We left you last time in Mimizan, enjoying the May Day celebrations. The location was so nice that we considered staying another day but… weather. The following day was supposed to be wet in the morning, and cooler but drying up later in the day. The day after that however was predicted to be a scorcher. Twenty-nine degrees! We didn’t want to be driving all day in that heat so we packed up and set off for Biarritz. 

Biarritz is one of those places we’d been aware of for most of our lives but never visited. My mental image was of a fading seaside resort, populated by the Parisian in-crowd in the 20’s and 30’s, then abandoned to turn into a kiss-me-quick, candy-floss and slot machine “family” resort in the intervening years. Wrong!

Grand old Biarritz house
Grand old Biarritz house

After battling through horrific stop-start traffic in Bayonne (we should have lashed out on the toll road) we found ourselves in an elegant, well laid out and virtually litter-free town. Walking in to the centre from the campsite the following day was a hilly adventure. But once we reached the seafront we really enjoyed the gardens and neat winding paths between the main road and the beaches.

For once, Michael Fish had been on the money. We were so hot that a shady table outside a seafood restaurant was impossible to resist. Our waiter and the restaurant owner formed a great comedy double act, welcoming us warmly as they did every diner. We were served the wrong dishes, which were instantly whipped away to another table and replaced with our favourite grilled sardines, fries & salad. I think it was all part of the act, as the other diners found it very amusing. I’m not totally sure though… 

Biarritz Sardine heaven
Biarritz Sardine heaven!

We’d been in regular contact with our friends Graeme & Sally who were rushing down from Calais in their motorhome. They were doing in three days, what had taken us almost two weeks to do. The plan was to join us in Biarritz the following day. We were really looking forward to them setting up beside us and having a good old catch-up over a joint BBQ that evening. So much so that on the morning of their arrival I spotted that the pitch beside us had become vacant, so I went off to reception to see if I could reserve it. After a few minutes of the campsite receptionist taking the mickey out of my French accent, we established that yes, reserving the pitch was possible. All she needed was a few details. The first question was whether or not they have a dog. 

“Oui!” Said I.

“Non!” Said she.

We had no idea that they had a no dogs policy. It’s not something we’ve ever encountered. We still managed to have our joint BBQ that evening, but Graeme & Sally had to walk down the hill afterwards to a camper-van park we’d found. Fortunately it wasn’t far.

Disaster averted, just about, we set off the following morning for San Sebastián. Regular viewers will know it’s one of our favourite places in Spain and we couldn’t wait to show it off to our friends. The beach! The views! The tapas! The Michelin-starred restaurants! The completely full camper-van park! We drove round and around it a couple of times but not a single van looked like it was preparing to leave. Indeed, more vans were turning up all the time. Did somebody say holiday weekend..?

We found a lay-by just outside the camper-van park where we could research alternative sites in the hot sunshine without blocking the main road. It made sense to abandon any thoughts of finding a coastal stay, given the holiday weekend. So we headed inland instead to the Pagoeta Natural Park. Sally had found a gem of a stopover in the middle of nowhere. 

Rose bloom
Beautiful blooms in the botanical gardens

It was near Iturraran, and consisted of an empty forest car park, bordering a botanical paradise. For acres around we were able to walk through beautifully landscaped trees, shrubs and flowers with only the odd soul to be seen. There were lots of interesting scents for Bobbie the wonder-dog to explore, and by carefully parking the vans we could enjoy a discreet drink and a nibble screened from any passing park rangers. You’re not really supposed to exhibit any camping behaviour, like getting out chairs & tables in these places. But we made the judgement that as we’d litter-picked the area first, and that as there was nobody around to disturb, we’d go for it.

At Getaria, our next stop, it was déjà vu all over again. We were hoping the coastal towns might be less busy. I don’t know why we thought that as it was still the holiday weekend, but hope springs eternal and all that. Getaria is a hilly village right on the sea front so we twisted and turned the two vans round the hairpin bends to arrive at the harbour area where, we’d read, there were 10 spaces allocated to motorhomes. There were! But nine of them were occupied. Graeme & Sally managed to squeeze their van in but poor old Vince had to keep going up the road until we found a space on the street.

I’m not too fond of parking up on the street for security reasons. Like caravans, motorhome windows are only plastic so any determined thief can break in with just a Stanley knife. No need to fight through locked doors. It was a busy Saturday however so we hoped that the many passers-by would deter any opportunistic break-ins.

Can you spot Vince?

After a brief explore of this lovely town, which included the obligatory coffee stop, we arrived back at the vans just as another motorhome pulled out of a space. Yes! Gill carefully guarded the slot while I ran to fetch Vince. It was an even bigger squeeze for us to get in as our bay had a tree behind it. The only way to stop Vince’s front bumper from sticking out in the road was to remove one of our bikes from the rack at the back. That’s one of the bikes we’ve carried all the way through France and into Spain without using either of them yet…

We chose one of the harbour-side restaurants for lunch. Their menu of the day included a main course, a dessert, wine, bread and coffee. It wasn’t the cheapest place we’ve eaten but the seafood was incredible. If you don’t like anchovies, or toasted garlic, or butter, look away now! I’ve never eaten so many fish in one sitting.


After that little lot we felt obliged to walk off a few calories. An hour’s round trip took us up to the top of the hill overlooking the harbour to enjoy the sunset.

Fuel was the priority next morning, Vince had only 44 miles left in the tank and Sundays can be difficult as many Spanish petrol stations close for the day. Google was our friend, leading us to a nearby 24hr service station. Diesel is currently between €1.55 and €1.70 here in Spain so we’ll definitely fill up again before heading back through France where it’s much pricier. Our only plans for Sunday were to get somewhere quiet, find a coffee stop, have a walk, and then relax all evening. So we did!

Vans in Lekeitio
Cosied up in Lekeitio

Leketio, yet another fishing town fit the bill perfectly. We visited here once before, a few years ago so we knew exactly what we were getting. This time the tide was out so we could walk across the causeway to St. Nicolas Island. This gave us great views back across the bay to the harbour.

Leketio has a beautifully landscaped park alongside the motorhome aire. In the park is a tiny zoo. The screech of exotic birds of prey every five minutes is really not conducive to a good night’s sleep! So with that, until next time, night night xx

Leikeito causeway
Slippery causeway to St. Nicolas Island, Lekeitio
Getaria streets
Botanical Park Foliage
Contrasting foliage in the botanical gardens
Café life Biarritz
Café life in Biarritz
About Ken Tomlinson 219 Articles
Semi-retired biker, blogger and world’s best grandad. Doesn’t take life too seriously. Discovered motorhoming in 2015, sold up and downsized to fund more travels. Now with added Yorkshire.

2 Comments on Biarritz

  1. Hi, sounds like a lovely trip. Hopefully it will ease off now the holiday weekends are over. I wondered what resource you were using to find spots. I can’t find Pagoeta Natural Park on either S4S or P4night and it sounds wonderful.

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