Hotels in Biarritz
Leisure and culture in Biarritz
Biarritz is a dream destination for warm, relaxing holidays set between mountains and sea. With its 4 km of coast, Biarritz is the ideal place to swim at the beach, relax in the sun and enjoy water sports, especially surfing. The town also offers many cultural discoveries, including Art Deco monuments, casinos and the gastronomic specialities typical of the French Basque country. For a hotel stay in Biarritz, head for the Radisson Blu Hotel Biarritz. In the heart of the city centre, the hotel is ideally located to explore the town, where you can make the most of the coastal promenade starting at the casino, as well visiting the Grande Plage and the Basque Coast. You can relax on holiday with your loved one or your friends in the hotel rooftop swimming pool and in the spa, before enjoying a drink on the terrace, with a panoramic ocean view. On a family holiday, both adults and children can have fun in the games room or reading room before heading off to the beach. It’s very close to the hotel and you can take part in activities like pelota and surfing, or take a stroll through the Basque countryside.
The Biarritz Radisson Blu is perfectly placed for you to make the most of all the town’s top attractions. These include the Barrière Casino and its 200 slot machines, the Grande Plage located close by, the Basque Coast and the Rocher de la Vierge, accessible in around ten minutes walk. Once settled and comfortable in your contemporary, stylish room, you will have all the time in the world to relax in the spa, in the hotel pool or in one of the two on-site restaurants and bars.
From fishing village to seaside resort
Historically, Biarritz was a small fishing village, and despite its undeniably picturesque scenery it was not very well known to tourists. The start of the 19th century marked a turning point in the town’s history, as members of high society started to become interested in Biarritz and its picture- postcard setting, and the sea, perfect for bathing. In 1808, Napoleon Bonaparte went bathing there, which raised the popularity of the town significantly. His nephew, the future Emperor Napoleon III, would establish its fame still further, by making Biarritz one of his favourite holiday destinations. He also built the Palais Eugénie here, in honour of his wife.
All the wealth of Biarritz
Staying at a Biarritz hotel, you can discover the town and its many attractions at your leisure. The great rock of Rocher de la Vierge is one of Biarritz’s symbolic natural monuments, while at the Sea Museum you can discover the local environment in a fun and interesting way. The Saint Eugénie Church is close to your Radisson Blu hotel, and here you can admire its beautiful windows and crypt, then take a walk along the esplanade of Port-Vieux to enjoy the view of the sea. Any stay in Biarritz wouldn’t be complete without taking a dip in the sea, strolling on the beach, getting on a surfboard for the first time or discovering the Pyrenees, visibly standing tall on the skyline behind the town.
Biarritz, rooted in Basque culture
Although Biarritz is located in the Aquitaine region of France, its culture is first and foremost that of the Basque country. The Basque language is still taught in some schools, even though French is the area’s dominant language. Among the most popular local sports are surfing, rugby and pelota. The culinary heritage is also characterised by Basque specialities – be sure to try Espelette peppers, Bayonne ham, and Marmitako, a type of tuna fish stew, during your stay here. The warm and sunny Biarritz climate also ensures wonderful holidays all year round; in the 19th century, this drew the attention of the Emperor Napoleon III and his wife Eugénie who regularly took their holidays in Biarritz.
The Rocher de la Vierge is an emblematic symbol of Biarritz and is an exceptional site where nature and architecture come together. It was Napoleon III who decided to have the rock drilled in order to construct a 75 metre tunnel, situated between Port-Vieux and the fishing port. You can get there via a metal bridge built by the Eiffel workshops, although you should avoid using it if the sea is rough. A statue of the Virgin Mary was installed there in 1865 at the summit of the rock, thus giving the peninsula its name. This unusual and striking place is a must-visit!
In 2011, the attractions of the Cité de l’Océan and the Museum of the Sea were consolidated into what is now known as Biarritz Océan. The museum is housed in a lovely Art Deco building where you can discover a large collection of preserved sea creatures as well as several aquariums. The Sea Museum is home to seals and hammerhead sharks. The Cité de l’Océan’s mission is to reveal the hidden depths of the aquatic environment and the world of surfing, in a theme park which both adults and children will love. You can learn a lot and have loads of fun at the same time!
