A glamorous playground on the Bay of Biscay, Biarritz has been a beacon for travellers as far back as the era of Napoleon III in the mid-19th century. Brimming with Belle Époque and Art Deco charm, Biarritz boasts beaches and some of southern France’s chicest bars. Set on the coast beside Bayonne, visitors enjoy city breaks in Biarritz for the area’s pristine beaches, famous surf and exclusive restaurants.
Biarritz is world-famous for beaches and surfing, and because of this you’ll find an overlap between two different fun-loving worlds on the city’s coast. There are the glamorous, sun worshipping beach-goers soaking up the rays on Biarritz’s golden sands, and there are the wave-chasing surfers – happier to dive into the foam than laze on the shore with a martini. It’s best to sample both worlds during your stay. On both Grande Plage and Plage Miramar you’ll find bodies basking in the sun and in the water. If you’d like to try your hand at surfing, there are over ten different surf schools in Biarritz.
If you’re travelling with kids in tow, Biarritz has a number of excellent attractions to visit. You can explore the diverse species of the deep blue sea in the Sea Museum. This large aquarium has over 150 different species of fish and invertebrates, from locations as far reaching as the Gulf Stream and the Caribbean Sea, and includes a touch tank for a hands-on approach to wildlife. If you’d like to learn more about the ocean ecosystem surrounding the Bay of Biscay, Ocean City is a great place to spend a few hours. Here you’ll find a range of fascinating interactive exhibitions that are both fun and educational.
For those interested in learning more about the history of Biarritz, the Historical Museum features a varied range of artefacts and documents detailing the rise of the city from a small fishing port to a fashionable resort. If you explore the city on foot you’ll also come across a number of interesting historical buildings, including the 19th-century Imperial Chapel, dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe, and the beautiful 19th-century Orthodox Church, decorated with religious icons from St Petersburg. One of the most prominent buildings in Biarritz is the Lighthouse, built in 1834 and located beside Cape Hainsart.
There’s no better way to relax in the evening than with a cocktail overlooking the beach. Head to the coast and you’ll find a selection of cafés and bars, including the stylish Bar de la Côte and the tapas-fuelled IllunaBar. One of the most famous destinations in Biarritz is the Art Deco Casino, where you’ll find gaming tables and a restaurant with breathtaking views of the Grand Plage.