Our next stop was further south along the Atlantic coast. Biarritz is a popular seaside and beach town on the Atlantic south western coast of France. Just about 30 kilometres from Spain, Biarritz is known as one of the best surf spots in Europe. On the day I was there, it was really flat though. The area has a relaxed feel to it with outdoor eating areas, big, sandy beaches, resort-like buildings and great sea views.
See the Weird Rocks
Alongside the main beach, Grand Plage, one can spot a small harbour. If you walk this way you will eventually reach a tunnel. Just beyond it, is the bridge across to one of the most famous rocky islands; Rocher de la Vierge. This whole coastline is really rocky and makes for interesting rock formations that jut up from the sea. Appreciate the coastline by walking along the beachfront paths that pass restaurants, cathedrals and small forests of tamarisk.
The mild and warm weather on the coast here is perfect for beach days. July and August temperatures are pretty predictable between 17 and 25 degrees Celsius. June and September are slightly cooler. The main beach or bay is also somewhat protected from coastal breezes.
Things to see & do
Biarritz’s neighbouring towns, Anglet and Baiona are close by and offer quaint streets to explore, open beachfronts, spas and a few golfing opportunities. Bayonne is also not too far to the north if you’d like to experience another city. If beach time is what you’re looking for, try one of the six beaches in Biarritz. Grand Plage is the most popular beach and is sometimes quite crowded. Should you be looking for a quieter spot, try Côte des Basques at low tide.
Perhaps you fancy escaping the summer sun with a trip to a museum, try out the Sea Museum or the Museum of Chocolate. I haven’t been to Planète Musée du Chocolat but apparently it includes a tasting, short film and has about five different rooms that delve into the secrets of chocolate making. The aquarium is open daily from 9:30 until 20:00 and stays open until midnight in July and August. An adult ticket will set you back €15, so make the most of it and time your visit to see the seals being fed everyday at 10:30 and 17:00. The aquarium isn’t too big or too small which is just what you need on vacation.
Surprisingly there is also a museum that houses a range of eastern artefacts from Nepal, India, Tibet and China. The Asiatica Museum entrance fee for adults is 7€ and you can find out more about the collection, location and opening times over here.
Another option is to visit during one of the film festivals, FIPA or the Festival of Latinoamerican Cinema. The week-long FIPA festival took place in January this year. They have a great website over here with all of the details you’ll need to know. The Latinoamerican Festival takes place in September in various locations in the city which you can see on a map over here.
You will also notice that the city also has some interesting architecture like the Russian Orthodox Church, Chapelle Imperiale and Hôtel du Palais. Best discovered in an aimless stroll, you’ll come across various cathedrals or churches and casinos.
If you find yourself exploring Biarritz or if you go there often, I would love to hear your recommendations!