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Biarritz, France & San Sebastian, Spain: Two Basque Resort Towns in One Day

Summary. By car, travel a loop by first driving 90 minutes to Biarritz, France, then 45 minutes to San Sebastian, Spain, and finally 70 minutes back to Pamplona. Crossing the border is seamless. Be sure to bring change for the toll roads. In Biarritz, walk through the Basque markets and take a walk out onto the water on the Rocher de la Vierge. In San Sebastian, walk the famous Beach of La Concha. Take a drive to Monte Urgull for a view of the beach and City below.


In our rented car, we set out from Pamplona, Spain to Biarritz, France. This Basque seaside City is a classy resort town that was once the vacationing spot of France's Napoléon III. Staying here may be outside most budgets but the town makes for a nice day trip. Upon arrival, we started with the Les Halles Food Market, a Basque market.

From there, we walked down to the waterfront and then onto the Rocher de la Vierge, a rock formation with a walkway across the water. On walk there, we came across a Memorial. [Biarritz was not immune from the ravages of World War II, having been occupied by the Germans during the War]. Next we walked to the La Côte des Basques a popular surf spot. As the day was overcast, we decided to get back in the car and make our way to San Sebastian, Spain.

San Sebastian, Spain, like Biarritz, is a seaside resort town. On warm days, blue and white umbrellas line the beaches of La Concha beach. The day we were here, though, was overcast and chilly so the normally bustling beach was quiet.

San Sebastian has a population of roughly 200,000 people. Old Town in central San Sebastian is filled with bars, restaurants, and squares with cafes, one of which we stopped for an espresso. We also stopped at two points of interest, the Iglesia de San Vicente, a 16th Century church and Plaza de la Constitucion (Constitution Square), a former bullring where bullfighting would take place right in town.

Next we hopped back in our car and headed up to Monte Urgull. We did not stay for the amusement park that is up here but we did take in the beautiful view of San Sebastian.

Afterwards we made our way back to Pamplona to have dinner with family. Both these seaside towns are beautiful and high class. If you like to shop and you have more time, add a day and give each town their own day. We're not much for shopping but we understand both of these resort towns have plenty to choose from. For us, walking the streets, ports, and markets gave us plenty to do.

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