The Ultimate Guide to Bidart Surf

by Tom Lacmundy

The Bidart surf picks up where the Biarritz surf ends. That should give you a clue just how good this little French town is for wavecraft!

Bidart surf

Bidart surf at a glance

We might use affiliate links in this post. Basically, you click em’ and we get a little something from your booking or purchase. They help us keep offering more and more in-depth surf guides to awesome places all around the globe. So, thanks for that!

The good

  • Lots of wave types – reef and beach break
  • This is a charming Basque town
  • Spots that will let multiple levels surf together

The bad

  • Flat summers
  • Gets busy closer to Biarritz
  • Watch out for the rocks!

This guide is just one part of our complete guide to surfing France

What’s in this guide to Bidart surf?

An introduction to Bidart surf

There’s Biarritz. Then there’s Bidart. These two Basque towns are joined at the hip. They share beaches and an oceanfront location on the Bay of Biscay. Bidart just happens to be a whole load more charming than it’s jet-setter compadre. It also beckons surfers to emptier lineups and spots that have a whole range of different sorts of wave, from hollow point breaks over stone to mellow beginner beaches.

So, what’s the catch? Bidart surf isn’t that reliable in summertime. The north-west orientation of the coastline ensures the swell power is cut a fraction and that can mean long periods without a ride. You also need to watch the tides in Bidart a little more than you do up in the French Landes coast. Still, those are decent sacrifices to make to escape the crowds of Hossegor and paddle out under the lush peaks of the northern Pyrenees.

Where is Bidart?

Bidart is located just a few miles south of Biarritz. It’s on the French Basque coast, less than 25 minutes’ drive from the Spanish border, which is to the south-west. The nearest airport is in Biarritz: The Biarritz Pays Basque Airport. The A63 roadway connects the town directly with Bordeaux. That’s the nearest major city, some 200km to the northeast (the drive is about 2h10 in total).

A guide to Bidart surf spots

The line up in Bidart

Bidart surf spots start just below Biarritz (the surf mecca of the Basque Coast) and run into more challenging Guethary to the south. Here’s each in turn…

Biarritz

Biarritz surely needs no introduction. It’s the town that’s really put the Basque Country on the French surf map, although we’d say there’s probably more quality in the breaks at Bidart itself. Still, the breaks at La Cote des Basques (known locally as Marbella) and the pumping sandbank wedges of Le Grande Plage are the stuff of bucket lists.

Learn more about surfing in Biarritz with our ultimate guide to the town

Ilbarritz

Ilbarritz is one of the more advanced spots in Bidart, mainly because the rocks will play havoc with an intermediate’s ability to paddle. Its northern end runs into the southern beaches of Biarritz town, so expect busier lineups. When it’s good, we’re talking wedgy shoulders and the occasional hollow peak that runs out fast. When it’s bad it’s crumbly as hell and doesn’t offer much headroom over the reef.

Pavillon Royal 

Named after the nearby camp site and home to the local Bidart surf school, the breaks at Pavillon Royal  show a little more teeth than their partners to the south. The main cause is the dashes of rocky reef that hug the headland. They’re not actually what you want to surf over, because high tide doesn’t have enough depth to cover them properly. It’s better to move down the beach a bit to pick up the wedges that can A-frame nicely and give fat shoulders to turn on.

Plage d’Erretegia

Plage d’Erretegia hides beneath the high cliffs to the north of town. It’s one of the more secluded beaches here and gets good protection from onshores coming from the south and west. The waves are tempered by a few pockets of reef out at sea, which creates sets that are perfect for beginners (it’s the playground for all the Bidart surf schools!). Mellow is the keyword, with even some room for loggers on the most glassy of days.

Plage du Centre

Plage du Centre is sometimes called just Bidart Plage (Bidart Beach). It’s the main stretch of sand that runs below the lovely town. Cut up by groins, it can sometimes mimic the wider beaches of Landes further north, but that needs some punchy NW swells on the roster. The main reason we like it is that it’s classic peaky beach break stuff with a secondary swell that can work well for beginners. Always better on the push. Localism is very rarely an issue – they’re a nice bunch!

Plage de l’Uhabia

Plage de l’Uhabia is known as just l’Uhabia for short. It’s right by the rivermouth of the, you guessed it, the l’Uhabia River. That allows for some pretty unique waves that rise from the silt deposits and banks created in the estuary. There’s one pretty famous right that’s rarely super busy but quite fast and fun. The main issue is pollution following storms and heavy rainfall.

Guethary

Guethary is the next French surf town over from Bidart. It’s classic Basque stuff, making the most of the rocky coast to offer points that can get pretty gnarly when they’re pumping in the winter. In fact, Guethary is positively pros only on the biggest days, when XXL swells hit Parlementia and other big-wave places along the coast.

