I recently spent a few days in Biarittz in France and before I went I was researching the place to try make the most of my time there. On my return I thought it might be helpful if I shared some of my experience so that if you are making the journey in the near future – you’ll have a little bit of an insight before you go!
Who we booked with:
We booked the flights and accommodation though Mike Shinnors. Mike has been accommodating on so many occasions and always handles everything from giving you initial ideas to booking to checking you in and delivering the boarding passes! He is a dream.
Where we stayed:
We stayed at Mer Et Golf Eugenie and it was PERFECT for what we needed. It’s probably important to note that this is not a typical hotel – it’s a residence. You basically just look after yourself while you are there. It’s very reasonable accommodation (Biarritz tends to be quite pricey) and the location was ideal. It’s about a 15 minute walk to the centre of Biarritz and only 5/6 minutes to the nearest beach which is STUNNING. I can’t say enough about the beaches in Biarittz – seriously the most beautiful I have ever seen. This accommodation also has a swimming pool, tennis court and gorgeous views of the ocean (it’s situated on a cliff top). The reception only opens at certain times so if you are planning on staying this is one of the things to look out for. The opening hours are 9am-12pm and 2pm- 6pm. If you are due to arrive outside these hours contact them in advance and they will leave your check in details out for you.
Things To Do:
Dave and I spent a morning walking from La Grand Plage all the way to our hotel which was in the direction of Bidart. It was a STUNNING walk and well worth spending time to do it. You literally walk the coast the whole way.
Biarrittz is known for its beaches and its surfing but don’t worry if you are not a seasoned pro – the surf schools cater for all abilities. Dave and I used a school situated right beside our accommodation and got a private lesson for two people for €150. There are also group lessons available where you can join a group of other bookings for a lower price rate. We spent 1.5 hours (maybe 2) with our instructor who collected us and brought us to the beach and provided wetsuits and surf boards and even dropped us back to the surf school afterwards. I was a complete beginner after having only ever surfed once before many years ago and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
We drove the 40-45 minutes from Biarritz to San Sebastian in Spain on one of the mornings. It was only a short trip but well worth it. We had breakfast and sat by the sea and it was a lovely little way to see another part of the world.
You will literally be inundated with options for food and drink in Biarritz. The cuisine is typically French so you’d be hard pressed to find a typical Irish fry up but I found that very refreshing. Breakfasts are usually coffees and pastries or a meat and cheese plate with a baguette. Dinners were largely seafood and baked potatoes – but seriously tasty. Here are a few of the stand out spots for me.
A gorgeous little spot by the port with the most incredible seafood. We had oysters to start with Cod and Hake dishes for main course. The house wine was delicious and the staff were incredible. TIP: during busy season it might be necessary to make a reservation here. It’s a very popular spot.
Probably my favourite of the restaurants we ate at. We actually ate here twice because we liked it so much. This one is right on the beach at Bidart (just 10 mins drive from Biarittz) and the views are stunning. We had lunch outdoors on the first day and dinner indoors on another evening. Again fish was the staple here but my goodness it was amazing. In all we tried the Hake for two, the prawns and one of the daily specials and it did not disappoint. We were even treated to a sample of the squid starter. The staff could not have been more obliging. A must if you are in the area.
For breakfast give this little cafe a go. It’s quirky, cute and different and we loved it. We opted for a mixed breakfast of meats, cheese and baguettes with coffee. A lovely experience and we loved the decor! It’s also got plenty of goodies you can take away for lunch later in the day.
The night life starts early in Biarritz and a lot of places close for dinner service at 10pm – the typical dinner service was 19.30- 22.00. There are PLENTY of bars in the centre – we visited Bar De La Plage and and Irish bar called Le Newquay both were open late with music and a bit of craic!
Rent a car
We rented from AVIS at Birritz airport – a Ford Fiesta for €134 for the 4 days and it was the nest thing we could have done. Easy to collect and return and perfect for getting around. We drove to San Sebastian on one of the mornings but also used it to get to and from the different beaches in the area over the few days. There are gorgeous beaches all the way from Biarittz to Bidart and it was a very convenient having the car.
Pack For Variable Weather
The last thing I put in my suitcase before flying was a very light windbreaker jacket and I ended up wearing it most days. Now bare in mind we travelled in late May to Biarritz – the weather was quite changeable. Not particularly cold but over cast during the day till the afternoon when the sun was more inclined to break through. I think it’s perfect weather if you don’t like it too hot. Night time was still warm but with a few showers so be wary of that. We did have a bit of sunshine everyday – the weather wasn’t really a big factor though as we were too busy enjoying the area to sunbathe!
Ask For Help
Most menus are entirely in French and Dave and I got in the habit of asking for complete translations which staff were more than happy to help with! I can’t say enough for the people in Biarritz. Friendly, helpful and laid back. It was such a pleasure.
Taxis were few and far between! Your best bet is to ask the restaurant or hotel you are at to order it for you.
All in all if you have not paid a visit to the Basque region – put it on your “To Do” list.
Hope you found this helpful!