The Grande Plage
One of Biarritz' largest beaches, the Grande Plage has attracted high-society vacation goers since the Belle Epoque. This beautiful wide sandy beach begins at Bellevue near the Boulevard du Général de Gaulle and extends to the Hôtel du Palais. In summertime, the beach is covered with sunbathers and their colorful striped cabanas. However, it is important to note that this beach has heavy surf and water safety is posted on a daily basis. During certain periods of strong currents, bathing, swimming, and surfing are prohibited. Alongside the beach, the Quai de la Plage promenade is perfect for taking a leisurely scenic stroll. This wide pedestrian walkway offers stunning views of the breaking waves and the Biarritz lighthouse in the distance. There are also many upscale restaurants and cafés nearby. Situated on a headland at the end of the Grande Plage is the spectacular Hôtel du Palais. Built by the Emperor Napoleon III for his wife Eugénie, this gorgeous palace is a national monument exemplifying grand Second Empire style. Since 1893, the building has been used as a hotel. The luxurious five-star property features a golf course and elegant Michelin-starred restaurant. The Villa Eugénie dining room is an opulent space with magnificent chandeliers and sensational ocean views. Guests are treated to the finest Basque cuisine while watching the surf break against the shore.
This beautiful beach is a place to relax and enjoy the refreshing seaside atmosphere. Extending from the Hôtel du Palais to the Pointe Saint-Martin, the Plage du Miramar has stunning scenery and dramatic shore-breaking waves. Although the sheltered beach offers a sense of tranquility, rough seas and strong currents (including riptides) make swimming dangerous. The condition of the waves and currents should be considered before entering the water. Surfing is forbidden. The beach primarily attracts sunbathers and spa goers who frequent the nearby Thalassa Sea & Spa center. Miramar Beach is less touristy than the Grande Plage and has the charm of an old-fashioned seaside resort-especially in summertime when vintage-style striped beach tents make their appearance. Located just to north is the Roche Ronde and Plage Bernain, a protected nature area for shorebirds (which is strictly off-limits to visitors for safety reasons).
The Port Vieux Beach
The beach of Le Port Vieux is the best choice for families with children. This small, sheltered beach lies in the rocky inlet of the Port Vieux (Old Harbor) near the city center. Because the beach is in a protected cove, the waves are gentle and the waters are safer here than at the Grande Plage and especially the Plage du Miramar. The waters are usually calm and offer the best conditions for swimming. The shallow areas are safe enough for kids to bath and splash around, under supervision. Since the Le Port Vieux is small and less crowded than other Biarritz beaches, it is ideal for summertime relaxation. Another great beach for children is the Plage de la Milady, which features a seaside boardwalk and playground. Bathing and swimming is permitted, except when the waters are rough. One caution: the zone of surveillance increases at low tide. The Plage de Milady is very popular with locals and bodyboarders.
The Côte des Basques Beach
The Côte des Basques is the most famous surfing beach in Biarritz. The powerful waves provide the ideal conditions for surfing, and many competitions are held here. Safety notes: Beginning surfers should be advised on how and when to enter and get out of the water to avoid hitting the stones. Swimming is allowed except when prohibited during high tide. This beach is also a lovely place to stroll along the ocean, while taking in the exceptional coastal views.