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    Biarritz is a town with 2 sides, famous on one hand for its laid-back surfer vibe and, on the other, for its luxurious and glitzy reputation. It’s a peaceful and relaxing place to visit in winter, but summertime is when the golden coastline is peppered with tourists in search of the best spot for soaking up the French Basque Country’s warm rays.

    This is a town popular with couples, families and groups of friends, with first-class surfing beaches, extravagant spas and traditional charm all forming part of its appeal. If you’re looking to plan some time away in France’s southwestern corner, check out our list of the best things to do in Biarritz.

    What are the best things to do in Biarritz?

    1

    Place Bellevue

    The square that lives up to its name

    Poised high above sea level, Place Bellevue – as the name suggests – boasts beautiful views out to the mighty Atlantic Ocean and across the golden sands of La Grande Plage. With such a good vantage point to find your bearings, it makes for the ideal spot to start exploring this popular seaside town.

    Place Bellevue can be reached by foot, either from Passage Bellevue or from the winding path that climbs up from La Grand Plage. Make the most of the views by enjoying a coffee sat outside Le Café de Paris while you’re there.

    Beliggenhed: Place Bellevue, 64200 Biarritz, France

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    Billede taget af José Sáez (CC BY-SA 3.0) Redigeret

    2

    Port Vieux

    Explore the charming former heart of Biarritz

    Once the focal point of Biarritz, Port Vieux (or the Old Port) is now a charming mini-village, frequented by locals and visitors alike. Take a wander around its quaint and narrow streets and discover the fishermen’s old crampottes, the name given to the small cottages that they once lived in.

    If you’re visiting Biarritz with the family, head down to the quiet and secluded Port Vieux Beach. This little cove is sheltered by the rocks, providing the ideal spot to paddle in the calm waters. If you want to grab a bite to eat, you’re then only a stone’s throw away from the bustling Rue du Port-Vieux.

    Beliggenhed: Port Vieux, Biarritz, France

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    Billede taget af Gordito1869 (CC BY-SA 3.0) Redigeret

    3

    Rocher de la Vierge

    The guardian of fishermen

    Otherwise known as the ‘Rock of the Virgin’, this rugged rock formation is one of Biarritz’s must-see attractions. Local fishermen decided to erect the white Virgin statue back in 1865 after a mysterious bright light guided a ship to safety during a storm.

    To get to Rocher de la Vierge, you must cross the Eiffel Bridge, a footbridge over the water designed by – you’ve guessed it – Gustave Eiffel, the same man behind Paris’ iconic tower. You might get a little spray from the ocean while you’re over there, but it’s worth it for the views back across to Biarritz and as far as the mountains of the Spanish Basque Country.

    Beliggenhed: Rocher de la Vierge, Espl. De la Vierge, 64200 Biarritz, France

    Åben: 24/7

    Telefon: +33 (0)5 59 22 37 10

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    Billede taget af Magdus Laszló Hunga… (CC BY-SA 3.0) Redigeret

    4

    Phare de Biarritz

    Climb to the top for panoramic views of the coast

    Head to the town’s northernmost point and visit the towering Phare de Biarritz. This 74-metre-tall lighthouse is in a prime position on a clifftop, boasting unrivalled views in every direction, from out to sea, to across Biarritz, Anglet and the never-ending coastline.

    Built in 1834, the lighthouse is still functioning today and is open to the public, so all can experience the privileged vistas. Just bear in mind that if you want to get to the top, the only way you can do so is by climbing all 248 steps yourself. Time your visit for sunset to really enhance the whole experience.

    Beliggenhed: Phare de Biarritz, 60 B Esp, Espl. Elisabeth II, 64200 Biarritz, France

    Åben: Hours vary by season

    Telefon: +33 (0)5 59 22 37 10

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    Billede taget af François de Dijon (CC BY-SA 4.0) Redigeret

    5

    Eglise Sainte-Eugénie

    A neo-Gothic church overlooking Port Vieux

    Just as impressive on the inside as it is on the outside, the Eglise Sainte-Eugénie is a beautiful, Romanesque-Byzantine church that started and ended its construction in 1898 and 1903, respectively. The big appeal that draws crowds to this neo-Gothic structure is its prominent coastal location, overlooking Port des Pêcheurs in the picturesque Port Vieux area of town.

    Soak up the sights from the outside, then step inside and admire the kaleidoscope of colours that form the breathtaking stained glass windows. There are often many concerts that take place in the church during the summer, along with regular exhibitions held in the crypt.

