Our favourite things to do in the Basque Country – France

This summer, we are travelling in France exclusively with the Coronavirus! After visiting Lyon and Bordeaux, we headed out for the Basque Country (Pays Basque) to spend our first week in the sunny and wild beaches of South West France with some friends. It is a region of picturesque villages and cities, offering beautiful white beaches and perfect surfers spot. We loved our holidays there, and recommend it to everyone looking for a family or friends beach holidays destination in a place still very well-preserved.

Visit Guéthary

A small and picturesque village, Guéthary is now the place to be for surfers in the Basque country! You will discover here a typical basque village with some great surfing spots and some incredible addresses.

The beach of Guéthary
The beach of Guéthary

Where to eat in Guéthary

Almost always full – don’t forget to book in advance – Hétéroclito describes itself as “a comptoir” on the sea. And, indeed, you cannot be disappointed by the view. The tapas are really good even if a little too expensive, and the atmosphere is great. Ask to be seated on the terrace!

HétéroclitoChemin de la plage, 64210 à Guéthary, France
Open 7/7 from March to November from 12:30pm to 9:30pm

Rock on the beach near Guéthary
Rock on the beach near Guéthary

Where to surf in Guéthary

We don’t surf, but one of our friends does and that is where he has taken us: Plage des Alcyons. Don’t stop where everyone is but walk along the beach (it may get a little tricky on the rocks) and reach the perfect surf spot at Plage de Senix. For the less adventurous, you can also reach the beach through the Chemin des Falaises.

A boat on the beach of  Guéthary
A boat on the beach of Guéthary

Discover Hossegor, the surfer paradise

Rent a bike in Hossegor and cycle around Hossegor lake

Try to arrive early in Hossegor as traffic tends to be a little heavy and rent a bike at VTT Loisirs Hossegor Centre (Allée des Pins Tranquilles, 40150 Soorts-Hossegor) and cycle around Hossegor lake, with the sea in the background. The city has cycling roads almost all the way and cars are being very careful with bicycles – a very safe itinerary!

VTT Loisirs Hossegor will rent you really good quality bicycles of all kind starting from half a day. You do not need to book it for a full day right away, just bring it back whenever you are done and they will charge you accordingly. If you feel lazy, you can also go for an electric bike and enjoy a longer ride!

Hossegor lake from the sky - MavicPro 2 photography
Hossegor lake from the sky – MavicPro 2 photography

Have a coffee at Café Bleu in Hossegor

Once you are done with your day in Hossegor, have a break at this little hidden gem: the Café bleu. Smoothies, Chai latte frappé, breakfast, brunch and lunch… you will find everything you may wish at the Café bleu, in a delicate and well thought atmosphere! A plus, the team is very kind and the beverages are not too expensive.

The Café bleu open everyday from 10am to 6pm (10am to 10pm in July and August) 54 Avenue Paul Lahary, 40150 Soorts-Hossegor

Go to the beach and surf in Hossegor

It’s supposed to be a naturist beach… but for most of the people it was a normal ones and they were wearing bathing suits, so don’t get scared. It’s very easy to rent a board next to Lou Cabana at la plage des Culs Nus (literally Naked Asses), and you can swim everywhere on the beach unlike in many other beaches of the Basque Country like in Labenne or Capbreton.
It is very easy to park your car just next to the beach (but make sure to arrive early), and also very easy to reach from Hossegor center by bike.

Have a lunch with a sea view in Hossegor

Usually, beach restaurants are not that great, or even.. terrible! Lou Cabana was such a nice surprise that we went there twice! Plat du jour, smoothies, veggie tartine, octopus… you will find whatever you are looking for there, for a decent price and with feet on the sand. It’s a self service, so don’t be surprise.
Lou Cabana952 Boulevard Front de Mer, 40150 Soorts-Hossegor, open everyday from 9:30am to 10:30pm

At Labenne beach, having an apéritif with our friends during sunset (MavicPro 2 photography)
At Labenne beach, having an apéritif with our friends during sunset (MavicPro 2 photography)

Kayak on “la Palue”

If you are not about surfing but want to do a little exercice and discover a little more of the Basque country, why not go kayaking on the Palue?
About 45 minutes from Hossegor and Capbreton, you will discover la Palue for a two hours kayak descent, most of the time in the shade, where you will be able to stop whenever you want to swim. You can rent kayaks with Canoëland (from 16 euros per person).