Whether or not you like to play for money, the Barrière Casino remains one of Biarritz’s most symbolic monuments. It was built in 1929 in Art Deco style, and is located in the centre of town on the Grande Plage. In addition to the gaming rooms, it houses a theatre, a pool and a restaurant. The bar and terrace provide the perfect place to enjoy a drink overlooking the sea. The casino is open from 9 am to 4 am every day in high season, and until 3 am the rest of the year.
Asiatica Oriental Art Museum
This is an unconventional museum which you must see! It is an unmissable attraction of Biarritz as it is one of the few museums outside Paris housing an important collection of Asiatic art. You can discover works from India, China, Tibet and Nepal. Temporary exhibitions, always with an Asian theme, complement the permanent collection. During the school holidays the museum is open from 10:30 am to 6:30 pm Monday to Friday, and 2 to 7 pm at weekends.
The Grande Plage is one of Biarritz’s most iconic beaches. It is a vast stretch of fine sand, on the seafront right in the middle of town, and it becomes very busy in summer. It stretches between the Hôtel du Palais and the Bellevue, and has lots of shops, restaurants and bars along its length. There are lifeguards on the beach from May to October and entry is free; you can also hire tents and deckchairs. Lots of surfing schools and clubs are available to get you started or to help you hone your skills.
Côte des Basques Beach
This beach has views over the Spanish coast, and is a big favourite for surfers. Small but perfectly formed, its special feature is that it completely disappears at high tide if the tide comes above a certain height (when swimming is forbidden). Its picturesque setting, surrounded by cliffs, and its lively waves make this a must-visit beach during your Biarritz stay. There are lifeguards from June to September and it is home to ten or so surfing clubs and schools.
This beach is very popular with the locals. It is situated just 500m from Port-Vieux and overlooked by the Chateau d’Ilbarritz. The vast stretch of sand is surrounded by a golf course and a children’s playground. The adjoining promenade provides the perfect place to take a stroll by the sea. Lifeguards are in attendance from June to September, and it is accessible for visitors with disabilities. This entrance is available from 1st July to 31 August, and in September from 2 pm to 7 pm. A surf club, including for disabled surfers, is available on the beach.
This small beach is close to the town centre and is perfect for family visits with its ‘natural swimming pool’, situated at the heart of a rocky cove, protected from the wind and waves. It is also a no-smoking beach as of 2015. There are lifeguards from June to September. There is also a swimming school, two diving clubs and two lifeguard training clubs. On Port-Vieux Beach you will enjoy basking in the warm atmosphere, as well as the view of the Rocher de la Vierge.
To discover the French Basque Country in all its diverse splendour, a trip to Bayonne is a must. Located just 15 minutes by car from Biarritz, it is the capital of the Basque Country, and is an urban yet historic city. You can still feel its medieval past in certain parts, especially in the remains of the ramparts which used to surround the town. Its more recent history has given Bayonne paved streets, wooden façades and numerous restaurants stretching along the banks of the Adour. The city is also famous for its August festivals. These ferias attract hundreds of thousands of people every year, creating a warm and vibrant atmosphere.
Excursion to Bilbao
Bilbao, capital of the Spanish Basque Country, is less than two hours by car from Biarritz. It is a culturally rich city that is great to stay and live in, and you can discover its sumptuous, elegant architecture by wandering around the different areas. The major attraction is of course the Guggenheim, a vast museum of modern and contemporary art, and an architectural masterpiece in itself. It was opened in 1997 and became one of Europe’s great museums, attracting a huge number of visitors every year.
Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, a pilgrim centre and a charming place to visit, is a trip not to miss during your stay in Biarritz. This medieval city used to be entirely surrounded by a perimeter wall, the remains of which you can still see today, notably in the four gateways which gave access to the city. Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port is also home to a stunning 17th-century citadel, which you can see by climbing a steep pathway. It is worth the walk, as from the citadel on the summit you will be delighted by the breath-taking panorama of the city and its surroundings.
Hendaye and the Guéthary coastal path
About 30 minutes by car from Biarritz is Hendaye, a French town on the Spanish border. The town itself is famous for its beautiful beach and Abbadia Castle overlooking the ocean and housing a small museum. From Hendaye, there is a 25 km coastal trail to Bidart. This pathway takes you through amazing coastal surroundings, and you discover other towns on the way, including Saint-Jean-de-Luz, Guéthary and Ciboure.