer to Hossegor in Les Landes, Watermansports is great for 6yo and up.

Aquarium in Biarritz

One of the most well-known kids’ attractions in the Basque country is the lovely Biarritz aquarium. Your kids will marvel at the wide variety of sea creatures, from the tiniest starfish to imposing sharks. You can watch the staff feed the seals in the outside pool or feed the sharks in the tanks, which is always a fun experience for children.
You can book your tickets here.

Rafting down the Nive River 

If you want an unforgettable experience in the Basque nature, rafting is one of the best options. The Nive is a river that starts in Bayonne and passes through beautiful villages like Itxassou and Bidarray.

There are rafting companies in the French Basque country. One that I can recommend is NCKD which is located in Itxassou (not far from Biarrtiz), an ideal starting point for a rafting adventure on the Nive River. They offer three rafting adventures (from one hour to a full day) for adults and kids over 10 yo. 

Rafting down the Nive River near Biarritz – photo by NCKD

Another option for smaller kids (8yo and up) is rafting on the Ouse River near Pau. The rafting adventure is offered by Parc Aquasports which is located in Bizanos. You can book it here.

Kids will love this activity and it’s very safe with all the necessary gear being provided by the local companies!

Take the train to La Rhune Mountain 

Inland from Saint-Jean-de-Luz and near the Spanish border you’ll find La Rhune train station and tracks. Take a ride and experience the magnificent view over both the French and the Spanish sides of the Basque country. You and your family can also do a hike there!
The train station from where you take the train is located just next to Sare, one of the most beautiful villages in the Basque country. The train operates from April to the beginning of November.

Visit the caves of Sare

Another fun attraction in Sare is its famous caves. You can explore the caves carved out of the cliffside, the megalithic park, and the museum which explains the history of human evolution and is a great educational outing for kids.

Les Grottes de Sare is open almost all year long, It closes only for a few weeks after Christmas break.

Parc Animalier Etxola 

Staying in the Sare region, we have the fantastic Parc Animalier Etxola. A visit to this animal park is one of the best things to do with kids in the Basque country, especially if you’re traveling with little ones.

You’ll get to see uncommon domesticated animals, some of which are endangered. Think different types of sheep, camels, lamas, Basque pigs, ducks, and buffalo. There are also pony rides available for children and a place to eat on-site. It’s a guaranteed family fun outing! The park is closed in the winter and usually opens up at the end of March.

If you’re looking for a zoo, you can try the Labenne Zoo which is located just north of the Basque country, about 30 minutes drive from Biarrtiz.

Skateboarding lessons in Bayonne

Do your kids express interest in skating? A vacation in the Basque country can be an amazing opportunity to kickstart their skateboarding journey or refine their skills!
Andrea is a highly qualified instructor and avid skateboarder in Bayonne and he’s passionate about sharing his expertise with enthusiasts of all levels. He offers 60 to 90-minute skating classes for kids over 6 yo. You can choose between joining a group or taking a private lesson – see all the details here.

Route du Fromage – Visit a cheese producer farm

France is famous for cheese, and each region has its own specialty. The Basque country is known for Ossau-Iraty, a pressed, unpasteurized, and absolutely delicious sheep’s milk cheese. 

There are more than 20 cheese-producing farms in the French Basques that are open for visits and it’s a really great activity to do with kids. Some farms just sell cheese, others offer tours where you can see the sheep and taste the cheese and some even have guest houses and you can sleep there! Visiting a farm is always a great experience with kids because it’s eye-opening and can give us a deeper appreciation for our food.

Here you can find all the farms you can visit on the famous Basque cheese route. If you’re a big group of people I recommend taking the French Basque Country Farms & Food Tour offered by the Txiki Combi (a company that offers plenty of fun tours in the French Basques.

Atelier du Piment d'Espelette
Atelier du Piment d’Espelette and ossau Iraty – by Lost in Bordeaux

Hike with kids on the The Ursuya mountain 

Why not make time for a beautiful, kid-friendly hike during your Basque break? Whether you like mountain hikes or coastline walks with views of the sea, there is something for everyone. Simply check this website for the best trails for all ages.

If you’re looking for a guided hike, Laëti’tes Balades is a great local company that offers family-guided tours in the French Basque. They have this fun half day guided hike near Saint Jean de Luz you can join with your kids.

Le Château des Enigmes – Château de Laàs

Next on our list of family-friendly places in the Basque country is the Château des Enigmes. Offering group games like scavenger hunts around the whole domain, an escape game, treehouses, and even a magic school, this is a fun outing for kids of all ages. You can also visit the château and walk around the parks and gardens. Be sure to check the website for opening times during the year!

Château d’Abbadie (Abbadia, le Château Observatoire)

Another idea for family fun in the Basque country is to visit one of the most beautiful castles in the region, Château d’Abbadie. All the rooms are very well preserved and the visit is spectacular. They also have great activities for kids, like family treasure hunts and science workshops.

Château d’Abbadie is located in Hendaye, just next to the Spanish border and it’s open almost all year long, except three weeks in January – see the opening hours here.

Château d'Abbadie - the most beautiful castle in the French Basque county
The entrance to Château d’Abbadie – by Lost in Bordeaux

Bid’A Parc

Bid’A Parc is a great amusement park for the little ones! With plenty of rides, roller coasters, games, and activities, it’s like a mini Disneyland in the heart of the Basque country. There are numerous food options available, including restaurants and shady picnic spots if you prefer to bring your own food. This amusement park is a must-visit with kids of all ages, so check out their website and make sure you plan a stop there!

Bid’A Parc is located in Bidard, a few minutes drive from Biarritz and it opens for the season at the end of March. You can’t buy tickets online.

WOWPARK 

Closer to the Spanish border in Urrugne we have the WOWPARK, also called, Le Plus Grand Parc de Loisirs Aventure. Advertised as a fun park with plenty of games and activities for people from ages 2 to 12, WOWPark is the perfect place for outdoor fun. You and your kids alike will have plenty of fun climbing, crossing, crawling, exploring and sliding throughout the adventure park. The park is open from April to August. 