Where to stay when surfing in Bidart

Bidart has some LOVELY villas and campsites that are just perfect for planning that trip to the Atlantic waves. Some worth considering are:

Bidart Villa Sleeps 8 Pool WiFi

Surf-hotel-top-pick

Anyone hitting the Bidart surf as a family or a group of mates should look to the sumptuous Bidart Villa. It sleeps up to 8, has sleek modern interiors, and a gorgeous outdoor pool. It’s also within easy reach of the main beachfront and the bars in the town center.

Camping Erreka

Best for: Budget trips

Perched on the cliffs above Plage d’Erretegia, Camping Erreka has you covered on both the budget front and when it comes to proximity to Bidart’s best beginner break. It’s also got an on-site pool and facilities that tick all the boxes.

INDIGO KEYWEEK Seafront Villa

Best for: Group trips with STYLE!

Bag yourself a luxurious pad within eyeshot of the waves to the north of Bidart (the famous Pavillon Royal spot is right on the doorstep) by choosing INDIGO KEYWEEK. It’s the option for a luxury surf trip – just check out that al fresco hot tub and deck!

When to surf in Bidart

The best time to surf in Bidart is Autumn. That’s when the W-NW swells start hitting the French Basque Coast and conditions align to create pretty reliable days from Ilbarritz to the Centre Plage. You’ll need to bring a wetsuit and expect bigger waves if you come in November. Spring is also a good alternative, but the water’s even colder.

Bidart weather

Summer (June-August)

It’s not a secret that the Bay of Biscay gets way quieter in the summer months. From June to August it can turn to a SW channel that will rarely find its way into this deep corner on the France-Spain border. On top of that, the crowds increase. It all adds up to make it a pretty poor season to surf in Bidart if you ask us. Then again, when there is a wave, it’s lush to paddle out in the warm water and enjoy a cold beer in the bars afterwards!

Wear: 2mm or rashy if you’re feeling warm

Autumn (September-October)

Autumn is the top time to hit the Bidart surf. All of France knowns that this is when the Atlantic turns on the goods. You’re wanting that perfect NW swell hit, which typically get a-cooking in October but can come earlier. Morning surfs are best because they are most likely to catch the E offshores. Line ups won’t be nothing, but there are fewer people around than in the height of summer, so there’s another plus.

Wear: 3/2 or 4/3 later on. Booties help because of the rocks too but aren’t needed

Summer and autumn surfing in Bidart means lots of UV on the face. Check out our guide to the five best sunscreens for surfers on the market right now to get the perfect thing…

Winter (December-March)

The winter is king on the reliability front in Bidart, with more surfable days than any season. That’s not a reflection on quality, though. Sadly, the out-at-sea storms that pass through the Bay of Biscay can churn things up, drop in strong onshores, and leave Bidart in a mess. They will pass and will break with some perfect conditions now and then. This is also the time for XXL surfing in Guethary and the southern Basque.

Wear: 4/3 at least. Boots and hood and gloves a good idea, too

Spring (April-May)

Spring is another highlight on the Bidart surf calendar. before the big crowds of holidaymakers have arrived, it’s a time with reliable waves and less interference from the winter storm onshore systems. The real issue is rain, which can pollute the beaches around the l’Uhabia rivermouth. Bring a wetsuit of at least 4/3 if you’re looking to do longer sessions.

Wear: 4/3 is best with boots and a hood

Surf shops in Bidart

Bidart is no stranger to good surf shops. Check out some of the best here:

Prosurf Surf Shop Parlementia

Prosurf Surf Shop Parlementia is to the south of Bidart. The owners are great guys with a good knack for repairs. Super-informative advice about local breaks and a varied rack for shortboarders. Probably the most comprehensive board shop south of Biarritz.

Sea Sick Surf Shop Bidart

The Sea Sick Surf Shop Bidart is one of our real favourites in Bidart. It’s on the main road running through the heart of the town, where it offers a truly gorgeous range of retro boards and bespoke fins. Definitely worth a look if you’re keen to add to the quiver.

We take our GoPro 8 on pretty much EVERY surf trip we hit. It’s a trusty compadre for scoring super-stable shots on the water – there’s an in-built stabilisation thingy that keeps everything real smooth. You also get that banging 4K footage. It’s a cracking addition for both on and off the waves.


We might use affiliate links in this post. Basically, you click em’ and we get a little something from your booking or purchase. They help us keep offering more and more in-depth surf guides to awesome places all around the globe. So, thanks for that!

This article is just one part of our complete guide to surfing in France

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