Lying at the heart of the Basque country and at the foot of the Pyrenees, Biarritz is a welcoming town with a sporting side to it. Known as the European capital of surfing, Biarritz also has a reputation as a golfing hotspot. This charming seaside resort nestles in the cradle of the Atlantic ocean, and acts as a gateway to Spain.
The town turned from quiet fishing port into elegant holiday resort when the monarchy began to holiday here, in the early 19th century. Now you can find top quality seafood restaurants and tapas bars here: take advantage!
The phare or Biarritz lighthouse overlooks the Landes sands and the Basque country rocks. From the top of the lighthouse (if you have the energy to tackle the 248 steps) the viewing platform offers a spectacular view: you can see as far as the Virgin's rock and even to the beaches of Spain.
If you are keen to take to the waves, there are numerous surf schools who'll teach you to tame the ocean. Or just sit back and watch the pros battle it out during the Gotcha Marbella Tag Team. Biarritz celebrates the extroardinary power of the sea at the Biarritz Ocean Festival.
And at the Maritime Museum it's all about - you've guessed it - the sea. Take the kids, they will marvel at the 150 acquatic species to be found in these waters, including sharks and seals.
If you prefer terra firma under your feet, lose yourself in a game of golf. With no less than 10 golf courses in the 20 kilometres around Biarritz anyone and everyone can get involved. The Biarritz Cup in July and the Makilas du Golf attract some of the world's top amateur players.
You can also enjoy the wind in your hair, horse-riding along wide sandy beaches and wild countryside. Popular local sports include rugby, pelote basque and the variant of this, cesta punta.
Wind down in one of the spas centres in Biarritz, or wind up at one of the festivals in this lively resort, such as the Big Festival with its concerts from midday till dawn. There's also a "little Big" festival for children.
Biarritz is very much a Basque country town and hold its traditions very dear. On the first Sunday of every month you can see the traditional Basque "mutxiko" dancers on the esplanade in front of the Casino.
From Biarritz you could explore the area with a couple of day trips: check out the pretty port town of Saint-Jean-de-Luz, or Bayonne, the capital of the Basque region, where you can see traditional Basque bull-fighting.
De gare à gare