Go to the Saint-Pée lake

Lac de Saint-Pée-Sur-Nivelle is a leisure park with tons of fun activities like Stand Up Paddling, inflatable water parks,w and much more. It’s definitely worth a detour on your Basque country road trip. You and your family can spend all day on the beach of the lake, each one doing the activities he or she enjoys, and you can meet up for lunch under the trees.

Taste chocolate in Bayonne 

Bayonne, the capital of the French Basque country is also known as the French chocolate capital. The charming city abounds with stunning chocolate shops and hot chocolate cafés. The oldest and most famous is Chocolat Cazenave, with its beautiful cups of hot chocolate. Another fun stop is the Chocolate museum, where you and your kids can learn all about the art of chocolate making.

La foret aux lapins

One very cute place for little kids is the Bunny Forest or La fôret aux lapins. You’ll find a variety of wild and domesticated rabbits and hares, Guinea pigs, and a great presentation of local plant life.
The forest is located in Itxassou, a beautiful Basque village, and is open all year long.

Family-friendly hotels – where to stay with kids in the Basque country

The French Basque country is spread over a rather small region so no matter where you decide to stay, you should be able to get to any of the places I mentioned within less than an hour. On my many visits to the Basque county with my kids I had the chance to stay in very different parts of the region. We had an amazing time on the coast near Saint Jean de Luz in the summer and enjoyed the city vibe of Bayonne in the winter. In the spring and fall I really love staying in the mountains or the inland stunning villages, around Ustarritz. 

All of these places have their charm so you can’t really go wrong here. 

If you rather be closer to the Atlantic coast these are great places to stay with kids: Boutique hôtel Maria-Christina, Domaine de Bordaberry, Irigoan vert

Staying inland will help you discover more of the stunning countryside of the Pays Basque, here are a few recommended accommodations for families: Le Moulin de Pascale, Les Villas d’Harri-Xuria, Etxe Goxoan chambres d’hôtes, Domaine Xixtaberri.

Hope you enjoyed my Basque country family guide! Share it with your friends who are looking for a fun summer destination.

If you’re a big family or traveling with friends, here are a few great larger accommodations you will probably like: Maison dans la Prairie, Les Matitis.

family trip to the French Basque country
With my family in Bayonne

Here are all my other Basques country-related articles to help you plan your trips:
Most beautiful villages in the French Basque country
Weekend in Biarritz
All the best things to do and eat in Biarritz
What to do in Espelette

You can also get plenty of tips on things to do in the Southwest of France via lost in Bordeaux’s social media accounts and email list, check them out here:

Facebook |Instagram |Email | Facebook group

*Note – Some of the links in this article include affiliate links for which I earn a small commission. It adds absolutely nothing to your cost and helps me continue writing about this amazing region. Don’t worry, I’m not getting rich here, I’ll never recommend anything I don’t believe in 🙂 

Biarritz is a beautiful Basque town in the Biscay Bay on the Atlantic Ocean, known for its surfing beaches and lively atmosphere. Biarritz boasts impressive architecture and an amazing gastronomic scene, yet at the same time, it exudes a cozy, small-town energy, making it a perfect weekend destination.

This article is my Biarrtiz Weekend Guide, featuring all the information about the best surfing beaches, bars with the best view, tours you can take and so much more. Whether on a solo surfing weekend, a romantic gateway, or a family trip, my guide has everything you need to know to plan the perfect weekend in Biarrtiz.

How to spend a weekend in Biarrtiz
A Weekend in Biarritz – by Lost in Bordeaux

If you have more than a weekend in Biarrtiz and want to discover everything this town and its surroundings offer, I recommend you also check my article about the 25 best things to do and eat in Biarrtiz. And now let’s start our splendid weekend in Biarrtiz!

How to spend a weekend in Biarritz

A weekend in Biarritz Day 1 – the center and north of Biarritz

On your first day in Biarritz, you’ll be discovering its lively center and focusing on the food and the stunning architecture, which is what makes Biarrtiz so attractive in my opinion. You will explore various neighborhoods in the city center, savor local delicacies, and take in the breathtaking coastline view of Biarritz.

But first, coffee! For all my fellow coffee addicts, if you need a dose of caffeine or a proper breakfast before you start this busy day, I highly recommend going to Milwaukee Café. This place has a very Californian feel to it which shouldn’t come as a surprise as Biarritz is often referred to as French California for surfers. 

Milwaukee Café. - one of the best coffee places in Biarritz
Milwaukee Café in Biarrtiz – by Lost in Bordeaux

Now that you’re awake and well-fed we can start our beautiful first day in Biarrtiz!

Discover the lively streets in the center of Biarrtiz 

Biarritz boasts a bustling city center adorned with a myriad of restaurants, chocolate shops, and charming boutiques. Despite its compact size, the city center unfolds a diverse array of neighborhoods and architectural styles. You can spend the morning meandering through the enchanting Belle Époque boulevards and weaving through the narrow streets adorned with traditional Basque houses. As there are quite a lot of interesting details to absorb here, I highly recommend taking a guided tour

Belle Epoque architecture in the center of Biarritz
A tour of Biarritz – by Lost in Bordeaux

Whether you join a guided tour or not, try to leave yourself some time to just wander the streets and soak the atmosphere. To guide you, I want to mention a few streets and places you shouldn’t miss in the center of Biarrtiz.

If you started the day at the coffee I mentioned earlier, take a few steps towards Place Georges Clemenceau. This is one of the lavish parts of town where you will find some of the best chocolate shops and patisserie places in Biarritz, here are a few to try.

Maison Adam – The oldest pâtissier and chocolatier in Biarrtiz, has been making sweet delicacies since the 17th century.  Don’t miss their amazing Basque cakes and the original Basque macarons. Chocolaterie Henriet – one of the most beautiful chocolate shops in Biarritz. Chocolaterie Puyodebat where you can also sit on a cup of hot chocolate or coffee. Also on Place Georges Clemenceau, don’t miss the Librairie Bookstore, a beautiful bookstore that is designed like an old cinema theater. 

