When to go

Whentogo_Begiraleak-BBQ Whentogo_Bayonne Whentogo_1893

 

The area is blessed with a temperate ocean climate that makes a stay in the region optimal from April to November. The festival calendar, a pillar of this festive culture, is at its peak from June to September. This region is a favourite holiday destination for the French, especially among the well-to-do. When possible avoid the most popular periods to get better accommodation selection and lower prices. High season for the French includes the long holiday weekends and the July 15 to August 20 period. Rentals in low season (and still pleasant weather) can cost three times less than in high season! Families considering traveling during March break will enjoy early spring weather in non-crowded conditions with access to skiing on day trips  and …. body surfing for the keeners. Special Interests travel  is best taken in Spring and Fall when the weather is still warm and there are less European visitors.

Snow birds with an appreciation for an oceanic climate (picture Northern California or Southern BC in December) can take advantage of competitive prices on long term Winter rentals. You can still enjoy an authentic cultural experience and great outdoors.

Les Grands Rendez-vous

JANUARY

  • Tamborrada in San Sebastian: 24h parade through the streets of San Sebastian; members of gastronomic cooking societies dressed as soldiers are playing drums and barrels in honor of their patron saint Donostia

FEBRUARY

  • Le Carnaval Biarnés inland in Béarn, with Pau as the main destination, offers ten days of festive streets with locals before Lent
  • Lower key carnival celebrations in various Basque towns and villages
  • International Golf tournament on multiple courses in the region for all levels of amateur golfeurs (visit lesmakilas.com )
  • Street Entertainers festival in Biarritz: Festival des Arts de la rue
  • In nearby Landes region, classical and choral music in historic religious buildings nestled in small villages: Festival des abbayes
    (
    visitfestivaldesabbayes.org)

APRIL

  • Antiques show in Biarritz
  • Quicksilver surfing competition: the 1st one of the yr on the Atlantic coast

MAY

  • Fêtes de la Mer et Casetas: a convivial street festival in Biarritz by the beach around food, tapas, surfing and street entertainment
  • Fêtes de la St Jean: the annual festival for residents of St Jean de Luz, all dressed in red & black
  • June 21: Fête de la musique in France, everywhere musicians take over the streets; particularly lively in Bayonne
  • Jazz festival within the medieval town of Oloron Ste Marie in Béarn Festival des Rives et des Notes

JULY

  • International Roxy Jam surfing world cup, long board for women, in Biarritz (visit roxy.com)
  • International Tennis Open Gaz de France de Biarritz for women on clay courts (a WTA tournament with a 100,000 euros prize attracting high profile female tennis players)
  • Fireworks and dancing in the the streets on July 14 in Biarritz & St Jean de Luz
  • Biarritz Golf Club, an international and historic golf rendez-vous to celebrate the 2nd oldest golf course in Continental Europe (visit biarritz-cup.com)
  • Fête du thon (Tuna festival) in St Jean de Luz, an excuse to eat BBQed tuna at convivial tables, have a drink and dance in the streets for one evening
  • Tour De France goes through the region most years with Pau as the favourite stop before or after the Pyrénées passes
  • Feria de Pamplona in Spain ( a 90 minute drive away)
  • Fêtes de Bayonne: the biggest street party in France along with bullfights ! All are in red & white  (visit fetesdebayonne.fr )
  • Cesta-Punta Open (basque pelota) in St Jean de Luz and Biarritz throughout the month
  • Rhythmes en Luz Jazz festival in St Jean de Luz
  • San Sebastian Jazz festival, Jazzaldia, welcomes big names
  • Biarritz Jazz festival since Summer 2010
  • Dax in nearby Landes has a Spanish dance & bullfighting music festival

AUGUST

  • Cesta-Punta Open (basque pelota) in St Jean de Luz and Biarritz throughout the month
  • August 15 spectacular fireworks in Biarritz
  • Oldest festival of classical music in Spain, La Quincena Musical, brings top names in orchestras and solists into nearby San Sebastian
    (visit quincenamusical.com )
  • Semana Grande in San Sebastian: the largest annual party in the streets of the city, bullfights, firework competition
  • Classical music, gastronomy & historic buildings are the point of focus of Festival Musical de Basse Navarre all around St Jean Pied de Port
  • Fêtes de Dax: another large scale street party in les Landes with bullfights

SEPTEMBER

  • Musique en Côte Basque welcomes a prestigious and international lineup of musicians (visit musiquecotebasque.asso.fr); scheduled in parallel with the Académie Maurice Ravel event that provides a forum for international professional musicians at the start of their career to perform
    (visit academieravel.com )
  • Le Temps d’Aimer International Dance Festival in Biarritz (visit letempsdaimer.com Latin-American Movie & Cultures festival in Biarritz (visit festivaldebiarritz.com)
  • High profile 9 day movie festival in San Sebastian (visit sansebastianfestival.com),  considered the 3rd most important one in Europe after Cannes & Venice
  • Individual golf amateur tournament, for 50 years old and up, on multiple courses  (visit lesmakilas.com)
  • Festival Toro y Salsa in Dax: bullfighting, music & festivities in the street Fête du ttoro, another one day long food festival on the local fish stew specialty

OCTOBER

  • International Movie Festival for Young Directors in St Jean de Luz
  • Golf: Makilas Biarritz Burlington International Pro-Am , 3 amateur + 1 pro golf tournament
  • Art: Brouillarta event with Basque artists displaying their work in the gardens overlooking the Grande Plage in Biarritz
  • Theater: Translatines festival, a festival of South American theater
  • International choral festival in St Jean de Luz (visit chantchoralpaysbasque.net )

NOVEMBER

  • Basque traditions festival in Biarritz
  • Fêtes de La St Martin: annual festival for the town of Biarritz
  • National Surfing competition

DECEMBER

  • Biarritz dresses up with unique holiday lighting and image projections on buildings Dec 22 – Jan 2
  • Holiday celebrations in the streets of Bayonne, Biarritz & St Jean de Luz with Olantzero, the Basque Santa Claus.