Kayaking on the Palue in the Basque Country (France)
Kayaking on the Palue in the Basque Country (France) – DJI Osmo Action

Have a drink in Saint-Jean-de-Luz

Don’t get fooled by the first impression when you enter the Bibam bar, the magic lays behind. Ask for a table “in the jungle” and enjoy an incredible sunset from there. Cocktails are good, tapas are savory, but the view is above all.

Bibam bar661 routes des plages 64500 Saint-Jean-de-Luz
From 10am to 2am everyday

Sunset in Saint-Jean-de-Luz from Bibam bar
Sunset in Saint-Jean-de-Luz from Bibam bar

Dinner in Bayonne

Bayonne has a very cute city center which it would be a shame to miss! Our advice ? Go there for dinner, book a table at le Pavé and ask to be on the terrace (to face the Cathedral!).

Once you have enjoyed your dinner, where everything is delicious for a very decent price (starter/main dish/desert for 26 euros), head to Rue des Cordeliers for a last drink in one of the numerous bars.

Bayonne by night
Bayonne by night

Sunset in Labenne

Labenne – not very famous even for the locals in the Basque country was the small village where we were staying during our week in the South West of France.
Even if not convenient at all without a car, we had rented a house with a pool for 10 person on Airbnb and were very happy with our choice, as prices tends to be a little outrageous on the area. Thanks to that, we were able to discover Labenne Océan and its beach which we really liked and where we spent lot of time, including our last sunset.

Labenne seems to be a great location for surfers even if for swimmers it’s a little more problematic: the area where you are allowed to swim is very limited and it tends to be a little crowded. The beach though is super large and perfect for some walks on the beach or some sunbaths far away from anyone.

Guéthary - Basque country (France)
Guéthary – Basque country (France)

Do you love the Pays Basque? What are your favourite activities there and what would you recommend? Let us know, we’d love to try them out next time we come over! While you are travelling the “Pays Basque”, it is also a good idea to make an extra stop on the way to the Bassin d’Arcachon, and enjoy a day in one of the most iconic French beach destination.

Our stay in the Basque Country, during Summer 2020
  • Reply
    Denise & Ryne
    August 3, 2020 at 12:34 pm

    We didn’t know the beaches were so beautiful there! Definitely worth a vist!

    • Reply
      August 11, 2020 at 3:15 pm

      The beaches are so beautiful, we could not believe it was actually France! Thank you for your comment 🙂

    • Reply
      John Quinn
      August 15, 2020 at 10:54 pm

      That sunset in Bibam is certainly a highlight. Looks like you’ve been making the most of the difficult circumstances this summer and enjoying France. Well done.

  • Reply
    August 3, 2020 at 1:12 pm

    This is GORGEOUS and it looks like you had a lovely time!

    • Reply
      August 11, 2020 at 3:15 pm

      Thank you so much! The Pays Basque is so gorgeous and we only got to visit a part of it! Hopefully more in a next article next year.

  • Reply
    Lannie Travels
    August 11, 2020 at 3:21 pm

    This looks like such a relaxing trip!! And the photos are wonderful. At least you have places like this in your country 🙂

  • Reply
    Steven Jepson
    August 11, 2020 at 3:55 pm

    So much beauty in France! So much good food in France! Not a bad place for exclusive pandemic traveling at all…

  • Reply
    Patricia Astruc
    August 12, 2020 at 4:25 pm

    Des photos toujours aussi réussies pour sublimer ces endroits paradisiaques.

  • Reply
    Travel Addicted Unicorn
    August 22, 2020 at 4:27 am

    Ooo what a nice place to visit!! Pics look really nice too!!

  • Reply
    Alexandra C.
    September 7, 2020 at 3:23 pm

    Des photos magnifiques, et des amis en or, quelle chance !

  • Reply
    Tiffany Pence
    October 23, 2020 at 9:24 pm

    This is so close to the border, we could easily do a day trip from San Sebastian or stop on the way to Bordeaux. I love these little seaside villages!

    • Reply
      October 26, 2020 at 1:10 pm

      We would definitely strongly advice that! It’s a super beautiful area!!

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