Maison Adam - The oldest pâtissier and chocolatier in Biarrtiz
Maison Adam – by Lost in Bordeaux

From here you can continue to Place Bellevue to admire the stunning view of the Grande Plage, the central beach of Biarrtiz. If you’re in the mood to walk on the sand or to go for a dip in the sea you can take the path down to the beach. 

The view of the Grande Plage of Biarritz
Grande Plage in Biarritz – by Lost in Bordeaux

Otherwise, go back to Place Georges Clemenceau and take Rue Mazagran, a small street with boutiques that will lead you to the Port Vieux district, my favorite part of Biarrtiz. It’s a tiny neighborhood, nestled along the coast of Biarrtiz, but with plenty of things to discover.

For now, take some time to stroll the streets around Place Sainte-Eugénie, where the big church of Biarrtiz by the same name is located. If you have only a very short time in Biarrtiz you can continue from here straight to two of the most beautiful places in Biarrtiz: Port des Pecheurs and Rocher de La Vierge. However, if you continue following this guide skip it for now, we’ll go back to them later, because now it’s time for some Basque food.  

Les Halles de Biarritz – the market of Biarritz

It’s now time to discover the gastronomic side of Biarrtiz and for that,  we must go to the belly of the city, its main market. Marché aux Halles, built in 1855, is one of the most popular places in Biarrtiz, where locals come for their daily shopping, lunch, and apero. Here you’ll find the best regional delicacies, fresh produce, artisanal treats, and even amazing coffee. 

The best way to discover the market is by taking a food tour, especially if you’re not yet familiar with Basque cuisine. But you can also just stroll the market and try delicacies like charcuterie, oysters, sheep cheese, and basque cakes with cherry jam. Around the market, you’ll find plenty of local restaurants and tapas bars, perfect for your first Basque lunch.

Marché aux Halles - the gastronomic heart of Biarrtiz
Marché aux Halles – by Lost in Bordeaux

The market tends to be very busy, especially on weekends, so try to come as early as you can. Les Halles de Biarritz is open daily from 7:30 to 14:00 and also from 18:00 to 21:00 from mid-July to the 3rd week of August.

La Belle Epoque – Discover the northern part of Biarritz 

After your lunch at the market, it’s time for some walking again. We are going to spend the afternoon exploring the northern part of Biarrtiz. From the market go back to Place Clemenceau and Avenie Edouard VII, an elegant boulevard, known for its designer boutiques. On the way to our next destination, the lighthouse of Biarrtiz, you can explore some of Biarrtiz’s spectacular architecture. if you rather stay close to the beach, you can do most of the walk along the beach, passing the two main beaches Grand Plage and Plage Miramar.

Plage Miramar - one of the central beaches of Biarritz
Plage Miramar – by Lost in Bordeaux

During the 19th century, Biarritz emerged as a sought-after retreat for European royalty and the elite, resulting in the creation of opulent beachfront hotels. The buildings in this quarter boast grand entrances and elaborate facades, particularly evident in the architecture of the expansive boulevards and squares along the central beach. These structures serve as a testament to the enduring elegance of the Belle Époque style that flourished during that distinguished era.

If you’re interested in the historical and architectural aspects of Biarritz I highly recommend booking a guided tour as there are a lot of hidden gems you might miss. 

If you don’t have the time or will to go on a tour, just grab a map from your hotel of the tourist office which is located in the same area, on Sq. d’Ixelles. There are two buildings you should not miss on your walk:  

Hotel du Palais - the most beautiful building in Biarritz
Hotel du Palais – by Lost in Bordeaux

Hotel du Palais which was the summer palace of Eugénie (the last French empress) and is located between the Grande Plage and Plage Miramar. Chapelle Imperiale which was Eugénie’s private chapel. If you have time, visit the chapel to see its beautiful interior. During the tourist season, the opening hours are Thursday and Saturday (14-18).

 See the view from the Lighthouse (Le Phare)

If you reach the Hotel du Palais and want to continue discovering the Biarritz and its stunning landscape by foot continue to the Biarrtiz lighthouse. On the way, you can pass by Plage Miramar or discover a more local neighborhood, Saint Charles, with its lovely food boutiques.

See the view from the Lighthouse of Biarritz (Le Phare)
The view from the lighthouse of Biarritz – by Lost in Bordeaux –

The lighthouse is located in the northern part of the coast of Biarritz and rises to a height of 73 meters above sea level. The view from the lighthouse is mesmerizing, especially on a sunny day. Climb the 248 steps of the lighthouse and you’ll get to enjoy the sweeping of the entire coastline and the city center. See the opening hours of the lighthouse here.

Another fun way to enjoy this view is taking a helicopter ride over the skies of Biarritz and flying over the large sandy beaches and the villages nearby. See all the details here.

It’s now time to go back to the city center. You can either follow your steps and walk back or you can take the free shuttles run by the city of Biarritz. It has three lines and the green one operates between the lighthouse and the city center. See more info here.

Plage Port Vieux

As promised, we are back at the Port Vieux district in the center of Bordeaux. It’s time to go to the beach or for a drink! If you take the green shuttle you can go down at the Gambetta-  Mazagran station. From rue Mazagran continue to rue du Port Vieux until you reach Esplanade du Port Vieux from where you see a beautiful beach nestled between two cliffs. 

Plage port vieux - the best beach for kids in Biarritz
Plage port vieux – for a safe swim – by Lost in Bordeaux

This is Plage Port Vieux, the smallest and in my opinion, the prettiest beach in Biarritz. It is also considered the safest beach in the city, which attracts many families here on hot days.  If you don’t want to swim, just enjoy the view with a drink.

Several spots along the Esplanade provide stunning views accompanied by cocktails and delectable snacks. One of my favorite one favorite ones is the rooftop of the Le Hotel de la Plage which has a great menu throughout most of the day. Another great place for a drink is Eden Rock Café, which often also has a DJ set.

