Overlooking Biarritz, its schools of surfers, and the Basque coast, this humble café set up in a shack on the cliffs is the perfect place to soak up the region’s beach vibe. Pull up at one of the outdoor tables for a coffee or juice in the morning, a light meal throughout the day, or a pre-dinner drink served with great tapas, with the added extra of the sunset over the Atlantic for décor. You might even get lucky with an improvised acapella concert.
SAN SEBASTIAN’S ‘SEMANA GRANDE’ FESTIVAL
Celebrating the Assumption of Mary into Heaven, the festival Semana Grande, or “big week”, this year kicks off on Sat 12 August with the traditional cannon shot, taking place at 7pm in Alderdi Eder gardens. But the highlight of one of the region’s most popular festivals – when Basque culture is celebrated at its fullest – is probably the spectacular International Firework Competition exploding over La Concha Bay on the last night, Sat 19.
CRISTOBAL BALENCIAGA MUSEOA
One of couture’s biggest heroes had humble beginnings in a picturesque Basque fishing village. Getaria celebrates possibly its most famous son with this museum that demonstrates Balenciaga’s legacy to the history of fashion and design via engaging exhibitions and events. Part of the museum is housed in the grand Aldamar Palace, the former summer residence of the Marquis de Casa Torres, where Balenciaga’s mother worked as a seamstress and the couturier first came into contact with haute couture.
This cult restaurant, nestled at the foothills of Mount Anboto deep in the Atxondo valley, will transport you far from the elegant tablecloths and expensive silverware of Basque country’s famous restaurants. Self-taught bbq master Victor Arguinzoniz carefully selects firewood from different trees to grill exceptional local produce – everything from the butter to the caviar – offering a radical new interpretation of Basque cuisine
Frank Gehry’s architectural manifesto, and the museum that put Basque country on the map, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. On top of a retrospective of the pioneering video artist Bill Viola (running until 9 Nov), the museum presents a whole programme dedicated to demonstrating the ways in which the building and surrounding city has changed over the last two decades. When you’re done exploring, hit up the museum’s Michelin-starred restaurant Neura, where chef Josean Alija gets to the essence of the local food culture.