Guide to Biarritz The Posh Seaside Town in France Basque Coast
Biarritz, the posh seaside town located in France’s Basque coast, could be best described as Hamptons’ glitz meets Malibu’s layback surfer vibes, but French. Sold yet? The seaside town has cycled in and out of fashion since its peak in the mid 19th century, but with renewed charmed, hip boutiques, and a revived culinary scene, Biarritz is back in trend.
This French seaside town is not a place where one comes armed with a planned itinerary by the hour; but rather a place where one visits and strolls aimlessly through its beautiful seafront and enjoys a lovely meal overlooking the ocean.
Things to do in Biarritz
Have a pastry or two at the Miremont
If you have a hard time deciding, you will undoubtedly struggle at Miremont. With a dizzying variety of pastries, you may end up with more than one or two pâtisserie.
Hike to the Biarritz Lighthouse
Enjoy a beautiful stroll from the beach to the lighthouse amid gorgeous view and lush greenery. Start at the Grand Plage and make your way up. With 248 steps to the top, climbing the lighthouse may not be for the faint of heart, but you will be rewarded with a panoramic view of Biarritz. The lighthouse is a top-rated attraction, so visitors during high season, make sure to go early in the morning to avoid lines. Although hiking is free, there's a 2.50 Euros entry fee to climb the lighthouse.
Watch the sunset from the Place Bellevue
There’s no better viewpoint to watch the sunset than at the Place Bellevue. It’s called Bellevue – beautiful view – after all. The plaza overlooks the ocean, with the lighthouse and the beautiful Hotel Du Palais in sight. Sunsets are renown in the Basque country, so make sure to enjoy them!
Have a crepe at Le Ble Noir
After a day frolicking under the sun, head to the Le Ble Noir for an afternoon crepe. With a vast selection of sweet and savory crepes, there’s one for every taste at the Le Ble Noir. The quaint creperie is situated overlooking the ocean so make sure to grab a table outside to enjoy the view and the art of people watching.
Go shopping at the Rue Gambetta
Biarritz is bursting with hip boutiques, and most of them are located on Rue Gambetta. You may find yourself fighting the urge to buy everything from super cute stationaries to French handmade espadrilles – If you can only get one thing, make sure they are the espadrilles and support local artisans. They come in many designs so choose wisely!
Rent a bike and ride it on the coastline
What's more leisurely than a bike ride on the Basque coastline? Visit the nearby beaches where most likely, you will find a smaller crowd. You can also make your way to the neighboring town, Biart. It’s a great place to spend a few hours visiting the square and shops. After working an appetite, grab lunch at Mahaina.
Best time to visit Biarritz
In the summer
Summer offers the best weather with temperatures averaging 75 F during the day and 57 F at night. That also means, be prepared to brace the crowd and higher prices during the summer - especially July. If you want to enjoy the weather but not the multitude, visit when the high season starts winding down in August.
In the spring
Spring offers some of the best hotel prices and reasonable weather: 59 – 64 F degree with the occasional rain.
In the fall and winter
In the fall, you will enjoy similar weather as spring, but prices may not be as attractive. In the wintertime, you will see snow as well as the lowest hotel prices in the year.
Where to stay in Biarritz
During my visit, I stayed at the charming Hôtel Edouard VII. Nested in the heart of Biarritz, the hotel is only a short stroll from the beach and the vibrant shopping street. The residence is beautifully decorated in classic French style with a lovely terrace, where one can sit and relax over breakfast.
How to get to Biarritz
Biarritz is a small town; if you are visiting from the U.S., you will have to make your way to Paris first. From there, you can take the plane or train to Biarritz.
You can take the train from Paris Montparnasse to Biarritz Gare. Travel time is approximately four and a half hour.
Flying is the fastest way to get to Biarritz from Paris. Flight time is about an hour and a half and depending on the season; you will find many flights throughout the day.
While in Biarritz, I highly recommend adding San Sebastian to your itinerary. For around 5 Euro, you can visit the Spanish town! To get to San Sebastian from Biarritz, you can take the train or bus – I recommend the latter as it’s cheaper and direct. You don’t have to switch buses like you do if you go by train. You can purchase the ticket in advance or at the station.