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Sitting along the Atlantic coast near Spain, the popular French destination of Biarritz is known for its fantastic surfing, and is a major tourist destination for both Europeans and North Americans. Its surf-based culture brings along a great nightlife, while its luxurious accommodation, golf course and thalassic-therapy centres attract those looking for some rest and relaxation. Biarritz is also a great choice for sightseeing trips, as it is within easy reach of the Pyrenees Mountains, the Côte d’Argent (Silver Coast) and stunning natural scenery. It is even possible to enjoy the magnificent San Sebastian beaches in neighbouring Spain.
Who to Book With
International car hire agents such as Avis, Hertz and Sixt offer car rental in Biarritz. The majority of offices can be found at the Biarritz-Anglet-Bayonne International Airport or the train station, both of which are around two miles from the town centre. It is best to book a vehicle over the internet beforehand to guarantee availability.
Best time to go
Biarritz can be enjoyed all year-round, though July is its busiest month thanks to the annual Biarritz Surf Festival, which also marks the most expensive time of the year to visit. June is also a great option, as the weather is warm with sunny skies and little rain. August is also quite popular.
Need to Know Essentials
The following documents are needed when picking up your car hire:
- A valid EU driving licence or International Driving License
- Proof of identification (passport, etc)
- The credit card used upon making the reservation
- Confirmation of booking
Biarritz is extremely walkable, with beaches and shopping facilities within close proximity to the town centre. Vinci Park provides seven secure car parks throughout the town, costing between €9 and €14 for 24-hours. There is also free parking at various locations, including Biarritz Lighthouse, Beach Marbella Milady and along Alée d'Aguilera.
Most visitors get around on foot, as Biarritz is pedestrianized and everything is a short distance apart. Public buses also run throughout the town centre and taxis are plentiful. Still, most travellers find that having their own car is the best way to explore outside of Biarritz and enjoy its beautiful surroundings.
The Biarritz Railway station (Biarritz Gare) is operated by SNCF, with trains running to and from Paris Montparnasse, stopping in Pau, Bordeaux and Toulouse along the way. There is also an autotrain that stops here, allowing you to take a car to one of seven destinations within the country. The Biarritz Railway station is located two miles southeast of the town centre and is served by four bus lines.
Taxis and minivans can be arranged to whisk you around the town or the airport or train station. Companies such as Atlantic Radio Taxi and Label Vie are reliable and charge according to destination as opposed to by meter.
Local Compagnie Chronoplus buses serve Biarritz as well as its neighbouring towns, and also connect the town centre to both the airport and the train station. Tickets can be purchased on board and cost €1 per journey, while a 10-journey pass can be purchased at kiosks for €8. Spain-bound buses, operated by Transportes Pesa, leave from the bus station in the town centre.
There is much to see outside of Biarritz, with hiring a car being the best way to achieve this. Visit beaches along Europe’s longest stretch of sand (Côte d'Argent), discover picturesque Pyrenees Mountain villages, drive through stunning pine forests or take a journey along the coast into neighbouring Spain. There is a wealth of opportunities for explorations around Biarritz that can keep any traveller busy for days.
Roquetaillade Castle - This is a natural defensive site built in the Stone Age. Today, it is home to two castles that are protected by a massive wall, with one still being lived in today. The castle is open all year, although from September through to June it can only be entered between 15:00 and 16:00. Either way, the two-hour drive is spectacular and gives visitors plenty of opportunity for stops along the way.
Le château de Pau - This is where Henri IV was born, sits right in the centre of Pau, just over 77 miles from Biarritz. This stunning castle is today home to a national museum whose interior is filled with gorgeous tapestries, gold weapons, beautiful paintings and original furniture and furnishings. The Italian Renaissance gardens are also quite spectacular, while the castle’s façade is decorated with Renaissance sculptures.
Landes de Gascogne Regional Natural Park - A protected park located around 90 minutes north of Biarritz, and filled with beautiful pine trees and wetlands, with a stunning coastline. The park is home to a bird sanctuary, an eco-museum and some lovely villages, the ideal place to surround yourself in nature and beautiful scenery.