Hotel de l'Ocean
Hotel Ocean Biarritz - Centre and beach
Hôtel de l´Océan à Biarritz

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The Basque Coast

Covering only 30 kilometres from Anglet to Hendaye, the last town before the border with Spain, the Basque Coast offers varied countryside, fine sandy beaches, wild coastlines, fishing and pleasure ports and famous surfing spots. For day trips or short walks there are a wide range of signposted walks that take you to seaside villages. Let’s start the tour from northern Biarritz: Bayonne, capital of the Basque Country is open to the ocean with its commercial port. There are also two rivers in the town (the Adour and the Nive) and their bridges mark the two different, very typical districts which cannot both be seen in a day. In particular there is the ‘grand Bayonne’ around the cathedral which is very lively by day and the ‘Petit Bayonne’ on the right bank of the River

Nive which is more popular and very lively at night. Bayonne is famous for its joyful, friendly festivals that, over the course of five days, offer a light parade (procession of carnival floats and giants), street entertainment, bands (popular groups), cow running, bull-fighting, bars and small bands...everyone in red and white, the obligatory uniform of the ‘Festayres’! Heading towards the ocean and nearby Anglet, the town has a ‘Landes’ coast atmosphere with its dunes, Chiberta golf course under the pine trees and beautiful fine sandy beaches. Then heading south, just after Biarritz’s Cité de l’Océan, the Ilbaritz Golf Club international training centre offers a magnificent view of the ocean. Bidart has a number of beaches (Pavillon Royal, Erretegia, Ouabia and Parlementia) and a village centre where the ‘place de la mairie’ and games of ‘pelota’ against the ‘fronton’ are an absolute must. A quieter place to visit is Guéthary, a charming seaside village with a panoramic view of the ocean, seafront and former whaling port with multi-coloured boats. Among the best-known towns is Saint Jean de Luz, with its famous bay, lively pedestrian streets and fishing port. Take a small detour to Urrugne, a small, traditional country village which leads to the Col d'Ibardin and its famous "Ventas": shops offering a wide choice of food, fruit and vegetables, cooked meats, cigarettes, alcohol and petrol....often a lot cheaper than in France. Go through Ciboure and the Fort de Socoa, towards Hendaye on the spectacular ‘corniche’ road. Hendaye has an enormous fine sandy beach, a well-known thalassotherapy institute and a pleasure port. It’s also the border town – inviting you to follow the coast into the Spanish Basque Country and Fontarrabie, with its fishing port and old fortified town overlooking the Bidassoa estuary. It’s such a good road, you really can’t stop here. Well worth a detour and only 20 kilometres away is San Sebastian, well-known for its restaurants and tapas bars. The seaside town successfully combines the ‘Belle Epoque’ seaside style along its famous ‘Concha’ (beach) with its traditional lively fishing port and shops situated in pedestrian areas or on elegant avenues.

Seaside cuisine

On both sides of the border, the restaurants, cider-makers or ‘bodegas’ on the coast are equally recommended for tasting culinary specialities based on local fishing: ‘dorade à l’espagnole’ (Spanish style sea bream), ‘merlu koskera’ (hake), ‘chipirons’ (squid) in their ink or cooked on a plancha, simply fried with garlic...a real treat! Among the traditional dishes are ‘Marmitako’ (tuna stew), Ttoro (Fish soup) and Txanguro (stuffed crab Basque-style).

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