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Basque Country tour-spend 1 night in Biarritz?

I will be joining the Basque Country tour in May, 2019. The tour starts in Bayonne, and I am flying into Biarritz a day early.

I considered staying in Biarritz for 1 night before joining the group in Bayonne, but after reading about Biarritz, I'm not sure there is a good reason to do that.

Pros and cons from people who have been to both?

Posted by
681 posts

What have you read about Biarritz? It is one of my favorite places in the world. Has something happened there?

Posted by
489 posts

No, just not sure what to do there in a short stay. What do you do there?

Posted by
965 posts

hey liz
my BFF is from the french basque region, it's beautiful at the coast and into the countryside. i think you should stay a couple of days before the tour starts. do you have a hotel already? if you are interested, i can message you some information about the area. i think you'll be pleasantly surprised how gorgeous it is.
aloha

Posted by
489 posts

Thanks,
Flight is purchased.
just want to know if I should spend one night in Biarritz, or go straight to Bayonne.

Posted by
15868 posts

If it's only the one night, then I'd stay in Bayonne rather than move hotels. At least that's what I did recently, and was happy with the choice. Bayonne has enough to explore on your own outside of tour time. In addition to the chocolate factory and other places described in the RS Basque Snapshot book (or Spain 2019), l enjoyed the free visit (in French) at Pierre Ibalde ham atelier.

You can also take the local bus (30 min) to Biarritz just for walking around.

Posted by
965 posts

hi liz
thanks for response. last year couple posters did this tour and ask me for info about area. like laura says, stay in bayonne do you have a place booked there and how many are traveling? walk around the town known for their chocolate and bayonne ham, visit the halles (market place)
tuktuk-paysbasque.com tour of area if interested or a ride to biarritz to see the coast, have lunch. not much time but enjoy what time you have.
aloha

Posted by
489 posts

I'm confused by the question. I am staying at the tour hotel in Bayonne.

Posted by
4262 posts

When I took this tour, I arrived by train and spent an extra night at the tour hotel in Bayonne. I visited Biarritz during free time one afternoon. It is a pretty easy bus ride from Bayonne. Biarritz is quite compact and I had a pleasant afternoon sitting on the beach watching the surfers and wandering through the town.

If you don’t mind switching hotels and want to get over jet lag by the sea, then choose Biarritz. If you’d rather not have to switch hotels, then you can easily visit Biarritz as a day trip.

Posted by
489 posts

Thanks all!
Looks like arranging an extra night in the Bayonne tour hotel is the best bet. I'll decide how to spend my free time there as the trip gets closer.

Posted by
243 posts

Biarritz and Bayonne kind of sprawl together as one larger town. I would not book hotels in both. If what you are asking is what should you do with an extra day or so, it depends on how much of Bayonne will be included on the tour. I spent four nights in Bayonne a couple years ago and did a day trip to Biarritz one day (and to St Jean de Luz and St Jean Pied du Port on two other days). Any of those towns can easily take up at least half a day just walking around exploring the town, even if there aren't specific 'things' to do.

Here's the trip report and photos that include Biarritz and Bayonne - https://andiamo.zenfolio.com/blog/2017/9/crisscrossing-the-camino---5-weeks-in-northern-spain-and-basque-france---part-2-france

Posted by
118 posts

I'm also considering taking the Basque tour in May.

What are you recommendations for flights? What I may do is fly into Paris, then take the train down to Bayonne. The flights into Biarritz aren't the most convenient for me.

@Isabel, what month did you visit? (Very nice scrapbook write-up!)

Posted by
489 posts

Although I am fond of taking trains in Europe, the Paris-Biarritz train was just too long. I opted for Phila. to Paris, then Paris to Biarritz flights bought on one ticket.

I will be spending a few days in Madrid after the tour, but haven't decided if I will fly or take the train.

Posted by
10519 posts

I agree that you can stay in Bayonne to see the whole area; no need to change hotels. There are local buses frequently between Bayonne and Biarritz.

While Biarritz has few "sights," I enjoyed it more than Rick did (we all know how allergic he is to visible displays of money). Where else can you see a surf shop next to an Hermes store?

I wasn't on the tour, but agreed with the statement that used to be in the pre-tour info (not there any more, for some reason): "If you arrive a day or two early, note that we'll be visiting all of Bayonne's major sights as a group." Bayonne only has about 40,000 people; it's much smaller than the designation "city" would imply, and doesn't take long to "see."

So, planning to get there a day early and using that day to explore Biarritz, is a good idea.

As for transit for the tour, yes it is tricky. Both Biarritz and Bilbao have airports, but not as many connections from these to the US as one would like. You may want to get to Paris at the beginning, and/or Madrid at the end, and take trains from these points to and from your tour.