 The rooftop of the Le Hotel de la Plage
The rooftop of the Le Hotel de la Plage

The Aquarium of Biarritz

The Aquarium is a perfect way to spend the afternoon if you have kids, otherwise, just skip this part and continue reading the list. 

The Biarritz Aquarium (also known as the Musée de la Mer) is located in an art-deco building next to Rocher de la Vierge. The museum includes huge aquariums with fish, sharks, and seals. You can also learn about the history of whales in Biarritz through a series of exhibits. You can buy the tickets online and if you’re also planning to visit the Cité de l’Océan I recommend purchasing the combined ticket.

Rocher de la Vierge 

From here you can continue to the most famous landmark of Biarritz!

Perched on the dramatic cliffs of Biarritz, the Rocher de la Vierge emerges as a mesmerizing natural landmark and cultural symbol. Previously used as a platform for whale-watching it is now one of Biarrtiz’s more recognizable spots. Translated as the “Rock of the Virgin,” this site owes its name to the statue of the Virgin Mary standing on the top of the rock.

Rocher de la Vierge - a must visit in Biarritz
Rocher de la Vierge – by Lost in Bordeaux

Accessible by a scenic footbridge, the Rocher de la Vierge offers breathtaking panoramic views of the Bay of Biscay and Côte des Basques (the surfing coastline). The sound of crashing waves against the rocks adds a symphonic backdrop to the sensory experience. The view gets particularly stunning around sunset time, but it’s a magnificent spot to visit any time of the day.

A drink or a dinner with an amazing view 

To culminate this perfect day, consider a delightful dinner or aperitif at one of the chicest bars or restaurants in Biarritz, conveniently located near the Rocher de la Vierge.

Olatua is one the most popular spots in Biarritz, where people go for an after-work drink with their friends. They have a terrasse bar and rooftop with a bit of a more elaborate menu. Both have the most stunning view of the ocean and the Rocher de la Vierge. If you’re lucky to get there at sunset time, prepare yourself for a mesmerizing view.

Olatua is one the most popular spots in Biarritz
Olatua is one the most popular spots in Biarritz

Hope you enjoyed the first day of your Biarrtiz weekend, see you tomorrow!

How to spend a weekend in Biarritz- day 2 – the south

The second day in Biarrtiz will be mostly dedicated to the ocean, which is what Biarritz is mostly known for. That is why we are starting the day at Plage de la Côte des Basques, the surfing beach in the southern part of Biarrtiz.
If you need a shot of espresso before we start the day here, Carlos is your place.

Go surfing 

The Biarritz surfing scene is the main attraction for many European tourists. Most of the surfers tend to come to Plage de la Côte des Basques which is actually the first surfing beach in Europe! If you’re already a surfer, there are several places here where you can rent surf equipment. If you wish to discover another surfing charming location nearby, go to Birdard, the official surfing paradise, just a few minutes drive from Biarritz.

surfing in Biarritz and Bidard
Surfing in Biarritz and Bidard – by Lost in Bordeaux

It’s important to mention though that surfing in the Biarritz (and the Atlantic coast in general) entirely depends on the tides. So before you put your surfing suite, be sure to check out the Biarrtiz tide forecast.

Take surfing lessons 

If you never surfed before, Biarritz is a great place to try it for the first time! There are plenty of surfing schools here that provide private and group surfing lessons for beginners. One of the best surfing schools in Biarrtiz is La Vague Basque. There you can join a group course, take a private lesson or even do a five-day intensive surfing course. You see all the options and book your surfing lessons here.

Surfing in Biarritz
surfing schools in Biarritz- Lost in Bordeaux

The best beach in Biarritz

In case surfing is not your thing, just take that time to explore the best beaches of Biarrtiz. You’ve already seen a few of Biarritz’s beaches yesterday but the best ones are actually located in the south of Biarritz. If you’re a surfer, Plage Marbella, just south of Plage de la Cote Basque is your place. Its wild character makes Marbella Beach particularly popular with surfers. 

Plage de la Milady one of the best beaches in Biarritz
Milady beach in Biarritz – by Lost in Bordeaux

However for swimming you might want to distance yourself a bit further to the South and go to the stunning Plage de la Milady. This beach is particularly popular with the locals of Biarrtiz. It has a promenade along the sea, a playground for kids, and access by wheelchairs directly into the sea. 

In the summer season, you can find there a restaurant called Milady Beach with a great menu of tapas.

Villa Belza

When you finish surfing, it is time to go back to the city center but on the way I want to take you to one of the most beautiful spots in Biarrtiz. Villa Belza is a beautiful 19th-century mansion located between the Rocher de la Vierge and the Côte des Basques. This mysterious house was used in the past as a setting for films and cabaret evenings. 

Villa Belza - one of the best places to see in Biarritz
Villa Belza – by Lost in Bordeaux

It’s best viewed from Place Balea. To get there from Plage de la Cote des Basques just follow the Boulevard du Prince de Galles along the cliff towards Plage Port Vieux.

Port Des Pecheurs 

A few minutes walk from Plage Port Vieux will bring you to one of the most charming places in Biarritz. Port des Pêcheurs is a little harbor that was built by Napoleon III in the 1800s and previously served the fishermen of the city. 

Port des Pêcheurs - one of the most charming places in Biarrtiz
Port des Pêcheurs – by Lost in Bordeaux

You can still find the fishermen’s little colorful houses, some of which serve as restaurants with a beautiful view of the boats docking at the port. This would be a great place to have lunch or dinner, especially if you like seafood. Two of my favorite restaurants here are Casa Juan Pedro and Harremanak (if you want more of a tapas vibe). 

From Port des Pêcheurs you can also go on a cruise Bay of Biscay and discover the Basque coast by boat. Excursion Bateau Biarritz is run by a professional skipper, Jerome, who will take you on a magical day trip that includes Swimming and snorkeling in the creeks of Biarritz, lunch on the beach, a visit to the bay of Saint Jean de Luz and more. See all the details here.

