What to visit in the Basque Country in winter ?

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Dear friends of the Guide du Pays Basque ! Auriane here, your blogger ! Winter is coming but several tourist sites are still open and ready to welcome you.

Find my best tips and addresses and prepare with the help of the list below your weekends, day out with your family, friends or your other half. Indeed, I have prepared for you a list of all the tourist sites open from November to February.

Discover the heritage of our beautiful region, with a different environment and colours ! Orange leaves on the trees, long shadows at sunset and even a few snowflakes ! It is nearly time for the end of the year celebrations, so bring back either a gourmet, cultural or artistic souvenir that you can leave under the Christmas tree !

Each site has opening times and a weblink to my articles ! I hope that after all this reading, the Basque Country will appeal to you ! Have fun reading this article ; wishing you great weekends ahead !

Musée des Ateliers du Chocolat de Bayonne• Musée de l’atelier du chocolat de Bayonne (Bayonne chocolate factory Museum) : Fancy a gourmet break ?! Discover all the secrets of this very famous chocolate, and don’t miss the tasting session to delight your taste buds ! During winter, the museum is open from Monday to Saturday, from 10am to 12pm and from 2pm to 6pm (The chocolate makers are not present on Saturday).

Read Auriane’s article here.

• Château Observatoire Abbadia (Abbadia Observatory Castle) : Located in Hendaye, this castle has been built by Viollet-le-Duc on request of Antoine Abbadie, a wise man from the 19th century. Discover the combination of the Neo-Gothic and Orientalist style. The site is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 2pm to 6pm (November to March) with a guided tour every 30 minutes.

Grottes de SareLes Grottes Préhistoriques de Sare (Sare Prehistoric Caves) : Immerse yourself in history by visiting the caves of Sare which includes thanks to a tour with a sound and light show. The caves are open from Monday to Friday from 2pm to 5pm and from Saturday to Sunday from 1pm to 5pm until 3rd January. From 6th to 10th December, the site is open everyday from 1pm to 4.45pm. Note that the caves are closed from 7th January up to March.

Credit Photo ©Grottes de Sare

Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle de Bayonne (Natural History Museum of Bayonne) : Discover the biodiversity of the Pyrenees as well as the flora and the fauna of the Basque Country thanks to the permanent exhibitions of this museum. In winter, the site is open from Tuesday to Friday from 1.30pm to 5pm. On Saturday and Sunday, from 11am to 12.30pm and from 1.30pm to 5pm.

Aquarium de Biarritz : Dive into the heart of the Oceans and seabed by visiting the Biarritz’ Aquarium. 50 tanks full of surprises are waiting for you ! The site is open all year, every day. From November to March, the opening times are: 9.30am to 7pm.

La Cité de l’Océan : Discover all the secrets of the Ocean thanks to this educational and fun place. The site is open all year, except from 8th January to 3rd February. From November to 22nd December, the site opens its doors from 2pm to 7pm. During the Christmas holidays, it is open from 10am to 7pm.

Phare de Biarritz• Le Phare de Biarritz (The Biarritz’ lighthouse) : Discover this famous monument of Biarritz, even during the winter season. Check with them directly for the opening times as it varies depending on the day.

• Musée Basque et de l’Histoire de Bayonne : Discover the Basque culture thanks to this museum displaying a very beautiful collection of objects telling the History of Bayonne. The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10.30am to 6pm. It is closed on Monday and bank holidays. Entrance is free on the first Sunday of each month.

• Musée Basque du Pastoralisme et du Fromage (Basque rural culture and cheese Museum) Fromagerie Agour : Discover all the secrets of the Basque rural culture and cheese at this museum. Learn the traditional skills of the artisans, their ancestral traditions and, at the end of the visit, taste some excellent cheeses. The museum is open all year, Monday to Saturday morning from 10.30am to 3.30pm.

• Musée Historique de Biarritz (The Biarritz History Museum) : Learn all the secrets of Biarritz ! The site is open from Tuesday to Saturday, from 10am to 12.30pm and from 2pm to 6.30pm.

• Parc Floral et Animalier Oihanartea (Oihanartea Floral and animal Park) : Discover the flora and the fauna of many continents in the heart of the Basque Country. The decor is superb and the animals adorable ! The site is open, in winter, from 10am to 5pm, from Tuesday to Sunday.

• La Forêt des Lapins (The Rabbits’ Forest) : Have some great time with rabbits and guinea pigs. A fun, educational and really cute visit, this activity will please the whole family. You can even adopt these furry balls which are just looking for affection ! The site is open from 2pm to 5.30pm, every day. During morning, visits are available by prior booking only.

La VernaLa Verna Pierre Saint Martin : A guided tour combining discovery and pot holing, La Verna mixes adventure and surprises in the Earth’s centre. Exceptional geological site located in the heart of the mountain, it is open all year. From November to March, a minimum of eight people is required to have the chance to visit it. The timings are different depending on the chosen formula : 1h, 1h30, 2h or adventure tour.

Credit Photo ©La Verna

• Musée Porsche Auberge Ostapé : Discover a beautiful collection of Porsche cars in the heart of the Basse Navarre. The site is open every day, all year, from 2pm to 5pm, on request.

  • in Navarre (Spain) :

Grottes d'UrdaxThe Urdax’s caves : Discover these cavities and concretions. There are also engravings showing a bison and a deer. The caves are open all year, from 11am to 2pm in winter.

• Zugarramurdi Caves : Also called the « Grottes des Sorcières (Witches’ Caves)», they are famous for having hosted witches’ meetings during the Middle Ages. During the summer solstice, the cult of fire is celebrated in these caves. They are open all year. From October to the end of June, you can visit them from Tuesday to Sunday and from 11am to 5.30pm. In November and December, on Tuesday (plan for 1h30 break at lunch time) and from 11am to 6pm in January and February.

• The Urdax Museum : An ideal Museum for the art enthusiasts. The museum is open in winter from Wednesday to Friday, from 2pm to 6.30pm and on Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 7pm.

• The Musée des Sorcières (The Witches’ Museum) : Don’t be scared, no witch will come to chase you up ! Discover this universe as fascinating as thrilling : myths, witch-hunt and witchcraft… The museum is open from Wednesday to Friday from 11am to 6 pm and on Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 7pm.

Credit Photo ©Grottes d'Urdax

  • in Guipuscoa (Spain) :

The Aquarium Donostia - San Sebastian : Wander in the alleys of the aquarium and its two floors and discover the depths of the oceans. The site is open all year, every day, from Monday to Friday and from 10am to 7pm and the weekends from 10am to 8pm.

• The Musée Oiasso : Roman Museum, discover many archaeological remains. From September to March, the site is open on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday from 10am to 2pm and on Friday and Saturday from 10am to 2pm and from 4pm to 7pm.

Aquarium de San Sebastian

Credit Photo ©Aquarium de San Sebastian

  • Tourist sites open only during the academic holidays :

Planète Musée du Chocolat• Planète Musée du Chocolat (Chocolate Museum Planet) : Discover, at the heart of a chocolate factory, the history of the chocolate through objects, videos and photos… At the end of the visit, you can taste a nice traditional homemade hot chocolate and participate in many creative workshops around cocoa. These workshops are available for all, children and adults ! The site is open, during the academic holidays, from Monday to Saturday, from 10am to 12.30pm and from 2pm to 6.30pm.

Credit Photo ©Planète Musée du Chocolat


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