Located in France’s Basque Country, Biarritz is a jet-setter destination that’s a must visit for those of you who enjoy surf, amazing beaches and a fantastic dining scene. This French resort town located only 22 miles from the Spanish Basque Country will absolutely steal your heart. Whether you enjoy the luxurious life or the most laid-back – Biarritz has it all. Below we have listed our top attractions that are a must-visit while in Biarritz.
Visit the Rocher de la Vierge
There is an old folk tale that claims the Rock of the Virgin celebrates the miraculous return of a group of whalers who, in 1864 while hunting whales, were caught in a storm when the sea suddenly became extremely rough. Despite being close to the coast, they were unable to reach the Old Port of Biarritz and were sure that they wouldn’t survive.
At one point, they saw a miraculous light which guided them to shore. In honor of this, a statue of the virgin was installed in the rock. Soon after, the Rocher de la Vierge was united with the mainland by a wooden bridge constructed by orders of Napoleon III. Ever since, the inhabitants of Biarritz and tourists make the walk from the mainland to the outcropped rocks as a local ritual. The walk offers magnificent views of the Bay of Biarritz and the Basque coast. If you want to avoid the crowds head there early. This attraction is free to visit and open every day.
Photograph the Villa Belza
Villa Belza is among the iconic buildings of Biarritz – and for good reason. Located near the Port Vieux, this 19th century marvel is located on a rocky promontory. Through the years this building has served a variety of different purposes including everything from a hotel to a bunker. Today, it has been divided into private apartments so it can’t be visited by tourists. However, you should definitely photograph this building while in Biarritz. There are several vantage points to photograph Villa Belza from different angles and perspectives.
Go up the lighthouse
Built in 1834, the Biarritz lighthouse stands 73 meters above sea level. This lighthouse can be seen from basically any spot of the coast of Biarritz. To reach the top, you’ll have to climb 248 steps and you will be rewarded with 360 degrees panoramic views of the coast of Biarritz, the Pyrenees and the Landes coast. If you can, head to the lighthouse during sunset to watch the sky turn shades of orange. You can book the tickets to visit the lighthouse on the official website. The cost (as of December 2022) is 5 euros for adults.
Visit the Port Vieux (Old Port)
This part of Biarritz was among my favorites. The Port Vieux is a charming and quaint village where you can walk next to the fishermen’s old crampottes – the small cottages where they used to live. Also, the secluded Port Vieux Beach offers calm waters that are sheltered by rocks.
Photograph the Port des Pêcheurs
The Port des Pêcheurs seems quite modest compared to the grandeur of Biarritz. This port was originally built by Napoleon III’s order for the fishermen in the 1800s. This port is a great place stroll where you can photograph the boats and the lighthouse in the background.
Soak in the sun at the Grande Plage
This is the most popular beach in Biarritz and for good reason. In the summer months it’s packed with locals and tourists alike who want to enjoy its golden sand. Choose between renting one of the traditional striped beach tents and relax, swim, or surf in its magnificent waters. The beach is dotted with wonderful cafes and restaurants where you can sit, observe people strolling on the boardwalk and enjoy everything that Biarritz has to offer. With their impressive architecture, the Hôtel du Palais and the Casino Barrière are both located at the Grande Plage.
Head to the Miremont Patisserie Salon de The
This patisserie which opened in the 19th century is located at 1 Bis, Place George Clemenceau. Its traditional family recipes are still passed down from generation to generation making sure the specialties remain throughout the years.
Miremont offers a magnificent selection of pastries and coffee to satisfy your sweet tooth as well as a magnificent view towards the ocean. You can also get some chocolate and other delicious pastries to take home. I have to say that it’s a bit on the expensive side, but again, is everything in Biarritz.
Try your luck at the Casino Barrière de Basque Biarritz
Casino Barrière is one of the top attractions of Biarritz. Offering a wide variety of games table, slot machines and poker tournaments this casino is a must visit. However, Casino Barrière offers more than just games to try your luck -it has brasseries, bars, and an Italian-style theater.
Visit the aquarium
Get close to rays, sharks, seahorses and 150 species of fish and invertebrates at the Biarritz aquarium. Located in an impressive architectural building, the Biarritz aquarium allows you to enjoy a fascinating display of ocean life. Spread over 4 floors, there are several exhibits at the museum including model ships, nautical instruments and hunting equipment. Make sure you don’t miss the seals at feeding time – an amazing spectacle.
The aquarium is located in the old harbor, close to the Rocher de la Vierge and a just short walk from the city center, making it convenient to visit it.
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