Go on an Aperitif Ride – and E-bike Guided Tour 

A guided E-bike tour is an amazing way to end your second day in Biarrtiz especially if you haven’t done the walk along the coast on the first day. 

On this tour, you get to explore some of the highlights of Biarrtiz like the lighthouse and the famous “Chambre d’Amour“. The cave, nestled between Anglet’s beaches and the Biarritz lighthouse, derived its name from the tragic love story of Laorens, a poor orphan, and Saubade, the daughter of a wealthy farmer. Despite paternal opposition, the young couple made a solemn vow of eternal love in the cave, but their fate was sealed when a storm surged, swiftly carrying them away. The cave turned into a symbol of enduring love and is attracting visitors to this day.

The tour also includes a stop for a drink and tapas at sunset! You can book it here.

If you still have time in Biarrtiz, take the opportunity to go on a day/half-day trip to explore other places near Biarrtiz.

The best places to visit around Biarritz

The French Basque country is one of the most fascinating places in Southwest France. In just a short drive from Biarritz, you can visit plenty of charming villages, go on a gastronomic adventure visit farms, and enjoy stunning architecture in other towns in the region. 

If you have only one day and you’re eager to visit all the highlights of the French Basque country, Txiki Combi offers a really cool day trip that includes places like Sare, Espellette, Saint Jean de Luz, and more. Check out all the details of the tour here

visiting farms in the stunning Aldudes Valley in the French Basque country
visiting farms in the stunning Aldudes Valley in the French Basque country

If you want to focus on one place, you can always take the bus (or the train) from Biarritz. Public transport in the French Basque county works quite well and allows you to get to some of the most interesting destinations. However, if you want to enjoy the ride and some of the views from the Basque roads, renting a car is always the best option

Here are three ideas for amazing day trips from Biarritz.

A day trip to Bayonne, the French Basque Capital 

Nestled along the banks of the Adour River, Bayonne reigns as the capital of the French Basque country, an enchanting city steeped in history and cultural richness. Bayonne is known for its charming old town with narrow cobblestone streets and Basque-style houses.

The famous chocolate of Bayonne
The famous chocolate of Bayonne

Bayonne also happens to be one of the most gastronomic destinations in the southwest of France. Two of its most celebrated products are chocolate and the Bayonne ham. Chocolate boutiques and basque delicatessens adorn almost every street in the old center. So if you’re looking for a foodie getaway from Biarritz, Bayonne is a great option.

When there, I highly recommend taking a food tour so you can easily discover all the gastronomic gems of this city. 

You can take a direct train from Biarritz to Bayonne or take a taxi (they are just close by).

Gastronomic Delights and Ocean Breezes in Saint Jean de Luz

Located just 15km from Biarritz, Saint-Jean-de-Luz is one of the most charming destinations in the Basque county. The seaside town with its cozy atmosphere is sitting within a vast bay, facing the Atlantic Ocean. It is renowned for its unique Basque architecture, where lively streets showcase the charm of the old town with vibrant half-timbered houses.

Saint Jean de Luz - one of the best place to visit in the French Basque country
Saint Jean de Luz – by Lost in Bordeaux

With its five beaches, Saint Jean de Luz offers a variety of water activities such as Stand Up Paddles and or a boat trip with a swim in the transparent waters of the bay. If you’re traveling from San Sebastian, check out this amazing culinary adventure that includes both Biarritz and Saint Jean de Luz.

Discover the most beautiful villages of the Basque country 

While Biarrtiz itself is a famous destination, most people are less familiar with the inland area of the French Basque country. You’ll be surprised to learn that it’s actually one of its most enchanting parts. If you have more time in Biarrtiz, I highly recommend a day trip to explore the Basque most beautiful villages, each boasting unique charm and cultural richness.

Piments d'Espelette
Piments d’Espelette

One day is obviously not enough to visit all of them, but as the French Basque county is not big, you can easily visit 2-3 villages in one day. Some of my favorite villages are Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port and Espelette but there are many others, even closer to Biarrtiz. My article about the most beautiful villages in the French Basque country should help you plan your trip.

Where to stay in Biarritz

Biarritz is a compact and cozy city, so if you opt to stay in the city center, you can easily explore everything on foot. So here are a few recommended hotels in Biarrtiz. 

Hôtel de La Plage A 4-star hotel boasting the most enchanting view of Plage de Port Vieux. The hotel’s rooftop adds a fun touch, ideal for enjoying an afternoon cocktail with a splendid vista.

Hotel Windsor Grande Plagea 4-star hotel, located right on the main beach of Biarritz with an amazing view of the ocean.

Hôtel & Espace Bien-être La Maison du Lierre – A charming 3-star hotel nestled in a stunning Belle Époque house, offering the convenience of an onsite sauna, massage services, and spa treatments.

You can also get plenty of tips on things to do in the Southwest of France via lost in Bordeaux’s social media accounts and email list, check them out here:

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*Note – Some of the links in this article include affiliate links for which I earn a small commission. It adds absolutely nothing to your cost and helps me continue writing about this amazing region. Don’t worry, I’m not getting rich here, I’ll never recommend anything I don’t believe in 🙂 

Biarritz and Bayonne are the two places people usually think about when referring to the French Basque country. But there are so many more beautiful villages and towns to discover in this magical region. Many travelers are more familiar with the Basque country across the border in Spain, and the French side feels almost like it’s a separate country from the rest of France. That’s no surprise because this region was an independent country for much of its history. 

The most beautiful village in the French basque country

The Pays Basque in the most southwestern part of France has plenty of small, picturesque villages that are worth a visit. A few were even labeled as some of the most beautiful villages in France. If you want to discover the French Basques beyond its touristic coastal side, a visit to at least a couple of these villages is an absolute must! In my article, I gathered all the most stunning and special villages to visit in the French Basque region, so you have a lot to choose from. 

This article is for travelers who plan on spending a bit of time exploring the region, but if you have very limited time in the Basque country, there are fun one-day guided trips like this one, focused on visiting the little villages. There is also this tour, where you can visit the bigger main towns of the French Basques.

