Leisure centers in the Basque Country? But yes of course! It must be admitted that when we think of this region, we rather imagine ourselves with fan feet on its magnificent beaches. For people who reside in the interior Basque Country, those who want to try out water sports in freshwater and for families, lakes, ponds and leisure centers are perfect. The waters of the Nivelle bathe the Labourd well, before flowing into the Bay of Biscay. Bordered by the Pyrenees, the valleys and pastures of the territory are not to be outdone... Between the Adour and the Nive, there are many rivers and streams. Here is which offers all kinds of nautical activities in fresh water...
Opening photo : Lake Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle © Guide du Pays Basque
The question can arise because the beaches of the Basque Country are famous. But the leisure centers have every chance in this competition to charm you...
Are you alone or in a relationship? They are often located in a preserved and natural environment. They attract both tourists and locals. Suddenly, the atmosphere is friendly. Are you with friends? Between inflatable courses, sports fields, aquatic activities or others, they are ideal for a good time of fun.
Are you a family? The waters are calm, shallow and often supervised. Play areas are suitable for toddlers. Whatever the age of your children, you will find something to occupy them. Child safety rhymes with parental peace of mind! In addition, everything is planned for your comfort : toilets, catering or picnic areas... You can really enjoy a day of relaxation.
In short, whether you are looking for a sporty, relaxed or lively atmosphere, they have many assets to satisfy all your desires.
Children love lakes and ponds, when ocean waves are too strong for swimming. Photo : © Guide of the Basque Country
Have you been tempted? So much the better, here is our selection of nautical bases.
We start our tour, just 20 minutes drive from Bayonne, near Bidache and its fortress. On the Guiche lake, is the base of Pop, a free space in the middle of nature. Supervised swimming, grassed beach for a few blocks at the water's edge and a playground, children are welcome. The older ones will appreciate the "Accr'eau Park", a 3000 m² course, with slides, inflatable sets, trampolines, zip line... Slides, climbs, jumps, there is plenty to let off steam And for really strong sensations, try the waterjump. To explore the lake, you can rent individual or giant stand-up-paddles, kayaks or boats on site. And to have fun with friends, you have petanque, volleyball, football and even a giant table football!
Photos : © La base de Pop
A little further south, 15 minutes from Saint-Jean-de-Luz, the Lac de Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle leisure center is geared towards water sports. Stand-up-paddles for one person or in XXL version, canoes, kayaks, pedal boats… You have the choice for a family outing on this beautiful 12 hectare lake. For the youngest, a large sandy beach and play areas are at their disposal. Swimming is also supervised. And for fun, inflatable structures are installed during the summer. You can also practice tennis or fishing. Our blogger tested it for you. Watch his video report on his fun day at Lake Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle.
Photos : © Guide du Pays Basque
Near the village, Nature Avent'ura 64 rents canoes-kayaks for a descent in the river in the heart of the Natura 2000 site. In Ascain, based in Muntxola, Aqua Balade will also satisfy all lovers of skiing on the Nivelle. Right next door, in Souraïde, the Ttiki Leku play park is a no-go area for over 12s… Here is a good opportunity to please the little ones, before or after swimming!
Approaching the Spanish border, very close to the fortified city of Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, you arrive at Lake Harrieta. On site, the atmosphere is quieter, between fishing and pedal boats. For a more dynamic activity, go to Bidarray. Ur Bizia rents canoes, inflatable kayaks and hydrospeed rafting on the Nive.
Photos : © Ur Bizia
We go north. Between the Adour, the Gaves reunited and the La Bidouze river, the Lake Sames Water Park welcomes you with original equipment. In addition to the slides, you can try out its water ski lift. You can also go classic water skiing with R'Wake. For an activity to share with the family, there is a mini-golf course. For a change, a few kilometers away, in the port of Urt, Adour Loisirs takes you on an excursion on the river and its tributaries. At the Bastide-Clairance, Jungle Canoë invites you to follow the current of the Joyeuse.
Enjoy the pleasures of freshwater navigation! Photo : © Adour Loisirs
Our walk on the fresh waters of the Basque Country ends. If you want to know more about its geography, its history and soak up its culture, here is our page on the Basque Country.