Biarritz Tourist Activities

BBiarritz Airport is found nearby the south-western coastline of France, just 5km, or 3 miles from the large towns of Biarritz, Anglet and Bayonne, and is an important gateway for tourists coming to enjoy the attractions of the Pyrénées-Atlantique region of the country, which include some glorious beaches, interesting museums and charming towns filled with opportunities for shopping and nightlife and some lovely restaurants. Biarritz Airport handled just under a million passengers in 2010, and the majority of these passengers are local travellers, from other French destinations, however, international visitors arrive as well, from the United Kingdom and other locations.

The airport of Biarritz, or the Biarritz-Anglet-Bayonne Airport (BIQ) is the perfect arrival point for visitors of the three nearby towns, as well as for those who wish to travel a little further, to the larger cities of Bordeaux and Toulouse. Even the country of Spain is a short drive away, as the border is just 18km, or 11 miles from Biarritz. Many tourists head for Irun, Pamplona and San Sebastian, located just across the border. Biarritz, on the Bay of Biscay on the Atlantic coast, may not be the country’s most famous city, but it has plenty of charm and appeal, as well as several attractions to offer its visitors. Surfers come from afar to enjoy this major surf resort, and divers marvel at the sea creatures below the surface. In the town, several museums capture the attention of tourists and locals alike, and the Biarritz lighthouse is an important landmark that is climbed by most who would enjoy a good view over the Basque coast and the Pyrénées mountains beyond.

Along the shore of Biarritz

One of the best ways in which to get acquainted with Biarritz is to take a stroll along the town’s beautiful shoreline. A good starting point is at Pointe Saint-Martin, which is about ten minutes from the centre of the town. Here is the location of the town’s famous lighthouse, known as the Le Phare de Biarritz. It has 248 stairs that can be climbed at a small price, and from the top, the most wonderful views over the sea can be enjoyed. The lighthouse is about 73 metres in height, and was built in 1834. Towards the centre of the city is the beach known as Plage Miramar, which is one of Biarritz’s more famous beaches, and nearby is the Hôtel du Palais, a luxury hotel in a magnificent building that is hard to miss. It was built in 1854, and is an E-shaped layout constructed by Emperor Napoleon III. Further down the coast is the Rocher de la Vierge, complete with a statue of the Virgin Mary. The statue was built here because it was said that lost whalers were once guided to shore by a light from this rocky outcropping.

Museums and other Biarritz Attractions

Many wonderful places are possible to visit in Biarritz, including a number of interesting museums. One of these is the Planète Musée du Chocolat, a superb outing for those who love chocolates. It is generally described as a quirky museum that will take you on a journey through the history of chocolate. Its information dates back 3000 years, from the time when the ancient Aztecs invented chocolate. There are some intriguing displays of cocoa sculptures, machines, old posters and ads and a chocolate shop. There is an entry charge for the museum, but included in the price, are chocolate coins and hot cocoa.

Another extremely popular place to visit in Biarritz is the Musée de la Mer, especially for families with children, as it is an aquarium with some magnificent sea creatures to admire. The seal tank with its baby seals is particularly popular (found on the second floor of the building), as well as the nearby shark tank, built in a fake cave. Other animals found at the aquarium include mantra rays, eels and over 150 species of fish from the Bay of Biscay. There is also information on the history of fishing in Biarritz.

Additional places of interest in Biarritz include the Art Deco Musée de la Mer, featuring a combination of maritime museum and aquarium attractions, with the most popular residents being some benign sharks, the Musée Historique de Biarritz which occupies a former Anglican church known as St Andrews built, that was built 1876, and the Asiatica Museum, with thousands of exhibits from China, Tibet, Nepal and India. This is the Biarritz Museum of Oriental Art, and a popular place for visitors.

For more lively entertainment, there is an excellent casino in Biarritz, and some nightclubs that are dancing till the wee hours of the morning. The bars and entertainment venues light up early in the evening, and the dance clubs are open from 23:00 to 06:00 in the morning. In general, there is an excellent selection of restaurants in Biarritz, and the International Festival of Biarritz, celebrating Latin American cinema and culture, is held in the first week of October.

Further information regarding Biarritz attractions is available from the Biarritz Airport tourism desk, or from the various tourist offices in the town, one of which is located at the Biarritz-La-Negresse train station. Free guides are available, and the staff speak English, French and Spanish.