The 10 most beautiful villages to visit in the Basque country 

Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port

Located almost on the border with Spain and in the foothills of the magnificent Pyrenean mountain range, this beautiful little town is an important destination on the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trek. 

Religious tourists flock to the old center of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to follow the historic route. The village is known for an old tradition of having plenty of cheap hostels on the main street, offering you a bed for as little as 10 euros a night. Besides its historic importance, Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port is also a picturesque village with colorful homes and a lovely old bridge crossing the river. No wonder it was labeled as one of the official plus beaux villages in France!

Saint Jean Pied de Port - a must visit in the Basque country
Saint Jean Pied de Port – by Lost in Bordeaux

What not to miss: Visit the historic Mendiguren Citadel in the town center, it is the town’s pride!
What to do nearby: Taste AOP Irouléguy wine, made in the surrounding valley. Visit the valley of  Baïgorry and the Aldudes with its amazing farms of charcuterie and cheese, many of which can be visited. I can personally recommend a visit to the farm of Pierre Oteiza.

You can also take this guided tour that combines both a guided visit to Saint Jean Pied de Port and a visit to Baïgorry for cheese tastings.

Saint-Jean-de-Luz and Ciboure

Saint-Jean-de-Luz is one of my favorite towns in the French Basque country! It’s probably the biggest town on this list but it’s still made it here due to its authentic, charming, cozy ambiance. The seaside town is sitting within the Bay of Biscay, facing the Atlantic Ocean, and is located just 15km from Biarritz.

Saint Jean de Luz - one of the best place to visit in the French Basque country
Saint Jean de Luz – by Lost in Bordeaux

Saint-Jean-de-Luz is celebrated for its distinctive Basque architecture, featuring streets adorned with vibrant half-timbered houses that characterize the charm of the old town. A visit to the historic Church of Saint-Jean-Baptiste is highly recommended, as it holds the significance of being the location where King Louis XIV and Maria Theresa of Spain exchanged vows in 1660.

Ciboure is a pretty red-and-white town that lies across the river Nivelle from the harbor of Saint-Jean-de-Luz. It’s quieter and smaller than its neighbor but just its charm is well worth a visit if you’re in that part of the Basques.  

What not to miss in Saint Jean de Luz: Be sure to pass by the tourist office for a map of the city as there are quite a few interesting houses and landmarks to see while you discover Saint Jean de Luz. The town is known for its extraordinary seafood which you can find in one of the many local restaurants or at the morning market. Enjoy a beach day and a swim in the calm bay and then have a drink on the Socoa harbor.

If you’re short in time you can take this fantastic tour to Biarritz and Saint Jean de Luz.

Espelette

Espelette is a small, colorful village in the Labourd province, about 20 km from the famous resort town of Biarritz. If the name Espelette rings a bell, it’s because Espelette red peppers (piments d’Espelette) are cultivated here. At times it feels like the whole village was built as a temple to these little red peppers! Starting late summer, thousands of peppers are hung to dry under the red shutters of traditional Basque houses. Most of the shops in the city sell red pepper products.

What to eat in Espelette
Beautifully designed restaurant with traditional Basque food (Espelette)

The scenery of houses covered with red peppers is what makes this place so unique and distinguishes it from other traditional Basque villages. In addition to the beauty of the village, visiting Espelette is also a culinary journey into the Basque country and its unique recipes. You can read more about different food-related experiences in my article about Espelette.

What not to miss: Discover the unique Basque architecture, visit the Saint-Etienne church, taste local delicacies like Espelette products, spicy chocolate, and Basque charcuterie
What to do nearby: Visit other small villages in the surrounding areas, such as Ainhoa, Ascain, la Bastide Clairence, and Sare, some of which appear in this article.
Special events: At the end of October the village celebrates La Fête Du Piment (the pepper festival), with concerts, a big market, and a parade to celebrate the end of the drying season.

Cambo-les-Bains

Cambo-les-Bains is located just 15 minutes’ drive from Bayonne and the spa town is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a thermal spa treatment. Head up to the upper part of town where you’ll find plenty of bars and restaurants with views over the River Nive and the old town below. The village is less known than most of the other villages on this list, but if you’re looking for a tranquil and scenic designation, it is the perfect place!

Cambo-les-Bains - one of the most beautiful villages in the French Basque country
Cambo-les-Bains – by Lost in Bordeaux

What not to miss: Visit La Villa Argana, a museum dedicated to the life and works of famous author, Edmond Rostand; taste delicious chocolate at the Chocolaterie Puyodebat; take a walk through the beautiful and calm Jardin des Thermes.

Ainhoa

Ainhoa is another gorgeous, typical Basque village located on the Spanish border. It’s much smaller than other villages on this list – just one main street, to be exact! But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth a visit. You can pop over for a very quick visit on a market day, when things get lively and fun! 

Ainhoa too is listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France and visited by many Basque country fans. It’s one of the villages you will visit on this private tour that takes you through some of the highlights of the Basque country. 

Ainhoa - most of the most beuatiful villages in France
A house in Ainhoa – by Lost in Bordeaux

What not to miss: Visit the Pierre Orteza shop. It is one of the most famous charcuterie producers in the Basque, and this is one of his biggest shops. What to do nearby: From Ainhoa you can also take a beautiful walking trail of about 12 km to Sare and the grottes.

Sare

Neighboring Ainhoa, Sare is a charming village that was listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France. You’ll be able to visit the whole village in one hour. But besides the beautiful houses, it’s also a village from where you can go to some of the best attractions in the area. 

What not to miss: Visit the beautiful old Saint-Martin church and take some time to stroll the village’s cobbled streets. If you’d like to visit a Basque museum, Sare has one of the most interesting ones: Le Musée du Gâteau Basque. A museum dedicated to the iconic Basque cake where you get to explore the history, craftsmanship, and flavors of this traditional pastry.

The train on the way to La Rhune
The train on the way to La Rhune – by Lost in Bordeaux

What to do nearby: Just a few minutes from Sare you can take a train to La Rhune and see a breathtaking 360-degree view of the forest and almost the entire French Atlantic coast. If you have more time, you will also enjoy the caves of Sare.

