The south of France offers endless options for poster-like road trips that will leave you with unforgettable memories. Surrounded by coastal surf towns, historic natural sights, and charming Basque cities – and with the Pyrenees just a short drive away – Biarritz is the perfect starting point for a four-wheel adventure. Before you fill up your gas tank and hit the road, check out our guide to the best road trips you can take from Biarritz.
Biarritz to San Sebastian
This is an ideal, short day-trip that will allow you to see one of the most beautiful places within the Basque Country without having to drive too far. San Sebastian is about a one-hour drive from Biarritz, so leave early in the morning to arrive in time to see the fishermen bring in their fresh fish, then enjoy some delicious pinxtos – the local tapas-like snack.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Biarritz to Bordeaux
Take advantage of your time in the Basque region to make your way up to Bordeaux, the capital of the Aquitaine region. When leaving Biarritz, pause for a hot-water treatment in Dax, which is internationally known for its excellent thermal centres. Afterwards, drive alongside the Gers, a small part of the Occitanie Region, famous for its liquors and spirits. Pass through Agen (get out of the car to walk across the Pont Canal, which is France’s second-longest bridge) and stop in the Dordogne valley for the weekend, a place laden with history. Among the most famous sites in the area are the Lascaux Caves, a wonderful way to learn more about prehistoric art. Venture a little further south and you’ll arrive in Sarlat-la-Canéda, a charming town with picturesque streets and a renowned gastronomic market.
Once you get to Blaye, take your car on the ferry for €15 (sign up for the La Blaye-Lamarque journey) and admire the beauty of the Estuaire de la Gironde. You’ll arrive in Médoc, home of some of the most prestigious wines in the world. Take the ‘Route des Châteaux’ (Castles Road), where you’ll come across over one hundred wine properties. If you’ve planned some wine tasting along the way, then it’s book to night at Le Domaine du Papillon, an exceptional guest house located in Lesparre-Médoc.
In the morning, it’s an easy drive to Bordeaux, which has plenty of activities to choose from. If you’re thinking of staying for a few days and your car rental company allows it, then it’s worth dropping your car off in Bordeaux, as you won’t need it much – the city is bike-friendly and all the major attractions are accessible via public transport. Thus, you can use the money you saved to treat yourself to one of the best restaurants in town.
The surf trip
Do you like surfing? If so, Biarritz allows for trips full of dream-like beaches, amazing landscapes and outdoor camping. Start your journey in Hendaye (only 40 minutes from Biarritz) and schedule surf sessions at each spot within the area. After stopping at the beach in Hendaye, head to Saint-Jean-de-Luz and stay for a few days. The city is famous for its incredible surfing spots in Cenitz, Lafitenia and (every experienced surfer’s dream) the Bellhara Reef break. Next drop by Les Alcyons Beach in Guethary, a cool spot to surf and hang out after a session.
Once back in Biarritz, ride the waves at La Grande Plage and La Côte des Basques Beach. Just a few minutes away lies the VVF Beach (also known as La Chambre d’Amour, which means ‘the love room’). In the evening chill out by the sea and recover before your last stop. If you get an adrenaline rush, drive up to Soorts-Hossegor and defy the ocean at La Gravière Beach – though keep in mind that only very experienced surfers should venture here. After your last set, look for the Mango Tree food truck for an excellent brunch cooked with fresh products.
Biarritz to the Pyrenees
One of the best assets of Biarritz is that you can visit the city at any time of the year and still have a great time. In the summer it’s a constant hustle and bustle, while in the winter there’s a more quiet, relaxed city atmosphere. Whatever the season, it’s worth planning a road trip to the Pyrenees. This region is a true hiking heaven and will delight nature lovers. Gavarnie, Cauterets, and Bagnères-de Bigorre are some of the towns you’ll drive through that will make your jaw drop. Also, do not miss the opportunity to go to Lourdes, one of the world’s most popular pilgrimage sites and France’s second most-visited city.
Road trip across the Basque Country
Opt for an alternative road that will take you along the Atlantic Coast and its breathtaking sites. After leaving the Port-Vieux neighbourhood, go down Saint-de-Luz, where you will be mesmerised by the 17th- and 18th-century architecture and the famous Saint-Jean-Baptiste Church. Continue until Saint Sebastian, where you can stop for lunch and a quick stroll around the Old Town. Leave around 5pm to be in Bilbao in the early evening. Stay for the night and in the morning have a hearty breakfast before you hit the sights. Complete your visit to Bilbao by stopping by the Guggenheim Museum, a stunning, internationally acclaimed venue dedicated to modern art.
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