Anglet, the generous
Welcome to the Basque Country surf capital! With its ten spots crisscrossing its 4.5 km (2.7 miles) of coastline, Anglet has what it takes to satisfy sportsmen who are thirsty for waves. There are many schools, competitions, shops and surf activities with a few of the swell in the background! This is the ideal place to perfect or just start surfing. The story goes that it was at La Barre beach that the first world surfing championships were held in 1968. A world-class site, Cavaliers beach, with its impressive tube-shaped waves, is one of the most popular destination for surfers.
Biarritz, the elegant
Facing the posh villas and the Rocher de la Vierge (landmark of Biarritz), the ocean winds and endless horizon of Biarritz is an invitation to surf and enjoy the wild beauty of Basque nature. The call of the waves is irresistable! Next to the Grande Plage, which offers a more urban atmosphere, is the beach of the Côte des Basques. Surrounded by cliffs and famous the world over, it offers an elegant and glamorous setting with the Villa Belza balanced on a cliff in the backgorund. Considered the birthplace of surfing in France, these beaches comes alive with surf competitions and continues on the quieter beach of Marbella.
Hendaye, the longest beach
Three km (1.8 miles) long, the longest beach in the Basque Country is in Hendaye. This is where surfing world champion Pauline Ado started to practice. An ideal to learn this activity, this beach is frequented by schools and their young students. Nestled in a bay, it is best explored during a swim or a walk on the coastal path. Come along and enjoy a superb natural setting, soaking in the world-famous twin rocks.
Saint-Jean-de-Luz, the most sheltered
In Saint-Jean-de-Luz, the atmosphere is more family-friendly and more tranquil. Nestled in the bay, the beach of the city center is well sheltered from the wind. On the Basque coast, it is one of the best places to swim and try paddling or Hawaiian canoe, heading towards blue of the ocean. Saint-Jean-de-Luz is the calm before the storm, because further south a rare but impressive wave, the Belhara, forms each autumn. Of course, only professionals try the adventure. The best place to enjoy the magic of this autumn show in the Basque Country remains the cliffs of the corniche, high above the danger.
The small port of Guéthary is a masterclass in tranquility and cultural preservation. Nestled in a small bay and classified at the Conservatoire du Littoral, Cenitz beach is only accessible by foot. It offers small natural pools at low tide where you can swim and admire the beauty of the landscapes of the Basque coast. At high tide, it turns into a surf spot, with waves of varying size and difficulty. To admire the prowess of experienced surfers, head to Parlementia.
Bidart, the village spirit
Perched on a cliff, Bidart watches the waves from above—but isn't totally removed from them. Here, the atmosphere has remained picturesque and in the village spirit, which the Basques love. Here, relax on the terrace of a café, watching surfers play with the rhythms of the ocean or after a session of aerobatics in the water. Settled in a wild environment and surrounded by greenery, the beach attracts fans of nature and calm.
Find out more
- Prepare your trip to the Basque Country
Also read: The Basque Coast Trail: 7 must-see views and Pays Basque: 6 specialties to slip in your suitcase