LaBastide-Clairence

Another charming spot that’s on France’s official list of most beautiful villages is La Bastide-Clairence where you can see the lovely red-and-white architecture so typical of the region. You can do some shopping in the charming, locally-owned boutiques in Rue Notre Dame.

LaBastide-Clairence is located a bit farther away from the rest of the villages on this list, about 25km east of Bayonne.

What not to miss: La Bastide-Clairence is renowned for its artisanal shops, showcasing local crafts and traditional Basque products. The village hosts various events and markets throughout the year, providing an opportunity to immerse oneself in the vibrant local culture. One such event is the pottery fair in September.

What to do nearby: Head to the dairy farm Ferme et Fromagerie Bethanoun, where you can taste local sheep milk cheese.

Guéthary

Guéthary is one of my only choices on the coastline as it’s still got that cozy vibe I was looking for when compiling my list. The tiny village boasts distinctive architecture that reflects its rich cultural and maritime heritage, quite different from the other villages on this list. 

What not to miss: Have a sunset drink with sweeping views at the seaside bar, Hétéroclito, and visit the old port where you’ll also find plenty of cute terrace restaurants.

What to do nearby: Take a stunning stroll to the village of Bidart, which is especially loved by the surfing community. 

The beautiful path along the beach from Guéthary to Bidard

Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle

Slightly off the beaten path, Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle is a charming village with a beautiful little center. Take a walk around the village and stop for a pastry or coffee while you admire the 17th-century church and classic red-and-white architecture.

What not to miss: Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle is home to a great market every Saturday morning for fresh produce and delicious delicacies from the region.

Taste the best Basque produce
Taste the best Basque produce

What to do nearby: The Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle lake is beautiful and fun for kids and adults alike. It’s the perfect place to cool off in summer and has an inflatable water park, a few cute restaurants, and lovely beaches.

Saint-Etienne-de-Baïgorry

Our last village is located right on the Spanish border and in the breathtaking Aldudes Valley. Saint-Etienne-de-Baïgorry is a quaint, charming village with beautiful Basque architecture set on either side of the River Nive and among the sweeping green views of the valley. 

What not to miss: Visit the stunning, 12th-century Saint Etienne church and its beautiful Baroque altarpiece and take a walk from the Roman-style bridge, built in 1661, to the Château d’Etxauz, a castle listed as a historic monument.

What to do nearby: Visit farms in the valley and buy some local treats including sheep milk cheese, wines, cured meats, and artisanal soaps.

visiting farms in the stunning Aldudes Valley in the French Basque country
visiting farms in the stunning Aldudes Valley

You can also get plenty of tips on things to do in the Southwest of France via Lost in Bordeaux’s social media accounts and email list, check them out here:

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There are plenty of charming villages in the French Basque country, but if I had to choose only one it would probably be Espellete. Espellete is a small village in the Labourd province, about 20 km from the famous resort town of Biarritz. If the name Espelette rings a bell it’s because of the Espelette red peppers (piments d’Espelette) that are cultivated here. At times it feels like the whole village was built as a temple to these little red peppers. Starting late summer, thousands of peppers are hanged to dry under the red shutters of traditional Basque houses. Most of the shops in the city sell red peppers or products that contain it in some way or another. At the end of October the village celebrates La Fête Du Piment (the pepper festival), with concerts, a big market and a parade to celebrate the end of the drying season. The scenery of houses covered with red peppers is what makes this place so unique and distinguishes it from other traditional Basque villages. In addition to the beauty of the village, visiting Espelette is also a culinary journey into the Basque country and its unique recipes. Hopefully after reading this article you will want to put Espelette on your “places I must visit” list. So let’s get to it!

Piments d'Espelette
Piments d’Espelette

Mind you, I’m not the only one who loves Espelette. The picturesque village is extremely popular and can get overcrowded on some summer days. On the positive side, due to the regular flow of tourists, all the shops are open seven days a week on the touristic season. My advice, however, would be to try to get there in September – October or at least try to arrive early if you’re visiting Espelette during the summer. It’s a small village without many attractions but you can easily spend there at least half a day, just wandering the charming streets and visiting the boutiques scattered around the village.

What to see when you visit Espelette

Discover the unique Basque architecture

Every region in France has a unique architectural style, but in my opinion, nothing feels as different as the Basque region. In most traditional Basque villages, the white houses are all decorated in red and green shatters, giving it a very cute and fairytale-like look. In Espelette, you’ll find that most shatters are red, which perfectly compliments the main hero of the village, the Espelette pepper.

The streets of Espelette
The streets of Espelette

You can start your day at the tourist office located at the beautiful Chateau des Barons d’Espelette. They can equip you with a little map with the main points of attraction to see and visit. However, don’t expect to get a long list of monuments to visit here, the charm of this village is in its decorated houses and the red beautiful peppers that appear everywhere from the food to the souvenirs to the decor of the city. Just get lost in the streets of the city, taste charcuterie and sip a glass of Basque Sangria. There’s no better way to absorb the beauty of the village. 

Church of Saint-Etienne

If you already had the chance to visit other towns in the Basque country you probably noticed that the traditional Basque churches differ in their interior style from most French churches. Instead of several aisles, you have one single-aisle and several wooden galleries covering the walls in front of the Bema. Back in the days, it used to separate men, who prayed on the balconies from the women on the ground floor of the church. The Saint Etienne church that is located just a few minutes walk from the city center is one of the more beautiful Basque churches in my humble opinion. The church was built in the 17th century and is decorated with a Baroque altarpiece from the 18th-century made from gilded wood. This church is not to be missed when visiting Espelette. 

eglise saint etienne espelette
Eglise Saint Etienne in Espelette

Visit other magical villages around Espellete

While Espelette is one of the most famous Basque villages in the French Basque country, there are several other beautiful villages nearby. These include Ainhoa, Ascain, la Bastide Clairence and Sare which is a very small village with plenty of activities around it. All of them are incredibly beautiful and special but visiting all is a bit redundant as they look quite the same. So if you have time to visit more villages, just choose one or two that are on your way. If the weather is good you can also continue to the coastline and visit one of the more attractive sea resorts in the area, the beautiful little town named Saint Jean de Luz. 

