When you wander the streets of the old French beach town of Biarritz, you may just feel like you’ve been transported back in time to the 1920s, when American writers like Fitzgerald and Hemingway enjoyed all of the beauty, luxury and culture of European cities. That’s how I felt, at least, when I visited Biarritz, possibly because Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises” was filmed in this town in the 1950s. While in town filming the movie, the screenwriter noticed the decent swells in Biarritz, so he had his surfboard shipped all the way from California. That was the first time anybody surfed in European waters. So, in essence, Biarritz is the birthplace of surfing in Europe, and today this Basque town is a hot spot for surfers from around the world, as well as high society types and families just looking for a fun beach vacation.
I had been spending the summer in Madrid for work when I discovered that Biarritz was just a quick flight away. So I decided to take a spur-of-the-moment weekend trip to the beautiful coastal town of Biarritz, and to make my trip possible I checked out HotelTonight’s website to book a great last-minute hotel in Biarritz. With my flight and my hotel booked, I threw my swimsuit and sandals in my suitcase and headed to the airport.
When you visit Biarritz, you won’t be able to miss the Grande Plage, which is considered the town’s main beach. This wide stretch of golden, soft sand has been a popular beach destination for Europeans since the Belle Époque, and today it’s Biarritz’s most popular beach. Whether you want to lie under a umbrella all day and relax or you want to head out into the surf and try to catch a wave, you’ll definitely get a good sense of Biarritz’s laidback vibe when you visit the Grande Plage.
When most people think of Biarritz, they think of pretty beaches and surfers in wet suits, and they often forget that the town itself is full of charm and beauty. The heart of Biarritz is the grand Place Georges-Clemenceau, which is full of charming cafes where you can relax and grab a post-surf session café au lait. The town of Biarritz is home to elegant boulevards, stunning old architecture, and fantastic shops and restaurants. So when you visit Biarritz, don’t spend all of your time at the beaches–make sure to save a bit of time to wander the picturesque streets of the city center as well.
France is the land of great food, so you can bet that I took advantage of every opportunity I had to eat delicious food while in Biarritz. One of my favorite places for fresh food was Les Halles, a food market that is just as popular today among locals as it was when it was built in 1885. This market is a heaven for food lovers, as it offers a terrific selection of fresh cheese, meat and produce–so it’s the perfect place to pick up food if you’re planning a beach picnic. Also, don’t miss the seafood market right next door, where you can purchase some fresh fish and even taste some fresh oysters.
Since Biarritz has become a surf town thanks to its great waves, many families wonder if this is a good beach destination for children. Fortunately, there are a number of calmer, family-friendly beaches in Biarritz, such as Le Port Vieux, which is ideal for smaller children since it’s a cove that is protected from the Atlantic’s waves. Since this beach is also less crowded than other popular Biarritz beaches, I found that it was a great spot to roll out a towel, relax, and read a book under the afternoon sun.
Even if you’re not a surfer, you should visit the Côte des Basques just so you can experience the magnificence of one of Europe’s best beaches. This beach is long, wide, and filled with surfers running into the water. The beach itself is absolutely beautiful, and it’s a great spot to go for a leisurely walk or to watch surfers catch great waves.
In just a couple of days, Biarritz had become one of my favorite towns in all of Europe. The charm and the easygoing lifestyle of Biarritz won me over almost immediately, and I know that I’ll definitely return to this French beach town in the future. So next time I have a free weekend to escape to Biarritz, I’ll be sure to book my last-minute Biarritz hotel through HotelTonight. Since HotelTonight makes it so easy for travelers to book last-minute hotels around the world, you can always have a sense of freedom and flexibility while traveling, which means that you’ll be able to relax and spend more time enjoying your global adventures.