    Beliggenhed: Eglise Sainte-Eugénie, Place Sainte-Eugénie, 64200 Biarritz, France

    Åben: Daily (hours vary depending on services)

    Telefon: +33 (0)5 59 24 07 43

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    Billede taget af  Daniel VILLAFRUELA (CC BY-SA 4.0) Redigeret

    6

    La Grande Plage

    Soak up the sun on the best beach in town

    Translated as 'The Big Beach', it'll come as no surprise that this vast stretch of golden sand is the largest and most popular beach in Biarritz. Despite its size, it still always gets packed in the summer months, when travellers are locals are itching to cool off beneath the breaking waves of the Atlantic.

    Hire your own board for the day and join the rest of those who come from far and wide to experience La Grande Plage’s magnificent surf. Or, if you prefer to keep your feet firmly on dry sand, you can pay to hire one of the traditional, yet quirky-looking, striped beach tents.

    Beliggenhed: Quai de la Grande Plage, 64200 Biarritz, France

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    Billede taget af Mairie de Fos (CC BY-SA 4.0) Redigeret

    7

    Aquarium of Biarritz

    Take a fascinating look into the underwater world

    Commonly known by its French name, Le Musée de la Mer, this huge aquarium is a fantastic day out for visitors of all ages. Having first opened its doors back in 1933, the striking Art Deco museum is one of the town’s top attractions. It’s a staggering 7,000 square metres in size, housing hundreds of varieties of colourful marine life and one of the biggest pools in France.

    See hammerhead sharks, loggerhead turtles and tropical fish as you explore the Earth's underwater worlds, from the Gulf Stream and the Caribbean Sea to the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Be sure to catch one of the twice-daily seal feedings while you're there.

    Beliggenhed: Le Musée de la Mer, Plateau de l’Atalaye, 64200 Biarritz, France

    Åben: Daily from 9.30am to 7pm (until 10pm in July and August)

    Telefon: +33 (0)5 59 22 75 40

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    Billede taget af A1AA1A (CC BY-SA 4.0) Redigeret

    8

    Enjoy traditional Basque cuisine

    Delicious local delicacies

    When visiting Biarritz – a town in the heart of the Basque Country – it’s only right to indulge in some of the best local food you can get your hands on. Basque food typically consists of succulent meat and freshly-caught fish cooked over hot coals, as well as meaty skewers, Tolosa bean specialities, and the perfect-for-sharing pintxos – the country’s answer to tapas.

    For some of the best Basque food in Biarritz, during the day head to the spectacular Les Halles food market and sample various picnic-style foods from the stalls. Then at night, seek out some of the top restaurants in town, such as LTB-La Table Basque or La Humade.

    • Mad

    Billede taget af Harrieta171 (CC BY 2.5) Redigeret

    9

    Casino Barrière de Basque Biarritz

    Try your luck and enjoy non-stop fun, games and entertainment

    No trip to this seaside town would be complete without a visit to the remarkable Casino Barrière. It's one of Biarritz’s examples of standout Art Deco architecture. Whether you fancy a flutter on one of the roulette tables or you’re happy just watching the experts (and the daring) place their bets, you’ll love experiencing the glitz, glam and neon lights of this fun-filled casino that dominates the town’s shoreline.

    If you’d rather not risk losing any of your hard-earned cash, there’s more to Casino Barrière than just slot machines and poker. The venue has a restaurant and bar, as well as live concerts that often take place on special occasions.

    Beliggenhed: Casino Barrière, 1 Avenue Edouard VII, 64200 Biarritz, France

    Åben: Hours vary by season

    Telefon: +33 (0)5 59 22 77 77

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    Billede taget af Fred Romero (CC BY 2.0) Redigeret

    10

    Barhop around the Old Port

    Experience the best bars along Rue Gambetta and Place Georges Clemenceau

    Biarritz has a vibrant and varied nightlife scene, though you can find one of the highest concentration of bars in and around the lively streets of Port Vieux. Le Bar Jean, La Tireuse and Ventilo Caffé are definitely worth checking out when you’re in this part of town.

    If you want to explore the wider area, there’s a great selection of bars around Rue Gambetta and Place Georges Clemenceau. For those of you who want to carry the party on into the early hours, some of Biarritz’s top nightclubs can be found along the waterfront – just follow the beat!

    Beliggenhed: Port Vieux, Biarritz, France

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    Billede taget af Didier Descouens (CC BY-SA 4.0) Redigeret

    Sadie Geoghegan-Dann | Freelanceforfatter

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