Biarritz has sandy beaches, warm breezes and delicate French patisseries. It also has awesome surf – and it’s the surf that forms the backbone of a weekend here.
Do not expect to relax on the beach and then paddle along the shoreline or, heaven forbid, swim along gently without getting your hair wet. Even in the more sheltered plage near the town centre, the ocean packs a punch.
Not surprisingly, Biarritz has a large number of surf schools, although I would probably recommend travelling to a gentler coastline for your first ever taste of the waves.
Europe’s Surfing Capital
Anglet Beach, a 4km expanse of sand, also goes by the name of Europe’s Surfing Capital. Each year around Easter, surfers from all over the world arrive for the Biarritz Maïder Arosteguy – or Biarritz Surf Festival.
For your weekend break, you can either reach Anglet by bus from the city centre, drive and park in the numerous car parks or camp in Anglet itself. Unfortunately many French campsites are only open for July and August.
Alternatives to Surfing
So what if you try to surf – and you haven’t got the knack for it or it turns out that you just don’t like it?
Promenade Along the Waterfront
Napoleon and Hemingway have cruised along this fashionable resort in their time. Follow in their footsteps and walk from Anglet to Biarritz. You’ll pass stripy parasols, dated ice-cream stalls and the Rocher de la Vierge – a white statue on a rocky outcrop that stretches into the sea.
Dine by the Port des Pêcheurs
This cosy harbour once worked as a real fishing port. Today, pleasure boats bob on its waves and bars and restaurants line its edges.
Relax on a Beach
Although the surf may be menacing, the beaches are still sandy soft. Take a good book for entertainment – or watch the neoprene figures do battle with the surf from the safety of the shore.
Both Easyjet and Ryanair fly direct to Biarritz airport.
To get in the mood for your surfing weekend, watch this clip from the Biarritz surf festival, the Biarritz Maïder Arosteguy: