In the Heart of Basque Country
Excursion : Anglet > Biarritz > Saint-Jean-de-Luz > Hendaye
Total traveling distance: 37 km (22 miles)
Trip duration: 54 min
Four charismatic cities along the Bay of Biscay proudly display the colours of their shared history. Explore this vibrant, authentic terroir of tradition on the edge of Spain and the Pyrenees.
Bayonne, capital of the French Basque Country, is a veritable epicurean city. Whether it's with chocolate, ham or public celebrations, it has been radiating pleasure for decades. Anglet, only 5 km from Bayonne, has three distinct ambiances...
Known as "Little California", Anglet has 11 sandy beaches. Fall under the spell of the "petite Chambre d'Amour", the famous beach at the foot of the Cap Saint-Martin cliff and its lighthouse.
It is Europe's top surfing destination. Take advantage of its 4,5 km long coastline to ride a few waves, play an 18-hole round of golf at Chiberta, or simply soak in the heated seawater at the Atlanthal thalassotherapy centre.
On Thursday and Sunday mornings, rendezvous at the Quintaou market to fill your basket with ewe cheese, green peppers and sumptuous Basque cakes.
Anglet > Biarritz: 4 km (3 miles) via Biarritz Avenue, 10 min by car
From Anglet, Biarritz is only ten minutes away, and much like its majestic Virgin's Rock, this seaside resort dominates the region. A veritable surfers' paradise, this gastronomic heartland is also a hub for business tourism. Insider cues on how to live like the locals...
The oceanfront Hotel de Palais, revealed in 1864 by Empress Eugénie and Napoleon III, is witness to a particularly prestigious past. Other esteemed must-sees: the Art deco Sea Museum Aquarium, with its sharks and barracudas, and the City of the Ocean, where you can embark on a captivating virtual odyssey.
The gastronomic Villa Eugénie restaurant boasts a highly refined menu, as do nearby L’Impertinent, Les Rosiers and L’Atelier. All have been awarded stars by the famous Michelin Guide.
Attend a Basque pelota or rugby tournament, perfect your swing on one of 12 legendary golf courses, or ride your first wave with one of 11 local surf clubs. Thalassotherapy, which combines the benefits of clement climate and seawater, is, of course, another ideal way to revitalize.
Biarritz > Saint-Jean-de-Luz: 18 km (11 miles) via the A63, 24 min by car
Nearby Saint-Jean-de-Luz, only 18 km from Biarritz, is proud to cultivate its roots. Here are four tips to help put you in the mood while deciphering symbols of Basque culture:
- Travel through time
Wander through the downtown streets named after privateers sanctioned by the King to attack enemies.
- Architecture and History
Visit Joanoenia, the House, or Maison de l'Infante, with its double arched Venetian galleries and watchtower facing the port.
- Knowledge and Ecology
Head north of the city to explore the Basque Ecomuseum, a typical 19th-century farmhouse where Basque art de vivre, language, dance, weaving, ball sports and other traditions still reign.
Work up an appetite strolling along one of the town's four beaches before savouring a Basque cake. Will you choose almond cream, chocolate or black cherry?
Saint-Jean-de-Luz > Hendaye: 15 km (9 miles) via the A63, 24 min by car
Drive 12 km down the coast to Hendaye. This final stop before Spain embodies Basque culture... Just follow your guide!
- The Château-Observatory
Abbadia, at the entrance of town, is a Neo-Gothic masterpiece built by Viollet Le Duc for Antoine d’Abbadie, great explorer and patron of Basque culture. From the library to the observatory, passing by the chapel, delve into an extraordinary destiny.
- Hike along the cliff's edge
Take advantage of the incredible view then relax on the 3 km long beach, the Basque Coast's largest stretch of white sand!
- The oceanfront
It is lined with Neo-Basque villas, with white facades and colourful half-timbering - 70 of which are listed protected by the town.
Make sure to try piquillos, axoa and other typical Basque piperade.
The colourful Basque fabric makes for beautiful home linens. And don't forget to get a pair of those fashionable espadrilles!