Road-trip in the Basque Country, between sea and cliffs – DAY 1: Atlantic stroll along the Basque coast
The first part of our Basque road-trip, which takes us from the rollers of the Atlantic to the highest peaks of the Pyrenees, via the villages of the inland Basque country. Today, we’re off to discover the Basque coastline. Here, camping vacations mean fresh air, sunny beaches and a lively atmosphere. Follow the guide!
The most beautiful sunsets on the Basque coast, from Bayonne to Hendaye
From the long beaches of the Atlantic coast to the mountains of the Pyrenees, from famous coastal resorts to picturesque fishing ports, the Basque Country is a relaxed place to live. On the program: bike rides in the Pignada, seaside hikes, lazing on the beach, free surfing in the waves and tapas on the terrace. Let’s go for a day of emotional discovery.
Our road-trip begins in Bayonne, gateway to the Basque Country, 25 km from Le Biper Gorri campsite. France’s oldest bullfighting town is famous for its festivities, which take place every summer at the end of July. From the UNESCO-listed Gothic cathedral to the Moorish-style bullring, not forgetting the Basque Museum, ramparts, cloister and Château-Vieux, “medieval” Bayonne offers a veritable journey back in time. Are you a gourmet? So are we! Stop off at Bayonne‘s Chocolate Museum.
After Old Bayonne and its half-timbered houses, the tour continues to Biarritz, the chicest seaside resort on the Basque coast since Napoleon III and Empress Eugénie stayed here from 1854. The Art Deco-style casino and the Hôtel du Palais, one of the world’s most prestigious palaces, bear witness to this. Don’t miss a visit to the lighthouse, which offers a bird’s-eye view of the imperial city, the Rocher de la Vierge or the Cité de l’Océan and the Biarritz Aquarium. For sports enthusiasts, a detour to the Musée historique du Biarritz Olympique (the legendary rugby club) or a surfing session on the Grande Plage (nicknamed “the queen of beaches and the beach of kings”) are a must. In the background, the Gulf of Cantabria.
Read on the campsite blog: “Our top 5 most beautiful beaches in the Basque Country”.
Between Bayonne and Biarritz, Anglet’s Chiberta forest offers families and sports enthusiasts greenways in the shade of tall pines, kilometers of bike paths and an acrobatic tree course. Golf enthusiasts can enjoy their favorite pastime on the Chibertz green, between ocean and forest. Next stop: the coastal path and the cliffs of the Corniche Basque!
The Basque Coastal Path
From Bidart to Hendaye, the Sentier du Littoral offers wilder landscapes, with cliffs interspersed with coves and bays, small fishing ports and picturesque neo-Basque villages.
Between Bayonne and Hendaye, you’ll discover the old whaling ports of Guéthary and Bidart, picturesque Basque coastal villages from which long-distance sailors once set off to catch whales off the coast of Newfoundland. In the 16th century, the Basques were reputed to be “the most skilful men at this kind of fishing”. In Guéthary, the semaphore above Parlementia beach once served as an observation post for cetaceans in the bay. In Bidart, on the Handia hill, the Château d’Ilbarritz, built for Baron Albert de l’Espée in the late 19th century, catches the eye with its distinctive silhouette.
A different setting, a different atmosphere in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, with its colorful port, old town and old privateers’ houses. Just enough time to swallow a few macaroons and a couple of mouchous, before heading off to the Corniche Basque, a protected natural area that stretches from Ciboure to Hendaye over a dozen kilometers… with the Socoa fort, the Urrugne cliffs and the Château d’Abbadia in your sights. Our crossing of the Basque coast ends in Hendaye, the last French stopover before Spain.
Related content: Sailing and sea fishing on the Basque coast