Ainhoa
Ainhoa – a beautiful village next to Espelette

What to taste in Espelette – discover the ‘Piment’ (red pepper) 

The Espellete peppers appear in practically every food in the French Basque country, whether it’ll be charcuterie, cheese, jam, alcohol and even chocolate. This is by far the most dominant spice in the Basque cuisine. In a workshop I participated while visiting Espelette, we were told that the Espelette pepper replaces black pepper in the Basque country so everything is spiced with it. Even the local Ketchup for kids is made from peppers instead of tomatoes. That can explain the abundance of shops in the city center, selling a huge variety of Espelette products. Let me suggest a few that I found interesting to visit. 

Atelier du Piment d’Espelette

The Atelier du Piment d’Espelette is a big shop that offers free visits and tastings allowing you to discover the Espelette pepper in all its stages, from cultivation to cooking suggestions. The Atelier is located about one kilometer from the city center, and it’s the best place to go to if you really want to learn about the heritage of the Espelette pepper. The visit starts with a tour of the plantations of Espelette and continues with a tasting workshop where you are taught about the different Espelette products and the Basque way to eat them. The place is open daily from 9:00 to 19:00. Check out their website for more details. 
Address: Elizaldeko Bidea, 64250 Espelette

Atelier du Piment d'Espelette
Atelier du Piment d’Espelette

Taste spicy chocolate

Antton Chocolatier is a traditional basque chocolate shop that specializes in chocolate spiced with piment d’Espelette. Many of their products incorporate the famous red pepper or black cherries (another Basque staple). Most of the chocolate they offer is excellent and pleasantly mild but some are surprisingly spicy, especially the white one. But you still want to continue eating them as they are so good. While they have several shops in the Basque country, the one in Espelette is where they actually produce the chocolate. It’s also a great opportunity to discover how the chocolate is made as the shop offers free tours every day, between April and the end of October. The tour starts every half an hour and includes a visit to the workshop and a chocolate tasting in the end. The visit is not recommended on Sundays as the chocolatiers are not there so you won’t really see them working. You can join the visit without prior reservation from 10:30 to 12:00 and from 14:00 to 18:00. 
Address: Place du Marché, Espelette

Basque charcuterie

charcuterie tasting in Espelette
charcuterie tasting in Espelette

If you like Charcuterie (cured meats) don’t miss Maison Gastellou, a family business specialized in Basque charcuterie since 1966. They produce everything on their farm next to the beautiful village of Saint Jean Pied de Port and have four shops, one of which is located in the center of Espelette. Their shop offers a fun tasting experience, with all the employees dressed as basque shepherds with the traditional black beret. Everything we tasted there was delicious and we got some interesting explanations during the tastings. This is one of the best places to buy charcuterie to take home with you.
Address: 376 Karrika Nagusia, 64250 Espelette

Don’t miss the spices shops 

The shops in Espelette offer a great variety of spices you won’t find outside of the Basque country, making it a good place to fill your spices supply. They have very interesting mixes like salt with Espelpette and Espelette mustard, so even if you don’t buy a full branch of Espelette peppers (like my husband did) you can still enrich your cooking with different spices from the region. One of my favorite shops for spices and other Basque products is called Ezpeletako Izarra. 
Address: 375 Karrika Nagusia, 64250 Espelette

spices-shops to visit in Espelette

 Basque cheese 

If you’re coming with kids there’s a very cute place where they can learn about Basque cheese. Ossau Iraty is the most famous cheese coming from the Basque country. It’s a sheep cheese produced in between the Basque country and the Béarn province. Centre d’interprétation de l’AOP Ossau Iraty is a nice little shop in the center of Espelette dedicated to educating people about how this traditional cheese is made. You will learn about the specific sheep races they are allowed to use, and about the whole process of making and maturing the cheese. It is very interactive and something kids will enjoy doing while the parents are busy tasting the cheese. The opening hours may change depending on the season so check it out here before you go. 
Address: 390 Karrika Nagusia, 64250 Espelette

Ossau-Iraty in Espelette
learn about Ossau-Iraty in Espelette

Where to eat in Espelette?

Although it’s a small village, there are quite a few restaurants in the city center, most offering traditional Basque food. The most famous restaurant in Espelette is located at the beautiful Euzkadi hotel. The elegant restaurant is designed in a Basque traditional style with red peppers decorating the walls. It’s a popular restaurant so be sure to book ahead, especially during the summer. The address is 285 Karrika Nagusia, 64250 Espelette. Aintzina is another great restaurant in the village center offering all the traditional Basque dishes at decent prices. Don’t miss the Axoa de Veau, the traditional veal dish with Espelette peppers, of course :). Aintzina is located at 440 Karrika Nagusia, 64250 Espelette.

What to eat in Espelette
Beautifully designed restaurant with traditional Basque food

Where to stay in Espelette?

Most chances are that you will spend just a few hours in this village but if you decide to spend the night, you have several options to stay in the city center. The Euzkadi hotel is a rather simple but beautiful hotel with a pool. Another cute and cozy guesthouse is le Moulin de Pascale located very close to the church. 

Le Moulin de Pascale
Le Moulin de Pascale

Espelette is only a pinpoint for all the things the French Basque country has to offer. In a pretty 2-3 hours drive from Bordeaux (avoid toll roads to enjoy the scenery), you get to see plenty of beautiful villages, taste amazing food and surf the Atlantic ocean. But for me, Espelette is definitely one of the highlights of the Frech Basque and is a must-visit for those who are intrigued by the Basque architecture and food. If you’re also visiting Biarritz, don’t miss my article about things to do and eat in Biarritz. If you’re also visiting Bordeaux on your way back home, be sure to check out my One Day in Bordeaux guide
That’s it for now, 
Have a great trip to the Basque country!