The glamorous resort of Biarritz has been attracting newlyweds, holidaymakers and the aristocracy to its golden-sand beaches since the 1850s, when Napoleon III and his Spanish-born wife Eugénie first built a holiday villa on La Grande Plage.
Biarritz is still regarded as one of the best beach resorts in the world and is the perfect spot for a honeymoon or romantic getaway holiday in France.
Renowned for some of Europe’s best surfing conditions, its impressive fin de siècle (end of the century) architecture, a choice of golf courses, luxurious spas, fine dining restaurants, al fresco cafés and hotels – including Napoleon’s former holiday villa – Biarritz is still one of Europe’s most stylish beach resorts.
Biarritz offers a choice of five golden-sand beaches, set amid great natural beauty and stretching south of the town centre. Unlike the French Riviera, the beaches here are totally free to enjoy.
Pick your own spot to sunbathe on this broad stretch of fine golden sand that overlooks a wide bay framed by rocky headlands surrounded by a scattering of rocks that soar out of the sea.
Still the beach to see and to be seen on, La Grande Plage hosts the annual Biarritz Surf Festival in July, a week-long event featuring surfing and music.
Beach facilities include parasols and sun loungers for hire, with a choice of cafés, restaurants and bars just a short stroll away.
A cliff-top pathway leads to the lighthouse on Pointe St Martin, where you’re rewarded with stunning panoramic views.
La Grande Plage is located in the heart of Biarritz.
Sunbathe on this crescent of golden sand nestling beneath dramatic cliffs covered in lush vegetation and manicured gardens.
Behind the beach stands the impressive Hotel du Palais, built by Napoléon III in the 1850s for his wife, whom he met and romanced in Biarritz.
Apart from lifeguards, there are no facilities on this beach so you may need to take food and drink with you. Miramar Plage is located to the north of Biarritz town.
Discover the sheltered and tranquil waters of this small horseshoe-shaped bay framed by rocky promontories and fringed by a fine golden-sand beach. Go swimming, scuba diving and kayaking.
Stroll across the iron footbridge at the end of Pointe Atalaye to Rocher de la Vierge, named after the white statue of the Virgin and child that stands on this impressive rocky promontory.
Visit the nearby Musée de la Mer and enjoy tasty seafood at the picturesque Port des Pêcheurs.
Plage du Port-Vieux is located on the south side of Biarritz and is easily reached on foot from plateau de l'Atalaye.
Relax in tranquillity on this wide golden-sand beach that sits beneath a park and hillside covered in natural vegetation. Apart from lifeguards, there are no facilities on this beach.
Plage de Milady is located to the south of Biarritz town centre.
Dig your toes into the soft golden sand of this wide beach and surf the waves. Apart from lifeguards, there are no facilities on this beach.
Marbella Plage is located to the south of Biarritz town centre.
This long stretch of golden sand sits beneath a highway and bush-covered hills.
Pounded by crashing waves, Côte des Basques offers some of the best surfing in Europe and is famous for hosting the annual Biarritz Surf Festival every July.
Stroll the quai de la Grande Plage, a waterfront promenade lined with architectural treasures, including the palatial Hotel du Palais and the Eglise Orthodoxe Russe, a Byzantine-style church built in 1892 by and for the Russian aristocrats who frequented Biarritz before the Russian Revolution.
Savour an al fresco espresso in the Place St Eugenie, which sits at the southern end of La Grande Plage, then admire the 12th century Eglise St Martin before meandering down a switchback pathway to the picturesque Port des Pêcheurs, crowded with seafood restaurants.
From the picturesque plateau de l’Atalaye, located at the southern end of La Grande Plage, take a bracing walk out to the Rocher de la Vierge (Rock of the Virgin), a surf-pounded promontory with great sea views.
Browse chic boutiques around Place Clemenceau and savour tasty sweets at the Chocolate Museum.
After dark, explore Biarritz’s range of pavement cafés, trendy bars and lively nightclubs. Or join the high rollers at Casino de Biarritz – the largest casino in southwest France.
Biarritz is located in southwest France at the southern end of the Côte d'Argent (Silver Coast), a 200km-long stretch of sandy coastline – the longest in Europe.
This endless stretch of white-sand beach is backed by high sand dunes that merge into the largest forest in Western Europe, known as Les Landes.
Biarritz offers two great coastal walks: Follow the Promenade du Bord de Mer, a cliff-top path that winds along the coast through manicured rock gardens to Pointe St Martin.
From here you can descend a staircase along the paved allée Winston-Churchill to Plage Miramar or continue on to the 73m-high Phare de Biarritz lighthouse, which stands at the northern edge of Plage Miramar and offers panoramic views of the coast.
