St Jean de Luz travel guide

Cities and towns

About St Jean de Luz

St Jean de Luz in Aquitaine is a beautiful coastal town with some great beaches, close to the Spanish border in what is known as the French Basque Country.

A pretty town with a distinct Basque identity, St Jean de Luz has a wonderful beach right in the centre of town. The Grande Plage of St Jean de Luz is sheltered by 3 impressive sea walls making it a safe beach for children who will love running about on the fine sand. There's beach clubs, and rental places for beach tents, loungers, deckchairs and more to make the most of your time in the sun. There are 4 other beaches around the town including Plage de Lafitéria, which is a good surf spot with some big waves and the Plage de Cénitz which is suitable for all levels of surfers including beginners. The water quality at all St Jean de Luz's beaches is checked daily and you can enjoy even more of the benefits of the seawater at the thalassotherapy spas in town. The beaches are a great place to try out some water sports such as surfing, kayaking, waterskiing, catamaranning and snorkelling.

If you prefer to stay land-based then why not have a got at Basque pelota and cesta punta? Traditional sports from the Basque region, pelota is a court sport played with your hands whilst cesta punta is faster and players wear a special 'basket' on one hand. You can watch the locals play at the fronton just of the Quai Maurice Ravel where a 'force basque' strong-man competition is also held in summer. Enjoy a themedd tour around the town, explore the coastline on its cycling and walking routes, or why not take a boat trip to discover the beautiful coast from out at sea? St Jean de Luz is a town with a great party atmosphere and lots of festivals with dancing and singing throughout the year, particularly at Easter and the 5 day festival of St Jean in late June with lots of evening entertainment throughout the summer. There is some great shopping to be had in the old town close to the beach where art galleries, and contemporary and traditional boutiques provide lots of places for window shopping and buying souvenirs, and are even open on Sundays.

St Jean de Luz also has some great markets with a daily covered market and an outdoor market every Tuesday and Friday, and on Saturdays during the summer, where you can buy great food from local producers. Hake, sea bream, tuna and cod are all fish that feature strongly on local menus and are often served with herby or spicy pil pil sauces. A fish stew containing lots of different fish and shellfish called ttoro is also popular, as are chipirons - small pieces of stuffed squid served with tomatoes. Those with a sweet tooth are also well served with the tasty almond biscuits known as macaroons; mouchons, which are similar to macaroons but smaller and made with lots of almonds and very little sugar; and kanouga, a soft dark chocolate or coffee caramel. Enjoy your meal with local Irouleguy wine and finish with a digestif of colourful Izarra liquer, available in almond or peppermint flavour.

Why visit St Jean de Luz?

  • The Beaches
  • Great Shopping
  • Water Sports
  • Basque Cuisine

Overview

  • Country: France
  • Region: Aquitaine
  • Department: Pyrénées-Atlantique
  • Population: 14,000
  • Coordinates: 43.387975,-1.662862

Coordinates shown are based on the WGS84 system, please check driving directions before departing.

Nearby attractions

A charming fortified château belonging to the same family since it was built in 1341. Well furnished and decorated, the building has a magnificent history and is well worth a visit.

Discover how life was centuries ago in this traditional Basque home, built in 1660, with stunning views over the village of Sare. The wash house, cider-making area, kitchen and bedrooms can all be seen as they would have been...

Having doubled in size in 2011, the Musée de la Mer is a great place for a family day out in Biarritz! With 25 new aquariums, a Caribbean lagoon, a touch pool and a seal pool with a terrace where you can watch feeding time,...

The Asiatica Museum houses a significant collection of Asian art primarily from India, Nepal, Tibet, and China. Wander through rooms and galleries filled with beautiful sculptures of Eastern deities, jades from the time of the...

Places to visit nearby

Biarritz in Aquitaine is a refined aristocratic town that is now the surfing capital of Europe.

San Sebastián, in Pais Vasco (the Basque Country), is a stylish city renowned for its excellent beaches, fine architecture and culture, and its wealth of Michelin star restaurants.

Tolosa, in Pais Vasco (the Basque Country), is a brilliant destination for food lovers that is surrounded by the beauty of Green Spain and full of remarkable architecture.