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- 08 Dec 2019, 3 nights
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With its long sandy beaches and elegant buildings, Biarritz was once dubbed the "Queen of Resorts and the Resort of Kings". Royalty used to flock here in the 19th century, but today it's more popular with the surf crowd. By day visitors bask on the coast and take in the laid-back vibes, and by night they party until the sun rises in the city's wine bars. The high street is lined with independent shops selling artisan cheese, chocolate and local specialities like the herbal Izarra liqueur.
Choose a Biarritz hostel in a rustic country house or traditional Basque home, updated with colourful décor and modern must-haves like free Wi-Fi. Some hostels in Biarritz are designed with surfers in mind and have board rentals as well as links with local schools where you can learn how to ride the waves. Most have sociable common spaces, which are great for relaxing over a cool beer, and you'll also find Biarritz hostels with spacious dining rooms, marble fireplaces, garden barbecue areas and ping pong tables.
The Centre Ville (town centre) is the heart of Biarritz. Place Georges Clémenceau is lined with clothes and artisan food shops, and is a five-minute stroll from the covered Les Halles market. The Port Vieux (old port) is where you'll find a sheltered little beach, as well as plenty of places to grab a sunset drink. Just north of the town centre is La Grande Plage (big beach) neighbourhood, known for its sandy strip and long promenade.
You'll get a good view of the city from the Rocher de la Vierge (Virgin Rock). An icon of the city, this rock formation juts into the Bay of Biscay. One of the best places to surf is Les Cavaliers beach, 20 minutes by bus from the city centre, it's famous for its strong swells. If you're in the mood for a picnic, stop into the Les Halles food market for fresh bread and local cheese and charcuterie.
Biarritz Pays Basque Airport is 5km from the city centre, and you can get in using Chronoplus bus lines 14 and C. If you're coming by train you'll arrive at the Gare de Biarritz on the outskirts of the city; bus line 8 takes about 15 minutes to reach the centre from here. It's a small city so it's easy to get around on foot or by bicycle – free bikes can be hired at the Anglet Tourisme office, 20 minutes from central Biarritz by bus.