Biarritz-Pays Basque is a feast for the eyes. Elegant seafront villas in Biarritz and Saint-Jean-de-Luz; wide sandy beaches in Anglet and Hendaye; cities of art and history like Bayonne; chateaux; typical Basque villages like Sare, La Bastide-Clairence and Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port; ancient caves in Sare and Isturitz and spectacular gorges in Sainte-Engrâce. Don’t leave before visiting these must-see places.
Basque Museum of Bayonne and the Basque Country
The Basque Museum presents an exceptionally rich ethnographic collection dedicated to the Basque Country. Situated in the heart of the old town, it displays a large number of objects and works of art, mostly collected at the beginning of the 20th century, in an exhibition area covering 3,000 m². Temporary exhibitions, events and activities, a shop, and more besides.
Cité de l’Océan and the Aquarium of Biarritz
This is Biarritz’ newest sea-themed attraction, which takes a fun approach to learning about the sea in all its forms – it’s partly a museum, partly a theme park and partly an educational centre. Test the diving experience in the bathyscaphe 3D animation and the virtual surf on the historic wave of the Basque coast, the dizzying Belharra. Good fun for children and adults alike.
The Aquarium is housed in a wonderful Art-Déco building near the old port. It’s teaming with underwater life from the Bay of Biscay and beyond, including vast aquariums of sharks, grey seals and tropical reef fish, as well as exhibits exploring Biarritz’ whaling past. Visit late at night to avoid the crowds and enjoy a more relaxed experience.
The Rhune Train in Sare
First summit in the Pyrenean mountain range, the Rhune overlooks the Atlantic coast from an altitude of 905 metres. At the summit, the 360° panoramic views stretch from ocean to mountains. To reach the summit there are several options, the most popular being the Rhune train: at an average speed of 9 mph, it takes 35 minutes to carry visitors to the heart of wild natural countryside, where Pottok horses roam with Manech sheep and tawny Pyrenean vultures.
Villa Arnaga in Cambo-les-Bains
Head of neo-Basque work and famous Maison of Edmond Rostand – author of Cyrano de Bergerac - Arnaga conceals artistic masterpieces designed by the painters of the time. It’s a sumptuous theatrical décor surrounded by charming French and English gardens that delight visitors with their romantic walks. A small 'Versailles' is said often, as they subjugate their beauty.
The Caves of Isturitz and Oxocelhaya in Isturitz
Listed as a historic monument, the superimposed caves of Isturitz, Oxocelhaya and Erberua have been inexhaustible sources of knowledge about humans from Neanderthals to Homo sapiens as long as 80,000 years ago. The ornamented caverns Nature’s masterpieces include an astonishing rock cathedral with monumental limestone concretions, etched and carved by water over thousands of years.
Need more suggestions?
• The Corniche from Ciboure/Socoa and Hendaye
• The medieval city of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port
• The Aldudes Valley
• Anglet and Hendaye beaches
• The villages of Espelette, Ascain, Ossès, Itxassou and Bidache
• Bayonne city centre
• Guéthary and Saint-Jean-de-Luz
• English gardens in Villa Arnaga in Cambo-les-Bains
• Iraty forest, the largest beech forest in Europe
• La Verna, the biggest cave room open to tourists on earth
Find out more from the Biarritz-Pays Basque Tourist Office