The Basque Country
Perfectly situated at the foot of The Rhune and built around a gorgeous sheltered bay, Saint-Jean-de-Luz is the most beautiful seaside resort of the Basque Coast.
The beach promenade, the city’s ultimate line of defense against the sea, stretches from the port to the Sainte Barbe Mountain, from which one can admire the entire bay.
Louis XIV and the infant Marie-Thérèse d’Autriche were married on June 9, 1660, in the Saint Jean-Baptiste de Saint-Jean-de-Luz church. Visit Louis XIV’s house, the house of the infant (opposite) and the Ezquerrena house, which is the only one still standing after the fire in 1558.
Go for a walk in the bustling city streets and discover the old houses of the Basque corsairs and the fishing port nestled in the heart of the city. In the 1950’s, Saint-Jean-de-Luz was the most prosperous tuna and sardine port in France. In addition to a wealth of history, a truly relaxed approach to life prevails in Saint-Jean-de-Luz.
Located on the French Atlantic Coast near Spain, Saint-Jean-de-Luz is an ideal starting point to discover the Basque Coast. You are sure to appreciate the vitality of the Atlantic Ocean, and the neighboring cities of Bayonne, Biarritz, Anglet and typical Basque villages such as Sare, Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, Espelette, etc.
The Basque Country is a region of strong character and offers architecture and natural landscapes branded with a local spirit born out of a highly flavorful culture.
Don’t miss :
• A climb up La Rhune, on foot or by train
• The village of Aïnhoa
• A visit to the Château d’Abbadia in Hendaye
• Eating on a terrace on the plaza in Sare
• The lake at Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle
And much, much more…
Between the influences of Gascony and the Landes to the north and Spain to the south, Basque cuisine is plenteous and includes seafood dishes and charcuterie, as well as, of course, tapas! The Basque Country is full to bursting with tempting restaurants.
Some of the Basque Country specialties are world-famous:
The Saint-Jean-de-Luz cod, sheep cheese, the very “trendy” Espelette pepper, Bayonne ham, Irouleguy wine, cider, Patxaran, Basque chocolate and gateaux with almond cream or black cherry filling.
Culture & Tradition
The region’s dancing, songs and cuisine are not elements of folklore, but are wholly cultural.
All the workmanship you’ll find in the Basque Country is authentic, whether the creations are traditional or original: Basque linens, espadrilles, pelota gear, saskis (traditional baskets), etc.
The Basque chants are more than just music: the Basque songs are part of the identity of an entire people in all respects.
The roots, history and battles of the Basque Country are revealed in these songs.
Sports & Leisure
Explore the wealth of the Basque Country through a wide variety of activities.
• Hiking on the coastal paths along the cliffs of the Corniche Basque or on the mountain trails
• Nautical activities
• Fishing and boat rides
• Mountain biking
• Rock climbing
• Rafting and all whitewater sports.
Discover the activities that are a part of Basque culture: the different varieties of pelota ball (Cesta Punta, bare-handed, Chistera), Basque strength games, bullfighting, golfing, and, of course, rugby! In short, there are plenty of possibilities to discover the area. Don’t hesitate!
The Basque Coast is a privileged region that has, for many years, attracted golfers from around the world who have been seduced by the quality, diversity and beauty of the golf courses in the area.
An exceptional number of courses, the variety of terrains, the temperate climate, the historical heritage and a certain art de vivre combine to create a paradise for golfers who shouldn’t miss the most beautiful courses of the Basque Coast: Chantaco, La Nivelle, Arcangues, Biarritz Le Phare, etc.
Festivals and events in the Basque Country
The Basque Coast is home to a number of religious and rural fairs, festivals, and cultural and culinary events organized year-round, including:
• The Saint Vincent Celebration in Ciboure and Hendaye at the end of January
• The Cider Fair in Bayonne in March or in May
• The Festival of the Sea in Guéthary the last Sunday in May
• The Cherry Festival in Itxassou in June
• The Fêtes de la Madeleine in Saint Palais from July 23 to 27
• The famous ferias in Bayonne beginning the first Wednesday of August
• The Force Basque festival in Saint Palais at the end of August
• The Patron Saint Festival in Urrugne at the beginning of September
• The Patron Saint Festival in Sare mid-September
• The Pepper Fair in Espelette the last Sunday of October
• The Gâteau Basque Fair on October 1
• The Saint Martin Festival in Biarritz in November
• The Pottock Fair in Helette at the end of November
The Basque Country has a very pleasant seaboard, and there are many beautiful beaches to choose from along the coastline.
Whether you’re here for farniente or interested in nautical sports, the Basque Country beaches have what you’re looking for! Explore a few of them…
The beach in Saint-Jean-de-Luz is supervised during the summer and is therefore ideal for families looking for a safe environment.
The Côte des Basques in Biarritz is a famous surf spot.