To the southern side of Biarritz lies La Perspective de la Côte des Basques, a picturesque walk that leads to Plage de la Côte des Basques, a popular surf beach.
In addition to the magniificent Hotel du Palais – arguably the finest hotel along the Basque coast – Biarritz offers newlyweds an excellent choice of accommodation options, including the following 5-star hotels…
Hôtel du Palais
Location: 1 Avenue de l'Impératrice, Biarritz
Ave nightly price: AUD593 per room
Description: Previously a palace built by Empress Eugénie on Biarritz’s beach, this luxury 5-star hotel has 2 large pools and a spa and fitness centre with hammam, hot tub and massage treatments. Original period furnishings and magnificent views feature in the air-conditioned rooms and suites at Hôtel Du Palais. All have a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, free Wi-Fi access and some have a separate seating area. Hôtel Du Palais serves a continental and buffet breakfast every morning. There are 2 restaurants, the Michelin Star Villa Eugénie and another one set by the swimming pool and open in season. There is a children’s playground on site. The hotel is a 2-minute walk from the casino and 10 minutes from the town centre. Biarritz-Le-Phare golf course is a 10-minute drive away and Biarritz-Anglet-Bayonne Airport is 3 km from the Palais.
Sofitel Biarritz Le Miramar Thalassa
Location: 13 Rue Louison Bobet, Biarritz
Ave nightly price: AUD556 room
Description: With direct access to Biarritz Miramar Beach, this luxury hotel features a thalassotherapy centre and offers an outdoor pool overlooking the sea as well as an indoor pool. All en-suite rooms and suites at Sofitel Biarritz Le Miramar Thalassa have a private balcony with views of the Bay. The air-conditioned guests rooms also have satellite and cable TV and tea and coffee making equipment. The Sofitel Thalassa Miramar Biarritz also features breathtaking views of the surrounding area. Guests at Sofitel Biarritz Le Miramar Thalassa can enjoy the on-site two restaurants that serve delicious and healthy cuisine, a jazzy and cozy piano bar and a summer bar with a terrace overlooking the Ocean. The Sofitel Biarritz has a sauna, a hair and beauty centre as well as its own fashion boutique. Treatments and packages can be booked on site.
Beaumanoir Small Luxury Boutique Hotel
Location: 10 Avenue de Tamames, Biarritz
Ave nightly price: AUD443 per room
Description: Beaumanoir is located in the Winter Park district, 25 minutes' walk to the Atlantic beaches in Biarritz. This ancient manor combines tradition with modernity, and has a heated swimming pool. Guest rooms have been decorated in an elegant Baroque style fitted with classical furnishings and large marble bathrooms. All rooms feature a bed, a sofa and a minibar. Free Wi-Fi is also available in public areas. If you are travelling with friends or family, try one of the hotels suites or apartments with separate lounge. All guests are welcome to enjoy a drink in front of the fireplace in the Champagne lounge bar. The immediate vicinity of the Hotel Le Beaumanoir provides many leisure activities such as golf, tennis, spa facilities, cinemas and a casino. You can also make an appointment for a massage. The hotel offers transfers to and from the airport in a Rolls Royce at an extra cost. Free private parking is also available on site.
Le Regina Biarritz Hotel & Spa by MGallery by Sofitel
Location: 52 Avenue de l'Impératrice, Biarritz
Ave nightly price: AUD327 per room
Description: Set in a 1907 Belle Epoque iconic building located in Biarritz and overlooking the bay, Le Régina Biarritz Hôtel & Spa features a spacious Art Déco lobby with an Eiffel-styled glass roof. Guests can relax in the hotel's spa with beauty treatments, steam room, fitness center or along its outdoor swimming pool. Rooms at Le Régina Biarritz Hôtel & Spa are air conditioned and soundproofed. They are equipped with a cable flat-screen TV, Nespresso coffee machine, minibar and free WiFi access. With panoramic views of the bay and an outdoor terrace, Le Regina’s restaurant offers a brasserie-style high end menu designed by Georges Blanc, Michelin-starred chef. After a busy day, guests might sip a drink at the bar set under the lobby's glass roof. The hotel provides free private parking and overlooks Biarritz-le Phare Golf Course. It is just a 5-minute walk from the beach and an ideal base for discovering the Basque Country.
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The best time for a Biarritz honeymoon is between June and September when daytime temperatures average 24°C (75°F). July and August are the peak season months.
Find more climate info: Biarritz Weather Guide…
Biarritz is around 8km from Bayonne, 17km from the Spanish border and 779km from Paris.
Frequent high-speed TGV trains run from Paris to Biarritz. Alternatively, you can fly direct to Biarritz from Paris or London. Biarritz-Anglet-Bayonne Airport is 3km from the city centre.
Latest update: Biarritz honeymoon: 3 April, 2018
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